Churchill Ward

CHURCHILL WARD LABOUR ACTION REPORT – January 2017

From your Churchill Ward Labour Councillors – Shamim Talukder and Jason Williams

Shamim

Jason

 

 

 

 

Nearly £30 Million spent on Ebury Bridge Estate regeneration plan without a brick being laid

Questioning from Labour Councillors has revealed that an eye-watering £29 million has been spent on the Ebury Bridge Estate regeneration scheme before a brick has even been laid. Residents in the Ebury Bridge Estate in Pimlico have been waiting over 3 years for better housing after voting in favour of renewal plans in 2013 that would replace aging buildings, and provide 101 additional much needed homes.

However plans are many years behind schedule and it now appears over £29 million has been spent and a further £14.8 million will be spent (totalling £43.8 million) before work will even begin. The majority of the money has been spent on purchasing properties on the estate, but other costs include over £700,000 on Architects’ fees and Sitex security doors.

Councillor Jason Williams, Labour Churchill Ward Councillor said:

“Residents will be rightly concerned that so much money has been spent yet there is still a lack of clarity as to the final plans for the estate. There is an urgent need for the Council to outline their proposals and get on with providing the homes residents were promised over 4 years ago.”

Councillor Tim Roca, Labour Housing spokesperson said:

“This is a staggering sum of money to be spent with nothing show for it –  not even a final plan. In the meantime it raises even more questions about the bungled Council regeneration programme. The Council need to explain why at least some of the properties purchased have not been used for temporary accommodation, instead of sending families to outer boroughs where they may have no local connection. They also need to come clean about how much rent and council tax has been lost since the properties were vacated. What is clear is that the Council’s farcical record on housing continues.”

Residents voted in favour of the renewal plans in a week-long ballot in May 2013. The Council said in 2013: “The renewal plans for Ebury Bridge will provide high quality new homes and significant improvements to existing homes along with vastly improved public spaces, which will enhance the character and value of the area. In addition the plans will provide residents with improvements to the energy efficiency of their homes, improved community facilities and provide future job opportunities.”

The key elements of the plans are:

  • Eight blocks to be demolished and replaced with a series of new buildings ranging from 8-14 storeys with 4 storey breaks at key points to provide light and variety
  • Five blocks to be retained and improved
  • 101 additional homes created overall
  • New homes and estate improvements to the highest environmental standards
  • New central park with open lawns and play area and better connections with the surrounding area
  • New enlarged community facility at street level
  • New underground car park

But now, over 3 years later the Council has admitted that “there had been a muted response when soft market testing the planning consented scheme in the latter half of 2015 which did not generate sufficient interest from investment developers and traditional contractors. Complex delivery phasing, block/unit layouts requiring further value engineering and the costs and complexity of the refurbishment element are the main risks for developers/contractors.”

The Council say that officers are currently refining the existing consented scheme but a revised scheme is not yet finalised.

 

 

CHURCHILL WARD LABOUR ACTION REPORT – December 2016

From your Churchill Ward Labour Councillors – Shamim Talukder and Jason Williams

Shamim

Jason

 

 

 

 

Lupus Street

We have asked Transport for London to investigate this issue:

“The 360 bus stop on the bend in Lupus Street SW1. I run a charity for lonely and isolated people (Encouragement Through the Arts and Talking) and we have a group that meets twice a week at the nearby Thamesbank Centre.  The bus stop was moved a couple of years ago and people in wheelchairs can no longer use it because it was put where the pavement is too narrow. This affects not only our group but many other disabled people on the Peabody and Churchill Gardens estate too. It would be simple to move it a few yards along where the pavement is wider.” 

TfL say:

“The footway where the current bus stop on Lupus Street is located is scheduled to be widened to provide a suitable waiting area for customers. These works are scheduled to start week commencing 9 January 2017.” 

Residents say: 

“That is very good news indeed. Thank you for all your efforts”

Gatliff Road

An application by Sainsbury’s to extend the opening time at their store on Gatliff Road by an hour was deferred by the Planning Committee. Councillor Jason Williams spoke, raising concerns about parking outside of the store, delivery rules and disturbance to residents from lighting and noise. Committee members agreed, requesting that Sainsbury’s should draw up a better plan that takes into account the concerns raised and also look at the positioning of the proposed ATM.

 

CHURCHILL WARD LABOUR ACTION REPORT – October 2016

From your Churchill Ward Labour Councillors – Shamim Talukder and Jason Williams

A Johnson Churchill 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Westminster Conservatives vote to demolish Newson’s Timber Yard

Westminster City Council’s Planning Committee voted 3-1 to ignore over 330 objections from residents, the Belgravia Society, the Belgravia Residents Association, the Pimlico Road Association and other local businesses and approved plans to demolish the Newson’s Timber yard in south Belgravia to build four retail units and seven luxury houses.

Newson’s Timber yard has been a functioning Timber yard for over 175 years in Pimlico Road, supplying local businesses including the annual Chelsea Flower Show. Also included in the application were neighbouring independent shops with long standing connections to Pimlico Road. The application includes the replacement of shopfronts to 41, 43, 57, 59 and 63 Pimlico Road, this includes independent stores like Humphrey-Carrasco an antiques dealer based there for 20 years .

Labour Churchill ward Councillor Jason Williams said:

“This is a very disappointing decision. The views and concerns of the community were made clear with the overwhelming 300+ objections, together with the petitions and other representations. The community can be justly proud of their campaign and the strength of feeling can be seen by the attendance at the committee meeting.”

“The historical importance of the Timber Yard can clearly be seen from the 2001 report where the Planning Inspector refers to “a continuity of use for more than (then) 150 years”. The inspector then said the Timber yard “makes a positive contribution to the conservation area” and what was true in 2001 is certainly just as true in 2016. Residents clearly want this use to remain and continue to make that positive contribution. Pimlico Road is already a world class design district and residents want to avoid turning it into just another high street. “

Residents say:

“I must commend the Churchill ward councillors who all fought hard to save this and the other lot of councillors frankly were rubbish  and weak!”

Westmoreland Place/Lupus Street

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“Turning left into Westmoreland Place from Lupus Street (coming from Thames) is difficult and dangerous. We have had coaches and lorries unable to do this and so they reverse up sometimes clipping wing mirrors. The turning is difficult even for cars because the council added an additional car parking space at the bottom of Westmoreland Place and so it often takes 2/3 attempts to turn in. I would suggest a ban on turning left or just a ban on lorries and coaches which would include dustcarts. The difficult car park space could remain but the entry from the left might have to be changed. “

Lupus Street

We have raised this issue with the local police:

“The intolerable noise throughout the night and into the early morning continues unabated, by the youth from the Churchill estate, along Lupus Street. How long must Pimlico residents, like myself, be kept awake by the rowdyism of these youths. Even with my windows closed, I’m kept awake. A stop has to be put on this unsociable behaviour. Equally, it’s very intimidating to have to pass them of a night to get home from a social engagement. I normally pass on the other side of the street to the Churchill estate to avoid having to pass through their rowdy throng.”

CHURCHILL WARD LABOUR ACTION REPORT – July 2016

From your three Churchill Ward Labour Councillors – Murad Gassanly, Shamim Talker and Jason Williams

A Johnson Churchill 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘North Battersea Alliance Against the Bridge’ has organised a Public meeting on Tuesday 26th July 2016, 7pm at The Duchess Pub, 101 Battersea Park Rd, London SW8 4DS

North Battersea Alliance Against the Bridge and Pimlico Alliance have arranged a public meeting to stop £100 million being spent on the proposed new Thames crossing near Vauxhall Bridge. Unlike further east in London there is no demand from local people for a new Thames river crossing when 350 yards up there is the existing Vauxhall Bridge. Vauxhall Bridge already has two pedestrian footpaths and a two-way two lane full width cycle-way.

Taxpayer’s monies should be spent on more essential things for both communities. Wandsworth Council has already spent over £100,000 on this project at a time when they are cutting services and jobs and terms and conditions of employment. We call on The Mayor of London to oppose any further public spending on this vanity project being promoted by Wandsworth Council and to pledge that monies saved will be put to better use.

Contact: info@bwtuc.org.uk 07946172461 www.bwtuc.org.uk

Newson’s Timber Yard

The UK’s oldest timber yard is facing closure despite campaigners urging Grosvenor Estates to re-think plans to turn it into luxury apartments. Newson’s Timber Yard, in Belgravia, has been running for 175 years but would be forced to close if the developer gets planning approval for the residential and commercial development. The Belgravia Society amenity group has lodged an eight-page objection with Westminster City Council, and more than 90 residents, businesses and historical societies have also objected.

CHURCHILL WARD LABOUR ACTION REPORT – June 2016

From your three Churchill Ward Labour Councillors – Murad Gassanly, Shamim Talker and Jason Williams

A Johnson Churchill 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

London Mayor says any Nine Elms Bridge requires support from all

In a written answer to a question from Labour Assembly Member Andrew Dismore, Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London said “I understand that residents in the Pimlico area have concerns about the proposal and the impact it could have on the local area. No further work is being undertaken by TfL at this time and it is clear that any scheme requires support from all affected authorities.”

The bridge is proposed by Wandsworth Council and Churchill Labour Councillors have been putting forward their objections to the scheme and the views of local residents to both Wandsworth and Westminster Councils. Labour Councillors are continuing to work closely with local residents to oppose Wandsworth Council’s proposed Nine Elms to Pimlico bridge

Churchill Labour Councillors Murad Gassanly, Shamim Talukder and Jason Williams have welcomed the Mayor’s recognition of the concerns Pimlico residents feel about the bridge and welcome his commitment that any plans would have to have the support of all authorities.

“We call upon Wandsworth Council to stop the current project and genuinely engage with the local community. Wandsworth could have consulted and worked with local people but from their behaviour it’s obvious they’ve never really wanted to work with communities in Pimlico, but want to force through a bridge which will have a major impact on Pimlico without even genuinely consulting them first.” 

 

Wandsworth Council’s proposals for a Nine Elms bridge

Question No: 2016/2112

Andrew Dismore

Are you aware of the opposition to this proposal from the residents of Pimlico on the Westminster side of the river and their Councillors, who do not see any need for a bridge and see it as a highly expensive vanity project as Chelsea Bridge and Vauxhall Bridge are nearby, and two new tube stations are being built. Will you indicate to Wandsworth Council that this proposal does not have your support?

Written response from the Mayor

I understand that residents in the Pimlico area have concerns about the proposal and the impact it could have on the local area. No further work is being undertaken by TfL at this time and it is clear that any scheme requires support from all affected authorities.

A TfL study completed in 2013 found that a pedestrian and cyclist bridge connecting Pimlico and Nine Elms was feasible and could have a strong transport case, but significant environmental and planning issues would first need to be resolved if the bridge was to progress.

Seven Reasons why Westminster’s Labour Councillors oppose the proposed Nine Elms to Pimlico bridge

  1. There was no consultation with anybody in Westminster prior to Wandsworth launching the competition for this bridge. Wandsworth simply went ahead with no discussion or consultation, hardly a positive start to a project which says it wants to link the two sides of the river. Since then there has been no real discussion.
  2. The proposed bridge is entirely developer-driven and its sole aim is to make the expensive flats in the Power Station more attractive to overseas buyers by advertising a new direct route to Westminster and the West End.
  3. Some people claim that opposition is because we “don’t want nasty south Londoners to come through super posh St. George’s Square”. However, the truth is that we have been welcoming thousands of pupils from Lambeth, Wandsworth and Southwark to Pimlico School for over 50 years and continue to do so.
  4. The favoured landing site for the proposed bridge is near the Westminster Boating base, on the only piece of public green space in the area opposite the Churchill Gardens estate. Residents do not welcome the prospect of this small piece of public green space being lost to them.
  5. Some people have claimed that this is “the longest stretch of river in the capital without a pedestrian and cycle crossing”. However, there is already a brand new cycle super highway along Vauxhall Bridge Road and Vauxhall Bridge which has just been installed and was built for cyclists entering Pimlico/Westminster from the south. There is simply no need for another a few hundred yards away.
  6. We are very concerned about costs, given Westminster’s experience in 2000 when the costs of the Jubilee Bridge escalated because of the costs of excavating in the Thames where there are many UXBs from WW2 and where expensive ‘hand-digs’ are necessary for foundations. We believe that if there are extra costs involved (and there usually are) the public sector will be asked to pay.
  7. We would argue that the developer’s financial contribution to the community should be spent on new affordable housing, rather than on a vanity project that enhances the sales values of the new private flats

CHURCHILL WARD LABOUR ACTION REPORT – MARCH 2016

From your three Churchill Ward Labour Councillors – Murad Gassanly, Shamim Talker and Jason Williams
A Johnson POffice

 

 

 

 

 

Proposed Nine Elms to Pimlico Bridge – what you say

“Like you and other residents of Pimlico, we are opposed to this bridge being built. However, the matter cannot just rest there. The local authorities together with the press, should be made aware of the weight of public opinion is against this project. Thank you for your support in opposing this white elephant.”

