Church Street

CHURCH STREET WARD LABOUR ACTION REPORT – September 2017

From Councillors Barbara Grahame, Aicha Less and Aziz Toki

 

 

 

 

 

Church Street Police Station

The Metropolitan Police Service has submitted a planning application to Westminster City Council to move the Metropolitan Police public access front counter in from Paddington Green to a new location at 88 Church Street. The site will also become a base for neighbourhood policing teams for the North and Central wards of the borough, including Dedicated Ward Officers. This is in addition to emergency response teams based in Kilburn that continue to provide policing for the north of Westminster. 

The move follows a decision made in March by the Mayor to consider the Paddington Green site for redevelopment but to maintain a policing presence and public access in the locality. If the planning application is granted, the move will take place in late 2017. Until then the front counter at Paddington Green Police Station will remain in operation.

Fingest House, Lisson Green

We have reported a faulty Door Entry system in Fingest House which has not been working.  A number of residents had previously this to the Estate office but nothing had been done. Also, they tried to phone customer services but there was a 14-minute waiting time.

Church Street public toilets

Westminster Council has responded to a petition calling for the re-opening of the public toilets in Church Street by claiming that homelessness and drug-dealing means they will remain closed ‘indefinitely’. Rather than solving the problems of rough sleepers using the facilities to wash and drug-dealers using the loos as a place of business, the Council has taken the easy option of shutting this public facility.

Lyons Place/Orchardson Street

We are making enquiries about this issue:

“We now have major traffic issues on the corner of Lyons Place and Orchardson Street. The hoarding has now taken over all the pavement and has left the turn from either street completely blind.  It is now dangerous! I also would like to bring your attention to the fact that the petrol tankers will still not be able to turn out of the petrol station due to the width of the road. “

Aberdeen Place

We are making enquiries with the Council about the road works in Aberdeen Place. Residents say:

“They seem to be digging over months for one gas installation although there was meant to be an agreement that these disruptive works would serve more than one service instead of digging up the same area separately for broadband, electricity, gas, water. The problem with loads of extra and now broken plastic bags next to the bins in that location is almost constant but since the underground pipe works recently (no end date given) became extreme.”

Marylebone Road/Seymour Place

Following our enquiries about cars jumping the lights at this junction, TfL tell us:

“We are currently upgrading around 700 old wet film cameras with new digital units through a safety camera replacement programme. The camera at this junction is part of this upgrade programme and will be upgraded early next year.  In the meantime, we have made the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) aware of residents’ concerns.”

 

 

CHURCH STREET WARD LABOUR ACTION REPORT – August 2017

From Councillors Barbara Grahame, Aicha Less and Aziz Toki

 

 

 

 

 

Lisson Grove/Shroton Street

We have asked the Parking Department to take action against drivers whose parking creates dangers to pedestrians and other road users at the junction. Residents say:

“I live near the Seashell restaurant in Lisson Grove. Driving along Shroton Street this afternoon at about 3.30pm and turning left into Lisson Grove there were a number of vehicles parked on and around the corner where there are yellow lines. Not only is it illegal but dangerous as it obscures vision into Lisson Grove and it is close to a school. This is now becoming a regular occurrence. It is dangerous and needs to be stopped before an accident occurs.”

Kennet House, Church Street

At the request of residents, we have asked City West Homes to investigate a range of fire safety issues at Kennet House following the Genfell Tower tragedy.

Church Street toilets

We are continuing to press the Council to re-open the public toilets in Church Street so that they can be used by market shoppers and traders.

Chequers House, Lisson Green

Residents have told us about their concerns following the closure of the fire escape doors. Residents say:

“For some reason, the fire exit is completely sealed and a notice has been posted to stop the use this exit. Why has this fire exit has been sealed? This is a sheltered housing block and mostly elderly people are living in this building. In case of emergency what would happen?

Marylebone Road

We have asked Transport for London to investigate this issue;

“I wanted to bring this to your attention as I think it is dangerous. A number of cars jump the lights opposite Manor House when they turn from Seymour Place onto Marylebone Road. It cannot be they do not see the lights, although I understand the lights are close to the corner. Can anything be done about this with a camera or better sign posting?”

 

 

CHURCH STREET WARD LABOUR ACTION REPORT – July 2017

From Councillors Barbara Grahame, Aicha Less and Aziz Toki

 

 

 

 

 

Time to get a move on with Church Street regeneration 

Church Street Labour Councillor Barbara Grahame says:

“In 2010 the council published its Housing Renewal Strategy which identified Church Street for renewal. Church Street was selected because with 11,000 residents in 5,000 households it had:

  • 78% children lived in income deprived households
  • 22% residents were overcrowded
  • 19% unemployed
  • The life expectancy gap between Church Street and Knightsbridge was around 12 years
  • The council owned 80% land in the Ward as the predominant freeholder so had the power to intervene and develop.

So why not regenerate? A Futures Plan was developed in 2011, taken to Cabinet, procrastinated, an infrastructure plan followed and in May 2013 87% residents in a 25.5% turnout voted in favour of the council’s regeneration proposal. That’s actually a fantastic turnout for a ballot of this kind.

So, an ideal situation for the Council:  well informed residents and stakeholders who voted in favour of redevelopment, who understood the challenges of decants and demolition.    And the council as landlord owned all the development land.   So, what could go wrong?

What has been achieved against target outcomes?

The Target Outcomes were:

  • Between 275 and 315 new private and affordable homes spread over 4 sites, plus the re-provision of an old peoples’ home;
  • Improvement to retained blocks closest to the development sites
  • Improved community and health facilities and a new children’s play space
  • Alongside an improved Church Street Market, improved public realm and greening, better maintenance, and targeted local employment.

What is to be seen on the ground?

  • Today, in 2017, only 3 new exemplar flats have been built, massively over cost so they cannot be replicated.
  • Contractors still scrabbling underground to dig foundations for the new old people’s home whilst the old people wonder if they’ll still be alive by target completion date 2019.
  • The valuable Luton Street and Cosway Street sites left undeveloped because of council delays and indecision.
  • Just one community facility completed, Tresham House, now a hive of activity with 2 nurseries, a play centre including disabled children, and an Evangelical Church on the roof. Wonderful, but clearly nowhere near expectations.

And of course, in the meantime the property market has moved downwards so valuable sites do not generate the estimated funds to pay for affordable housing and other benefits.

There is a feeling in Church Street that the council is actually frightened of taking the next step.

The Council’s new Masterplan is being developed in near secrecy. It will be ‘launched’ in September hidden from view, inside 99 Church Street, to invited guests and the minimum residents.

Church Street Labour Councillors say – Get a move on and start building.”

Edgware Road/Orchardson Street

We asked the Planning Department about this issue:

“I came home tonight to find that four perfectly good trees of a certain maturity had been chopped down; there appears to be nothing wrong, looking at the trunks. Was this to do with the building been torn down on Edgware Road/Orchardson Street? We desperately need trees and this looks like a massacre.”

The Planners say:

The redevelopment of the petrol filling station site for 47 affordable housing units and 29 market housing proposed the removal of a number of street trees in Lyons Place at the rear and these trees will be replaced by new trees. These trees are 3 alders, and another tree a cherry may have to be removed because of difficulty in keeping the tree during construction. When permission was granted, it was on the basis the new landscaping and public realm improvements would not result in the net loss of any street trees.”

Plympton Street

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

I wonder if something could be done in the case of 23 Plympton Street. They persist in dumping rubbish outside in our street just any time that suits them, not on the appropriate day. At present, after a loud party that went on till after 2 am, they have stacked 8 or 9 large black bags of rubbish against their building. Needless to say, animals are starting to tuck in, thus strewing stuff about. Passing humans dump more stuff. In other words, totally unacceptable behaviour.”

Boscobel Street

We have reported this issue to the Council:

I see that some double yellow lines have been applied but not fully on Boscobel Street so the scheme will only marginally improve matters. The traffic wardens are not enforcing the current yellow line restrictions as so many drivers in this area just sit in their cars on double yellow lines and the wardens need to be more pro-active in moving drivers on if they are not unloading…which they hardly ever are.”

The ‘Sea Shell’, Lisson Grove

The ‘Sea Shell’ in Lisson Grove celebrated its 60th anniversary recently. The Sea Shell, which opened in 1957, included in its day of celebration a community lunch for 100 at the nearby Greenside Community Centre.

Cherwell House

We have asked City West Homes to check fire safety at Cherwell House as residents are concerned at the absence of fire extinguishers.

Chequers and Verney Houses, Lisson Green

We have asked City West Homes to investigate these concerns:

“A week ago the Fire Service was called out to one of these blocks and only one Fire engine was able to get round, the turntable ladder and another Fire engine was unable to as parked cars on both sides of the road were obstructing the entry for the Fire Service. This is an ongoing concern for residents.”

Church Street Estate

We have asked City West Homes to sort out this issue:

“We have 4 blocks of flats, with 11 communal entrances. Out of those 11 entrances only 4 notice boards had Fire Action Plans on display, 2 were covered by other notices and 5 have had their noticeboards, including the Fire Action Plan notices, removed several days ago whilst major works are being undertaken. These are not due to be replaced until Friday pm, I believe, and the Fire Action Plans are not on display elsewhere.”

Church Street

We have asked the Road Safety Team to investigate this concern:

“I’m wondering has Church Street has returned to two-way traffic there seems to be a lot of two-way traffic very dangerous on the corners of Penfold street and Church Street”.

We have received the following update:

“We can confirm that the Church Street remains one-way between Lisson Grove and Edgware Road.  In light of residents’ concerns, the City Council will review the signage along Church Street including the section adjacent to Penfold Street, to ensure the signage and road markings adequately indicate the one way working. “

 

 

CHURCH STREET WARD LABOUR ACTION REPORT – June 2017

From Councillors Barbara Grahame, Aicha Less and Aziz Toki

 

 

 

 

 

Church Street

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“I see all sorts of vehicles go down Church street the wrong way on a daily basis. It’s my view that a fatal accident is (sadly) inevitable unless a significant improvement is made to the signage. It’s not just bicycles and mopeds that go down the street the wrong way but cars, taxis and vans. Accidents are inevitable and they don’t have to be.”

The Council say:

“The location has been reviewed and the junction of Church Street, Plympton Street and Gateforth Street is correctly signed. However, in light of the concerns highlighted, an additional one-way arrow will be painted in the carriageway on Church Street before it meets the junction of Gateforth Street and Plympton Street. This should reinforce the one-way traffic flow to road-users. 

Additionally, the junction of Lisson Grove, Church Street, Gateforth Street and Plympton Street has been approved for an installation of a moving traffic enforcement camera for enforcing traffic contraventions performed by motorists on the one-way road and banned turns. The intention is to install the camera equipment and signage at the end of this year. This type of camera can be redeployed to other locations once compliance has improved at this junction.”

Burne Street

We have again asked the Council and the police to take action about the appalling state of Burne Street. Residents say:

“You will know the long standing problems with antisocial behaviour and amounts of litter in Burne Street and the resulting distress caused to the residents of George Peabody Court which overlooks the pathway. There seems to be no system in place for regular cleaning. and sweeping of this cut-through walkway which is a haven for antisocial behaviour and drug dealing and is also used in summer by beggars. This is a public route used by many people who live and work in the ward and need easy access from the Tube station. I know that there have been great problems trying to negotiate with British Telecom whose property runs on one side of this walkway.”

Plympton Street

We asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“The light attached to the west wall near 4 Plympton Street, directly opposite Plympton Place, is not working. It is one of the 3 large traditional lights installed by Westminster several years ago. This area of the street is very dark at night and it is unnerving trying to open the front door when it is impossible to see even the keyhole. It is also unsafe on many levels. I received an e mail from Westminster last week saying the problem was fixed – but the light is still out.”

One day later, the resident told us:

“I arrived back tonight to see that the light is working!!! That was quick!”

Boscobel Street/Hatton Street

We have again asked the Council to investigate this junction. There is a real problem with traffic turning into Boscobel Street and then trying to turn into Hatton Street, particularly when there are cars parked on both sides.   Double lines are really needed to prevent cars parking near the corner.  The Council say:

“Further to your email with regards to the City Council’s proposals to introduce double yellow lines “at any time” waiting restrictions in the Boscobel Street area. I can now confirm that, following detailed consideration of the responses received during the consultation, the City Council has concluded that the proposals should be implemented as proposed.

Hatton Street is of only sufficient width for one vehicle for most of its length and furthermore, where the road is not occupied by residents’ parking, there are numerous entrances to properties along the road to which access should be possible at all times.  It is therefore considered that parking in any part of Hatton Street, except where already provided would cause obstruction.”

Poynter House, Aberdeen Place

We have asked City West Homes to investigate a faulty overflow pipe at Poynter House which causing damage to flats.

 

 

CHURCH STREET WARD LABOUR ACTION REPORT – May 2017

From Councillors Barbara Grahame, Aicha Less and Aziz Toki

 

 

 

 

 

Eden and Blackwater Houses

We have again contacted the Council and City West Homes about the unsatisfactory state of Eden and Blackwater Houses where no repairs or improvements have been undertaken for many years as a a result of the long delays to the Council’s Futures Plan. We are calling on the Council to take immediate action to improve life for residents who have been forgotten and neglected for far too long. 

Plympton Street

We have asked the Council to remove a dumped mattress from Plympton Street. In addition, we have received this update from the Road Safety Team:

“The junction of Gateforth Street and Plympton Street has been reviewed and it is confirmed that the one way working is correctly signed. However, in light of your concerns, we will paint an additional one-way arrow in the carriageway in Church Street before the junction with Gateforth and Plympton Streets. This arrow should provide a further indication to motorists at the junction that Church Street is one-way westbound, and help mitigate some of the issues you have raised. 

Additionally, the site around Lisson Grove, Church Street, Gateforth Street and Plympton Street has been approved for the installation of moving traffic enforcement cameras to enforce the restrictions including the one way working and banned turns.  The intention is to install a camera and warning signage at this location towards the end of this year.  These cameras are unattended and re-deployable, which means they can be moved and re-deployed to other locations in WCC once compliance has improved.”

Lisson Green Estate

We have raised concerns with the Council about the standard of cleaning on the estate after receiving complaints from residents.

Cherwell House

We have asked the Council to investigate why residents in Cherwell House have lost the use of their BT land line phones following works at the corner of Penfold Street and Church Street.

 

CHURCH STREET WARD LABOUR ACTION REPORT – March 2017

From Councillors Barbara Grahame, Aicha Less and Aziz Toki

 

 

 

 

 

Broadley Terrace

Following the recent petition organised by a resident, the Council has told us:

“I have arranged for a new litterbin to be installed on Broadley Terrace (with stickers highlighting that dog waste can be put in the bin) and for some ‘No Fouling’ signs to be temporarily installed on lamp-posts along Broadley Terrace. I have also asked our Animal Warden and local City Inspector to carry out some visits at the most common dog-walking times to see if we can speak to any local dog walkers who may not pick up their mess.  Enforcement action can be taken if required but most dog-walkers tend to be hugely embarrassed and will generally comply once they are approached. In the meantime if I could recommend reporting any issues through the Council’s website at
https://www.westminster.gov.uk/report-it-animal-nuisance this will ensure any instances can be cleaned away as quickly as possible.” 

Burne House, Bell Street

We are continuing to press BT and Peabody to clean up and close the passage where rough sleepers congregate. 

Bell Street 

We are concerned that there are four newly-built houses in Bell Street which were completed last November but are still vacant.

Stalbridge Street/Shroton Street

We have asked the Council to prune the tree at this corner which is causing problems for pedestrians.

The Globe, Shroton Street – update

Following our enquiries about crowds of drinkers blocking the pavement outside The Globe, the Council says: 

“The venue has now agreed to employ the use of barriers outside the venue.  We have advised them to ensure that these barriers are not allowed to go from their building line to the kerb edge on either side of the premises and that they will have a Door Supervisor on duty for Thursday and Friday nights, with similar arrangements for when events take place at Wembley or at Lords.  We also suggested them to consider employing more than one Door Supervisor for these sporting occasions.  Finally, we recommended that the ‘A’ board be removed from the forecourt at night as this would give their customers an additional area in which to stand.”

Kennet House, Church Street 

We have reported a number of repair problems at Kennet House to City West Homes.

Church Street/Plympton Street/Broadley Street

We have asked the Road Safety Team to look into a number of issues in the Church Street/Plympton Street/Broadley Street area. 

Penfold Place – Update

Following our enquiries about rat-running and illegal parking we have received the following update from the Council: 

“In 2016 it was reported that the bollard that is in Penfold Place at its junction in Edgware Road was missing. This was resulting in vehicles using Penfold Place to access Edgware Road from Penfold Street, effectively causing Penfold Place to be used as a cut-through and creating safety concerns particularly for pedestrians at the Edgware Road junction. In July 2016 the bollard was re-installed and is still in place today. The City Council’s marshals have reported that vehicles do park in contravention of the yellow line controls and some do park on the footway. The parking contraventions and footway parking issues are dealt with through the regular visits made by the marshals to Penfold Place and 20 penalty charge notices have been issued in 2017 so far.”