“I’m delighted your opposed to this vanity project. Please keep me advised of your progress and any support I can give as a Pimlico resident, many thanks.”

“The Belgravia Residents Association have written strongly objecting to our local MP over this proposed bridge as per your news letter. We wholeheartedly support the stance adopted by Murad on behalf of his constituents.”

“What excellent work you have been doing and especially for us at Dolphin Square over the unwanted Bridge!!”

Churchill Ward Labour Action Report – February 2016

From your three Labour Councillors Murad Gassanly, Shamin Talukder and Jason Williams

A Johnson POffice

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advice Surgery dates announced for 2016

Churchill Ward Councillors hold a monthly surgery on Thursday evenings from 7.00pm – 8.00pm at the Churchill Hall, Churchill Gardens, SW1V 3AL on 11th February, 10th March, 14th April, 12th May, 9th June, 14th July, 11th August, 8th September, 13th October, 10th November and 8th December.

No appointment is necessary.

For enquiries please contact 0207 641 4299.

Churchill Ward Labour Action Report – January 2016

From your three Labour Councillors Murad Gassanly, Shamin Talukder and Jason Williams

A Johnson POffice

 

 

 

 

 

 

Churchill Ward Councillors are contributing to the Advice Plus service in South Westminster

Since 5 November 2015, Advice Plus, the free monthly advice and guidance service, has been available to South Westminster residents, offering support in areas of debt, housing, benefits and homelessness.

The service has already been running in North Westminster for five years, supporting 4,669 residents, helping to reduce debt and increasing income by £471,946.45.

Now, South Westminster residents, too, are able to benefit from free advice every Thursday between 2pm and 4pm at Woods House Ground Floor office, 7 Gatliff Road, SW1 

Funded by the Churchill Ward Budget, Advice Plus is supported by Robinson Wilson Solicitors, DOSH and the Churchill Ward Councillors, and includes the services of an Arabic interpreter.

For more information, please contact Ally Steel at 0208 825 1067.

Churchill Ward Councillors reaffirm their opposition to the proposed Nine Elms bridge

Churchill Ward’s three Labour Councillors have reaffirmed their opposition to the proposed Nine Elms bridge. At the Environment Scrutiny Committee on 18th January, Councillor Murad Gassanly, speaking on behalf of all three Churchill Ward Councillors, said:

“The Churchill Councillors have raised strong objections to the proposed bridge and ensured local residents views have been made clear to Westminster and Wandsworth Councils.

“We need the Council to be the voice of local residents – we need the council to reject the bridge at any landing point in Pimlico.”

“The report mentions the Pimlico Councillors present at the Bridge meeting but fails to mention that we the Churchill residents were also present and spoke at the meeting. The campaign against the bridge has been led by the Pimlico Alliance, a resident led campaign who have done sterling work in raising public awareness of the impact of the bridge. It is residents who have led this campaign and they who have said time and time again – no to the bridge.”

“If the bridge is a white elephant, a waste of money and unnecessary due to its closeness to another bridge in Pimlico Gardens then these concerns are exactly the same at the Grosvenor Rail Bridge.”

Churchill Gardens residents and ourselves as their Councillors have been clear from the start – we do not see any need for a bridge, our residents do not want a bridge and this is a highly expensive vanity project.

We have written to Wandsworth leader Cllr Govindia putting residents concerns and asking him to shelve this expensive white elephant – Cllr Govindia’s lack of concern and respect was shown by the fact we didn’t even receive an acknowledgement. Cllr Jason Williams spoke to the Wandsworth Guardian saying “We have Chelsea Bridge and Vauxhall Bridge further down, and two new tube stations, plus bus routes.It is probably going to be one of the most connected areas in the country. We want Wandsworth to reverse the decision, stop this in its tracks.”

“Wandsworth’s approach to the bridge shows its disinterest, verging on contempt for those of us this side of the river. Rather than genuinely engage with local residents they have adopted a high handed approach enforcing gagging orders on those who sit on a judging panel and refusing to respond to local concerns. Wandsworth could have consulted and worked with local people but from their behaviour it’s obvious they’ve never really wanted to work with in Pimlico but force through a bridge which will have a major impact on Pimlico without even genuinely consulting them first. With Council leaders from the same party we had hoped Westminster’s lobbying had been more effective,

Wandsworth’ disrespect for local opinion can be seen by their much repeated claim that the bridge will enable Pimlico residents to visit the Nine Elms Waitrose as if this was the clinching argument. This says a lot about how they view Pimlico as well as their lack of insight to how Pimlico people feel about the bridge.

Let the message from this meeting be clear – Churchill Ward residents and their Councillors do not want a bridge anywhere in Pimlico – we do not want it it in Pimlico Gardens or by the Grosvenor Rail Bridge.”

Churchill Ward Labour Action Report – December 2015

From your three Labour Councillors Murad Gassanly, Shamin Talukder and Jason Williams

A Johnson POffice

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nine Elms to Pimlico Bridge

We are continuing to work closely with local residents to voice our strong opposition to Wandsworth Council’s proposal:

“I’m writing to you regarding the new bridge planned on the Pimlico side of SW1. We do not want to loose any further public accessible green spaces in SW1. St George’s Square and indeed the garden and Westminster Boating Base are a valuable community asset used by many families, caring dog owners and professionals to escape cramped housing conditions in Central London.”

“Presumably it is for the benefit of all those new flats going up at Battersea, so that they can get to Pimlico and Sloane Square to shop! I dread the consequences for the latter. We shall be swamped. And where are they going to put their bikes when they get there? “

“I am so pleased that the Labour councillors are backing us against this bridge.”

There are also a few supporters of the bridge:

“While I appreciate many are against it I find it frustrating to always hear about all residents are against it. Many many people I know see a lot of benefits to the bridge and it is a vocal group of residents, of a certain demographic, that are against it. The arguments they have put out are inaccurate and scaremongering in many cases and seem backed by little fact. I do hope that when the case is put forward through the official channels that it will be looked at by the facts and not the emotion. The new plans address all the concerns that residents have put forward in a comprehensive way so it feels that there is less and less of a reason to be against this bridge, and more reason to be be pro it”

Junction of Vauxhall Bridge Road and Lupus Street

We have asked Transport for London to look into this issue:

“These lights are synced in a very inefficient way resulting in tail backs to St George’s Square at peak time. The reason is that the lights need to be in sync with the junction of Vauxhall Bridge Road and John Islip Street to allow traffic to actually exit Lupus Street onto Vauxhall Bridge Road. I appreciate it is not very clear on email but anyone observing for five minutes at rush hour will be able to see the problem. I am not sure who is responsible for this but would be grateful if they were able to look into this.”

Churchill Ward Labour Action Report – November 2015

From your three Labour Councillors Murad Gassanly, Shamin Talukder and Jason Williams

A Johnson POffice

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nine Elms to Pimlico Bridge – Update

We are continuing to work closely with local residents to oppose Wandsworth Council’s proposed Nine Elms to Pimlico bridge. Residents say:

“Pimlico residents do not see the purpose of this fast cycling route and pedestrian path for several reasons:

  • Vauxhall Bridge already connects the two boroughs of Westminster and Wandsworth
  • The bridge will destroy beautiful gardens/trees and squares in Pimlico
  • It will create more traffic jams in Pimlico and overload the Pimlico underground station.
  • And sadly it will destroy many peoples lives here in Pimlico by destroying Pimlico Village/ community

People also feel that is costly and that the money could be better spent on more needed projects.”

Councillor Jason Williams, Churchill Ward, said:

“Wandsworth should call time on this unwanted vanity project. They’ve refused to listen to a large number of residents in Pimlico who don’t want the bridge. There has been a large community petition against the bridge and a wide ranging community campaign and yet Wandsworth still plough on without regard to the views of residents.  We call on Wandsworth Council to cancel this project before even more public money is spent on its development. “

Churchill Gardens flats being used as tourists hotels

The West End Extra reports:

“RESIDENTIAL properties are being let out as holiday homes on a near-industrial scale, changing the historic make-up of central ­London neighbourhoods, City Hall has been warned.

Councillors have been asked to investigate the growing trend for landlords to give up long-stay tenants in favour of taking bookings from tourists through websites such as Airbnb, which can prove more financially lucrative.

Residents in Pimlico this week spoke out about how the increasing number of lets to holidaymakers was changing their area, with people on the Churchill Gardens Estate complaining that a ­settled community was being replaced by an endless stream of people with suitcases coming and going. Some say they no longer know who their neighbours are.

Labour councillor Murad Gassanly raised the issue at last week’s full council meeting after ­residents complained to him about “noisy parties” being held at properties and said former council flats were now being set up as rooms “numbered like a hotel”.

He urged the council to investigate the issue and to find out whether any council properties were being rented out – which is normally against ­tenancy rules.

The government is ­currently relaxing the rules on short lets to allow more people with property to cash in on Airbnb-style bookings, effectively turning their portfolios into mini-hotels and often undercutting the hospitality industry’s big names.

Cllr Gassanly, who lives on the Churchill Gardens Estate, said: “We have started noticing a lot of tourists and that the frequency of how quickly people are moving in and out is increasing. People are staying for a week or two, then moving on. I have had people complaining of people having parties and being noisy all weekend.”

He added: “One woman told me she knocked on someone’s door and noticed all the rooms were numbered and there was tourist advertising in there. I looked on Airbnb and there are more than 30 properties on there on the Churchill Gardens Estate at any one time. Long-term residents of the estate say it does undermine the sense of community and does create a transient atmosphere on the estate.”

Madge Cavalla, 82, who has been a council tenant in Churchill Gardens for more than 40 years, said: “When I first moved here it was an estate that was beautiful to live in, I was in a lovely block. But unfortunately now, other than a few people on the ground floor, I don’t know anyone at all. I see a lot of people going up and down with cases. They go away and then a new lot comes up with cases.”

Letting a property in a prime location such as Pimlico in a hotel-style arrangement can result in higher profits than simply renting it out.

Ms Cavalla said: “This is an ideal place for people to come to on holiday because of Buckingham Palace and so forth, which is why people buy them with no intention to stay there. The feeling on the estate is appalling at the moment. There isn’t a community anymore.”

She added: “There is no way I would give my flat up. I know if I did it would be sold by the council to someone who would rent it out.”

The Churchill Gardens Estate, which was developed between 1946 and 1962, has 1,600 homes across 32 houses. Many were sold off through the right to buy scheme and are now a mix of council homes and private rents.

Long-term resident Viktor George Beauvois, 69, said: “There are loads of people coming at all hours, morning, noon and night. Rooms are being let out on a daily and weekly basis.”

Conservative Cllr Heather Acton said: “We were very disappointed with the government decision to deregulate and enable short letting for a 90-day period of a calendar year.”

She said they are lobbying the government to “bring in some sort of registration system for platform bookers” so that they can monitor how long people are letting for. The council has also applied for whole-ward exemptions for Bryanston and Dorset Square and Hyde Park wards, as well as about 20 individual properties across the borough.

Cllr Acton added: “On Airbnb there are 3,000 properties across Westminster and 2,000 of those are whole properties, not just a room. And 80 per cent of those are let 100 per cent of the time. They are not people going on holiday, they are people investing in a flat to short let it all the time, and the rent they get is four times the normal annual rent, if not more. It has become a business. There was a one-bedroom flat in Covent Garden which is advertised on Airbnb as sleeping seven.”

Churchill Ward Labour Action Report – September 2015

From your three Labour Councillors Murad Gassanly, Shamin Talukder and Jason Williams
Churchill team

Westminster Conservatives push through controversial UTC plans against residents’ opposition

Labour Councillors speak for the local community

Westminster Council’s Planning Committee has voted a 3-1 majority in favour of controversial plans for the Ebury Bridge Centre which includes a University Technical College (UTC) and residential tower block, with all of the Conservative councillors voting for the plans.

Churchill Labour Councillors Jason Williams, Shamim Talukder and Murad Gassanly expressed the deep concerns of residents in writing and spoke at the Committee meeting against the plans.

The college proposal is very divisive due to the massive impact it will have on the community. But to add insult to injury no affordable housing will be included in the development.

Cllr Jason Williams said, “whilst we have supported a UTC we have serious concerns about the impact this and the residential building will have on the local community. We have been speaking to local residents and will continue to work with them on this. It is a real issue that this is a school without any outdoor recreation area within the development and we had hoped for the application to be deferred so residents’ concerns could be taken on board.”

Cllr Shamim Talukder said “we had hoped that the committee would have heard local residents’ real concerns at both the height of the residential offer and the impact the college will have on the local community which we represent. There were loud gasps in the audience when the illustrations of the impact of the building were shown which shows just what a huge impact this will have in the community.”

Cllr Murad Gassanly commented, “I’m really disappointed that the views of the local residents haven’t been taken account of in making this decision. This really brings home why Labour have been calling for local residents to be able to speak at Planning Committees so those directly affected by proposals can put their point of view. We spoke on behalf of local residents whose views we wanted to ensure were heard as loudly as possible and are disappointed at the majority decision.”

Link to council report: http://committees.westminster.gov.uk/documents/s14570/Item%2001%20-%20Ebury%20Bridge%20Centre%20Sutherland%20Street%20London%20SW1V%204LH.pdf

Churchill Ward Labour Action Report – July 2015

From your three Labour Councillors Murad Gassanly, Shamin Talukder and Jason Williams
Churchill team

Churchill Ward Councillors express residents’ concerns over the plans for the proposed Sir Simon Milton University Technical College

Churchill Ward Labour Councillors Murad Gassanly, Shamim Talukder and Jason Williams have written to the Council expressing residents’ concerns over the plans for the proposed Sir Simon Milton University Technical College in Sutherland Street, Pimlico.

The Councillors have written to Councillor Danny Chalkley, the Cabinet member responsible for the development, expressing concern that while “residents note the reduction in the height of the residential offering this is still substantial taller than the five stories in the original planning brief which residents were referred to in the run up to the planning application. The proposed residential building will dwarf nearby buildings, including the White Ferry Pub next door; it also sets a precedent for larger buildings in the area.”

They have also raised issues with the transport consultation and impact on the C10 bus route, as well as the impact on the community with the opening of the College.

The Churchill Councillors previously wrote to the Council on these issues in December 2014 when they raised concerns that the consultation proposals were insufficient to enable everyone who wanted to see the plans to attend.

The Councillors have asked for clarification on how much the required financial shortfall for the building of the college will be and how much money will be generated from the sale of the flats which don’t include provision for social housing.

Churchill Ward Councillors call for views on Travis Perkins timber yard

Churchill Ward Labour Councillors Murad Gassanly, Shamim Talukder and Jason Williams have been speaking to local traders and residents on the proposed redevelopment of the historic timber yard in Pimlico Road operated by Travis Perkins.

Grosvenor Estates who own the freehold of the timber yard are expected to submit an application for three large retail units and flats on the site of the yard.

Councillor Murad Gassanly said: “Pimlico Road offers a unique range of quality independent stores and businesses which have been built up over a number of years. We want to ensure that local businesses are able to thrive and the community there continues.”

Councillor Shamim Talukder said: “The traders we have spoken to are concerned about the plans, we would like to hear from local residents and businesses on their views on the proposals. Please get in touch with us with your views.”

Councillor Jason Williams said: “The timber yard has an importance in the area both in terms of its historical significance and its continual existence as a functioning business in the area. We are continuing to speak to local people about their concerns and want to hear from people about their views on the plans.”

The Churchill Councillors can be contacted on info@churchilllabour.co.uk

You can read about the proposals here http://www.homesandproperty.co.uk/property-news/news/duke-westminster-gives-pimlico-small-shopkeepers-boot-make-way

A Bridge Too Far – Churchill Labour Councillors call for Nine Elms to Pimlico bridge plans to be shelved

Churchill Labour Councillors Murad Gassanly, Shamim Talukder and Jason Williams have called for Wandsworth Council to shelve their plans for their proposed Nine Elms to Pimlico bridge.

Since last year’s local elections the Churchill ward Councillors have been putting forward their objections to the scheme and the views of local residents to both Westminster Council and Wandsworth’s consultants.

Councillor Murad Gassanly said “We remain opposed to the bridge due to its impact on the local community and lack of need given the proximity of Vauxhall and Chelsea bridges, as well as the upcoming cycle superhighway.”

Councillor Shamim Talukder said “The bridge is an unwanted vanity project. We believe the £43m could be better spent on public services rather than wasted on this project.”

Councillor Jason Williams said “It’s very concerning that Wandsworth keep pushing on with this project despite continual opposition from this side of the river. We have been objecting to this bridge from day one and yet Wandsworth refuse to listen to local residents.”

The Churchill Councillors have written to Wandsworth Council Leader Councillor Ravi Govindia to call on him to end the project.

Councillor Ravi Govindia
Leader of the Council
The Town Hall
Wandsworth High Street
London
SW18 2PU

Dear Councillor Govindia,

Proposed Nine Elms/ Pimlico bridge

We are writing as the Councillors for the Churchill Ward in the City of Westminster to ask that you shelve plans for a bridge between Nine Elms and Pimlico.

When we met with your consultants Colander Associated Ltd on 24 November 2014 we made clear residents’ objections to the proposal and since then there have been continual opposition to your plans from across Pimlico.

We very much regret that Wandsworth seem set to press forward with these plans despite being made well aware of local opposition. It is time that Wandsworth listened to opinion on this side of the river and cancel your plans.

We share local residents’ concern at the loss of green space in Pimlico Gardens and believe that with the Vauxhall and Chelsea bridges and the Cycle super highway the proposed bridge is unnecessary and unwelcome.

Yours sincerely

Councillors Murad Gassanly, Shamim Talukder and Jason Williams

Petition to stop the proposed bridge from Nine Elms to Pimlico 

We are supporting the petition to stop the proposed bridge from Nine Elms to Pimlico which is being promoted by Wandsworth Council who have hired Colander Associates to operate a design competition www.nepbridgecompetition.co.uk.

The proposed bridge is not yet live. Let’s keep it that way. TFL’s initial feasibility studies estimated time savings, compared with crossing the existing bridges, of around 7 minutes for pedestrians, and 1 minute for cyclists.

You can sign the petition here http://change.pimlicoalliance.uk

The two existing Chelsea and Vauxhall bridges are about 1 mile apart.

The proposed Nine Elms to Pimlico Bridge would cause:

1.  The catastrophic loss of Pimlico Gardens & Shrubbery, the only riverside garden square in London;

2.  The loss of amenity in St George’s Square gardens, the only significant public green space and play area in Pimlico, to the detriment of residents from the whole of Pimlico;

3.  A threat to the existence of Westminster Boating Charity, a longstanding youth charity in Pimlico;

4.  The loss of and damage to many high value mature trees in both gardens;

5.  An estimated 9000 cyclists and/or 9000 pedestrians crossing over the bridge every day, ruining the tranquil character of St George’s Square and causing disruption to residents across Pimlico;

6.  Vehicle traffic congestion on Grosvenor Road backing up along the embankment to Vauxhall Bridge, Millbank, Lupus Street, Chelsea Bridge and beyond, with associated noise and pollution;

7.  Congestion at Pimlico Underground Station during peak hours.

Churchill Ward Labour Action Report – June 2015

From your three Labour Councillors Murad Gassanly, Shamin Talukder and Jason Williams
Churchill team

Claverton Street/Grosvenor Road

We have repeated our request to the Council for a pedestrian crossing just before the Claverton Street junction on Grosvenor Road near the layby on the riverside. Residents say “it is a very dangerous road with fast moving traffic and we need to cross to get to our cars”

Balmoral Castle pub, Churchill Gardens

The Churchill Gardens Residents Association has made an application to Westminster City Council to register the Balmoral Castle Public House as Community Asset. They say:

“Following developers bulldozing the Carlton Tavern pub in Maida Vale against the community’s wishes, and without council permission, the Churchill Garden’s Residents Association has made a formal application to apply for the Balmoral Castle to be registered as a Community Asset. Until its closure, the Balmoral Castle was a valued social centre for the Churchill Gardens estate, and it should become so again. We believe the loss of this property would also be detrimental to the character of the conservation area, and would sever an important historic link to Victorian Pimlico and those workers who were instrumental in the building of the Pimlico Cubitt estate. We understand a commercial offer has been made to the council but they have yet to make a decision on the future of the pub. We hope that it can now be returned to the community that it has served for over the past 100 years”

Nine Elms to Pimlico bridge – what you say

“Please. please NO to this unnecessary project. Why are the ‘powers that be’ trying to destroy Pimlico? Why would anyone think that Pimlico residents have a burning desire to become attached to all the facilities planned for the Nine Elms regeneration. Pimlico already has its own wonderful amenities, markets, shops, beautiful streets, green spaces, riversides, ancient buildings, beautiful churches, social housing, private houses, communities etc. Transport is brilliant and it’s close to Victoria and Chelsea with all that that brings. Both Chelsea and Vauxhall bridges provide links to areas south of the river. So, WHY? This idea might be an architect’s dream but really! Most people can’t see the worth of it.”

Churchill Ward Labour Action Report – April 2015

From your three Labour Councillors Murad Gassanly, Shamin Talukder and Jason Williams
Churchill team

We don’t want the Garden Bridge

Churchill Ward Councillor Murad Gassanly had a letter published by the ‘Evening Standard’ on 16th April:

“Simon Jenkins [April 14] argues that without a bridge to connect developments on the south bank of the Thames to Pimlico “rents will fall and social housing will take over”. That would actually be a massive relief to the hard-pressed residents in both Wandsworth and Westminster.

Westminster Labour and Conservative councillors have already voiced their unanimous opposition to Wandsworth Council’s plans to build a pedestrian/bike bridge from Nine Elms to Grosvenor Road.

Any suggestion that the Garden Bridge should take its place will generate vehement opposition from the local community and councillors.

This project is an example of just how detached metropolitan elites are from the needs of ordinary Londoners.”

Nine Elms to Pimlico Bridge proposal – what you say

“This is a Wandsworth/TfL adventure with the Nine Elms consortium. WCC have said in writing that they don’t want anything to do with it. We are keeping in touch with it via the design competition, but fear that TfL will bulldozer the proposal through (they have the power). St Georges Square and Dolphin Square will fight hard, but will need all the help we can get to avoid the predictable disaster of the bridge.”

“I just wanted to express my concern about the new pedestrian bridge from Nine Elms to Pimlico. I don’t know if this has already been approved and I seriously hope it hasn’t. First of all, I don’t understand the need for such an expensive project since Vauxhall Bridge is only a 5 minutes’ walk away. Secondly, I have concerns that it will ruin the tranquil setting of the only square in London bordering the Thames. I saw to my despair the four selected designs in the press and I cannot imagine who would want this and secondly why this is necessary. Wandsworth seem to be running the show but Westminster must have a word to say in this and I strongly hope Westminster will not allow it. It’s a pure waste of money.”

“This is a great opportunity to support a new and exciting architectural feature in London. Agreed, it needs to go through the appropriate consultation but this will give Pimlico better access to the exciting development on Nine Elms and will perhaps provide more passing trade for some of our shops, more and more of which are closing down and being converted to flats.”

Churchill Ward Labour Action Report – March 2015

From your three Labour Councillors Murad Gassanly, ShaminTalukder and Jason Williams
Churchill team

Grosvenor Waterside – Purple Dragon

We are delighted that the Planning Committee refused permission for this application to allow a car valet service to operate. Councillor Jason Williams spoke at the Committee and said:

“As Ward Councillor for the area I’m speaking in support of the officer’s recommendation to refuse permission for this application. The car valet service is greatly adding to the traffic issues for residents in Gatliff Road in Gatliff Close and the Grosvenor Waterfront.

As you will see from the report the application is unnecessary as the applicant already have spaces provided in the underground car park and the permission to use these spaces was intended to avoid the very disruption to local residents that we currently see. The underground car park is well lit and safe enough for residents to use as it would be to visitors to the area. We already have a nursery in Gatliff Road which doesn’t feel the need for valet parking and sees no reason to offer this to its clients.