Also, arrangements have been made for the condition of the road surface and drainage in Penfold Place to be inspected and any necessary remedial measures carried out. 

Edgware Road 

We have reported this to the Council’s Highways Department:

“There is a bad problem concerning the traffic going south down Edgware Road between Orchardson Street and the flyover.  Since lorries unloading goods to the shops on the east side of the road can occupy the bus lane, there is often a tailback as far back as St John’s Wood Road, with buses containing full loads of passengers held up. This means that man/woman hours are going to waste, not to mention the fuel wastage. And when the construction of the West End Gate development really gets under way, it will no doubt be worse.”

The Council say:

“Edgware Road is part of the Transport for London Road Network (TLRN) so it is under the control of TfL. The traffic conditions on Edgware Road not only create delays and queuing on Edgware Road itself but also cause adjacent roads to be used as rat-runs. These issues have been raised in the past with TfL but owing to the numerous competing demands for carriageway space on Edgware Road they are clearly proving difficult to address. I will arrange for discussions to take place with TfL to gain an understanding of any proposals they have to improve conditions in the area.”

 

CHURCH STREET WARD LABOUR ACTION REPORT – February 2017

From Councillors Barbara Grahame, Aicha Less and Aziz Toki

Barbara

Aicha

Toki

 

 

 

 

 

Church Street/Penfold Street

We have asked the Parking Department to look in to this issue:

“I wonder if you could please look into the parking on the junction of Penfold Street and Church Street there is a parking spot for loading and unloading but the Traffic wardens seem to have their favorites and allow certain vans to park there all day  I have pointed this out to Wardens but no notice is taken” 

Church Street Estate

We have asked City West Homes to investigate this issue:

“In the past few weeks, 7 bolted-to-railings, grey planters have been stolen, from the, front entrance, to Church Street Estate Site 1, Penfold Street. No mess remains after they are stolen.  The bolts remain on the railings.  So we are looking for, grey planters, with at least 2 large holes, at the base.”

City West Homes say:

“We are n the process of relocating a camera so that it covers the Penfold St entrance of Site 1. We will ensure that the camera captures the planters too so that we will be able to identify the culprit. Given that there has been a further incident this weekend I’d like to suggest that we wait for the camera to be put into place before the new planters are fitted as I do fear that these will be taken too. Furthermore, we explore an alternative way of attaching the planters in a more secure way.”

Lisson Grove/Shroton Street

We have asked the Council to look in to this issue: 

“I contacted you a month or two back regarding to difficulty staying off the road when walking past The Globe thanks to presence of Globe customers crowding the pavement. The situation improved for a bit, but sadly the situation has reverted to what it was. Would it not be possible to ask whoever manages the pub to put some sort of barrier up between the pub and the edge of the pavement beyond which drinkers must not venture? I know there is such a one outside The French in Dean Street.”

Frampton Street area

We have again asked the Council to take action about the fly tipping continues both at Frampton/Hatton Street corner and Venables/Boscobel Street corner.

Church Street toilets

We are supporting the petition to re-open the Church Street public toilets

 

CHURCH STREET WARD LABOUR ACTION REPORT – January 2017

From Councillors Barbara Grahame, Aicha Less and Aziz Toki

Barbara

Aicha

Toki

 

 

 

 

 

Lisson Green

We have heard rumours that the Council is currently considering demolishing and replacing 12 blocks of flats on Lisson Green, as part of the Church Street Masterplan. We also hear there are plans for the sports pitches to be either removed or relocated. We have asked why no residents have been consulted about these dramatic proposals.

Church Street seagulls

We are continuing to urge City West Homes to take action to install ‘pigeon spikes’ across a number of blocks – Cherwell, Wey, Loddon, Wytham, Derry, Isis, Mole, Windrush and Colne Houses. The Council has told us:

“The contractors will be on site in the next couple of weeks and the project is due to run for 27 weeks.  We have negotiated the inclusion of pigeon spikes into the scope of works, at no extra cost. Based on the survey undertaken by the bird specialists, the team have been issued with a report highlighting the problem areas so these can be targeted.  In addition to the spikes, briefings with CWH staff and our cleaning supervisors have been in progress.  This includes design of an educational leaflet and posters on wider pest-control and distribution to all estates.  The briefings will also provide operational staff with an overview of our service, and, most importantly, education on the implications of anti-social behaviour e.g. fly-tipping, feeding, and dumpling rubbish.”

CHURCH STREET WARD LABOUR ACTION REPORT – December 2016

From Councillors Barbara Grahame, Aicha Less and Aziz Toki

Barbara

Aicha

Toki

 

 

 

 

 

Church Street begging

We have again asked the Council to take action against begging in the market. Residents say:

“I am in Church Street on a daily basis, and frankly have never yet seen any enforcement action being taken or other progress.”

Church Street Antique Dealers

We have raised further concerns with the Council about the loss of antique dealers from Church Street. 

Turville House

We have asked City West Homes to clear and repair a vandalized garage. CWH say:

“The garage is retained by the estate office for emergency storage. It was however vandalised and items were left in there. An order was raised to repair and secure the door which unfortunately was not followed through and the job was cancelled. This is disappointing, as is the quality of the notice left on the door. We have had the job re-opened today and we anticipate that this will be completed next week. This will be monitored.”

Cosway Street site

Following our enquiries about the state of this site the Council say:

“Colleagues brought the issues at Cosway to our attention some weeks ago. They have seen an increase in littering and anti social behaviour around the site in the past few months. We have been down to site to consider options for securing it – it’s made more complicated by the fact that there are services still operating on the site as that means we can’t hoard it off completely. However, the contractors have been instructed to carry out more regular site clean ups and we are liaising with the Safer Neighbourhood Team about patrols in the area. We’re also going to speak to colleagues about getting the trees pruned.”

 

CHURCH STREET WARD LABOUR ACTION REPORT – November 2016

From Councillors Barbara Grahame, Aicha Less and Aziz Toki

Barbara

Aicha

Toki

 

 

 

 

 

Church Street Futures Plan Delays

Church Street residents backed the first phase of the regeneration proposals when they voted in May 2013. 25% of residents voted with 87% of those in favour of the proposals which are designed to improve the neighbourhood. However, over 3 years on from the residents’ vote, the reality is very different:

  • Lisson Arches:  contractors are still struggling to dig foundations for this 11 storey block to replace Penn House supported housing block.   No council records could be found of previous building works on this part of Lisson Green!   This delay means:
  • Penn House cannot be demolished and replaced with a new health centre and offices. This delay means:
  • 4 Frampton Street/105 Lisson Grove council offices cannot be demolished and replaced with housing which will help fund other part of the Futures Plan.
  • Luton Street delays and cost increases, including Council insistence on unallocated parking and too much parking, rights to light.
  • Cosway Street delays mean that the site cannot be sold to raise the cash for affordable housing
  • Missed opportunity to support the Ashmill Nurses Home proposal, on a council owned Car Park site, which could have raised more money for the project and provided key worker housing
  • Berkeley Homes were given planning permission on the nearby West End Green site with insufficient affordable homes, so another opportunity was missed for providing more decant space to keep the community together

Church Street Councillor Barbara Grahame said:

“Church Street residents voted overwhelmingly for this regeneration scheme but the Council has delivered nothing.   Meanwhile blocks due to be demolished are left to deteriorate, lifts and heating break down.  Frail older people do not know when they will be moved to their new home.   The Council lacks the will or the competence to deliver promised improvements. After over 3 years the only Futures Plan new buildings are 3 show flats”

Lisson Grove/Shroton Street

We have asked the Council to have a word with the manager of The Globe about this issue:

“I contact you to ask if anything can be done about the fact that early evening, especially on Fridays, such is the crowd of drinkers on the Shroton Street pavement outside The Globe (on the corner of Lisson Grove and Shroton Street) that it is impossible to pass with being forced to walk on the road.”

The Council say:

“The staff at this venue have been spoken to about this issue quite recently, and I will now write to the licensee and remind him of the need to keep the pavement clear at all times, so that other pedestrians are not inconvenienced.”

Harwood Row

We have asked the Council when a ‘stump’ lamp post in Harewood Row, near the junction with Lisson Grove, will be replaced with a new working street light.

Edgware Road 

We have asked the Council if anything can be done to remove redundant phone boxes: 

Edgware Road is not one of London’s most scenic places. I walk it frequently and recently counted 42 phone boxes between Marble Arch bus stop and the Grand Union Canal at Aberdeen Place. Many no longer hold working phones, and in this day and age of mobile phones are no longer necessary. This does not include the four classic red phone boxes on the Bayswater side of Marble Arch (which have been used by people sleeping in Hyde Park for storage). Removing the ugly 1970/1980s phone boxes from Edgware Road would facilitate easier foot traffic and remove some of the eyesores of the area as well as their other unintended uses.”

 

CHURCH STREET WARD LABOUR ACTION REPORT – October 2016

From Councillors Barbara Grahame, Aicha Less and Aziz Toki

BarbaraAicha

Toki

 

 

 

 

 

Burne Street/Marylebone Road

We have been working closely with Peabody Court residents chasing works to be done by Peabody and BT to prevent use of the covered passage by rough sleepers and the closure of use of Peabody land as a pedestrian route between Marylebone Road and Burne Street

Lilestone Street

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue further after receiving this message:

“I read in you excellent Newsletter, the item on illegal parking in Lilestone Street and I was sorry to see that the subject had been dismissed somewhat, in my opinion, lightly. I have been aware of this problem for some time so this morning I took a short walk around Jerome Crescent and Swain Street.   I counted no less than 19 private cars parked quite openly and illegally on double yellow lines or in residents parking bays.  Illegal, because not one of them was displaying a residents parking permit.  Not one of them had been issued with a parking ticket.   You can imagine that if this is the state in two relatively short streets, what it must be like across the Lisson Green estate.  Many of them arrive in the morning and leave by the evening, having had a day’s free parking in one of London’s prime areas.   The Council must be losing hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds a day in lost penalty charges and legitimate parking charges.   Honest residents like myself are asking why we should continue to pay £140 a year for a permit when it seems we can park for free with impunity.”

Frampton Street

We have asked the Council to investigate a takeaway in Frampton Street where there are unpleasant fumes coming from the building. The Council says:

“I will arrange for the restaurant to be contacted to make them aware that the issue has resumed and ensure there has not been a breakdown in their filtration/cleaning schedule.”

“In regards to the issue of dumped waste on Frampton St l am currently investigating this matter and will be conducting an educational letter drop in this vicinity, l will also be issuing out Waste Transfer Notices to all businesses requiring them to send in documentation as to who their Waste Carriers are. The area will continue to be monitored and the relevant enforcement action will be taken on identified offenders.”

Kennet House, Church Street 

We reported problems with the front door to City West Homes who told us: 

“I can confirm that a new door entry mechanism has been fitted to the entrance door at Kennet House, my colleagues at the estate office are in the process of distributing letters to all the residents informing them that new electronic fobs can be picked up at the Church Street office.”

Manor House, Marylebone Road

We have asked the Planning Enforcement Team to investigate a number of examples of illegal and unauthorised sub-letting.

 

CHURCH STREET WARD LABOUR ACTION REPORT – September 2016

From Councillors Barbara Grahame, Aicha Less and Aziz Toki

Barbara

Aicha

Toki

Burne Street/Bell Street/Marylebone Road

Following our enquiries, the Council has updated us on this long-running issue:

“Last week we met with BT to discuss the closing up of the footpath that runs between Burne Street and Marylebone Road. The footpath is BT private land and not registered with WCC as a public right of way, despite being open to pass and re-pass. Alternatives routes available to pedestrians include Lisson Street or the Edgware Road, both less than 50m away.

The closure of this footpath has been requested by many residents and partners within the Church Street ward community, due to the alarm, harassment and distress residents experience from rough sleepers, as well as the highly unsanitary conditions that the path is left in when utilised as a toilet. The situation was calmed through a resource intensive action plan last year but has since escalated with BT security personnel being physically threatened.

BT has agreed an undertaking to permanently close the footpath from public use using matching fencing at both ends of the path. The works are anticipated to commence during September 2016, pending any planning application alterations and objections. They have also noted a repair requirement to collapsed paving on the footpath on the Marylebone Road side and submitted a work order last week. Peabody will review and implement design alterations to their boundary fence to prevent any individuals from accessing the path from their land. This work will be completed within the same timescale. Peabody has also planned for any inconvenience to their residents, through the provision of key fobs to enter and exit their property through the Garden gate situated on Lisson Street. The Local City Inspector has arranged for Veolia to provide a deep cleanse of the area and the use of the Community Payback Team to paint and refresh the walls of the path once secure, to leave the site safe, clean and protected.

Residents say:

“It will be a relief to everyone when it closes. I think fewer people walk through now because it is too disgusting and stinks so badly. Can any provision be made by the council for the rough sleepers who are in this awful situation? Thanks to all of you who have helped to resolve our problem “

Lilestone Street parking

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“I am writing to you to complain about the obvious lack of traffic wardens operating within the confines of the Lisson Green estate. I did query their lack of presence with a traffic warden just outside of the estate on one occasion, who told me that they do not venture into the estate for fear of their safety as residents, who themselves are parked illegally, have previously threatened them on various occasions.  In particular, I would like to bring up the issue of illegal parking on Lilestone Street, just outside the community building and garden. On too many occasions I have driven past to find that no heed has been paid to the double yellow lines that are in place there. This has caused massive inconvenience for me as well as, I’m sure, for other drivers, who will have either had to squeeze in between the parked cars, or have had to reverse out to give way to oncoming traffic. This is exacerbated by the fact that this part of the road already contains speed bumps, adding to both the frustration and inconvenience. Could you please put pressure on the Council to take action on this issue?”

The Council says:

“Marshals are patrolling the Lisson Green estate area.  Indeed, in the last 6 weeks Marshals have visited this estate nearly 300 times and dealt with over 100 parking offences. We obviously will continue to patrol this estate and I have asked the marshals to pay particular attention to Lilestone Street to deal with the reported issues there.”

Venables Street

We have the local City Inspector to clear rubbish from Venables Street.

Seagulls

We have asked the Council to investigate what action can be taken against the seagulls in Church Street. Residents say:

“There is a health and safety issue as well as the awful noise. Can you possibly lobby for WCC to put spikes on the roof ridges and the small flat roofs on the blocks around here. This will stop the gulls as they need height to swoop down and I can see many of the ridges and flat roofs are covered in droppings. The old people’s home on Penfold Street does not have this issue as it is protected with anti-bird wires.”

“The suggestion of netting (over the guttering) and/or placing spikes along the ridges on the roof of blocks and on chimney tops seems a good one. And, as blocks which are immediately adjacent to the market and therefore very affected, are about to undergo major works which requires cherry pickers to be employed, perhaps this is an appropriate time to consider this solution again and use this opportunity as a trial?”

The Council say:

“Major Works have confirmed that WATES will be returning to complete the major works programme and have agreed to include the installation of pigeon spikes across a number of blocks: Cherwell; Wey; Loddon; Wytham; Derry; Isis; Mole; Windrush; Colne House. Gull netting would be outside the scope of works and therefore, we are seeking quotes to understand what could be done. We will also raise this matter at the Church Street regeneration meeting, to ensure it is factored into the regeneration scheme planning.”

 

CHURCH STREET WARD LABOUR ACTION REPORT – July 2016

NEWS FROM YOUR LABOUR COUNCILLORS BARBARA GRAHAME, AICHA LESS AND AZIZ TOKI

Barbara

Aicha

Toki

 

 

 

 

Hatton/Frampton Streets

We have asked the Council to take action on this issue:

“Large items of rubbish are still being dumped on the corner of Hatton and Frampton Streets. For example, today there are two mattresses and an old gas cooker amongst other things. Although the council does clear the mess even so often, I feel that an effort should be made to get to the bottom of this somehow; it can’t all be from the flats in the former Lord Frampton pub. I should be grateful if you would look into this again.”

We have also reported rubbish dumping around Ingrebourne House and Chicken Inn on Edgware Road, Lavendon House on Lisson Green, as well at Plympton Place, at the Penfold Street end, and at the back of the Edgware Road shops.

Westmacott House

We are pleased that a serious flood at Westmacott House has been fixed. The Estate Office told us;

“The flood appears to be due to blocked hopper heads in a block with an internal drainage system under a pitched roof. A pump was successfully fitted to the roof to prevent further flooding. The pump worked well as residents reported the leak had stopped for the time being. All residents in the four affected units decided to remain at home or stay with relatives for the weekend.”

Wytham House

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“I was woken last night at 1am by a group of 6/7 men gathered under the canopy at 1-6 Wytham House. This group made incredible noise for up to an hour, directly under the kitchen window of 1 Wytham House, throwing drink cans around, screaming, chasing each other for fun. I cannot be the only person who was disturbed/woken by the racket! We have men, who do not live here, who loiter on the estate, on and off, through out the day and night, between noon and early morning.”