The disruption is not just the congestion in the civic square but the subsequent noise, the effect on road safety and the pollution from cars waiting to pass in what is already a very narrow street. From my visits to the site I’ve seen first-hand the impact this is having on people’s lives and the ability to enjoy their own homes. In a number of studio flats in Gatliff Close there was constant light pollution from backed up cars and they were unable to open the windows due to the pollution from the traffic. While I was there I could hear the noise and smell the exhaust fumes inside the flats and spoke to residents so fed up with this disruption to their homes that they were considering leaving.

The continuation of valet parking is having a very real effect on traffic in what is already a very narrow road – it is also having a very real effect on the lives of the people who have made the area their home. I therefore urge you to support the officers’ findings and reject this application.”

After the meeting residents told us;

“Thank you and your colleagues for your help in ensuring that all our voices were heard as we tried to end the chaos caused by valet parking for the Purple Dragons on Grosvenor Waterside. We have written separately to Jason Williams, who has been quite splendid and we are doing everything we can to make sure that our neighbours are aware of this.”

Labour Councillors have voiced opposition to Wandsworth Council’s proposal for a new pedestrian/cycle bridge from Nine Elms to Pimlico

Labour Churchill Ward Councillors Jason Williams, Murad Gassanly and Shamim Talukder have raised strong concerns about the damaging impact that the proposed bridge would have on Pimlico’s last remaining piece of public open space by the river

Churchill Ward Labour Action Report – February 2015

From your three Labour Councillors Murad Gassanly, ShaminTalukder and Jason Williams
Churchill team

Grosvenor Waterside

We are supporting residents on this issue:

“We have complained about the dangerous use of valet parking by parents of children at the Purple Dragon, a commercial organisation at Grosvenor Waterside. Purple Dragon parents should park their cars directly into the underground car park where spaces are available for their exclusive use. Instead there is an insistence by parents on valet parking which means a considerable increase in car journeys in a very restricted space. Rather than going directly into the car park entered from Ebury Bridge Road, the parent drives the car down Gatliff Road to the security office. A parking attendant then does a three point turn and drives back down Gatliff Road. To enter the car park, he must stop and do another three point turn in the relatively small area directly in front of the Sainsbury’s store and a few metres from the busy junction with Ebury Bridge Road, with cars turning in from left and right. This procedure is repeated when the car is returned to the parent. So valet parking necessitates four trips down Gatliff Road, whereas none would be necessary if parents drove straight into the car park. Each trip also necessitates two three point turns. Residents argue that this valet parking system is downright dangerous and totally unnecessary. There is ample space on offer in the underground car park. At the very least we trust that the council will examine the safety of this operation in some detail.”

Old Pimlico Library

We are making further enquiries about the future of the building after receiving this enquiry:

“What is happening to the old Pimlico library by the tube station? It has been empty for years and it is a disgrace to have an empty building like this when housing is much needed.”

The Council has told us that the building has been let to a company called Thamesview who will be using it as a training centre for their staff. They will shortly embark on a refurbishment and fit-out of the premises, subject to planning and listed building consent and which is pending.

Community concern at Westminster University Technical College plans

Churchill ward Councillors and the local community have expressed concerns about the plans for a University Technical College on Sutherland Street in Pimlico. Despite Councillors being promised full community engagement only two public exhibition sessions were organised by the Developers, Bougyues and Redrow on Thursday 27th November – 2pm-8pm and Saturday 29th November – 10am-2pm ahead of the UTC’s proposed opening in September 2016.

Local ward Councillor Jason Williams has written to Councillor Danny Chalkley, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, raising the local community’s concern over the lack of a full public consultation for the proposed UTC development. Councillor Williams said “we support the UTC as it will provide high quality vocational training but residents must be fully engaged in any consultation and they must have an adequate opportunity to make their views heard.”

Councillor Williams said “we also seek assurances that there would be no loss of parking in the area and that there is a full transport assessment undertaken before the scheme goes to the planning committee to ensure there isn’t an undue burden on the existing transport infrastructure. The community are also rightly concerned about the proposed height of the residential building and the impact on the surrounding buildings in the conservation area.”

The UTC was given the go-ahead by the Department of Education earlier this year and will offer courses for 175 12-16 year olds in its first year offering vocational and academic qualifications.

Letter to Councillor Danny Chalkley

Dear Councillor Chalkley,

I am writing to express concern over the time frame for the public consultation for the University Technical College (UTC) proposed for Sutherland Street.

We support the UTC as it will provide high quality vocational training locally but do have concerns over a number of issues including the public consultation, the effect on parking provision, the height of the proposed building and the lack of social housing provision.

When Councillor Talukder and I met with Benjamin Budd from Bouygues and Giles Martin from Redrow in November 2014 we discussed there being a public consultation at the Thamesbank Centre. We had hoped that this would afford all in the Community adequate time to view and comment on the plans. However the two sessions were organised on Thursday 27th November – 2pm-8pm and Saturday 29th November – 10am-2pm which are insufficient to enable everyone who wanted to see the plans to attend. We therefore do not believe that the consultation process has given residents adequate chance to make representations.

Residents are also concerned at the tight timescales in the expected grant of planning permission for redevelopment and the UTC’s proposed opening in September 2016.

During our meeting with the developers in November we raised residents’ concerns about the impact of the development on parking. We were told that the developers wouldn’t want to encourage parking on the street and would have car club spaces. We are now hearing from residents that on-sire parking provision will only be 30 space on site and this will place an additional burden on the on-street parking provision. We seek assurances that there would no loss of parking in the area and on Sutherland Street itself.

During the meeting we raised the issue of a transport assessment and the developers said they would be doing this and had a transport consultant on board. We would seek assurances that a thorough review of the impact the development will have on transport in the local area including on the C10 bus route.

We also seek assurances on the height of the building and its impact on the surrounding buildings in the conservation area.

We very much hope that the Council will look again at these issues and ensure that the views of the local community are fully heard in the consultation process.

Councillor Jason Williams
Churchill Ward

Churchill Ward Labour Action Report – November 2014

From your three Labour Councillors Murad Gassanly, ShaminTalukder and Jason Williams
Churchill team

Campaign to reinstate 24 bus stop on Lupus Street continues

24 bus

We have written to the Council again about the long-standing problems caused by the relocation of the 24 bus stop in Lupus Street;

Councillor Shamim Talukder has written to Councillor Ed Argar to point out residents’ concerns:

“The moving of the bus stop is a matter of concern to local residents especially as the new location makes it so difficult for disabled and older people to alight. The original bus stop was hit by a Tesco delivery van in December 2012 resulting in its removal and later rebuilding at its present location. Transport for London’s rationale for the move was that the bus stop had experienced repeated damage but as far as we are aware the Tesco’s van accident was the first such incident. If TfL are citing this as the reason behind the move could they please provide us with a log listing each incident and who was responsible?

The new bus stop’s location means that passengers have to alight on a narrow stretch of pavement which is badly lit and especially narrow around the recycle bins around Johnson Place. Local residents will expect a full explanation and a reassurance that this issue will be looked at again.”

Claverton Street

We are taking up this issue with City West Homes

“The street properties in Claverton Street are in a disgraceful state – dirty, plaster peeling off in chunks, window frames beginning to warp and rot, but external decoration is not scheduled until 2016 – they haven’t been done since around 2003. I have water still coming through a badly fitting yellow cap which is over the broken cover to the old coal cellar, this cap is on the public footpath – ill-fitting and tremendously noisy when any one walks/rides or jumps on it. I have to paddle through water or jump over ice when it freezes – and I have been told it is my responsibility to pay for this yellow temporary cap to be replaced. Surely as a Westminster Council Tennant I am not responsible for that.”

Pimlico Library lift

We are making enquiries – again – as the library lift is once more out of action;

“Apparently it’s been out for over three weeks now. The young mothers groups are unable to meet as the Adult education people are saying they cannot leave their buggies upstairs and disabled people have not had access to the library”

The Council says;

“We are aware of problems with the lift at Pimlico library and it has been agreed to replace it. Property Services commissioned a feasibility study which looked at the level of use, and recommended a new robust passenger lift will need to be installed. The estimated budget spend to replace the lift is £250,000. Property Services has gained written consent from Pimlico Academy, and met WAES to discuss the impact of the proposed works on their service. WAES were concerned that the work which includes excavating a new lift shaft would have an adverse impact on their attendance and income and requested changes to the plans which will increase costs and time to some extent. A tender has now been issued with two options, one that meets WAES requirements and an “unrestricted” option so that the any additional cost attracted by the former option is understood. We recognise this is not ideal – although the lift’s reliability has improved since the new motor was fitted it is still far from reliable. As soon as we have got clarity on the timescale we will explain this to customers, and in the meantime library staff are helping customers who have buggies to use the stairs on occasions when the lift breaks down.”

St George’s Square

We have asked the Council to see what can be done about this issue;

“I live in St. Georges Square in Pimlico and wanted to draw attention to the brick building that acts an air vent for the tube station in the park triangle. It’s not an attractive building and it’s been a victim of graffiti several times over the years. I wondered if the brickwork walls could be covered by ivy or some other creeper. This would prevent graffiti and help the building blend in with the park surroundings, making it less of an eyesore.”

Churchill Gardens Public Meeting – 16th October

Councillor Murad Gassanly reports;

‘Yesterday evening myself and my fellow Churchill ward Councillors attended a packed public meeting, organised by Churchill Gardens Preservation Society – a new organisation, set up by local residents to protect the estate from unwanted redevelopment. Myself and Jason Thomas Williams assured residents we’re speaking up for them at the City Hall and are opposed to any demolitions on Churchill Gardens estate – a protected conservation area of major architectural and historical value. The estate needs investment and more social, affordable housing. The Council’s previous attempts at “consultation” have been abandoned recently in the face of growing opposition and negative media coverage. The Council accepted that their approach fell far below residents’ expectations. Now we need to determine new terms of reference for a proper consultation process, to be led by the community, in order to determine what is needed on the estate. The people must be in charge of this process. Labour members will work with the Council to ensure our residents get the best possible deal.’

Call for Westminster Council action against Churchill Gardens ‘slum landlord’

coleridge 1 (4)coleridge 2 (2)coleridge 3 (2)

Westminster Labour Councillors have called on Westminster City Council to take action against the landlord of a former Council flat in Coleridge House, Churchill Gardens, Pimlico.

The two bed former Council property is rented by the Council from a private landlord and used by the Council as temporary accommodation to house a vulnerable single-parent family with three children with special needs. The rent is £500 per week and is paid for by Housing Benefit.

In July 2014 the property was inspected by the Council’s Environmental Health officers. That inspection found various hazards, including exploding electrical appliances and sockets which pose a serious risk to the residents. Other problems at the flat include mould and damp, the front door has no proper locks and bolts have to be used to keep the door secure. Over the past two months these problems have got worse as the landlord took no remedial steps to repair the problems.

Labour Councillors are calling for the Council to issue an Enforcement Notice on the landlord to require him to do repair these problems without further delay.

Councillor Murad Gassanly, Labour Councillor for Churchill Ward, said;

“The issue here is that this was a council home once. Now it is a slum, and a private landlord is milking the system by renting what was a public property back to the Council at full market rate rent, whilst neglecting the property, ignoring Council requests, and mistreating the residents. On top of this, the flat is not suitable or liveable and is a danger to the residents and their neighbours due to fire hazard.

“Whilst many Westminster landlords, working with the Council, are socially responsible partners, there are unfortunately some who abuse their position. We call for robust action against these bad landlords. It is a scandal that former council flats are used to milk the Housing Benefit system and exploit local authorities. It is even more disturbing when bad landlords neglect their properties allowing them to fall into disrepair. By ignoring their responsibilities these bad landlords are putting residents’ health and wellbeing at risk. Westminster Council must do more to ensure stringent adherence to our health and environmental safety standards.”

See http://www.westendextra.com/news/2014/oct/fears-safety-westminster-families-%E2%80%98temporary-accommodation%E2%80%99-after-single-mother-danger

Trolleys and rubbish left outside Lupus Street ‘Express’ store sparks anger

Tesco cages

The ‘West End Extra’ reports;

“PILES of rubbish and delivery trolleys left blocking the pavement outside a Tesco Express in Pimlico have led to a volley of complaints.

One angry local has launched an online campaign to document the disruption on a Twitter account named “Scenes from a Tesco”.

The anonymous user describes the purpose of the account as “cataloging the often-depressing scenes from Lupus Street Tesco”.