Burne House, Bell Street

We have again asked the Council to liaise with BT about the proper maintenance of the area around Burne House. The Council says:

“I am pleased to inform you of the following response from BT this morning. I will ask the Church Street local inspector to monitor the area to ensure that the requested works have indeed occurred.

I have logged a job with the helpdesk for the area of hard standing to be attended to immediately – it’s on a 9 hour response. Longer term I am hoping BT will agree to me submitting a request to the Council for the area to have a dropped kerb installed so that it can be used for parking.

I will keep you updated as to the on-going negotiations regarding the path running between Burne House and George Peabody Court.”

Church Street regeneration

Karen Buck MP reports:

“I joined residents from Blackwater, Lambourne and other blocks, along with Councillor Grahame, to discuss their concerns about the progress of the Church Street regeneration programme, the neglect of their blocks during the (now long delayed) period before renewal, and everyday issues such as cleaning.”

Boscobel Street – Update

Following our enquiries, the Council has agreed to the introduction of additional “At Any Time” double yellow lines waiting restrictions along Boscobel Street as an interim measure pending a comprehensive traffic study through the Futures Plan.

The Perseverance, Shroton Street

Aicha Less, the new Church Street Ward councillor, was contacted by the Perseverance pub in Shroton Street, which has re-opened recently. They were having trouble getting permission to run a street party for the Queen’s birthday. Aicha chased this and also got a waiver of charges for closing the road.

Church Street area parking

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“I’m a resident from the Church Street area The parking times in our are is between 8:30 am and 10:00 pm. After 10:00pm anyone can come and park their cars in our resident permit areas, making it impossible for us residents to park our cars or making us park our cars miles away. We are asking the council to change the time and to make it residents only at any time.”

Lisson Green canalside

We have asked the Canal & River Trust to ensure that the gates to the canal path are opened so that residents can walk along this stretch of the canal.

Penfold Place

Following our enquiries, the Council has agreed to replace the missing bollard that was removed in 2012.

Cosway Street

The Church Army hostel in Cosway Street has been awarded £691,756 from the Big Lottery Fund over 5 years to work with marginalised women to help them face a better future. This will enable the hostel to expand its current services by employing a Resettlement Worker to focus on move on and tenancy sustainment, an Education, Employment and Training Worker to help women to put down roots and move to long term sustainable independent living.

CHURCH STREET WARD LABOUR ACTION REPORT – June 2016

NEWS FROM YOUR LABOUR COUNCILLORS BARBARA GRAHAME, AICHA LESS AND AZIZ TOKI

BarbaraAichaToki

Broadley Street/Penfold Street junction – Road Safety Update

The Council has told us the following:

“The junction of Penfold Street and Broadley Street falls within the scope of Westminster City Council’s proposals for a Cycle Quietway route in this area. Design proposals are being developed for the Cycle Quietway route and changes have been proposed at locations along this route to help vulnerable road users and address existing traffic issues. At the junction of Penfold Street and Broadley Street it is proposed to introduce a raised table to reduce vehicle speeds. This measure should help to improve the safety record at the junction. In addition, this issue will be raised with the Cycle Quietways team so that it can be taken onto account during the design of the measures for the route. Subject to traffic order consultation and funding, the City Council is looking to implement the Cycle Quietway route later this year.”

Penfold Street/Church Street junction

We have asked for an update at the situation at this junction:

“Is there, any news regarding, fading white lines and possible Halt or Stop signs? A number on yellow lines have been freshly painted, at said junction.  But does not, slow down or stop, speeding traffic. The morning and afternoon school run, have the effect of traffic congestion, noise from drivers blowing their horns, whilst stationary and shouting at each other. Maybe a one way system is required, say from Bell Street to Orchardson Street?”

Lyons Place/Penfold Steet/Boscobel Street

We are continuing to press the Council to take action to stop vehicles using these streets to avoid congestion on Edgware Road. The Council has suggested this will be resolved through the Futures Plan traffic review. However, we have argued that it cannot be right to defer resolution of long-standing problems in this way. Double lines could be really helpful in the right place.  Treatment of the Penfold Street/Church Street junction would also be welcome.  Priority for pedestrians in this high density residential area should be a guiding principle.

Burne House, Bell Street

We are continuing to press the Council to deal with unsatisfactory situation:

I have occasion to walk through here most days and although it is in a generally better state than a year ago it is still not sanitary by a long chalk. There is still rubbish caught in between the cages to the side of the BT building which has never been thoroughly cleaned up and always discarded rubbish, bottles and cans strewn around. It must be awful for the families living in the flats overlooking this. I can’t understand why Westminster & BT can’t work in partnership for the good of it’s citizens and agree to keep this space clean every day and improve this environment.”

Kennett House

We have again asked that the illegally parked motorbikes and traders’ material is removed from the area around Kennett House. The Council says:

With regards to the market trader parking his delivery bike next to the Kennett House forecourt bollarded area, the local city inspector has spoken to the market trader who owns this bike and has informed him that he is not to park it in this location as the parking area is for permit holders only.  Following this conversation the city inspector has made regular inspections of the area and the owner of the motorbike seems to have complied with the instruction. The second query regarding the placement of the Big Recycling Bins is currently under review.  It has been agreed that the bins will be moved and new locations are being looked into in order to facilitate this.”

Penfold Place/Edgware Road

Motorists continue to exit Penfold Place and drive across the Edgware Road pavement and endanger pedestrians. We were told at the time the bollard was removed by TfL, prior to the Olympic games, that TfL needed emergency access to Edgware Road for the duration of the Games. We raised questions then because we were concerned about the danger to pedestrians. There was no suggestion this would be a permanent arrangement. Now that an increasing number of motorists have discovered this short cut, the potential injury to pedestrians has increased. We have called on TfL to re-instate the bollard without further delay.

Church Street/Edgware Road begging – Update

The Council has told us the following:

“The local and market city inspectors issue Community Protection Notices (CPNs) to those found begging when offences are witnessed.  This tends to occur on a daily basis. In conjunction with this, from January 2016, we have been running an enhanced number of mini-operations in the locality to target the key begging times.

·      In March we coordinated a begging operation utilising all enforcement officers across the 24hr shift pattern to drive home the message that begging is not tolerated. The Edgware Road and Church Street market were one of three focal points for this operation which resulted in 42 individual enforcement actions being taken across the two-week period.

·      Those offenders known to be rough sleepers are referred to Home Office Immigration Enforcement (HOIE) to target for removal. In March 2016, two key offenders known to be coordinators of the begging activity in the area were removed and banned from re-entering the UK for a period of time through this method. Repeat offenders known to have a home address are also referred through to HOIE for targeting. 

·      Two key pieces of evidence provided by market traders proved links to serious organised crime and have contributed to a joint police and council initiative targeting foreign national offending launched in February 2016. 

·      Independent of the localised response to the begging in the Church Street Market and Edgware Road, local days of police action are taking place on a weekly basis with key partners, including Home Office Immigration Enforcement.”

97 Frampton Street

Some good news – following Council and Police action, the unauthorised shisha café at 97 Frampton Street has ceased trading.

Aicha Less celebrates victory for Labour in Church Street

Aicha LessLabour’s Aicha Less was elected as the new Councillor for Church Street ward following a thumping by-election victory. Aicha won 2174 votes to the Conservative candidate’s 512 votes on a 44.95% turnout, meaning she won 70.3% of valid votes cast. Cllr Less has lived in the area since 1983 and is the first British-Moroccan to hold local office in Westminster.

Following her election Cllr Aicha Less said

“I’m delighted to have been elected as your member for the Church Street ward and, very grateful for residents having faith in me and coming out to vote on 5th May. I feel very overwhelmed with the support and response on the doorstep. It’s a great privilege to represent an area that is very close to my heart.

I’d like to thank everyone who came out to support my campaign and made it a success. As your councillor, I will do my best to make this area an exciting place to live and work. Many thanks again and look forward to working on your behalf.”

Labour Group Leader Cllr Adam Hug said

“I’m delighted that the residents of Church Street have kept their faith in Labour to fight for their concerns that are too often ignored by the Council. Aicha Less will be a passionate voice and relentless fighter for social justice and the needs of the people of Church Street.”

In an interview with the ‘West End Extra’. Aicha explains her ideas:

“NEW Labour councillor Aicha Less, who has been chosen to represent Church Street ward, has just “come down to Earth” following her win. 

Having lived in Westminster her whole life, and having moved to Paddington Green in 1983, she is looking forward to representing the area she cares “passionately” about. 

“I want to work for the people who have elected me as it’s easy promising people that you will do this that and the other, but it’s actually putting those promises into practice. 

“I live in the area so I am as passionate about it as well, I shop there, I use the local amenities, my dentist is there, my doctor is there.” Before getting into politics, Cllr Less, 41, studied performing arts at City of Westminster College and spent some time working in at the Soho Theatre Company in stage management. 

After having her first child, she moved over to politics and spent around 19 years working for the Local Government Association as a political assistant. 

“It was kind of inspirational to see all these councillors with different backgrounds representing different types of authorities. I looked up to them because they have encouraged me to be where I am today,” she says. 

The mother of two is keen for others to become more involved in politics as it “affects every single human being in the world”.

“I know people can be very sceptical and say ‘you’re all the same’ but it’s not the case. We do care about people, regardless of political affiliation. 

 “I’ve got Tory friends and I’ve got Lib Dem friends and politically, yes, we have differences, but as people we’re fine. Ultimately it is about working together, making the most of what we have and doing the best for our communities because it is the community that elects us and we should have their best interests at heart.” 

She had tried to get elected twice before in the Conservative stronghold of Little Venice ward in 2010 and 2014, to no avail. 

But Church Street welcomed her with open arms and a large percentage of the vote. 

One of her priorities for the area will be “pushing forward” The Futures Plan covering the ward, which is “running about a year behind”. 

She is also keen to push for a better deal in terms of affordable housing in the new West End Green development. 

Cllr Less, who has a Moroccan background, is particularly passionate about the area’s “diversity”. 

She says: “We live in 2016 and it’s great socially integrating with different faiths and cultures. It is good to be different. 

“That is the beauty of being in London, you get to see all of this first-hand. You don’t need to travel as you’ve got it all on your doorstep. Every single celebration is a real celebration and there is a good sense of community spirit in the area. That is what I want to encourage.”

Her own parents had moved to England in the 1969 hoping to “work hard” and save enough money for “a better life”.

“My mum was hard-working. She worked at a hospital for about 20 years in Piccadilly and then she worked as a dinner lady at my primary school, Edward Wilson in the Warwick estate,” she says. 

When she was eight, she moved from the Harrow Road area to Paddington Green, where she still is today. 

The area holds many memories for her – she had attended North Westminster Community School which closed in 2006. 

Now, as she is no longer working, she feels it is the perfect time for her to be elected: “I can now invest all my time into being a councillor. 

“You can’t do it half-heartedly, you have to give it all you have or not at all, otherwise it doesn’t work”.”

 

CHURCH STREET WARD LABOUR ACTION REPORT – May 2016

NEWS FROM YOUR LABOUR COUNCILLORS BARBARA GRAHAME AND AZIZ TOKI AND YOUR LABOUR CANDIDATE AICHA LESS

Barbara

Toki

Aicha Less

Church Street Ward By-Election – Thursday 5th May

There is a by-election in Church Street Ward on Thursday 5th May. The Labour Candidate is Aicha Less who has lived and worked locally since moving to the area as a child in 1983. She has almost 20 years’ experience working in local government and is a passionate campaigner on local issues. Aicha Less said:

“I’m extremely passionate about my area and loyal to my community, which makes me want to make their voices heard. I want to be the people’s advocate and work on your behalf, particularly in raising your concerns about problems with the Futures Plan for Church Street including the lack of consultation from the Council. I will work hard to ensure Westminster listens to the worries of residents about the renovation of the market and the need to actually deliver new social and genuinely affordable housing. I’m looking forward to the campaign and hearing more about what Church Street residents want from their Council.”

The Polling Stations are open from 7.00am to 10.00pm on Thursday 5th May. Please take your white Polling Card with you. If you do not have the card you can still vote if you give your name and address at the Polling Station.

A copy of Aicha Less’ Election Leaflet is here Church Street Labour News May16

West End Green

We are very disappointed that the Council ignored many of its planning policies and gave permission for the West End Green proposals and that this was followed by the Mayor’s decision not to review the situation and ‘call in’ Westminster Council’s decision. We continued our objection to the West End Green plans for the following reasons:

  • The height of the 30 storey tower is much too high and is not in line with the local area
  • Further plans for the 16, 10 and 9 storey blocks have been increased by at least one storey, which will block all light from Gilbert Sheldon House, Hall Tower and surrounding buildings
  • The scale of the proposal is not in line with the surroundings and character of the area
  • The already stretched GP surgeries, schools and nurseries will come under more pressure
  • Parking and traffic is already an issue in the local area which will be exacerbated
  • Church Street, bordering the site, is already always extremely congested, and the influx of residential and commercial vehicles will be intolerable – the entrance to the site is on this street
  • 300 flats were proposed in the previous application and that number alone seemed high – the new proposal, along with commercial units, appears to be totally excessive.

Lilestone Estate

We are calling on CityWest Homes to provide answers as to why costs for replacing the heating and hot water system at Eastlake and Tadema Houses on the Lilestone Estate in Church Street has quadrupled in price since it was initially improved. When the scheme was approved in February 2013 it was estimated as costing £420,000 but by the time the scheme was actually underway the bill for the scheme comes in at £2.16 million. This means residents are now facing an average bill of £20,334, with one flat facing a massive bill of £40,180. Lessees feel CWH did not consult them as the costs spiralled, leaving many with bills they will find difficult to pay. Labour’s candidate for the Church Street by-election Aicha Less said: ‘City West Homes must urgently investigate what has happened here and find a way to bring down these bills closer to what lessees had been told to expect.’

Bendall Mews

We asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“Bendall Mews is in desperate need of repair. The street is missing all the Tarmac, too many potholes and just worn out really”

The Council told us:

“I have spoken to the local Inspector and he has advised me that he raised a job for 29 Square metres of Hot Rolled Asphalt surfacing following its scheduled 6-monthly inspection on that day. This should be completed within a month.”

Cherwell House

We have asked CWH to investigate illegal subletting and anti-social behavior in Cherwell House.

Penfold Street/Broadly Street/Church street junctions

We have asked the Road Safety Team to investigate this recurring issue at both these junctions”

“There have been several accidents in recent years including one about 12 months ago, when a young lad riding a Domino delivery motorcycle was hospitalised, and given the ferocity of the corrosion, seemed to be very fortunate not to suffer very serious injury, or worse. Because of the nature of the junction, vehicles travelling both north and south along Penfold Street sometimes seem to have difficulty checking along Broadly Street in the direction of Lisson Grove; or are careless about doing so. The fact that cars are parked along both sides of Broadly Street (please note, I make no criticism of that) means that faster moving oncoming traffic is not always observed in time. I mentioned this to the senior Police Officers who attended the accident referred to above.  His reply was to the effect that the statistics do not justify any fresh signing or other precautions at that junction. I really fear a fatality is only a matter of time.”

“Is there, any news regarding, fading white lines and possible Halt or Stop signs? A number on yellow lines have been freshly painted, at said junction.  But does not, slow down or stop, speeding traffic.

The morning and afternoon school run, have the effect of traffic congestion, noise from drivers blowing their horns, whilst stationary and shouting at each other. Maybe, a one-way system is required, say from Bell Street to Orchardson Street?”

Boscobell Street

We have asked the Council to investigate this problem:

I wonder if there is any progress from the council on the traffic scheme for Boscobel Street. The road rage and hooting continues every day but is worst on a Saturday.Quite literally the hooting can go on for 15 minutes at a time as the road is too narrow for 2-way traffic and cars jockey for position with some often being forced to reverse a good 100 yards back to a space where others can pass.It really is intolerable and something needs to be done.”

Burne House, Bell Street

We have asked the Council for an update on the situation here:

“I walked through there earlyish one morning last week; the smell and detritus was as bad as ever. Noticeably, there were a lot more discarded alcohol containers than previously.”

Church Street Market/Edgware Road begging

We have asked the Council to let us know what action is being taken with the police on this issue:

“There is an increasing and unpoliced problem of begging in the Church Street and Edgware Road areas. I observed a well built man in his 40s harassing a tiny lady who looked around 80, whilst she pulled her shopping trolley along Church Street. He was rattling his paper cup his under her nose, while she was twisting and turning in an attempt to avoid him. This is but one example over many months, and I have to see any form of enforcement action taken by Police or market wardens.”

Please let us know if there are any issues or problems on which we can be of help.

Please feel free to pass this report to any of your neighbours who may be interested.