The problem dates back many months and the account sprang in to life in April.

Churchill ward councillor Murad Gassanly said he had received a number of complaints about the so-called “cages” obstructing the street.

He said: “We have had several complaints about the cages outside and we are talking to Tesco about this.”

In May, the user, who tweets as @awfulmarket, said: “Stop polluting my Lupus Street neighbourhood pavement, @tesco #sackthismanagernow”

It was hoped a recent refurbishment of the store would solve the problem but days later the cages returned and @awfulmarket posted a picture of the scene with the caption: “Welcome to beautiful, newly remodelled Lupus Street Tesco.”

Cllr Gassanly said: “We have had a refurbishment and we had hoped the change would have an impact on all these issues.

“Unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be the case.”

Sue Walsh, chair of the Churchill Gardens residents’ association, said it was a ongoing problem, adding: “I have personally witnessed women having to walk in the road with their buggies and elderly people having to try to dance around them.

“At the weekend it’s even worse. They just have them everywhere and they’re there all day long.

“People go there because it’s convenient. The elderly don’t want to walk for miles to get their paper and milk, I certainly don’t, but I want Tesco to have more responsibility in Pimlico.”

As part of the remodelling, the store handed out shopping bags with “I love Pimlico” emblazoned on the side. However, their commitment to the area was questioned when the lines of cages quickly returned and @awfulmarket tweeted a picture of the mess with the accompanying caption: “You handed out bags that said ‘I heart Pimlico’. Clearly, @Tesco, you do not.”

A Tesco spokesperson said: “We are very sorry for the inconvenience and are working closely with our store and distribution team to address the issue.”

Nik Slingsby works with local Councillors to save Churchill Gardens‏

Nik and CG Cllrs

Nik Slingsby, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Cities of London and Westminster says:

“I am saddened by proposed plans to put the Churchill Gardens playground underground in order to make more space for luxury apartments in latest ‘regeneration’ plans.

The Churchill Gardens Estate isn’t just another brownfield site, ripe for property development by Westminster Council, it’s residents’ homes and their community.

The Labour Party has launched the ‘Save Churchill Gardens Campaign’ to give a voice to residents’ concerns . Please let your Labour councillors: Murad Gassanly, Shamin Talukder, Jason Williams or myself, know if you have any queries or need assistance.”

Churchill Ward Labour Action Report – August 2014

From your three Labour Councillors Murad Gassanly, ShaminTalukder and Jason Williams
Churchill team

Pimlico Road

We have asked about the temporary bus stop (no 44) that was removed in Pimlico Road as part of the Chelsea Barracks construction. We have had complaints from residents who now have to walk up to 10 minutes for the nearest bus stop. TFL argue this is because the Council didn’t enforce parking restrictions and cars obstructed the temporary bus stop. TFL blames the Council. We want the bus stop reinstated and the Council to enforce parking restrictions there robustly.

Former Pimlico Library, Rampayne Street

We continue to support residents who are opposed to Sainsbury’s revised application for the old Pimlico Library site. Like residents, we would prefer community use of the former library building.

Churchill Gardens under the ‘Mirror’ spotlight

Ros Wynne Jones writes in the ‘Mirror’;

Churchill gardens plan

“A few weeks ago I went to a public meeting at the heart of a sprawling 1950s council estate in central London. The community centre was packed and airless. Tempers were flaring.

“You say you’re regenerating the estate, but how come our kids are losing their playground?” one mother shouted. “Why should we believe a word that comes out of your mouths?”

Families in the meeting at Churchill Gardens showed me an ­architect’s drawing that had an old people’s home on top of a huge section of the local primary school’s playground.

A previous public meeting had been told the ­playground would move underground. Now, local Labour councillors have launched a petition to save it.

“You’ve never heard anything like it,” Emma Taylor, 43, a mother of five whose daughter attends Churchill Gardens Academy, told me. “An underground playground! Because our kids don’t deserve fresh air, do they? Or apparently daylight, since the three-storey height of the building will take the light from the classrooms.”

Churchill Gardens Academy supports many children with special needs.

“God knows how those children would cope with an underground playground,” Emma says.

The school is one of Lord Nash’s academies, run by his Future schools trust.

The former venture ­capitalist also happens to be the Academies Minister in the current Tory-led Government.

But when the school was recently acquired by Future, the Conservative council didn’t grant a large section of the playground to the school. It is that part that would be built on.

In fact, there is already provision for elderly people on Churchill Gardens – on church land, adjoining the estate.

But this land is being cleared for luxury apartments overlooking the Thames and the multi-billion-pound Battersea power station development. Flats that no one in the overcrowded Churchill Gardens estate will be able to afford.

Churchill Gardens is one of the finest social housing estates in London. It pioneered “district heating” and still has a heating tower that provides the estate’s heating and hot water.

Built where the Blitz had levelled Victorian housing to rubble, it was made a ­conservation area in 1990, and some blocks and the water tower are Grade II listed. Some of its flats have river views, and it’s a heartbeat away from the ­tree-lined Embankment. Its neighbour is the affluent Dolphin Square, where many MPs live.

Residents in ­Westminster lived through the Dame Shirley Porter scandal in the 1980s, when homeless shelters were sold, nurses and students forced out and social housing ­engineered to ensure a Conservative council victory.

This week, it was revealed two ­property developers have been leafleting council properties in Westminster offering families money to sell their homes.

No wonder that when the current Tory administration said they wanted to talk to the people on the estate about ­“regeneration”, ­residents immediately suspected a landgrab.

As one resident asked the man from the council: “If you’re going to haul the estate down around our ears, you’d better tell us what do you get out of it?”

Last year, a 16-year-old boy, Hani Abou El Kheir, was killed on the estate in an attack using knives and meat cleavers.

“The council are pretending they are worried about our safety from drugs gangs,” another ­resident said afterwards. “But none of the attackers were from the estate. We can see right through them.”

Yesterday, Westminster council said that in light of residents’ protests, it is now “pausing” its plans for Churchill Gardens.

“We are taking time to consider their concerns fully before continuing the conversation in the autumn,” says Cllr Daniel Astaire, cabinet member for housing and ­regeneration.

In 2012, when he was seeking ­re-election as London Mayor, Boris Johnson spoke out against the “Kosovo-style social cleansing of London”.

But for many communities that is exactly what “regeneration” has meant.

When the vast Heygate estate in Elephant and Castle that once housed generations of ordinary Londoners is rebuilt, only 79 of 2,500 new homes on the site will be available as social housing.

Meanwhile, the “regeneration” of the West Hendon Estate, which ­overlooks the “Welsh Harp” reservoir, will see it recreated as Hendon ­Waterside, with only 25% social housing and the nature reserve under threat.

Where developers fail, the benefits cap is also clearing families out of the capital with councils forcing people to take flats as far away as Stoke and Derbyshire.

In the place of Londoners will come thousands of high-rise, ­high-priced luxury apartments owned by overseas investors from Russia and Dubai, like those currently buying up discarded embassies throughout central London.

They will be lived in for a few weeks a year, or rented at ­exorbitant prices.

In April, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said he had commissioned Savills, the upmarket estate agent, to look at “regenerating” estates across London using private capital.

Council estates should be looked at as “brownfield sites”, he said, adding there were implications not just for London but “also in other areas with high housing demand like Brighton, Cambridge and Oxford”.

Churchill Gardens residents spoke for millions of Londoners at that public meeting.

“Seventy years I’ve lived on this estate,” one man told the council.

“What you need to understand is that we – people here – are Churchill Gardens. It’s just an estate to you. But it’s our whole lives.”

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/social-cleansing-londons-council-estates-4076556#ixzz3AvDNjByS

Churchill Councillors speak up for Churchill Gardens Estate at Council meeting

Councillors Murad Gassanly and Jason Thomas made their maiden speeches on Wednesday 9th July at the first Council meeting of the new Council. In their speeches they spoke up for the residents of the Churchill Gardens Estate and the future of the estate.

Councillor Murad Gassanly said;

“I would like to open by stating that the Churchill Gardens is the best estate in England. It stands as a testament to the progressive vision of the post-war generation, which sought to build a new more just and equal Britain out of the ruins of WWII. Our grand buildings, our gardens and green spaces, our youth centres and residents’ halls, and various landmarks are a source of great pride for all residents, young and old.

My predecessor Andrew Havery had remarked to me once that it is a great privilege to represent Churchill ward and Churchill Gardens residents. Andrew deserves much praise for his hard work over the past 8 years as a local councillor, often under challenging circumstances.

I speak as a resident of the Estate when I say that for all our diversity we are united in our love and appreciation of our home. There are few communities better prepared and organised to defend their interests than us. It is no accident that Churchill ward has the highest election turnout rates in Westminster – people here are active citizens. This confidence, sense of independence and the fighting spirit are hard not to notice.

Yesterday, for example, we celebrated victory in our community campaign to save the Lupus Street Crown Post Office from closure. Thousands of residents took part, signing petitions, attending meetings, writing letters and so on. This strength of popular opposition played the decisive role in Post Office decision to keep the branch open.

It is no surprise, therefore, that the Council’s plans for developing parts of the estate had come under intense public scrutiny. As local community campaigners and now as Labour councillors we are first to acknowledge the need for improvement where it is required and are first to call for more investment into the estate. However, as the rest of the community, we too share deep concerns about the project and this motion is intended to address some of these concerns.

Churchill Gardens community is already organising – a steering group had been set up and a first residents’ public meeting was held on 3 July at Churchill Hall. There is a great deal of dissatisfaction with the Council’s own consultation process, currently led by a private contractor. As councillors committed to local democracy and civic participation, we will work to support residents in these initiatives and are here today to present what is ultimately a very mild version of their demands.

It is essential to recognise the true character of this local campaign. It represents a wide cross-section of the community. Private landlords and members of the Lessees Association are at the heart, if not the forefront, of the campaign and have been most vocal about the need to conserve the area in line with English Heritage standards and the Council’s own rules on conservation.

The tightly-knit and highly integrated nature of Churchill Gardens means that all residents, regardless of their ethnic, religious, cultural and social backgrounds live under conditions of high interdependency. Any development project is likely to affect one and all – council tenants, private renters, buy-to-let landlords, live-in lessees, parents of local school-children, local business owners and so on. It is no wonder that the whole community is being mobilised.

Of particular concern is a potential threat of loss of local school playgrounds. There is already a general shortage of open play areas for children. From the point of view of parents and school teachers the loss of playgrounds at Lupus Street and Sussex Street is nonsensical. There is a widespread opposition to this and a petition is being organised by the parents. We should be expanding and improving our playgrounds, not building them over.

Preserving and protecting scarce public assets in the face of growing demand for them should be the guiding principle for any regeneration project. Social-rent sheltered accommodation for old age pensioners is one example of the vital role these public assets play, in terms of quality of life and social security. We have a rapidly ageing population on the Churchill Gardens estate. Many of these residents have lived here their entire lives. Prioritising social sheltered accommodation should be at the heart of any regeneration plan.

We also have a growing problem of overcrowding, especially since the abolition of the Family Quota scheme. Given that the estate is already a socially mixed community with over 50% of households already in private ownership, expanding provision of various types of social and affordable housing should be another priority for the project.

Importantly, the project should prioritise the interests of local people and residents already in the community. Ultimately they are the KEY stakeholders in this process. For the Council’s plans to have any democratic legitimacy they need to be endorsed through an expression of popular will. For this reason we are calling for a formal commitment from the Council to hold a local referendum to approve or reject any final plan put as a proposal for Churchill Gardens regeneration.

I and my fellow Churchill ward councillors have discussed this and other issues with the Officers and other stakeholders. We recognise the need for consensus building and a need for cross-party cooperation. Compromises will need to be made and this motion is designed to serve as a first step towards building this much-needed consensus. This is merely a beginning of a conversation and is intended to send a clear signal to the residents of Churchill Gardens that the Council acknowledges their concerns and is prepared to work with them to develop a common vision for this great estate.”

Councillor Jason Williams said;

“Churchill Gardens is a unique community within the heart of our great city – a part of the Abercrombie plan to rebuild London after the war it was a model of public housing which continues to interest and inspire town planners to this day.

In recent years there has been negative publicity about the estate, casting Churchill Gardens as dangerous and riven with gangs. This could not be further from the reality on the ground.

Residents are justly proud of the estate and the sense of community spirit which has been built up over a number of decades. A large number of families have grown up on the estate for a number of generations and the estate has provided a welcoming home for a large number of new residents from across Westminster and the world.