Yours sincerely

Church Street Labour Councillors Barbara Grahame and Aziz Toki and your Labour candidate Aicha Less

Published by Andy Whiteley on behalf of Aicha Less, both at 4g Shirland Mews, W9 3DY

 

 

Church Street Regeneration Plans delayed

Labour Councillors will be highlighting the 12 month delay in starting work on the Church Street regeneration programme at the Council meeting on Wednesday 27th April.

A motion, to be moved by Councillor Guthrie McKie and seconded by Church Street Councillor Barbara Grahame, says:

“This Council notes with regret, the continuing delays to the Futures Plan for Church Street. Phase 1 of the plan was voted on by residents and is now over 1 year behind schedule. A number of factors have contributed to this delay, including a loss of staff during reorganisation at City Hall, indecision on the Cosway Street development. But the most serious impact has been the delay to the rehousing of residents at Penn House. These are elderly residents who need greater urgency in dealing with their housing needs.

The Council has said it will proceed with Phase 2 of the Futures Plan without carrying out a consultation programme. This has caused concern in the community as to the motives of the Council and the developers. Residents and retailers have a vital stake in this development.

We call on the Leader of the Council to give greater urgency to the Futures Plan for Church Street and to implement decisions agreed by residents. We further call on a full consultation programme with residents and retailers on Phase 2 of the plan.”

Bills for Lilestone lessees quadruple

Labour’s Church Street team are calling on CityWest Homes to provide answers as to why costs for replacing the heating and hotwater system at Eastlake and Tadema Houses on the Lilestone estate in Church Street has quadrupled in price since it was initially improved. When the scheme was approved in February 2013 it was estimated as costing £420,000 but by the time the scheme was actually underway the bill for the scheme comes in at £2.16 million. This means residents are now facing an average bill of £20,334, with one flat facing a massive bill of £40,180. Lessees feel CWH did not consult them as the costs spiralled, leaving many with bills they will find difficult to pay.

CWH resident and Labour’s candidate for the Church Street by-election Aicha Less said:

‘City West Homes must urgently investigate what has happened here and find a way to bring down these bills closer to what lessees had been told to expect.’

Church Street Cllr Aziz Toki said;

‘I am deeply concerned about the lack of communication with residents about these skyrocketing bills. City West must do better at communicating with its lessees and tenants .’

Promoted by Andy Whitley on behalf of Aicha Less, both at 4g Shirland Mews, London W9

CHURCH STREET WARD LABOUR ACTION REPORT – APRIL 2016

NEWS FROM YOUR LABOUR COUNCILLORS
BARBARA GRAHAME AND AZIZ TOKI AND YOUR LABOUR CANDIDATE AICHA LESS

Barbara

Toki

Aicha Less

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Resident,

Along with Karen Buck MPand GLA member Murad Qureshi, we take up individual cases, as well as issues of general concern. Below are some of the issues we have been taking up recently, many as a result of residents’ responses to our regular newsletters. Let us know if we can take up a local issue in your area.

You can read our latest news on http://www.labourwestminster.wordpress.com/

You can also read this report at https://labourwestminster.wordpress.com/church-street/

Church Street Ward By-Election – Thursday 5th May

There is a by-election in Church Street Ward on Thursday 5th May. The Labour Candidate is Aicha Less who has lived and worked locally since moving to the area as a child in 1983. She has almost 20 years’ experience working in local government and is a passionate campaigner on local issues. Aicha Less said:

“I’m extremely passionate about my area and loyal to my community, which makes me want to make their voices heard. I want to be the people’s advocate and work on your behalf, particularly in raising your concerns about problems with the Futures Plan for Church Street including the lack of consultation from the Council. I will work hard to ensure Westminster listens to the worries of residents about the renovation of the market and the need to actually deliver new social and genuinely affordable housing. I’m looking forward to the campaign and hearing more about what Church Street residents want from their Council.”

Applications for inclusion on the voters list need to be sent to the Council by Monday 18 April 2016 https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

Postal vote applications need to be received by the Council by Tuesday 19 April 2016 (5pm) http://transact.westminster.gov.uk/docstores/publications_store/elections/postal-vote-form.pdf

Promoted by Andy Whitley on behalf of Aicha Less, both at 4g Shirland Mews, London W9

West End Green site

Local residents and businesses have waited over 20 years for West End Green to be developed.   This is a golden opportunity to regenerate a long neglected area.   The urgent need is for family-sized homes for overcrowded local families. Many Church Street families will need to move when their homes are demolished to make way for new private and affordable homes. We have continued to object to the offer of only 19% affordable housing. This is way below the Council policy of 30%, and below the 35% affordable housing that has been established in the Futures Plan for Church Street, just across the road.

The latest proposal reduces the height of the tower to 30 storeys (still not in line with Westminster’s policy), but the affordable housing provision remains well below the Council’s policy. This is already one of the most high-density living areas in England, so as well as building houses and shops, the proposals should include upgraded open space combining Paddington Green and St Mary’s Gardens to make up for the impact of the hundreds of additional residents who will live in West End Green.   The plans should include a basketball pitch and tennis courts.

Paddington Green police station

After years of rumours, Paddington Green Police Station has been sold to the same developers who now own the next door West End Green. Paddington Green is the last police station serving North Westminster, since both Harrow Road and St John’s Wood stations were sold for development in 2013. The Mayor’s Office for Policing had previously promised that the development should include a similar replacement either on that site or elsewhere locally.  However, it seems they are now only committed to replacing the Police Station with a ‘front counter and a Safer Neighbourhood Teams base’. We are urging that space for a new police response unit base is found as a part of this development or elsewhere in the area. In the short term the police cars and response team will be moved to Kilburn Police Station in Brent.

Church Street toilets

We have again asked for the Council to ensure that the Church Street toilets are open for use. Residents say:

“The closure of the public toilets on Church Street following their constant misuse by the gangs of beggars has led to an intolerable situation.   This is a tourist area as well as a busy residential ward with a daily street market, and the lack of these facilities is causing considerable distress   We appreciate that installing turnstile access, are not feasible in the Church St building, but we need to know what action the Council intends to take. One can see that the lights are on 24 hours in the locked female section and as the male section is still being used, residents are asking if that section is being cleaned regularly.”

The Council says:

“We closed these facilities in agreement the Police following ongoing anti-social behavior.  As part of the closure, keys were provided to market traders to provide access for the traders. We are preparing a plan of action”

Salisbury Street

We have asked the Council to repair a broken pavement where an elderly resident tripped recently.

Lisson Green parking

We have taken up the issues of residents with legitimate parking permits being prevented from parking on the Estate by illegal car parking. Those with garages cannot access them because of obstruction as a result of illegal parking.

Kimble House

Residents tells that trees outside Kimble House have been allowed to grow to height above and beyond 6th floor. The trees’ foliage is so dense that residents (particularly on the lower floors) have to keep their lights on during the day. When complaints are made to the Estate Office, the foliage is trimmed back only to the height of the top floor, and trees continue to grow in height and density. We have asked the Estate Office to review the situation.

Kennett House

We have reported this issue to the Estate Office for action:

“The kebab stall directly in front of Kennet House side entrance have been using a motorbike/scooter ‘Quiqip’ (green box at back) for kebab delivery. They have parked this bike there for the 3rd week running and all last week overnight (24 hrs) and again today, despite no parking signs. What can be done to move this bike??

The area is signed ‘no parking.’”

“Recently when bikes were parked there, one bike was set on fire and exploded with the other two also on fire. This severely damaged the side of the block and lights, around the corner and balcony area. It caused damage to the 2nd level but the seriousness of it was the black smoke and smell bellowing upwards, fortunately most windows were closed otherwise it would have entered some flats.”

The Estate Office tells us:

“We have spoken with the market inspector regarding the bike and he will discuss this with the men at the kebab stall and inform them to not park the bike there. Furthermore, we have also spoken with the local Westminster Warden who will monitor the situation closely.”

Penfold Street

We have reported this issue to the Council:

“A number of vehicles, travelling along Penfold Street, towards Broadley Street, fail to stop at the Church Street junction, often not slowing down.  The broken white lines, are barely visible. Can any action be taken? An accident waiting to happen?”

Church Street CCTV

We are continuing to press the Council to reinstate the CCTV cameras in Church Street:

“What is the status of reinstallation of cameras on Gateforth Street, Plympton Street, Church Street corner? I continue to see cars/vans driving the wrong way on Church Street. Nothing seems to have progressed to make this safe.”

“Very disappointing that there is still no progress on the reinstatement of the CCTV cameras on Church Street. How many more people will need be injured, robbed, mugged and hurt before the cameras are back and the culprits never get caught.”

The Perseverance, Shroton Street

We are delighted that The Perseverance pub has reopened following the building works. Long may it serve local residents and people working in the area.

Frampton Grind, Frampton Street – Update

The Council has told us:

“Before any formal application could be determined by the Court, the freeholder advised that the tenant’s lease had been revoked so the judge decided that there was no need to grant the requested closure order. It appears now that the tenant moved out over last weekend and the venue is currently unoccupied. I will arrange for the venue to be monitored for new occupiers and activities, but it would seem that the actions of the City Council and the local Police working together have had the desired effect.”

Lisson Grove/Regent’s Canal

We have asked the Council to investigate this matter urgently:

“Further to our recent exchange of emails regarding rats on the bridge over the Regent’s Canal in Lisson Grove, unfortunately after a period of several weeks I have today again seen a rat in this very same place. The gap between the pavement and the railings is rarely, if ever, cleaned and is full of rubbish, including fast-food remains, etc. and this may well be a contributory factor.”

The Council says:

“I have spoken with officers from the Pest Control team and they have visited the site. They confirm that rat holes are still appearing and that there was food in the area, generally bread –  which the rats are eating. The area has been cleared of the rubbish that was there, but this soon accumulates. The team are ensuring a treatment programme of baiting is ongoing and the officer dealing with this will also contact the Westminster Adult College next week. I’m sorry this problem is persisting but I can assure you officers are using their best endeavours to find a solution.”

Please let us know if there are any issues or problems on which we can be of help.

Please feel free to pass this report to any of your neighbours who may be interested.

Yours sincerely

Your Church Street Labour Councillors Barbara Grahame and Aziz Toki and your Labour candidate Aicha Less

 

Aicha Less selected as Labour’s candidate for Church Street

Aicha LessWestminster Labour is delighted to announce the selection of Aicha Less as Labour’s candidate for the Church Street by-election on Thursday May 5th, following the resignation of Vincenzo Rampulla.

Aicha has lived and worked locally since moving to the area as a child in 1983. She has almost 20 years’ experience working in local government and is a passionate campaigner on local issues.

Aicha Less said “I’m extremely passionate about my area and loyal to my community, which makes me want to make their voices heard.

I want to be the people’s advocate and work on their behalf, particularly in raising their concerns about problems with the futures plan for Church Street including the lack of consultation from the Council. I will work hard to ensure Westminster listens to the worries of residents about the renovation of the market and the need to actually deliver new social and genuinely affordable housing.

I’m looking forward to the campaign and hearing more about what Church Street residents want from their council.”

Labour Group Leader Cllr Adam Hug said “Westminster Labour group is delighted that local members have selected such a committed and passionate candidate for Church Street. Aicha will be a great voice for local residents if elected as the new councillor for Church Street on May 5th.”

Promoted by Andy Whitley on behalf of Aicha Less, both at 4g Shirland Mews, London W9

Church Street Councillor Vincenzo Rampulla stands down

Labour Councillor Vincenzo Rampulla, ward member for Church Street elected in 2014, has announced his resignation from Westminster Council with immediate effect. Due to changes at work beyond his control it is no longer possible for him to maintain his employment at his full-time professional job whilst remaining in his role as a Westminster councillor.

Speaking today he said:

“It is with great regret that I am resigning today as a Church Street councillor with immediate effect.

Church Street is a fantastic place and I am proud to have been given the chance to serve the families and residents there. I want to thank my ward colleagues Barbara Grahame and Aziz Toki for their support and friendship. They remain strong advocates for Church Street.

There are a number of challenges facing Church Street in the coming years, not least ensuring that the Council makes up for lost time in the important regeneration scheme that local people voted for. I am keen to support a successor who will match my colleagues’ desire to champion the needs of Church Street’s many families, residents and businesses.

“I also want to thank my colleagues in Westminster’s Labour Group, especially the group’s Leader Adam Hug, and Karen Buck MP for their support and encouragement. The Group’s work to stand up for people across Westminster remains an inspiration and I look forward to their continued success.

I remain a strong believer in public service and the ability of local councillors to make a real difference for their communities.”

Labour group leader Cllr Adam Hug said “Vincenzo’s resignation is a great loss to the residents of Church Street and to the Labour group. In his short time on the council he has fought for better treatment for private renters, more affordable housing, and action to tackle the rise in rough sleeping. He remains a close friend to us all and a passionate advocate for Labour values. He will be much missed.”

Vincenzo Rampulla has formally written to the Council Chief Executive to announce his resignation. Following the request of Church Street residents a by-election will be held on Thursday 5th May to coincide with the London Mayoral election.

CHURCH STREET ACTION TEAM REPORT – March 2016
From Councillors Barbara Grahame, Vincenzo Rampulla and Aziz Toki

Barbara

vincenzo pic

Toki

 

 

 

 

 

West End Green

We have objected to the current proposal for 285-329 Edgware Road (West End Green) on the basis that the proposed scheme:

  • does not provide enough affordable housing (only 22%);
  • is too tall – 38 storeys are proposed
  • the impact on local school places
  • the lack of wider public consultation on such a large scheme.

The site has stood empty for decades and it is welcome that it is being brought forward for development. However, this will be a major scheme and it is vital that it is judged against any detrimental impact on local residents /businesses and against the need to maximise benefits for the wider area. This is especially true give the need for on-site affordable housing, additional school places and access to health services in the Little Venice/Church Street areas.

Lilestone Street

We have asked the Council to remove a burnt-out motorbike on Lilestone Street near by the Church Street traffic lights.

Westway bicycle lane proposal

The Mayor of London has announced a proposal to convert one of the three eastbound lanes on the Westway into bi-directional cycle route. TFL says its modelling shows that drivers using the route at peak times would only have their journeys delayed by 1-2 minutes between Gypsy Corner and Edgware Road and 4-6 minutes between Westbourne Bridge and Paddington. A bike journey from Westbourne Bridge to Gypsy Corner would take around 18 minutes on the new route. There is more information at:

https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/cycling/east-west-phase-2?cid=east-west-consult

What do you think?

George Peabody House, Burne Street

We are continuing to help residents who are having problems with intruders gaining access to their block and sleeping in the stairwells. There are also continuing problems with drug dealing and other anti-social activities in the car park.

Church Street

We have asked the Council to deal with this issue:

“It looks as if they have not taken the Christmas decorations down but on closer look the trees are covered in plastic bags. Please can the market inspectors have a word with traders to put the rubbish in bags?”

Gateway Academy

A group of 30 children from Gateway Academy in Church Street Ward has been supported from the Church Street Councillors’ Ward budget to learn Bollywood dances to keep them fit and healthy. For the last three months they were trained by two Indian dance teachers and now they are able to perform at least 6 Bollywood dances by their own or in a group.

Cherwell House

We have asked City West Homes to introduce measures to discourage shops and shoppers from leaving food to feed the pigeons in the Triangle outside Cherwell House.

Sheringham House

We were surprised to find a high proportion of the corridor security doors were not locked. Residents said they have reported this problem. We have asked City West Homes their plans to repair the security locks.

 

CHURCH STREET ACTION TEAM REPORT – January 2016
From Councillors Barbara Grahame, Vincenzo Rampulla and Aziz Toki

Barbara

vincenzo pic

Toki

 

 

 

 

 

Church Street

Following a recent stabbing outside Alfie’s we have again called on the Council to reinstate the CCTV cameras that were removed last year.

George Peabody House, Bell Street

We have asked Peabody to investigate this issue:

“Rough sleepers are moving into this block every night, occupying the common parts. The caretaker has been calling the police when he arrives in the morning but they have run away before the police arrive. They are smoking and taking drugs and leave piles of their rubbish. This is a terrifying situation for us living there, especially as many are elderly and, like me, live alone. Although this is not a council property, is there any action the council can take urgently to ensure these people are stopped from entering?”

27 Tresham Crescent

We are supporting local residents who are opposing the Council’s proposal to relocate the Pentecostal Church from the Dudley House area, Paddington Basin to 27 Tresham Crescent. Residents are concerned about a number of issues, including:

  • noise of loud amplified live music on Sunday morning and in the evening
  • traffic problems caused by visitors to the church who arrive by car

27 Tresham Crescent has just been built for two nurseries and a Play Centre specialising in play for disabled children. We agree with residents that Westminster Council should find a more suitable temporary home for the Pentecostal Church. Disappointingly, the Planning Committee gave planning permission for the church for four years but we will be working with residents to monitor noise and traffic issues.