Whilst proud of their past the residents look to the future and the development of their estate, their community.

We are concerned that residents are fully consulted and involved in any consultation to redevelop areas in Churchill Gardens and that any consultation should be transparent and fair starting with a blank sheet rather than a preconceived plan.

During the recent election campaign we heard Residents’ concerns about the proposed regeneration of their estate – concern that there wasn’t a genuine meaningful consultation but one where plans for the dismantling of the community had already been agreed and would be implemented by a council who didn’t listen to local people.

An example of this was the seeming sudden decision to include Maitland House in the project and the decision to demolish the building in a scheme which would bring in private housing.

At a recent public meeting residents in turn expressed their shock at how these developments appeared to be the beginning of a plan to dismantle the estate and to put in place luxury flats at the expense of existing social housing.

Residents were further concerned to hear that the original tender for the architects contained a direct reference to the inclusion of Maitland House, rather than the earlier implication that it spontaneously came up as a result of the regeneration workshops.

The tender also lists the stakeholders of the project as:

· Adult Services

· Childrens Services

· Housing

· Corporate Property

We maintain that the key stakeholders are the residents of the estate.

There is much to do in the estate to make life better for local people; ranging from the redevelopment of Churchill Square into a more user friendly public space to improving the general landscaping of the estate to the standard it previously enjoyed.

None of this is achieved by the current way the council has gone about with its consultation.

For a genuine consultation requires a blank sheet and community engagement. The feeling is that decisions have already been taken on the relocation of Darwin House, the removal of the school playground and the development of the area around the Balmoral Castle – a building the council has left vacant since 2006 costing over £200,000 to pay for the scaffolding bill.

We don’t want local people priced out of the community; we want to support our local community to thrive which is why we have continued to campaign hard against the proposed closure of the Lupus Street Post Office – a vital part of the community and local shops.

The residents of Churchill Gardens estate are greatly concerned at conduct of the consultation process and the seeming hidden agenda behind it.

They support their estate and the continuation of its current mix of lessees and social housing, they are forming a campaign to fight for their community and for the continuation of social housing at the heart of our city. This is a campaign we, as their Councillors fully support and will continue to stand together them until it is won.”

Lupus Street Post Office to stay open after massive community campaign

The news that the Post Office has decided to kep open the Lupus Street Post Office has been warmly welcomed by Churchill Labour Councillors Murad Gassanly, Shamin Talukder and Jason Williams who say that the decision is a victory for the whole community which came together to campaign against the closure plans.

The Churchill Councillors say that the cross party campaign involving local residents and businesses, Communication Workers Union members, MPs and Councillors from both parties sent an overwhelming message to the Post Office that the closure plans would be fought and resisted right across the Pimlico area.

A Johnson POffice

Labour say that the support of former Home Secretary and CWU General Secretary Alan Johnson MP, who twice joined the Post Office Action Days, was a crucial factor in the victory campaign.

Councillor Murad Gassanly said;

“We worked closely with the Churchill Gardens Residents Association and the Communications Workers Union who ensured effective cooperation between the staff, residents and local businesses.”

Councillor Shamim Talukder said;

“This is excellent news for Churchill residents, it is of paramount importance that essential services such as the Crown Post Office is easily available for all residents. The Save Lupus Street Crown Post Office campaign is an example of just how effective local campaigning can be.”

Councillor Jason Williams welcomed the announcement saying;

“The Lupus St Post office is an important community asset and one which has now been saved for the community. Lupus Street traders use the Post Office banking facilities and if this post office were to close, local businesses would lose this important business facility.”

The full Post Office announcement is below;

POST OFFICE TO RETAIN AND INVEST IN LUPUS STREET BRANCH FOLLOWING SERVICE REVIEW

• Decision not to proceed with proposed merger into two other branches
• Branch to remain at Lupus Street following review of service in area
• Vauxhall Bridge Road and Eccleston Street branches also to receive investment

Post Office has announced that it will retain and invest in its Lupus Street service following a review of Post Office services in the area.

It had been proposed that Lupus Street Post Office would in the future be merged into the Eccleston Street and Vauxhall Bridge Road branches, however discussions around the plans and a review of service provision in the area have led to a decision to retain the branch.

Roger Gale, General Manager of the Crown Post Office network, said: “We hope that customers will be pleased that we have decided to retain our Lupus Street service.

“Following lengthy discussions about the best way forward, particularly considering changes to other branches in the Westminster area, we have decided to retain the branch as circumstances have changed since the original proposal was made.”

As part of wider plans to modernise its network, Post Office is now set to invest in Lupus Street Post Office as well as its Vauxhall Bridge Road and Eccleston Street branches, providing brighter, more modern retail environments for customers that will include new counters and new self-service options.

Further details of plans for these branches will be disclosed over the coming months.

Churchill Ward Councillors comments on plans for Ebury Bridge Estate, Ebury Bridge Road, London SW1

Whilst we broadly welcome the regeneration of the Ebury Bridge Estate we have four main objections:

1. The potential use of the area on the ground/basement floor of the new Edgson House for a private Primary School;
2. Concerns that the mixed use of private and social housing tenants in blocks is continued;
3. The siting of a proposed car park ramp and
4. Effect of the Loss of light for residents.

The potential use of the area on the ground/basement floor of the new Edgson House for a private Primary School

We have consulted with residents on the Ebury Bridge Estate and there is widespread opposition to the proposed siting of a private Primary School in the new Edgson House. The view of the residents we spoke to was that this space should be a genuine community space used for the estate and area. One suggested use being retail given the increase in residents the development will bring as well as the new Chelsea Barracks site development immediately opposite.

Over the course of the consultation process there were three separate polls of residents as to what they wanted the space to be used for, the results were published and all show strong opposition to the use of the space by a school. The minutes of the Ebury Bridge Regeneration meeting of Monday 11th November 2013 refers to residents’ feedback on the consultation stating that the “only negative view expressed was the possibility of a school using the non housing space at the base of Edgson House.”

The minutes also record “Residents questioned why the school option was being presented to planning committee when they had expressly stated that they were not in favour of that option. They questioned the concept of consultation if the council was not responding to their views.”

Residents also raised concerns that the school option was not mentioned at the original referendum and that a potential community space could be lost which would benefit the estate. The planning application refers to the possible provider of the Primary School being outside of the borough and that it is “therefore debateable to what extent a private school relocating from outside Westminster would serve the needs of local residents in Ebury Bridge Estate.”

The planning application also refers to concerns by the Highways Planning Manager about the traffic generated by a school which is also shared by ourselves and residents. Ebury Bridge Road is a busy road during peak traffic times and our concern is that the provision of a school will considerably add to this. Traffic would increase at two points in the school day with parents dropping off and picking up their children as well as the increased traffic and parking needed for teaching and support staff at the school. There were also concerns at the resultant noise levels and the effect of traffic of after school clubs which would prolong the impact on the estates’ play facilities, local streets and residents.

Concerns that the mixed use of private and social housing tenants in blocks is continued

We welcome the application’s commitment to retain the current mix of social rent properties and private leaseholders and the increase in number of social rent properties. We were concerned to hear from some residents that comments were apparently made during the consultation process that some blocks would be reserved for private leaseholders only including the proposed tower in the south east of the development. We seek assurances that the continued mixed use is maintained.

The siting of a proposed car park ramp

We share Cheylesmore House Residents’ concerns at the siting of the proposed car park entrance ramp next to the entrance to Cheylesmore House. The planning application states that “the traffic movement to and from the new underground car park would not be substantial and would be negligible in comparison to the traffic carried by Ebury Bridge Road which Cheylesmore House also lies alongside.” We feel that this misses the point that the entrance to Cheylesmore House does not lie on Ebury Bridge Road but opposite the entrance to the Youth Club in Edgson House. The current road into the estate at this point is gated and does not currently allow traffic access. Opening up this route to traffic will therefore cause a great increase in traffic movement from the current position.

The planning application also states that “neither the access into the estate from Ebury Bridge Road nor the new ramp is wide enough to accommodate two-way traffic. Amendments are therefore required to widen the access and ramp or to include a vehicle signally system in order to minimise any waiting or queuing on the highway.” A larger ramp would have an increase impact on the area and residents’ views needs to be taken into account. We are also concerned at the siting of the car park ramp so close to the playground area and seek assurances that consideration be given to securing the playground site so it is safe for children to play in.

You have received two objections about the siting of the car park entrance from Cheylesmore Residents including one from a director of Cheylesmore House Association. One of the objections comes from a 92 year resident whose garden is directly opposite to the proposed entrance ramp; she has lived in the property for twenty years and is greatly concerned about the effect of the ramp on her ability to enjoy her property. The impact of this is increased due to her limited mobility which increases the time she spends at home during the day with her garden being an important space to relax in. When I spoke to the resident she underlined how stressful she found the proposed ramp and how it was already effecting her sleep and general wellbeing. The siting of the entrance there will have an impact with increased noise and traffic outside her property.

Residents have asked for an alternative entrance to be investigated to mitigate the impact and we ask that the committee look at alternative routes into the car park.

Effect of the Loss of light for residents

A resident in Cheylesmore House also raised concerns about the loss of light in their property due to the new Edgson House being larger than the current building. We would like assurances that planning decisions will take this into account given that the footprint of the new Edgson House is closer to the road.

Other concerns

• Lessees were concerned that they might not receive a fair market value for the equity of their property and be moved into a flat of the same size that they currently inhabit
• Clarity on the selection criteria about the order residents are allocated new properties; one lessee had chosen a flat in the south side of the estate and wanted the flexibility to be able to choose to come back to the same location.
• Fairness on the inheritance rights, the current status is that residents believe that they can pass the lease onto two generations before the equity has to be repaid

Councillor Jason Williams
on behalf of the Churchill Councillors

Churchill Gardens Project

The Churchill Ward Councillors, Murad Gassanly, Shamim Talukder and Jason Williams, have set out their concerns about the Churchill Gardens Project.

“The community is rather concerned about proposals for redevelopment of parts of the Churchill Gardens estate. These issues have been raised by countless voters during the election campaign.

1) Any threat of loss of school playgrounds (sunken playground at Lupus Street attached to Churchill Primary and the sunken playground at Sussex Street) is unacceptable. There is huge opposition from parents and the wider neighbourhood. We, as local councillors are absolutely opposed to any plans which would entail the loss of these playgrounds.

2) Churchill Gardens estate is already a mixed community – over 50% of housing stock is private, whilst a dire shortage of all types of affordable housing is blighting the lives of residents, many of whom live in extremely overcrowded conditions. We have serious doubts about use of public land for construction of private flats. Social rent and other types of affordable housing should be prioritised. Expanding and improving sheltered accommodation provision for the elderly is another priority.

3) Absolute red line for us as councillors – that any final decision on whatever the eventual plan is adopted should be determined through a binding expression of popular will (a local referendum) by residents and affected parties (including parents of children who attend affected schools and local businesses). Without this the project will suffer from serious democratic deficit and lack legitimacy. We would find it very difficult to support it, under those circumstances.”

Churchill Gardens drugs raid – support for police action

Two schoolboy brothers aged 14 and 15 were among suspects arrested today at the Churchill Gardens Estate on suspicion of dealing Class A Drugs, including crack cocaine and heroin. The pair are alleged to be prominent gang members who peddled substances on the streets of a Westminster City Council estate. They were among more than 20 people targeted in dawn raids on the Churchill Gardens estate in Pimlico.

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/schoolboy-brothers-arrested-in-drug-raids-on-estate-where-teen-was-hacked-to-death-9444629.html

Churchill Ward Labour Councillors Murad Gassanly, Shamim Talukder and Jason Thomas Williams said;

“We strongly support the police actions this morning and look forward to working with the Police and local residents to have an effective response to tackle these problems caused by a small minority. Churchill Gardens is a great community with many families who have lived on the estate for generations. Labour supports tough action against crime and anti-social behaviour. We have a zero-tolerance policy on gangs, knives and drug-dealing”.