Lisson Grove

The pavement outside Armitage House at the bottom of Lisson Grove has an increasing number of loose and wobbly paving stones and we have asked the Council for this to be investigated and repairs undertaken. The Council says:

“This section of highway was walked on Monday and a number of rocking slabs identified for repair. They were put in for 7 or 28 day repair (depending on how bad they were). Some were found not to be meeting intervention criteria and so were left for the next inspection.”

West End Green site

The fact that the long-empty site on Edgware Road, behind Paddington Green police station, is to be developed is good news. However, the developers are currently only offering 23% affordable housing – well below even Westminster Council’s own guidelines. You can see the planning application and make comments here:

http://idoxpa.westminster.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=NZESNJRPLIF00

Marylebone flyover

We have asked TfL to investigate this matter:

On approaching Marylebone Road via A40, as you near Paddington Green, the 30MPH sign cannot be seen by motorists, it has been turned, now facing across the the motorway. Are tickets, being issued for speeding, at this section, now we have the Average Speed Cameras/cameras operating?”

 

CHURCH STREET ACTION TEAM REPORT – December 2015

From Councillors Barbara Grahame, Vincenzo Rampulla and Aziz Toki

Barbara

vincenzo picToki

 

 

 

 

 

West End Green

A planning application has been submitted on behalf of Berkeley Group for a mixed-use redevelopment of West End Green on Edgware Road. The application submitted to Westminster City Council includes 690 homes, 158 of which will be affordable, in the 2.66-acre site as well as spaces for cafés, retail shops, restaurants, a boutique cinema, and a public piazza.

Please let us know your comments on this proposal

Edgware Road/Harrow Road subway

We reported this issue to the Council:

“I write with regret, as I have been reporting human excrement smeared on a subway wall. Despite calling repeatedly it is still there.”
The Council told us:

“I can confirm that this offensive waste was jet-washed clean yesterday evening by Veolia.  The confusion arose as the subway network is owned and maintained by Transport for London with the Council’s role limited to sweeping the floors.  However, in cases like this however, determining which public body holds responsibility clearly comes second to getting the problem fixed as quickly as possible. I have asked for the lessons from this case to be reviewed with Transport for London colleagues to ensure we can respond more quickly in future.”

The resident said:

“Thank you so much, and that’s great news! Thanks for all you do.”

Church Street toilets – Update

The Council has told us the current situation:

“We have locked the ladies and men’s facilities whilst retaining the controlled access for the disabled facilities.  A Market trader holds the key for traders to use the facilities and the City Inspectors and Police are aware of who holds the key and can direct members of the public to the relevant trader to gain access if needed.   

The intention of this pilot is to break the habit of rough sleepers using the facilities as a support system and it has worked to date, reducing the draw and numbers of rough sleepers and beggars in the area. We had received complaints about the abuse of these facilities and our information showed that they were little used by members of the public. 

We plan to review this approach on a monthly basis through to the spring.” 

Pedestrian crossings on Marylebone Road

We asked TfL why pedestrian cannot cross Marylebone Road in one go. This is the response we have received:

“All the traffic signals on Marylebone Road work in unison to manage any delays that may occur along the entirety of this section of road. All vehicle and pedestrian signals are therefore timed to work in parallel with one another whilst giving pedestrians as much opportunity as possible to cross both halves of the crossing in one movement. However, dependent on when during the signal cycle pedestrians arrive at the crossing, there will be times they will have to wait in the central island to complete the movement.

While it is possible to cross in one movement at both locations referred to in your email, it is not possible at all crossing points on Marylebone Road. If we implemented full width pedestrian crossings at all locations on Marylebone Road it would have a significant negative impact on the operation of Marylebone Road, creating additional delays at a number of locations.

Unfortunately, I cannot therefore commit to modifying the crossing points but I can assure you we are vigilant to changing behaviours and demand, and that we undertake frequent reviews to ensure our junctions work in the most effective way.”

Frampton Street

We have asked the Council to investigate these two issues:

“There is a takeaway on Frampton Street whose clients leave a trail of litter virtually every night, on the street, into our common garden areas and in side streets. It attracts urban foxes, large numbers of gulls in the early morning who in turn create noise and mess. There is nowhere for customers to dispose of their rubbish. Complaints before were followed through on but no change has taken place. There is also the issue of stench and smoking issuing from the chimney at this outlet. This also was addressed before by the council but still needs attention.

There is a new cafe that opened and large amounts of rubbish are deposited on our side of the street not outside the venue. This creates further mess and chaos and endangers people walking on the pavement.”

CHURCH STREET ACTION TEAM REPORT – November 2015

From Councillors Barbara Grahame, Vincenzo Rampulla and Aziz Toki
BarbaraTokivincenzo pic

 

 

 

 

Church Street CCTV cameras

We are continuing to press the Council to reinstate the CCTV cameras in Church Street to deter crime and catch those responsible for thefts and anti-social behaviour.

West End Green, Edgware Road

Berkeley Group has bought the 2.59 acre site fronting the long-empty Edgware Road (behind Paddington Green Police Station). Berkeley plan to develop it for residential use, including a 22-storey residential tower, to deliver over 600 new homes. Along with Karen Buck MP, we are pushing for a reasonable proportion of new homes to be genuinely affordable, for rent and sale – at least the 30% contained in the Council’s policy.

BT building, Marylebone Road/Bell Street/Burne Street

We have asked the Council for an update on the present unsatisfactory situation with dumped rubbish at the BT building, particularly along Burne Street.

Lisson Green football pitch

We have asked the Estate Office to replace the broken lights around the football pitch as children are playing in dark.

Fingest and Hardwick Houses

We have asked the Estate Office to replace a couple of broken panels to the entrance door of Fingest House and Hardwick House.

CHURCH STREET ACTION TEAM REPORT – October 2015

From Councillors Barbara Grahame, Vincenzo Rampulla and Aziz Toki

Barbaravincenzo picToki

The Perseverance pub, Shroton Street – update

Residents tell us that they have received details of a planning application regarding the conversation of the upper floors of the pub into flats and the building of a rear extension. Application no: 15/07953/Full

Hatton Street/Frampton Street

We have reported this problem to the Council:

“I note that large amounts of rubbish are still being dumped on an almost daily basis at the northwest end of Hatton Street by the junction with Frampton Street. There’s so much of it, that I suspect that one of the businesses on Frampton St and/or maybe the building site opposite might be largely to blame. The council does a good job of removing the rubbish, but it builds up at weekends and evenings and attracts rats and urban foxes.”

Brazen Head, Lisson Street

We are investigating this issue:

“A planning application has been submitted for the conversion of the Brazen Head pub, 69 Lisson Street, into offices. As you know, the upper floors are already in the process of being converted to flats as per an earlier planning approval. I feel that it would be a terrible shame for yet another pub to be lost. Under the right ownership, it could have a very positive part to play in this ‘cultural’ corner, next to the Lisson Gallery, and at the foot of the proposed new Futures Plan “Green Spine” which will run as far as Fisherton Street, connecting the north and south parts of the ward. I should be grateful if you would look into this and do what you can to prevent it from being approved. “

Plympton Street

We have asked the Planning Department to look in to this issue:

“We have had constant trials and tribulations with planning applications, builders doing what they want after the plans have been approved and now installing plastic gas meters cupboards, which were not in the approved plans. Now after they have installed them, they are going back to apply for them. The planners did not show these cupboards on the plans. These plastic white cupboards stand out and look ghastly. No one else has these on the street and they should be removed. This continues to be a mockery of planning applications and process which favours unscrupulous developers with no regards to neighbours.”

Manor House, Marylebone Road

We have asked the Council to investigate a number of flats where residents believe there are unauthorised holiday lets.

Boscobel Street

We have reported to the Council:

“Something ought to be done about parking in Boscobel Street. Weekends and evenings there is a line of cars parked on single yellow line with other side taken up by resident’s parking making a two way traffic absolutely impossible”

The Council says:

“Marshals have been informed of the concerns around this area and to take appropriate action. The single yellow line is controlled Mon-Fri 8:30am to 18:30pm. Marshals cannot enforce the single yellow line outside controlled hours. Transportation are reviewing the location as part of a larger review of the Church Street area.”

Lodge Road update

We have asked the Road Safety Team to contact this resident who has offered to assist with the Council’s investigations:

“I am sure the traffic planning officers are more than capable, but having driven in the area for over 40 years and living in Lodge Road for many years, I might be able to give a deeper insight on the whole area and its bigger picture? The Lodge Road issue is a much bigger, wider picture than just routine traffic in one street. I would love to help my community and offer my local driver/resident experience to the Council on this issue, if they feel it might assist them.”

CHURCH STREET ACTION TEAM REPORT – September 2015

From Councillors Barbara Grahame, Vincenzo Rampulla and Aziz Toki

Barbaravincenzo picToki

Cosway Street

The Head of Christchurch Bentinck School has asked us to investigate this issue:

“The parents at my school are constantly complaining about the traffic that comes off the very busy Marylebone Road into Cosway Street. Sadly, in July 2015 during the last academic year, there was a fatal accident at the junction between the Marylebone Road and Cosway Street. This is of great concern to us as our new school entrance will be very close to this junction when the new block opens in September 2016. Please could you kindly look into to this matter and help us to make Cosway Street a safer place for our children and community. We would appreciate the following:
• Clear large visible school signage close to the junction between Cosway Street and the Marylebone Road
• Humps on Cosway Street to slow the traffic
• Some kind of controlled crossing on bell street that leads into Cosway Street ie lollipop personnel”

Penfold Street traffic

We have reported this recurring issue to the Council;

“Again, temporary traffic lights in Lisson Grove, by Frampton Street, are causing congestion. Frampton Street is being use as a short cut on to Penfold Street. Penfold Street is often logged jammed, due to extra traffic and drivers not giving way. It is nearly impossible to travel along Penfold Street from Broadley Street to Frampton Street, without a long delay. If Penfold Street is ever clear, some drivers are travelling at excessive speeds. Risky if you are a pedestrian”

Penfold Street parking

We have reported this to the Council:

“Could you please have a look at parking in Penfold Street at the junction of Church Street and Penfold Street? The wardens just let the stall holders park up all day for free on the meters; some vans are parked up for a whole week on the meters “

The Perseverance pub, Shroton Street

We are making enquiries about plans for The Perseverance pub which closed suddenly recently.

Waterford Court, Stalbridge Street

We are making enquiries about this issue:

“Over many years we have had a problem with teenagers sitting on our steps in Stalbridge Street smoking, drinking taking drugs and leaving a terrible mess. Of late we have had drug dealing in the area leading to the underground car park. Some residents particularly the ladies feel vulnerable. Is there anything you can do that may help?”

Lodge Road traffic update

The Council says it “will be carrying out a study of the existing and potential traffic conditions in Lodge Road to investigate options to address the situation.”

CHURCH STREET ACTION TEAM REPORT – August 2015

From Councillors Barbara Grahame, Vincenzo Rampulla and Aziz Toki

Barbaravincenzo picToki

Church Street Market

We are supporting local antique dealers in Church Street market who are concerned about proposed rent increases by the Council. They say;

“The Antiques trade is still recovering from the 2008 recession and these increases are excessive. This will damage not just the local antiques trade but also the local economy as a whole.”

http://www.hamhigh.co.uk/news/heritage/st_john_s_wood_antiques_dealers_face_being_wiped_out_by_rent_hikes_of_up_to_85_per_cent_1_4155962

Burne Street and Burne House

We asked the Council to again investigate this continuing issue;

“I live within yards from the BT Building that stretches across from the Marylebone Flyover – Edgware Road -Bell Street and of course Burne Street. It is well know that Burne Street is a disgrace and even now although the passage way has been cleaned up the bay off the Street is full of the most disgusting mess has not been cleaned for weeks. I realise that Burne Street is a grey area as to who should do what but I write to you today about the building as a whole. It is a disgrace to BT – the walls that run along Burne Street are filthy and going round to the Marylebone Road the same and if you look up at the building from any angle or any of the Streets mentioned it looks filthy, unkempt and possibly empty. I did write to the CE months ago but of course no reply. It is bad enough living so closely to the building but to look at the filthy fire escape stairs covered in Pigeons mess is so depressing. They should be informed that they are a disgrace to the area of Westminster and to the city of London.”

The Council Inspector has told us;

“The stairs that lead people to the passageway on Burne Street and the passageway itself onto Marylebone Road is not Westminster City Council property hence the reason why it is not cleansed and maintained by Westminster or our cleansing contractor Veolia, as such the onus and responsibility is solely on BT, to cleanse and maintain. Our previous Local City Inspector has personally moved on rough sleepers from this location and sign posted them to Outreach services such as St Mungo’s. Veolia have also assisted by removing mattresses/cardboard etc., and swept and cleaned on more than one occasion, which they have done in good faith on request from Westminster Inspectors. I have been informed that former City Inspector spoke to BT at Burne House for the footpath to be cleansed. We are looking to ensure that this is not a short term fix as it does require several sweeps per week, due to the high footfall of pedestrians that use this cut through to the main transport hubs.”

Church Street

We have reported a number of cars going the wrong way down Church Street and creating problems for pedestrians. We have passed on car registration numbers to the Council. The Council tell us:

“We currently have two static CCTV cameras already situated in Church Street at the junctions with Penfold Street and Salisbury Street and we have issued 165 PCNs since the start of April for vehicles contravening the No Entry signs at these locations. We also consistently deploy Marshals to this area and although they cannot capture moving traffic contraventions they do act as a deterrent, and over the last 6 weeks they have spent over 170 hours at this location keeping an eye on vehicle parking and parking related issues. Our Customer Engagement Officers also attend the location to speak to the owners of local shop premises to remind them and their drivers of their responsibilities in complying with all traffic laws, especially when making deliveries.”

Boscobel Street

We have reported the following issues to the Council for action:

“Delta Pizza, which had been operating to sometimes 4 am, applied for a late licence which was rejected but they currently have an appeal in process. Their delivery motorbikes were obviously a nuisance.

Dar Marrakesh applied for a late licence to which I objected on the grounds of noise and nuisance from the garden as well as comings and goings. Their application was rejected but they are threatening to appeal and are currently ripping out the pub interior so they can be more of a restaurant in order to support this.

Diyabaklilar Sofrasi, in theory close at 11 but it takes them 30 mins or more to clear the place and another hour to clean it during which time they still sometimes serve takeaway. They take their own rubbish by car at 12.30 and the whole process is noisy with loud group conversations on the pavement culminating in the shutters coming noisily at 12.30 – 1.00. They, like the other traders have no respect for anyone trying to sleep despite being overlooked by Westmacott and Mole Houses.”

Edgware Road site between Paddington Green Police Station and Church Street

This long vacant site has now been bought by the Berkeley Group and we hope that this leads to the early development of the site, including affordable homes and new shops along Edgware Road. One resident has commented:

“I see today that all the old scaffolding that supported the electronic hoardings has been removed. Let’s hope there is speedy progress on what has been a scandalous waste of a prime site for far too long. Berkeley Group has a better reputation than many a developer.”

CHURCH STREET ACTION TEAM REPORT – July 2015

From Councillors Barbara Grahame, Vincenzo Rampulla and Aziz Toki

Barbaravincenzo picToki

Church Street Drop-In Centre and Nursery

Church Street residents benefit from a drop-in centre for the elderly that is very well used and much needed. The site also provides for a 30 place nursery that provides good care for local families. It is really a great site that cares for both the very young and the very old.
It had been run by Shepherds Bush Housing Association but they have decided to pull out and we are petitioning the council to be an active voice in securing these services for the local population and Westminster in general.

The drop-in centre provides nutritious meals, regular contact with the elderly, support across a number of areas and informal support too. Far too often these services can seem pushed to one side so a visible centre, right on the market street, is very important.

We have now started an online petition for others in Westminster to share their support. You can find the petition, which has been started in the name of the local neighbourhood forum, here: http://petitions.westminster.gov.uk/10-Church-St-NW8/

Boscobel Street

We have been getting reports of increased late night noise on Boscobel Street and have asked the Council if there have been an increased number of reports from the noise team and what can be done to monitor the situation.

Also, residents say that parking and traffic around Dar Marrakesh is reducing the flow through on that street in the evening and we have asked that the parking situation be investigated.

Lisson Grove/Lodge Road junction

We have again asked the Council to deal with this long-standing issue:

“The reflective Bollard at this junction has been hit yet again. This is the fourth or fifth time in 12 months. It’s only a matter time before there is a serious accident here. What is the council waiting for?

CHURCH STREET ACTION TEAM REPORT – June 2015

From Councillors Barbara Grahame, Vincenzo Rampulla and Aziz Toki

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Church Street Councillors are supporting calls from local businesses for CCTV cameras to be returned to the Church Street Market area.

The Church Street Antiques Dealers Group have written to Councillors to express their concerns about the removal of the cameras on Church Street which were originally located there partly as a result of crime including violent street muggings of customers of antique dealers’ shops. Leon Young of the Antique Dealers Group says:

“The placement of the cameras at the junctions of Ashbridge Street, Gateforth Street and Lisson Grove gave coverage of the street encompassing over 20 galleries and Alfie’s was considered one of the safest antiques locations to visit. It is a concern for the antiques dealers on Church Street that the cameras have been withdrawn. Their removal is against the interests of safety and security for both members of our group, the customers who visit and their goodwill. The removal of the cameras has had the following effects;

•  Increase in begging, particularly on Saturdays
•  Criminal damage. A window was smashed in a commercial premises on the junction of Gateforth Street and Church street.
• A marked increase in the frequency congregating of groups of boisterous youngsters who have been seen to drop food litter on the street, can be foul-mouthed and are intimidating to some.

The net effect is to offer visitors to the location a poor impression at the least. At worst, if they feel it is unsafe, unwelcoming or unattractive, we lose their custom. The loss of the cameras works against the ethos, investment, goodwill and revenues that our group creates.”

Church Street Labour Councillor Vincenzo Rampulla said:

“The Church Street Antique Dealers Group have our full support. We’ve raised the removal of CCTV cameras across Church Street with the Chief Executive when he did a Ward walk with us. There are real concerns about the impression this gives to shoppers and residents who worry about safety and the impact given the ongoing reduction in police/council officers involved in public protection. “

“We are still waiting for a response from the Council. They need to show that it is taking these concerns seriously and talk with us about what can be done to ensure Church Street feels and is safe.”

Penfold Street

We are pressing the Council to take action at this junction:

“The junction/crossing of Penfold Street and Broadley Street needs consideration as many drivers on Penfold Street fail to stop (Broadley Street drivers have the right of way) and occasional accidents happen but quite a few sudden stops do. This is a concern given the closeness of Broadley Street Gardens, King Solomon and the market and the residents, children, etc using these places. We are fortunate that only cars, so far, get damaged.”

Due to complaints from residents we have received about issues along the entirety of Penfold Street, we have also managed to get the Council to extend the proposed traffic flow/speed survey to cover the entire length of Penfold Street to the north of Church Street, as well as to the south of Church Street and south of Broadley Street (outside the King Solomon Academy), as planned.

Plympton Steet

We have reported instances of rubbish dumped on the street in Plympton Street and Plympton Place to the Council.

Wyatt House, Lilestone Estate

We have again contacted the Council after the refuse collectors left rubbish sprayed across the ground around Wyatt House. We contacted the Director of City Management who confirmed that the Council’s contract with Veolia requires their operatives to clear any spillage from around rubbish bins when they are undertaking their collection rounds. He will ensure that this incident is highlighted to senior managers at Veolia so that it does not happen again. He also advised sending in evidence to environmentalactionline@westminster.gov.uk or reporting it here https://www.westminster.gov.uk/report-it as the Council use these reports to identify issues with the services and Veolia’s performance generally and it will mean the Council are getting a full picture of any poor service that residents are receiving.

Hatton Street

We have asked the Church Street Inspector to investigate this issue:

“I should be grateful if you could see if you can do anything about the piles of rubbish which have started appearing at the north-west end of Hatton Street. I’ve seen foxes tearing at the rubbish as well as the occasional Roma beggar. The issue is the lack of a bin store or ‘wheelie bin’ for the flats on the site of the former Lord Frampton pub.”

CHURCH STREET ACTION TEAM REPORT – May 2015

From Councillors Barbara Grahame, Vincenzo Rampulla and Aziz Toki

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Labour calls on Westminster Council to save Church Street services for families and the elderly

Two local community services in Church Street are under threat of closure and Labour Councillors have called on Westminster Council to step in and save them.

Shepherd’s Bush Housing Association has given notice that it will cease to subsidise the Church Street Nursery from 17 July 2015. The Nursery has a mix of 42 full- and part-time children registered. It occupies the ground floor of a council-owned shop at 10 Church Street.

The Drop-In lunch club for elderly residents occupies the Ground Floor of the shop and has also been given notice by SBHA that it will cease to subsidise them.

The closure of both the nursery and Drop In centre will have a serious impact on the provision of services for families, children and the elderly in the Church Street area, and on the Council’s Future plans for the area.

Church Street Labour Councillor Barbara Grahame said:

“Church Street Nursery has an Outstanding OFSTED rating and it would be very disappointing if parents were obliged to accept less satisfactory placements elsewhere. The council should to try to enable it to continue.”

“The Council have suggested that its 42 parents could be helped to find alternative places at other nurseries or childminders. However it is very unlikely that it would be possible to find good quality flexible placements for this number of children nearby.”

“It has always seemed unfair that Church Street Nursery, a charity, should ever have been expected to pay a high rent to the Council for a converted shop basement”

CHURCH STREET ACTION TEAM REPORT – April 2015

From Councillors Barbara Grahame, Vincenzo Rampulla and Aziz Toki

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Plympton Street

We are making enquiries with the Council after receiving this message:

“Help, this tiny overbuilt alley with no pavement is being seen as a street to rev and speed up from Church Street to Broadley Street. Children play on the street, our front doors open directly on to the street, with no pavement, as do our garages. This has got progressively worse as we are boxed in and used as a rat run because of traffic pattern and market, roadworks etc. There should be a 20mile speed limit, or a speed bump and a stop sign at the Broadley Street end, where pedestrians cross (and with building works hoarding cannot see or be seen). This alley is a haven for dog walkers, alcohol bottles and dangerous speeding. Please help stop this before we have a serious accident.”

Penfold Street

We have made investigations with the Council after receiving these enquiries:

“Many residents are complaining about the extra traffic, too often speeding, that is currently being directed down Penfold Street due to works in Lisson Grove. Last night an ambulance was blocked from leaving the estate with a patient onboard for an extremely long time.”

“As Lisson Grove is blocked off traffic is being diverted down Frampton Street and consequently Penfold Street. Leaving for work at approximately 7 am for work I sometimes have to wait to pull out of our entrance for sometimes over 20 cars to pass. When the building work starts this is going to create other problems.”

The problem was caused by UK Power Networks failure to complete the electricity works in Lisson Grove on time. But this work has now been completed following our enquiries.

Junction of Lisson Grove and Lodge Road

Lisson Grove bollard
We have reported this issue to the Council:

“The traffic bollards at the junction of Lisson Grove and Lodge Road are destroyed, on average, once every three/four months. They are currently broken. I have hit the traffic island at night when there was no illuminated bollard (it having been destroyed by a collision) resulting in several thousands of pounds of damage to my wheels, tyres, axle, shock absorbers. Luckily I was able to maintain control of the car but it is only a matter of time before a very serious incident takes place here.”

CHURCH STREET ACTION TEAM REPORT – March 2015

From Councillors Barbara Grahame, Vincenzo Rampulla and Aziz Toki

Barbaravincenzo picToki

Swanbourne House
Swanbourne
We have reported to City West Homes that the stairwells in Swanbourne House are being used as ‘drinking dens’.

Church Street

We have reported this continuing issue to the Council;

“I see the pool is still outside Tesco at the junction of Church Street and Venables Street, it smells so bad and outside a food shop it’s not very nice”

Burne Street

We have again reminded the Council and BT to clean this area on a daily basis;

“The BT building may have slipped under the radar: I was passing it about 8am yesterday and today. Rough sleepers are still on the ground (on mattresses), a great deal of rubbish, strong smell of urine – all being negotiated by schoolchildren in uniform commuting from the no.18 bus.”

Bell Street
Bell Street
We have reported rubbish dumped at the corner of Bell Street and Daventry Street.

CHURCH STREET ACTION TEAM REPORT – February 2015

From Councillors Barbara Grahame, Vincenzo Rampulla and Aziz Toki

Barbaravincenzo picToki

Plympton Street

We have reported this to the Church Street Warden:

“We have a regular ‘deposit ‘ left by the garage doors and no. 7. This alley is regularly used by dog walkers who do not bother to clean up”

Harewood Avenue

We reported to the Council that there were no street lights on Harwood Avenue at the junction with the Marylebone Station approach road for nearly two months. This was extremely dangerous given the concurrent extensive pavement and road works at this exact location which has narrowed the available road space for cars, taxis, buses and bikes and made it very difficult for pedestrians to cross the road safely – in the dark.

CHURCH STREET ACTION TEAM REPORT – January 2015

From Councillors Barbara Grahame, Vincenzo Rampulla and Aziz Toki

Barbaravincenzo picToki

Church Street Safer Neighbourhood Team

We were very disappointed to learn that Sgt Ian Rowing is being transferred to Newham by the Metropolitan Police. Councillor Barbara Grahame has written to the Police to say;

“There is no doubt that Sgt Rowing has an in depth knowledge of the Church Street community, garnered over many years, which would be wasted in a backroom job in another Borough.”

Another resident has written;

“Sergeant Rowing has proved during his time here that he has a deep understanding of the various tensions which exist in this very mixed inner city community of about 12,000 residents and has been successful in providing police protection for the ward in all circumstances and has obtained the confidence and high regard of the residents.”

Burne Street

We are continuing to follow up this unsatisfactory situation with BT and the Council after receiving this update from a resident;

“Can you ask Westminster to chase BT on again – the space around their building on Burne Street and Marylebone Road has not been cleared over the Xmas period by the looks of it. I think we need to ask for an enforced schedule as leaving it to their discretion is clearly not working for local residents and people who work in the area. It really is a disgrace and a shameful blot on Westminster’s landscape. Why do they allow it to remain so filthy?”

Wandle House

Residents in Wandle House were experiencing serious problems with the water supply to their block recently, which went on for nearly 5 weeks! Several residents got in touch with Karen Buck MP to raise their concerns and she immediately contacted both CityWest Homes and Thames Water. Unfortunately, however, there was a lot of back and forth as there was a dispute regarding whose responsibility the issue lay with and what the contributing factors were.

It was only after several exchanges that the cause was finally established and thankfully the problem was resolved soon afterwards. The residents that were in touch have informed Karen that their water supply has resumed as normal and that they haven’t experienced any problems since. It is unfortunate, however, that the problem took so long to resolve and that residents were left without such a fundamental necessity for an extended period of time, and that the dispute inevitably caused delays in getting the issue rectified.

CHURCH STREET ACTION TEAM REPORT – November 2014

From Councillors Barbara Grahame, Vincenzo Rampulla and Aziz Toki

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Lilestone Estate

We have taken up this matter with the Council;

“I read, with interest, the concerns over unsightly rubbish being dumped on our streets by the public. On the Lilestone Estate in Church Street bwe suffer terribly from rubbish being strewn across the courtyards – even more unfortunately, this is caused by the bin men with their complete disregard for residents and pride in their work. This is a common occurrence, especially on Sundays, and I would welcome your comments on how to move forward with this”

We contacted the Waste Management team and the local warden. Veolia say their collection crews have been informed if there are any complaints of spillages from residents/members of the public that they are to be sent back to clean and can possibly face disciplinary action. Residents can report the incidents by emailing the environment action line at environmentactionline@westminster.gov.uk and detailing when and where the incident of left rubbish took place.

Marylebone Road crossings – update

We have received the following update from TfL:

“We face an unenviable task of balancing the competing demands of all road users – on the one hand we need to move significant volumes of traffic and on the other, provide pedestrian crossing facilities in Marylebone Road. Typically there are two types of signal controlled crossings – the first being ‘staggered crossings’ and the second is known as ‘straight across’. Staggered crossings are where pedestrians cross in two (or more) movements, and will cross to a central island in the road and may have to wait before completing the crossing. By contrast, the straight across crossing is where pedestrians complete their movement in one go.

As you know, Marylebone Road is a wide road consisting of three lanes of traffic in each direction and there are several signal controlled junctions and crossing points along it. By inserting a staggered crossing, we are better able to manage the movement of pedestrians while at the same time, affording us the ability to operate a more efficient flow of traffic than the straight across crossing would offer. By doing this, traffic is only held on red for approximately 18 seconds in one direction, whilst the other direction is free flowing, as opposed to both directions being held for a period of 28 seconds. The staggered crossing is the best all round – it keeps journey times to their optimum, reducing emissions from queuing traffic, and ensures pedestrians have the least amount of time to wait in between crossing periods. If a straight across crossing was adopted, the number of invitations pedestrians would have to cross per hour would reduce.

However, it is not a case that “one shoe fits all” and this is why we are looking at the feasibility of converting the crossing at the junction with Harewood Avenue to a single straight crossing. This would have the benefit of being able to accommodate cyclists as well as pedestrians. We are currently working with your officers and design teams to see if this is a viable option, and if so, we will of course make you aware of this prior to a public consultation. If all goes well, we are aiming to implement a scheme within the next two to three years. Notwithstanding this, I can confirm there are no current proposals to amend the crossings at Lisson Grove or Cosway Street. “

Frampton Street/Edgware Road crossing

Traffic Management have told us that they will look into the timings of the lights. If the timings are too short they will be able to increase the length of the green light.

Glarus Court

We are continuing to press City West Homes to deal with this problem:

“We are still having effluent coming down the wall from Glarus Court into the garage of Waterford Court. The garden of Glarus Court floods every time it rains and so pours down into the aforementioned garage. This has been going on for over 3 years and although, due to pressure from Barbara Grahame’s office, some works have been carried out this year but the matter have still not been resolved. On reporting the problems to CWH I was told that it would cost too much to put right and therefore would not get done but I could try contacting the Service Improvement Team. I have also been told that any work to the general state of disrepair of Glarus Court may not be carried out until 2020. I cannot believe that not painting woodwork but letting it fall into disrepair can be a sensible approach to maintenance.”

City West Homes have told us:

“The foul drainage at Glarus which is partly located in the underground car park has had the gully traps cleared along with the drainage pipe runs. A section of the pipework has been re-lined following the CCTV survey, identifying possible joint displacement which would have been the cause of the leaking sewage. It is my belief that the reported leak is a result of the heavy rainfall leaking into the garage area and not the foul drainage. Regrettably, there is no quick fix for solving the damaged waterproof membrane and the only viable solution would be to installed a new membrane or carry out patch repairs. But, this would involve removing the existing garden materials to expose the membrane, alternatively harvesting the water that is leaking through is a possible a solution although does not fix the issue.”

Church Street Market toilet

We are concerned about the state of the toilet which is run by Carlisle and is very neglected. It no longer has a full-time Attendant and the disabled loo is locked. It needs upgrading and we are asking for it to be included in the Futures Plan.

Burne Street

We have again asked that this small street between Bell Street and Marylebone Road be cleaned regularly.

CHURCH STREET ACTION TEAM REPORT – October 2014

From Councillors Barbara Grahame, Vincenzo Rampulla and Aziz Toki

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Crossing Marylebone Road

We have heard back from Leon Daniels at TfL about the crossing points at Cosway Street, Lisson Grove and Harewood Place. He tells us;

“Since our onsite meeting in June, we have programmed the traffic signals to ensure the green invitation to pedestrians to cross appears at all crossing points at the junction, regardless of whether the pedestrian call button is activated or not. As a result, pedestrians now have regular opportunities to cross.

I also recall discussing the feasibility of installing pedestrian countdown. As you know, this facility is relatively new for London and our current guidelines preclude installing it at staggered crossings due to the risk of ‘see through’ issues of far side indicators. Our concern is with the potential that this will falsely indicate to pedestrians that it is safe to cross when conflict is present.

Notwithstanding this, we are reviewing the guidance to see if there is scope to relax this rule for staggered crossings where the staggers are sufficiently segregated to eliminate the potential see through issue. As part of this, we will assess whether any of the crossings can have pedestrian countdown installed.

Very shortly, we will carry out some tests to see if the pedestrian green times can be increased now that traffic levels have returned to normal operation following the conclusion of the summer holiday period.”

We have responded as follows;

The key issue for pedestrians is summarised by the following comment from a local resident with whom I shared your reply;

“He also refers to ‘staggered crossings’. Though I am not familiar with this phrase, it might indicate only allowing pedestrians (many with small children) to cross one lane at each change of lights, thus condemning them to being bunched together at the traffic islands for the long time it takes for the traffic lights to change again, breathing in the fumes of one of the most polluted roads in the entire UK. Is this really the negative (and highly unsatisfactory) position they want to achieve ?”

What pedestrians want is the ability to cross the road safely in one go at these crossings. This means giving enough time to do so. Surely this is not too much to ask?

It is possible to cross Marylebone Road in one go at other places along the road – for example, at Baker Street and opposite the Parish Church – so why cannot it be possible at Lisson Grove, Cosway Street and Harewood Avenue?

Marylebone Road/Underpass route across Marylebone Road

We have reported this issue to the Council

“Happy to report the underpass to the tube seems less of a problem on recent journeys. However, and maybe I should have raised it before, but the same issue arises (and has done for a long time) at the rear of the big BT building i.e. the walkway around it to Marylebone Road, and the underpass, as one goes from Penfold Street.”

Daventry Street/Bell Street

We have reported problems with rubbish dumping by the bins at the corner of Daventry Street and Bell Street.