City Council Election result

Thanks for your support

Here is the result http://transact.westminster.gov.uk/docstores/publications_store/elections/2014/results/churchill-election-results-2014.pdf

Churchill Ward – Election Special

A Johnson POffice

See Labour’s Election Day leaflet here Churchill GOTV

Churchill Ward Labour candidates launch petition to save school playground

Churchill Ward Labour Candidates – Murad Gassanly, Shamim Talukder and Jason Thomas Williams – have launched a petition to save Churchill Gardens School Playground from sale and development

Churchill team

You can download a copy of the petition here and return signed copies to 5 Hallam House, Churchill Gardens, SW1

Playground Petition

You can also read Murad’s, Shamim’s and Jason’s latest election leaflet here

Churchill May 14

Churchill Labour Action Report – May 2014

From Jason Thomas Williams, Murad Gassanly and Shamim Talukder – Your Churchill Labour Action Team
Churchill team

Council Election leaflet

You can read our latest Council election leaflet here Churchill Spring 2014

Churchill ward residents redouble their opposition to Lupus Street post office closure

Nearly 100 Churchill ward residents gathered at the Churchill Gardens Residents’ Hall on Monday 12th May to unanimously agree to tell the Post Office to keep open the Crown Post Office in Lupus Street which is threatened with closure.

The meeting was chaired by Sue Walsh, Chair of Churchill Gardens Residents’ Association and addressed by Labour Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, together with Councillor Andrew Havery, and Peter Meech and Ian Ward of the Communications Workers Union.

A Johnson POffice

Earlier in the day Alan Johnson MP visited Lupus Street and heard directly from Churchill Ward Labour Candidates Murad Gassanly, Shamim Talukder and Jason Thomas Williams about the campaign to keep the post office open.

Alan Johnson also did a walkabout on the Churchill Gardens Estate to meet residents and boost Labour’s campaign to win the ward on 22nd May.

A Johnson Churchill 3

Labour say that the case against the closure of the Post Office is overwhelming;

• Residents face a 20 minutes’ walk to the nearest alternative post offices in Vauxhall Bridge Road and Ebury Street with no direct bus links. This is of particular concern to older, infirm and disabled residents.
• The queues at Vauxhall Bridge Road post office are already regularly stretched outside on the pavement.
• The Post Office in Vauxhall Bridge Road does not have access for disabled customers with wheelchairs.
• The use of Lupus Street post office for Council-related transactions is the highest in Westminster and if this post office is closed residents will have nowhere where they can pay their rent and rates or renew their parking permit in person now that the Council has closed all its One Stop shops
• Lupus Street traders use the Post Office banking facilities and if this post office were to close, local businesses would lose this important business facility, as well as having the increased worry of having to carry cash some distance to banks elsewhere
• Experience elsewhere shows that when post offices close down the surrounding local businesses suffer badly, leading to more empty shops, to the detriment of the wider community.

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg said;

“Local residents and businesses are totally unanimous in their opposition to the closure of the Lupus Street post office. The Lupus Street post office has been at the heart of the community for decades and its closure would not only hit residents hard, but would lead to a loss of business for local shops.”

“We are delighted that Alan Johnson was able to join the Lupus Street post office campaign and shows that Labour is leading the community to save this valuable local facility. The only way to guarantee a strong campaign against the renewed Post Office plans to close Lupus Street post office is to elect three Labour Councillors for Churchill Ward on 22nd May.”

Labour Launches Five Churchill Ward Pledges

Murad Gassanly, Shamim Takluder and Jason Thomas Williams, Labour’s three candidates for Churchill Ward, have announced their Five Churchill Ward Pledges;

Churchill team

1. Supporting local families and communities by campaigning to bring back the Family Quota for Council housing allocation and working for improved Youth provision and training

2. Ending Council waste such as the £200,000 spent on scaffolding for the empty Balmoral Castle pub, rather than using the building for community purposes

3. Campaigning for vital local services including keeping the Lupus Street Post Office open

4. Working for the rights of Ebury Bridge Estate residents during the redevelopment work

5. Being accountable to you and holding regular accessible advice surgeries

Printed and promoted by A. Whitley on behalf of Westminster Labour Party, 4g Shirland Mews, W9

Fight to save Lupus Street Post Office continues

Lupus St Alan Johnson

Alan Johnson MP, former Home Secretary and Leader of the Post Office workers’ union, will be joining Labour’s three Churchill ward candidates Murad Gassanly, Shamim Talukder and Jason Thomas Williams, at 2pm on Monday 12th May to renew the campaign to save Lupus Street Post Office from closure.

Mr Johnson’s visit is part of a Day of Action organised by the Communications Workers Union. Labour say that the closure process is likely to start again after the May Council elections after the Post Office cynically put their plans ‘on hold’ after running in to unprecedented local opposition from residents and local businesses in 2013.

Labour say that the only way to guarantee a strong campaign against the renewed Post Office plans to close the Lupus Street post office is to elect three Labour Councillors for Churchill Ward on 22nd May.

Churchill team

The Day of Action will also include a Public Meeting at 6.30pm at the Churchill Gardens Community Centre at which Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Leader of the Labour Group, will be arguing for the Post Office to remain open.

Labour say that the case against closure is overwhelming;

• Residents face a 20 minutes’ walk to the nearest alternative post offices in Vauxhall Bridge Road and Ebury Street with no direct bus links. This is of particular concern to older, infirm and disabled residents.
• The queues at Vauxhall Bridge Road post office are already regularly stretched outside on the pavement.
• The Post Office in Vauxhall Bridge Road does not have access for disabled customers with wheelchairs.
• The use of Lupus Street post office for Council-related transactions is the highest in Westminster and if this post office is closed residents will have nowhere where they can pay their rent and rates or renew their parking permit in person now that the Council has closed all its One Stop shops
• Lupus Street traders use the Post Office banking facilities and if this post office were to close, local businesses would lose this important business facility, as well as having the increased worry of having to carry cash some distance to banks elsewhere
• Experience elsewhere shows that when post offices close down the surrounding local businesses suffer badly, leading to more empty shops, to the detriment of the wider community.

Councill Paul Dimoldenberg said;

“Local residents and businesses are totally unanimous in their opposition to the closure of the Lupus Street post office. The Lupus Street post office has been at the heart of the community for decades and its closure would not only hit residents hard, but would lead to a loss of business for local shops.”

“We are delighted that Alan Johnson will be again joining the Lupus Street post office campaign and shows that Labour ois leading the community to save this valuable local facility. The only way to guarantee a strong campaign against the renewed Post Office plans to close Lupus Street post office is to elect three Labour Councillors for Churchill Ward on 22nd May.”

Labour cries foul in ‘back-to-the-days-of-Porter’ row over newsletter sent to 5,000

The ‘West End Extra’ reports;

churchill gardens

“CITY Hall has been accused of using public money to promote Conservative “propaganda” just weeks before a highly contested election and in breach of government regulations.

A newsletter outlining improvements that are being considered for the area was sent to about 5,000 homes in Churchill ward, Pimlico, which is likely to be one of the closest fought in local elections next month.

But it was immediately slammed as “blatant electioneering” and “a return to the bad old days of Shirley Porter” – the disgraced former council leader was found guilty of gerrymandering and eventually paid £12million to settle the surcharge imposed on her following the “homes for votes” scandal.

A formal complaint was made to chief executive Charlie Parker this week and Labour group leader Paul Dimoldenberg, who wrote the book The Westminster Whistleblowers about his dogged pursuit of Lady Porter, said: “You know full well that the aim of the newsletter is to persuade residents that, after years of council neglect, something is now happening in Churchill Gardens. This is certainly giving assistance to Conservative attempts to shore up support for their candidates who are facing widespread and increasing criticism for the years of council neglect.”

Mr Parker rejected the claims in a letter to Cllr Dimoldenberg and said: “The content is not political, making no reference to elected members.” He said the newsletter was signed off by the council’s legal team, adding: “With regard to your concerns that this impacts on election matters, I believe that it does not – a position confirmed by the head of legal services.”

Labour believe they have a good chance of stealing a seat in the Churchill ward and they said the newsletter was intended to convince locals that the Tory-run council had not forgotten them.

Cllr Dimoldenberg said: “This is the use of council money and council staff to support the Conservatives’ election efforts. It is an absolute disgrace and it looks like both Westminster Conservatives and Westminster Council have reverted back to the bad old days of Shirley Porter.”

While not mentioning the Conservative party or their councillors by name, the leaflets bore the “Better City, Better Lives” branding that has become synonymous with the Tory leadership.

Council leader Philippa Roe has described the catchphrase as her “vision for Westminster” and the phrase is a regular motif in her public addresses.

Murad Gassanly

Murad Gassanly, who lives in Churchill Gardens and is standing as a Labour candidate, was part of the early consultations on the regeneration work, branded “Team Churchill” by City Hall.

He likened the newsletter to “propaganda” and questioned why it had been rushed out to residents in the days before the election and said the issues that were being tackled had been a problem for residents of the estate for many years.

“Why haven’t they done something before this election?

“Why suddenly start this now and send out a newsletter weeks before the election?

“We’ve been talking about these issues for years and the fact they are happening now is so blatant electioneering, coming weeks before the election. This is the most marginal ward in Westminster, clearly they are very concerned,” he said.

Among the issues that the newsletter identifies is the Balmoral Castle, which has been lying empty since 2006, while £20,000 is spent each year on scaffolding to support the building.

It also highlighted problems with drugs and anti-social behaviour on the estate and a lack of facilities for young people.

Tom Ball, a former architect who has lived on the estate for more than 30 years, said he was concerned that the architectural firm Levit Bernstein had been appointed to the project while it was still unknown what works would be carried out.

He said: “They [the council] have refused to tell me. It is a simple, straightforward, request. What are these architects briefed to do? Now I’m even more alarmed when I hear it being described as the regeneration of Churchill Gardens estate. I fear there’s something sinister behind all of this.”

A copy of the newsletter is here Churchill_Gardens_Newsletter

Churchill Labour Action Report – April 2014

From Jason Thomas Williams, Murad Gassanly and Shamim Talukder – Your Churchill Labour Action Team
Churchill team

Save Churchill Gardens School playground!

ChurchillGardens Primary school

We have launched a petition calling on Westminster City Council to protect the Churchill Gardens School Playground from sale for profit. Under the guise of a regeneration consultation the Council will take the Churchill Gardens School Playground from the school with a view to selling it for development.

Support for Woods House residents

We’ve written to Network rail to raise residents’ concerns about noise from the train passing the building.

Pimlico Parents’ anger at paying for new school uniform

The ‘Westminster Chronicle’ reports;

Pimlico Academy parents

“Pupils at Pimlico Primary have been told to buy a new summer uniform just six months after opening

Parents are outraged they have to fork out for new school uniform items just six months after joining a new primary school.

Pupils at Pimlico Primary, which opened as sister school to Pimlico Academy last September, have been told they must buy a new summer uniform from department store John Lewis.

Mum Amanda Tracey said parents were not consulted on this change which could be costly for many hard-up families.

Ms Tracey, who has a son at Pimlico Primary and another at Pimlico Academy, said: “The school is going through so many changes since the first headteacher left. The new headteacher doesn’t want to talk to parents.

“All of a sudden there’s a change in the summer uniform and we have to buy it from John Lewis.

“We’re not mega rich. Children need two sets of uniform a week, so that will cost me at least £100 just for the summer uniform and then I’ll have to pay out again in the winter.”

Another frustrated mum Eleanor Hutt, who has two daughters at the school, said: “Miss Teddy doesn’t seem willing to talk to parents, it’s quite rude.

“They want us to buy new summer dresses which are £17 each. I’ve got two girls to buy for and I’ve already paid over £200 for their new school uniform in September.

“We’ve been told we have to buy it from John Lewis but it’s not even a private school, it’s an academy.”

New principal Kelly Teddy – who took over last October from Annaliese Briggs who quit after being criticised for not having any teaching qualifications – said parents and governors were consulted on the new uniform at the last advisory body meeting.

She added: “The school has not introduced a new uniform – it has responded to parent complaints about the quality of the current items and found new suppliers. It has introduced summer elements of the uniform – which it was clear in a uniform list to parents on joining would be required.

“Only two of the items are to be bought from John Lewis. Prices have been checked and because of John Lewis’ Never Knowingly Undersold commitment we know that parents are getting the best quality with best value, as well as the ability to purchase items online at their convenience.”

Miss Teddy added: “All families in receipt of free school meals receive a totally free set of uniform, winter and summer, from Pimlico Primary. This is over half of our families.”

Grosvenor Road petition launched

We have started the following on-line petition after being contacted by a local resident;

“We the undersigned petition Westminster City Council to install an island in the middle of Grosvenor Road to protect pedestrians crossing the road from the motorbikes and scooters which fly along the centre of the road putting lives at risk.”