Glarus Court

We are making enquiries about this issue;

“I, and others, for several years have been communicating with various Westminster staff and City West Homes about the deterioration over the past 5 years of Glarus Court Sheltered Accommodation. The lack of repairs and action by City West Homes has caused damage to the block of flats adjoining Glarus Court. After three years we have had some action from CWH but not without a lot of fight. During the six years I have lived in Waterford Court, the external and internal fabric of Glarus Court has deteriorated greatly. External painting and window frames have not been touched in this time, the garden floods whenever it rains thus flooding the underground garage beneath this garden. “

Burne Street

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue;

“Who do we need to speak to about the consistently awful state of Burne St NW1. I only have to walk through it twice a day and it is usually full of rubbish bags, detritus and sometimes people sleeping in bags. Today was the last straw so much rubbish piled everywhere no one takes care of this handy passageway between the underpass and Church Street market. I believe British Telecom have a building there. I have never ever seen it presentable and it stinks of urine. What can be done to get Westminster to clean it up or get BT to take responsibility? There are flats there with families and children and the rubbish must attract rats it really is not fit for human habitation and a huge blot on Westminster’s landscape.”

CHURCH STREET ACTION TEAM REPORT – September 2014

From Councillors Barbara Grahame, Vincenzo Rampulla and Aziz Toki

Barbaravincenzo picToki

Underground walkway to Edgware Rd tube from north side of Marylebone Road‏

We have asked the Council to clean this underpass after receiving the following message;

“I used this underpass this afternoon. You probably know at the best of times it can have a bad smell, but now it is like an untreated urinal. It is embarrassing to be taking friends/relations along that route, and I wonder if you can raise it please with the appropriate people.”

The Council say;

“This subway system is currently swept on a daily basis and a small flushing vehicle visits to wash it clean every second night. Sadly this night-time wash down has to be conducted with police support on some occasions. The vehicle can be called in for further wash downs between these scheduled visits in response to specific reports. We are experiencing a significant increase in street urination and similar issues across a range of locations outside of the West End at the present time. We are working closely with the police and other agencies on the broader issue of rough sleeping and will continue to adjust our washing schedules in response to the changing patterns we detect.”

Lisson Green Sheltered Housing

Following Karen Buck MP’s recent visit to CityWest Homes sheltered accommodation blocks Missenden House, Hughenden House and Chequers House she was concerned about the number of people who complained about the poor quality and incomplete contract works affecting the buildings. She has written to CityWest Homes to raise residents’ concerns and to put pressure on them to resolve these issues as soon as possible.

Rossmore Road

Karen Buck MP has also written to the Council following contact from residents about a crash that occurred at the junction of Rossmore Avenue and Harewood Avenue (not an isolated incident I understand) to request that traffic lights are put up to ensure pedestrian safety.

Boscobel Street

We have asked the Council to investigate these issues;

“I wonder if you could ask the council to look into a traffic management problem on Boscobel Street, NW8; this short street off the Edgware road is blighted by cars trying to pass each other on what is a narrow street. It is difficult to get traffic flowing both ways as there are so many cars parked on either side of the street. Therefore double yellow lines need to be used on one side to allow proper flow of traffic. There are often queues of traffic trying to pass each other. Grid lock occurs and drivers start honking their horns for extended period in frustration. Quite often you get irate drivers getting out of their cars shouting at each other and frankly if you had proper traffic management here you could stop this road-rage.”

“The other issue in the street is the sometimes unruly behaviour from people leaving the Dar-Marrakech pub/bar and nearby cafe late at night. It would be better if their licensing hours were shorter so the place closed down a bit earlier.”

Lisson Grove Knife Bin

A knife bin will be located on Lisson Grove to the right of the ramp outside Chequers & Varney Houses. The knife bin is being installed by a charity, Word 4 weapons, and paid for by the police. The bin will be regularly emptied by the charity (in liaison with the police). The bin will be there for a time limited period (for 2 years) with periodic reviews to assess its effectiveness.

CHURCH STREET ACTION TEAM REPORT – July 2014

From Councillors Barbara Grahame, Vincenzo Rampulla and Aziz Toki
BarbaravincenzoToki

Capland Street

We have raised this problem in the area opposite Bledlow Close with City West Homes;

“In this area some cars and vans are abandoned, some are parked without road tax, some of the inside spaces are filthy with human urine etc. This part of the area is very neglected and nobody is currently taking any responsibility. We know that Future plans will develop this area but does that mean the resident will have to wait until then?”

City West Homes have told us;

“We are bringing these spaces back into use and made available for estate residents and their visitors only, but in the meantime will arrange for the area to be cleaned and abandoned/untaxed vehicles to be addressed.”

Linslade House

We have told the Council about problems outside Linslade House, off Paveley Street which is full of building works rubble. We are concerned that recently the same type of rubbish has been dumped in different places in the estate and this should be dealt with effectively. The Council says;

“Rubbish dumping is an ongoing issue on Lisson Green Estate and we take enforcement action when we know who is responsible. We are currently working closely with Westminster Council’s Street Warden service and serving fixed penalty notices for those residents who are found dumping rubbish. This has improved the instances significantly, but obviously it’s still a challenge changing such behaviours with a minority of residents”

Crossing at Edgware Road/Frampton Street‏

We have asked the Council to investigate this problem:

“More time is needed at the crossing above. I’ve recently had two operations and there just isn’t enough time for people who are elderly or infirm to cross”

Marylebone Bangladesh Society

Marylebone Bangladesh Society is providing free Men’s exercise/gym session with qualified instructor every Friday 3pm to 5pm at MBS Centre, 3 Boscobel Street tel: 020 7724 7427 mbsyouthclub@googlemail.com

Broadley Gardens

We are making enquiries into concerns raised by residents about “the influx of beggars, operating in the area, and living in the Gardens, which is used by local children”

CHURCH STREET ACTION TEAM REPORT – June 2014

From Councillors Barbara Grahame, Vincenzo Rampulla and Aziz Toki
BarbaravincenzoToki

Lisson Grove

We have written to the Council about this problem;

“There are two holes in the road surface near a very busy traffic light in Lisson Grove Road, adjacent to Church Street and Lilestone Street, NW8. School children, elderly people and parents with buggies are using this traffic light quite often. Health and safety of this road surface in a busy road is really a serious concern. It will be appreciated if you look through this matter and take urgent action.”

We have also reported this problem;

“There is a large pothole in Lisson Grove on the northbound carriageway between Lodge Road and St. John’s Wood Road, just before the bus stop. The cables are clearly visible and a taking pounding from the buses (139 and 189). It was repaired a few months ago but obviously not well enough.”
Lisson Grove

Church Street

We have reported the following problem;

“In Church Street there are three gullies which are continually blocked; one is outside 101 which is a café were people sit outside to eat and is very unpleasant; there is one outside 88 Church Street and when it rains it fills with water; and the last one is on the corner of Church Street and Venables Street outside Tescos. I just get fobbed of by phoning environmental health”

The Council tell us – “I know that the crew were in Church Street last week to do the market area and couldn’t clean all the gullies due to parked vehicles so are due to return.”

Church Street Market

There is a great short film about the history of Church Street Market made by pupils from Gateway School

church-street-market-london

http://www.stallstories.org.uk/

City Council Election results

Thanks for your support

http://transact.westminster.gov.uk/docstores/publications_store/elections/2014/results/church-street-election-results-2014.pdf

CHURCH STREET ACTION TEAM REPORT – May 2014

From Barbara Grahame, Vincenzo Rampulla and Aziz Toki

cake and bake

Hughenden and Missenden Houses, Lisson Green

We have written to City West Homes about these problems;

“Residents have complained to me about the building works currently on site at Hughenden House and Missenden House. The work is very disruptive for residents. Today the sole staircase is very dirty with builders dust and debris which gets carried into the hallways and residents’ homes. In addition, workmen drilling the ceiling whilst installing a new fire alarm system are wearing asbestos protection clothing. The workmen say there is a minimal amount of asbestos in the ceiling. However this dust is being trodden into residents’ homes. Why was it decided to attach the fire alarm wiring to the ceiling once the presence of asbestos was known?”

Lambourne House

We have continued to support residents’ concerns about drug dealing and anti-social behaviour in the block. Residents say;

“It is very noticeable that the drug and ASB activity is on the increase and thus it is now becoming even more a threat to the safety of residents. The cameras are obviously not a deterrent as they would appear to consider themselves above the law and under no threat of being stopped.”

Church Street

A Church street resident was injured by a car driving the wrong way up Church Street. We arranged to meet council officers on site and see how to improve the street signs.

Stanfield House

Stanfield House residents have told us about the dilapidation of their block. We have worked with residents to get improvements funded through the Church Street Futures Plan.

Edgware Road/Marylebone Road/Joe Strummer Underpass

Karen Buck MP has written this letter to the police and City Council;

Joe Strummer subway

“A constituent has just sent me this picture showing the extent of rough sleeping in the Jose Strummer underpass at the junction of Edgware and Marylebone Roads. I have already been asking about the maintenance and safety concerns that have been raised with me by Westminster Citizens, CoW students and other local residents. It is worrying that this underpass is so neglected, and I am sure it is not helped by being at the junction of 4 different wards/SNT areas. Please could you let me know what steps are going to be taken to improve the security/maintenance situation (such as the flooding) and resolve the rough sleeping issue here?”

Labour Team campaigning on Lisson Green

Barbara Grahame, Aziz Toki and Vincenzo Rampulla were campaigning with Karen Buck MP and other members of the Labour Action Team this weekend.

See Barbara’s, Aziz’s and Vincenzo’s Election pledges here Church Street election pledges 14

Church street team May

Campaign to keep open the Edgware Road branch of Nat West bank

Murad Qureshi, Labour member of the London Assembly, has written to Ross McEwan, Chief Executive Officer of The Royal Bank Scotland, to protest at the planned closure of the Edgware Road branch of the Nat West Bank.

Murad Qureshi said;

Murad Qureshi

“As a long standing customer of Nat West Bank, I was both shocked and disappointed to learn of the proposed closure of the branch at 508 Edgware Road, W2 1EN. Having spoken to several other customers and local residents, I am of the view that this will be an unpopular proposal opposed by many.

Can you please explain what the rationale behind this closure is given that recent marketing of your banking services emphasises the importance of “local” banking? Furthermore, is this trend likely to be repeated across London because my firm view is that like local pubs and post offices, the closure of a high street bank has a detrimental effect on the sustainability of a local community? I look forward to hearing from you.”

Renewed plea for action on the long-vacant West End Green site

Speaking at Westminster Council meeting on 30th April, Church Street Councillor Barbara Grahame made a renewed plea for action on the long-vacant West End Green site;

Edgware Road 1Edgware Road 3

“West End Green is the name of a temporary Car Park.

For those of you who don’t know it, it isn’t in the West End, it’s up the Edgware Road, past the flyover, behind the Paddington Green Police Station tower, and hidden behind a hoarding decorated with an elegant Georgian Terrace design.
It is 2.66 acres in size, and the site is said to be worth between £150 and £200 million, and it has been a temporary Car Park since 1989.

Of course it has been a Car Park far too long. 24 years. Yes it was caught up in a long and fractious Planning dispute and litigation. Residents complained bitterly, petitions were presented, asking why this land was not used for desparately needed housing. We proposed a CPO, but nothing was done.

But I’m raising this today because the site is for sale and there is at last real chance that it can be transformed into a landmark that residents and the council can be proud of. A landmark that would lift the whole area and be a catalyst for the changes that we in Church Street Ward and in Little Venice Ward have been working so hard for through our Futures Plans.

There is an extant Planning permission for the site, for a mixed development including a supermarket with underground parking, 156 flats for holiday lets, 307 residential flats of which 103 , that’s 35%, should be affordable housing and the 204 full market price units located in a 22 storey tower, plus contributions to health, education, public realm etc.

Of course there have been changes since that permission was agreed in 2005, so this may not be the scheme that is built out, but the principles are there, so I want a commitment:

– That this council will resist any attempt by developers to claim that the inclusion of on-site affordable social housing would make their scheme unviable. If they over-bid in the current bidding frenzy for this site, that’s their problem.

– A commitment that the affordable homes really will be affordable for local people whether for rent or shared ownership; local homes for local people must be a priority if we are to end the scandal of children living in over-crowded homes that are not compatible with a world class city.

I do have other wishes of course.

– That If developers include the Police Station in their scheme, which would make sense, that they retain a Police base that will need to serve the whole north of Westminster and keep it safe.

– That the contribution to education should be used to expand our excellent existing schools and college, not enable a land grab by a Free School that does not meet proven need

– That contribution to health enables local GPs to develop their facilities and meet the demands modern health provision

– Parking for Church Street Market traders

– That the development complements the Little Venice and Church Street Futures Plans by creating employment, perhaps an enterprise centre, a new home for the Cockpit Theatre,

Local people have waited a long time for this derelict site to provide something useful. This time we need to get it right.”

CHURCH STREET WARD ACTION REPORT – April 2014

From your three Church Street Ward Labour Councillors – Ahmed Abdel-Hamid, Barbara Grahame and Aziz Toki

HamidBarbaraToki

Marylebone Road/Cosway Street

Transport for London has finally agreed to look at the traffic light timings following a number of reports like this;

“Please tell me what we can do to get the lights timer at Marylebone Road and Cosway Street to work so pedestrians get across the street in one safe go. The change to the timing means we are stuck in the middle of the road (being polluted by car fumes) or if I run, I’m at great risk of being killed. What a nightmare. I live in Cosway Street and now hate it because of the many changes the council are making like this which are more dangerous and seem to give priority to wealthy car owners before past walking happy citizens.”

Transport for London say;

“Marylebone Road is an important section of the Inner Ring Road corridor and carries significant volumes of traffic. It is particularly busy in the morning and evening peaks and we understand that this may be troublesome for pedestrian users. Following your correspondence an engineer has attended site to investigate how we can improve the signal timings in respect of this enquiry. Changes have been made to the signal timings to improve the consistency of the appearance of the green invitation to cross across Marylebone Road. This will make it easier for pedestrians to cross Marylebone Road in this location. We will continue to monitor the situation and you continued feedback is appreciated.”

Have you noticed any improvement?

Edgware Road Underpass

Karen Buck MP has written to the police as follows;

“I am receiving an increasing volume of complaints about safety in this underpass. I also met with London Citizens, who have been working with City of Westminster students on the issue, and they are mounting a campaign to either improve the safety and maintenance of the subway or get it closed off. As they point out, the contrast with the Marble Arch network is certainly very striking! I am aware that this is a complex issue in terms of police responsibility, since it is the junction of four wards, but that should not mean it ends up not being anyone’s responsibility- especially as it is virtually underneath Paddington Green station. I would be very grateful for your views on what could be done about it.”

Bell Street

We have asked the Council to empty the overflowing bins at the corner of Bell Street and Daventry Street

BellStreet bins

CHURCH STREET WARD ACTION REPORT – March 2014

From your three Church Street Ward Labour Councillors – Ahmed Abdel-Hamid, Barbara Grahame and Aziz Toki

HamidBarbaraToki

Samford Street

We told the Council that the doors on two of the market lock-up garages in Samford Street opposite Nightingale House are broken and are being used by homeless people to sleep in. We asked if someone could arrange to repair the locks so that these garages can be used by market traders. The Council told us;

“The garages had been broken into and repairs requests have been issued to mend and secure the lock-ups”

Morris House

Following our intervention the entry-phone system at Block C is being repaired. City West Homes say;

“It is correct that the intercom at this block has worked intermittently for a sustained period. We are in the process of arranging for an upgrade… We have ordered the parts for these works and expect these to be manufactured within around four weeks”

‘Use it or lose it’ planning powers could bring long-vacant Edgware Road site back in to use

Edgware Road 1Edgware Road 3

Labour Westminster Councillors say that the long-vacant ‘West End Green’ site on the corner of Edgware Road and Church Street which has planning permission for a new supermarket and hundreds of new homes should be a priority target for Ed Miliband’s new ‘use it or lose it’ planning regime following the the General Election next year.

The new ‘use it or lose it’ planning policy would strengthen the ability of councils to compulsorily purchase land with planning permission which has not been developed.

Labour say that this prime site at 291-325 Edgware Road has been vacant for over 20 years despite having planning permission for new homes and a supermarket for many years. At the same time Westminster’s housing crisis is getting worse, day after day;

• There are over 1,000 local families living in overcrowded conditions
• According to Government figures, 828 new homes were given planning permission in Westminster in 2012/13 of which only 82 were affordable homes
• In Westminster, average weekly rents are 71% of local wages, £524 out of £737, according to the ‘Evening Standard
• Westminster Council has spent £111m on putting homeless families in hotels and B&B since 2010
• It will take over 5 years for Westminster Council to re-house the near 400 tenants affected by the Bedroom Tax in smaller flats, according to the Council’s own figures.

Councillor Barbara Grahame, Labour’s Planning Spokesperson, said;

“Labour’s new ‘use it or lose it’ planning policy will get long-vacant sites like this developed for much needed homes for people wanting to buy and rent, as well as delivering more social housing. Westminster Council has failed for decades to get this site developed and the owners have been content to do nothing and watch the value of their land increase. This sort of neglect is not in the public interest and Labour’s proposed new ‘use it or lose it’ policy will finally get vacant land with planning permission back in to use”.

CHURCH STREET WARD ACTION REPORT – February 2014

From your three Church Street Ward Labour Councillors – Ahmed Abdel-Hamid, Barbara Grahame and Aziz Toki

HamidBarbaraToki

We have been out and about meeting residents with Karen Buck MP and the rest of the Churchy Street Action Team taking up local issues and helping out wherever we can.

Canvass Feb14

Church Street

We have reported this continuing problem to the Council;

“I have written to you previously about Church Street, which is a one way street, but the signage is not clear. At the junction of Gateforth Street and Church Street there should be a clear ‘do not enter’ sign on Church Street at that junction, which is where I was run over and now have to live with the consequences of a broken foot. I am told by various merchants at the junction that they continue to see people drive the wrong direction towards Lisson Grove. The cameras do not seem to be working there to monitor the problem.”

Risborough House

We have written to residents about the lack of lighting on the balconies, as follows;

“When we visited you on Thursday evening the balcony was in total darkness. Some of you told us that the lights had not been working for weeks, and that you had reported this to the Estate Office but nothing had happened. We contacted the Estate Office on Friday morning and they checked the lighting system. It seems the fault was in the time switch. They have told us they have now re-set the lights and they should come on at 4.00 pm. Do please let us know if the lighting is not now working as it should.”

Lisson Grove

We asked the Council to investigate this problem;

“I’ve previously discussed the safety of the zebra crossing on Lisson Grove around the Ashmill Street level. Raised lights have been installed to make the crossing more obvious to drivers. I would just like to point out that the light on the east side of the crossing, by the school, is not working. If someone could please replace the bulb/fix the light, it would be appreciated.”

The Council say;

“The fault is known and we are currently awaiting the delivery of a replacement unit. This was a recently completed project and unfortunately one of the units has become faulty. The unit is to be replaced under warranty. I do not have a date for the delivery but these items are usually supplied from stock so it should be completed swiftly.”

Residents tell us;

“Last night I noticed that the faulty light had been replaced and is functioning. Thanks for everyone’s help. From anecdotal evidence it would seem to have improved the safety of the crossing and I have only had one near miss recently!”

Morris House

Morris House

We have reported broken entry phones in Block C, as well as a long vacant flat, to the Council for investigation.

Nightingale House

Nightingale house

We were appalled at the state of the common areas at Nightingale House and have reported a number of long-standing problems suffered by residents.

Harewood Avenue – Taxis

We have made further enquiries with the Council after receiving this message;

“I have regularly counted queues of up to 24 taxis, stretching right up to Rossmore Road and added to constantly. This is not counting the ones on the official taxi ranks on the avenue beside the station and in front of the station. Some of these taxis keep their engines running, spewing out pollution and noise over Blandford Estate. Others stop their engines, but then start again every time they move up the queue, having the same effect on us.”


Marylebone Road

We have again pressed the Council and TfL on this matter;

“Regarding the crossings of Marylebone Road at Cosway Street (and other locations), I want to reinforce the message that they are inadequate for the task of crossing the road, making people wait in the middle for minutes at a time. However, there are three other issues which are related:
• All the East-West crossings on the North side of Marylebone Road lack traffic control, so pedestrians have to take their chances and dodge traffic. This is unsafe.
• Drivers at the pedestrian crossing of the Westwards lane of Marylebone Road at Cosway Street/Old Marylebone Road tend to not see the lights, and frequently drive straight through a red light, despite pedestrians crossing the road at the time. This is unsafe.
• Drivers turning left from Marylebone Road into Old Marylebone Road have a habit of avoiding the left-most lane as they think it is a bus lane. They then turn left from the middle lane, cutting across traffic and cyclists, and frequently surprising pedestrians crossing the road, who cannot see them due to a telecommunications box obscuring their view. This is unsafe.
My wife and I cross this crossing multiple times a day, frequently with our three-month-old son in a pram. We are familiar with the problems, and take special care, yet still don’t feel safe. Others we see are at more risk. It certainly makes me want to move…”

CHURCH STREET WARD ACTION REPORT – December 2013

From your three Church Street Ward Labour Councillors – Ahmed Abdel-Hamid, Barbara Grahame and Aziz Toki

HamidBarbaraToki

Broadley Street area

We have asked the Council to take action following receiving the following information;

“This morning I was along Broadley Street, alongside the children’s nursery, and passed several piles of very large faeces. This is also a recurring problem in the passageway from Burne Street to Marylebone Road (BT land). It is absolutely disgusting as well as a major health hazard. It is clearly an increasing problem and it seems unlikely that dogs are responsible.”

Marylebone Road – pedestrian crossings

Many residents have expressed strong concerns about the changes to the pedestrian phases on the lights across Marylebone Road and we have repeated our request to to TfL and the Council to make changes to give pedestrians longer to cross the road;

“With regard to the comments about the traffic lights at Cosway Street that, “it is often impossible to cross both carriageways of the road at one setting”. I use this crossing regularly, and have done so for a number of years, and fortunately am reasonably fit. However, your above statement is incorrect as it includes the word “often”. Furthermore, it is a crossing used regularly by parents with children, a school being about 200 metres from the crossing. It is dangerous and unacceptable.”

“With respect to the observations about the short timing of the traffic lights at the corner of Marylebone Road and Old Marylebone Road and Cosway Street, the same is true when crossing Marylebone Road from South to North at the intersection of Seymour Place and Lisson Grove. I refer to the crossing at the Magistrates Court.”

“A similar problem occurs at ALL the pedestrian crossings in the Marylebone Road, certainly as far as Baker Street and possibly beyond. The amount of time allowed for pedestrians to cross both carriageways has been further reduced with the effect that, unless one’s name is Usain Bolt, it is impossible to cross from one side of the road to the other without being forced to spend several minutes at the central reservation breathing in the fumes of what is one of the most polluted roads in all of England.”

Lisson Grove moorings

The Canal and River Trust tell us;

“Having looked at our records there have been few complaints made regarding access at this site and those that have been formally logged with us have been dealt with accordingly. We currently use an external company that manage the gates on behalf of the Canal & River Trust at a fairly substantial cost. We have had two complaints in the last couple of months regarding the person responsible for the opening and closing of the gates and we have been working with them to resolve these problems. There are many people that have enjoyed use of this towpath over the years without cause to complain. However, we are always looking at ways of improving the canal users experience and I am looking into alternative ways of managing the access at this site with a view to improving current practice which will include clear signage indicating exact opening and closing times of the gates.”

Also we have written again to enquire about “what has happened about the horrible CYCLISTS DISMOUNT notices which wreck the beautiful gates down to the Canal from Lisson Grove?” , raised by a resident.

CHURCH STREET WARD ACTION REPORT – October 2013

From your three Church Street Ward Labour Councillors – Ahmed Abdel-Hamid, Barbara Grahame and Aziz Toki

HamidBarbaraToki

Nightingale House, Samford Street

We have reported that the entrance door to the car park of Nightingale House, Samford Street is damaged and inside of the park is full of syringes and drug using substances.

348 Edgware Rd W2

We have made representations about the builders working on the Hotel conversion at this site, in the block North of Edgware Road station, a stretch with very heavy footfall and traffic. We saw them carrying long rusty metal rods into the building, then throwing buckets of muddy water from the building across the pavement, a nuisance to pedestrians, then a man with a broom standing in the gutter sweeping the dirty water along, dodging traffic. No hard hats were worn and we have asked the Council to check that these builders are properly supervised and working safely.

Church Street Tesco

We have asked the Council to continue its enquiries after residents told us “the practice of leaving trolleys out has not stopped the small shopping trolleys are still left out 24/7”

Marylebone Road

We have asked the Council to investigate this matter with TfL;

“Could I raise a TfL matter over which the Council may have some influence? We have been disturbed over the last few weeks by the works to the traffic lights on Marylebone Road? I have looked on the TfL website and they seem to be saying that this work will go on until December. Obviously they can’t do the work during the day because it would cause traffic chaos, but it would be helpful if they could start earlier in the evening, say, 7.30 instead of 10.30 p.m. when residents start heading for bed. “

Westmacott House, Church Street

Following our enquiries about the impact of the lighting on neighbouring properties, the Estate Office has told residents;

“We have now placed an order to spray paint the relevant surfaces on the lights, with the aim to take the glare away your flats. The works are programmed to be done in the next two weeks, and I will let you know when it is completed (although hopefully you will be able to see the difference straight away).”

“We are starting with the top two floors – and we’ll review the success before extending it. We are also looking to shroud the floodlights to restrict light pollution.”

Frampton Street

We have asked Environmental Health to investigate this problem;

“There is a take-away restaurant on the first part of Frampton Street, which is very popular and the mess and the stench created by this particular place is simply awful. There are no bins to put used containers in and so on a regular basis they are thrown into our garden, which in turn attracts urban foxes and cats and this creates another set of problems as they fight at 3 in the morning and create further mess and annoyance. People have talked to the staff to no avail and virtually every day a mess on the road and in our garden area is the rule”

Something you didn’t know about Church Street Councillor Aziz Toki…

Toki

Many residents may know Church Street Ward Councillor Aziz Toki as a political figure in the Church Street area. Yet, Councillor Toki has another keen interest which might surprise some; photography. Councillor Toki states that he has been a key photographer since boyhood taking photos of everything from buildings and architecture to children and local people.

Over the years, he has taken a multitude of photos; some which have unfortunately now been damaged, however in the last 3-4 years he has built up a portfolio of digital work which includes photos taken by the local Canal, Regents Park and also in the Church Street area. Councillor Toki says that his main interest lies in photographing local parks, flowers and nature where his imagination can run free and suggests that there are some great spots in the Paddington area to take photographs.

For budding photographers out there his top tips do not involve technical factors but instead having a vision. The Church Street Ward Councillor would encourage those interested to think about the significance of the image they are taking and consider what connection it has on a personal level.

Some of Councillor Toki’s work can be seen at http://www.churchstreetneighbourhoodcentre.org/?p=1963

CHURCH STREET WARD ACTION REPORT – July 2013

From your three Church Street Ward Labour Councillors – Ahmed Abdel-Hamid, Barbara Grahame and Aziz Toki

HamidBarbaraToki

Costless, Lisson Green

We supported Lisson Green residents and objected to Costless’ application for an alcohol licence, together with the local police. We are delighted that the licence was refused given the anti-social behaviour that has taken place in front of the shop and the difficulties of policing in this highly residential area. We are very pleased to have supported this really successful campaign by residents.

St Edward’s School, Lisson Grove

We are concerned about the pedestrian crossing outside St Edward’s school. Compared to the Gateway School crossing it is not in good repair. We have asked the Council;

“When is the white marking due to be re-painted? Could the columns be illuminated in the same way as at the crossing at Abbey Road/Abercorn Place which serves Abercorn School? This crossing is heavily used and there have been queries about its safety.”

Following our enquiries, the Lisson Grove pedestrian crossing opposite St Edward’s School has now had a new coat of paint and we have observed cars slowing down when they see just in case someone is going to step on it.

Missenden House, Lisson Green

We asked City West Homes why the ground floor corridors were so hot even in June. They have old us;

“We do recognise that the ground floor in Missenden House is hot and we are trying to address this. The plant room on the ground floor contains the hot water cylinders fed from the boilers in the roof plant room and these contain and emit a large volume of heat. Works will begin in November 2013 to replace the boilers and this will include insulation works also which we hope will prevent the heat from being such a persistent problem in Missenden House.”

Congratulations to John MacDonald!

Congratulations to John MacDonald, community engagement officer for Church Street, who has won the ‘Bringing People Together Award’ at the Westminster Community Awards 2013. This award recognised an outstanding individual or groups who have improved social cohesion by bringing together people from different backgrounds. John was nominated anonymously by a resident of the Church Street estate and was described as:

“The soul of the Westminster community. His work in fostering relationships between charities, community centres has caused substantial change around the Church Street neighbourhood.”

Garden at the rear of Westmacott House

We made enquiries about the use of the garden. City West Homes say;

“The decision to seal this area was made approximately 5 years ago, following significant issues of burglaries in the block and a number of anti-social activities such as drug taking and hiding stolen goods in this area. As a result, residents requested this area was closed off and the local police also advised that access should be restricted to reduce anti-social behaviour in this area. We are currently working in partnership with youth services to increase activities for young people on the Church Street estates. Included in our proposal are structured football sessions at one of our local pitches.”

Garden sharing

We are making enquiries after receiving the following question;

“Is there a garden share scheme in Westminster? Something along the lines of:- people who want to garden/grow vegetables but don’t have a garden – matching up with those who do, but have no interest in gardening? I know Age Concern, in Wandsworth, have a scheme and there are a few, rather anonymous, national websites but I couldn’t find anything specific to Westminster.”

CityWest Homes tell us;

“We do run schemes to assist tenants in managing their front gardens or accessing growing spaces, and these are very popular. For example, we provide support to older or disabled tenants who cannot manage their garden and need help with clearance and pruning. We also engage Groundwork to deliver a community gardening project each year which provides training and assistance to tenants with private front gardens. Finally, where appropriate, we transform disused spaces into allotments which are made available to interested tenants. We do have not a garden share scheme specifically but would be very happy to explore this.”

Handyperson Service

The Staying First handyperson service helps with minor repairs and odd-jobs at home. It’s available free for local residents over 60 on a low income, and disabled people. Find out more at http://www.vawcvs.org/downloads/handyperson-westminster-2pdf

109 Lisson Grove – what you say

“I don’t always manage to collect a copy of the local paper but was advised by a friend that she had read that 109 Lisson Grove is to be sold. Given that this substantial building is part of Westminster’s social housing stock, how can it possibly justify selling it when so few homes are available to rent at affordable rates? Anyone able to afford a £1million plus home should surely buy on the open market and the house at 109 allowed to be converted into 2 family homes as CityWest Homes assured it would be. This terrace was previously owned by The GLC and very little costs have been incurred by WCC as we all tasked with looking after our own gardens and paths so there is no caretaker to pay. WCC could afford to make a quality conversion and improve the lives of 2 families. Wasn’t the idea of Right to Buy that all monies received would go towards maintenance of existing stock and building new homes so that the supply of homes would not dry up?”

What you say

“Thank you once more for keeping us in the loop on local issues”

“Many thanks for the update on all the on-going issues both good and bad in our areas. It is great to know that they are being managed and dealt with so efficiently.”

Please let us know if there are any matters on which we can be of help.

Councillors Ahmed Abdel-Hamid, Barbara Grahame and Aziz Toki
Your three Church Street Ward Labour Councillors – Here to Help

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8 Responses to Church Street

  1. Stephen Fletcher says:

    A planning application has been submitted for the conversion of the Brazen Head pub, 69 Lisson Street, into offices. As you know, the upper floors are already in the process of being converted to flats as per an earlier planning approval.

    I feel that it would be a terrible shame for yet another pub to be lost. Under the right ownership, it could have a very positive part to play in this ‘cultural’ corner, next to the Lisson Gallery, and at the foot of the proposed new Futures Plan “Green Spine” which will run as far as Fisherton Street, connecting the north and south parts of the ward.I should be grateful if you would look into this and do what you can to prevent it from being approved.

    I am also concerned that this will happen next at the recently-closed Perserverance pub around the corner in Shroton St. An application for the conversion of the upper floors to residential use is currently being considered, and a later application for the conversion of the basement and ground floors to office or residential use will undoubtedly follow.

  2. I note that large amounts of rubbish are still being dumped on an almost daily basis at the northwest end of Hatton Street by the junction with Frampton Street. There’s so much of it, that I suspect that one of the businesses on Frampton St and/or maybe the building site opposite might be largely to blame. The council does a good job of removing the rubbish, but it builds up at weekends and evenings and attracts rats and urban foxes.

  3. Stephen Fletcher says:

    Dear Councillors

    Further to my emil dated 19th September, I note that large items of rubbish are still being dumped on the corner of Hatton and Frampton Streets, close to where I live. For example, today there are two mattresses and an old gas cooker amongst other things. Although the council does clear the mess even so often, I feel that an effort should be made to get to the bottom of this somehow; it can’t all be from the flats in the form Lord Frampton pub.. I should be grateful if you would look into this again.

    With best regards,

    Stephen Fletcher

  4. We will report this again. Thanks for bringing this to our attention

  5. Stephen Fletcher says:

    Dear Councillors
    Further to my last comment dated 8th July, large piles of rubbish are still being dumped on the corner of Frampton and Hatton Streets. I have photographs I can forward you if necessary. Can someone look into this please?

    With best regards,
    Stephen Fletcher

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