You can sign the petition at http://petitions.westminster.gov.uk/GrosvenorRd/

You can also contact the Churchill Ward Labour Action Team – Jason Thomas Williams. Murad Gassanly and Shamim Talukder at http://www.churchilllabour.co.uk/

Churchill Labour Action Report – March 2014

From Jason Thomas Williams, Murad Gassanly and Shamim Talukder – Your Churchill Labour Action Team
Churchill team

Grosvenor Road

We have contacted the council about a resident’s suggestion to have an island in the middle of Grosvenor Road to protect pedestrians crossing the road from the motorbikes and scooters which fly along the centre putting lives at risk.

Pimlico Library

We have written to the Council again about the broken lift at Pimlico Library and asking when it will be in full working order.

Helicopter Noise

A Churchill Gardens resident raised this problem with us;

“In the early hours (3am) of this morning there was a low flying helicopter going up and down the river for about 15 minutes. You can imagine the amplification of the noise. The problem with this noise is getting much worse. There are no restrictions on this and I am concerned that the more developed that area becomes the more unrestricted helicopter usage there will be. “

You can get information or report complaints about helicopter movements or pilot activities by calling 020 7228 0181 (8am to 7pm). This service deals only with helicopters using the Battersea heliport. The contact for noise from helicopters and other aircraft should be made to the Civil Aviation Authority. There is an on line complaint service using their website http://www.caa.co.uk.

Churchill Ward website

A new website has been launched by Churchill Labour Candidates Jason Thomas Williams, Murad Gassanly and Shamin Talukder

http://www.churchilllabour.co.uk/

Churchill Labour Action Report – February 2014

From Jason Thomas Williams, Murad Gassanly and Shamim Talukder – Your Churchill Labour Action Team
Churchill team

Churchill Gardens

We have asked senior Council officers to respond to concerns on a number of issues raised by residents;

“A year has passed since Churchill Gardens Estate suffered the Council’s imposition of “Team Churchill” when it was declared an “area of high deprivation”. What benefits have the residents of the estate ‘enjoyed’ as a result of Team Churchill? How many residents have been involved? Security and drug use by outsiders on the estate seems to have become worse.”

“Now the Estate has another imposition from the Council – “Churchill Gardens Regeneration”. Who is responsible, what is the budget and what are the estimated costs? Residents know that the core of “regeneration” needed is a determination of the Council’s inactivity regarding the lamentable state of the Balmoral Pub. The intervention smells of being a spam so that the Council in the run up to the election can boast “the Council’s great concerns for the residents of the estate”. That would fool no one! “

Gilbert House, Churchill Gardens

We have received the following update about the lifts from a resident;

“Thank you for your prompt action in putting the lift breakdowns at Gilbert House, Churchill Gardens in your newsletter. It seems to have produced a speedy response as tenants have now received a consultation letter regarding installing cameras in the lifts to deter vandalism”

Lupus Street

We asked the Council to investigate this problem;

“The food lorries continue to park during the day for more than 40 minutes (no loading and unloading happening). Today a lorry was parked with its engine running for more than 40 minutes in front of our houses. Often vans delivering goods to properties being renovated in Westmoreland Place and Lupus Street park in residents designated parking spaces and in this stretch of Lupus Street itself with no indication that they have permission to do so. Other similar culprits are courier service vans”

The Council says;

“I can confirm that we continue to have this location under Special Enforcement and can confirm that visits are maintained regularly and at least hourly at the bend on the road that is of concern. I shall personally visit this location regularly to assess any failings in enforcement. I will also change around some of the officers who regularly visit this area so that there are no areas of complacency. I shall remind CEOs that if they observe any drivers abusing the loading/unloading rights then they should be dealt with as per Westminster’s enforcement code of practice i.e. a driver not seen loading/unloading and simply parked waiting.”

Former Pimlico Public Library

We are continuing to support local residents who would like to use the former Pimlico Library for community uses, following the rejection of the Sainsbury’s planning application. Residents say;

“On behalf of the large Millbank, Pimlico and Victoria community supporting an innovative entrepreneurship project keeping the former Pimlico Library available for the residents, I would like to thank you for lending your voice to the issue. “

Pimlico Grid

We are making enquiries with the Council in to this issue;

“Owners not picking up after their dogs seems to be reaching epidemic proportions. It is becoming impossible to walk or push a buggy in The Grid without stepping in or narrowly avoiding dog poo on shoes/wheels. It is pretty revolting and makes a very pleasant area into a place that one avoids as it’s fast becoming quite unhygienic and a health hazard. I’d be very keen to hear what is being done to address this problem”

The local warden tells us;

“To further efforts to reduce the issue and concerns around dog fouling in the Pimlico Ward we are looking to do some plain clothes ops to potentially identify people allowing their dogs to foul on the public Highway. In the mean time I will continue to monitor and report any fouling found to Veolia to remove instantly. I also have weekly walkabouts with the Dog Warden to try and identify the culprits and educate the local residents with leaflet drops informing them of their responsibilities regarding dog fouling.”

Five men found guilty of ‘merciless’ knife attack on Churchill Gardens teenager in ‘turf war’ between estates

The West End Extra’ reports;

“FIVE men have been found guilty of murdering a Pimlico schoolboy in a “ferocious and merciless” attack.

Hani Abou El Kheir, 16, was stabbed more than 20 times in Lupus Street by a group of 10 men armed with kitchen knives and meat cleavers.

The Old Bailey jury took four days to return a guilty verdict today at the end of a three-month trial.

The jury heard from witnesses that saw the attack on a Sunday evening last January and were shown CCTV footage of a 10-strong group chasing Hani through Churchill Gardens Estate as passers-by looked on in shock. He tripped and fell in Lupus Street and was set upon by the group. He was taken to King’s College Hospital but died two hours later.

Hani’s murder was described as the result of a “turf war” that was said to pit teenagers linked to Ebury Bridge and Abbots Manor estates against those from Churchill Gardens.

Police believe Hani, who went to nearby Pimlico Academy, was targeted at random in retaliation for a stabbing days earlier. No evidence was provided that Hani himself was involved in a gang.

Arber Barbatovci, 20, from Pimlico; Ahmed Mikhaimar, 20, from Aubrey Beardsley House, Vauxhall Bridge Road; Alhusain Ali, 20, from Camberwell; Craig Boyce, 26, from Paddington; and Tarquai Joseph, 19, from Maida Vale, were all found guilty of murder.

They will be sentenced on Friday.”

Churchill Labour Action Report – January 2014

From Jason Thomas Williams, Murad Gassanly and Shamim Talukder – Your Churchill Labour Action Team
Churchill team

Gilbert House, Churchill Gardens

We have asked CityWest Homes if they can get the lift working consistently after receiving the following message;

“My disabled daughter lives in Gilbert House where the new lift has broken down six times in the last few weeks. As she is in a wheelchair and there is only one lift, she is then completely stuck, either in or out, until it has been fixed and it often takes at least a day for someone to come and repair it. She has missed important hospital appointments and her own birthday party. There are a number of other disabled an elderly people in a similar situation.”

Lupus Street parking

The Lupus Street parking situation has not really improved. We have reported the latest feedback from residents to the Council and the police;

“The 3663 food lorries continue to park during the day for more than 40 minutes (no loading and unloading happening). Today a Travis Perkins transporter type lorry was parked with its engine running for more than 40 minutes in front of our houses. Often vans delivering goods to properties being renovated in Westmoreland Place and Lupus Street park in residents’ designated parking spaces and in this stretch of Lupus Street itself with no indication that they have permission to do so. Other similar culprits are courier service vans “

Wainwright House, Ebury Bridge Estate

We have reported a broken lift at Wainwright house and urged that it is repaired speedily after residents told us;

“We have not had a working lift for twelve days now – I have had to cancel Hospital appointment as well as two food deliveries. Not only is the broken lift unacceptable, but the lack of communication or miscommunication is also frustrating. This is inconvenient for all the families, the elderly people, and disabled people like me stuck in the home without a functioning lift.”

Claverton Street

We have asked that the following problem be investigated by the Council;

“Yellow plates – the one in Claverton Street outside my flat has been there for getting on for 2 years. The noise as people walk over it, trundle cases across or rode bicycles on top of it, well it is disruptive and cannot be ignored. The tarmac around it has broken away and the amount of rain water which drops through and then flows across in front of my front door is almost a stream which I have to either splash though or attempt to jump across – I have complained for a number of years about the flow of water”

Safety concern to cut pedestrian crossing times in Lupus Street to just six seconds

Lupus Street sign

Labour Councillors have raised safety concerns that pedestrians only have 6 seconds to cross the road at the crossroads of Lupus Street, St George’s Drive and Claverton Street which is close to both Churchill Gardens Primary School and Pimlico Academy, following the Mayor’s decision to reduce the time that pedestrians have to cross the road at 89 crossings across Westminster.

Councillors are also concerned that crossing times have been cut to just 6 seconds at the junction of Victoria Street, Palace Street and Thirleby Road, where a cyclist was killed last April.

Introducing your three Labour Candidates for Churchill Ward – Murad Gassanly, Shamim Talukder and Jason Thomas Williams

MuradShamimJason

Murad Gassanly is an experienced local activist and long term resident of Churchill Gardens, with a background in community engagement and campaigns including Labour’s campaign against the closure of the Lupus Street Post Office, Murad has great experience in working with the local community and campaigning on local issues.

Shamim Talukder is well known across the ward for his community work and regularly works with young people on community projects. Churchill ward is close to Shamim’s heart as he grew up in the ward and attended Pimlico School. With a new young family Shamim knows the importance of protecting important local services and has worked on local campaigns including the campaign against the closure of Westminster Fire Station.

Jason Thomas Williams is an experienced local community campaigner and a trustee of two local charities in Churchill Ward, as well as a School Governor. Jason has been involved in the Post Office campaign as well as working with local residents on a range of local issues including provision for young people. As a long standing local resident Jason knows how vital it is to work for the local community and ensuring local people’s voices are heard.

The Churchill Labour Action team has an impressive track record of working for the local community in Churchill ward and in campaigning to effectively raise local issues and concerns.

The team have been campaigning against the closure of the Lupus Street Post Office which included a petition against the closure and working with local residents and community groups. We were joined by Alan Johnson MP, a former postman in our campaign which was also raised by Labour Councillors and MPs.

Other campaigns include the campaign against the Tory Mayor’s closure of Westminster Fire Station and the Tory Council’s neglect of the Balmoral Castle Pub.

The strength of the team is that we are community led campaign who know the issues and concerns in our local area because we are an active part of that community. Please get in touch and work with us for the future of Churchill ward.

Churchill Labour Action Report – December 2013

From Jason Thomas Williams, Murad Gassanly and Shamim Talukder – Your Churchill Labour Action Team

Churchill Gardens Estate

We have reported the following message to the Police and City West Homes;

“It is unfortunate that actively clamping down on the drug users/pushers has pushed them across to Shelley House where in the last month they seem to have returned to blight our community – urinating in the lifts is an on-going problem.”

Pimlico Library

We made enquiries after receiving the following message;

“Apparently this lift has been out of order for some time now which is causing distress to disabled users/elderly as well as mothers with buggies. Anything you can do to “nudge” this along would be much appreciated”

The Council told us;

“The lift at Pimlico has indeed now been out of order for over 3 weeks and has, regrettably, caused great inconvenience and distress to some of the customers using the library. After an initial inspection, I was led to believe that the lift required a replacement part which had to be imported. This finally arrived on site last Friday. Engineers then attempted to replace the part only to discover there were further parts (hinges) that also needed replacing. Engineers have been on site today with the additional parts, and as yet, still have not got the lift working, but will be back tomorrow morning. I will be monitoring progress and will be doing all I can to ensure that the lift is up and running as soon as possible. Various improvements have been made to the lift since its initial installation, but it is fair to say that there are still some ongoing reliability issues. I will be picking this up with our Property Department to see whether there are any further improvements that can be made, either to the design or the maintenance regime that can improve the situation.”

The lift is now back in working order but there are fears that further breakdowns will happen again and a new lift may be needed. We are concerned that the wrong type of lift may have been installed which cannot cope with the constant use of a busy library.

Pimlico, Millbank and Churchill Gardens Primary Academies

We are in discussion with a number of parents who have expressed concerns about these three schools which are operated by the Futures Group. If you would like to discuss any matters please let us know.

We have written to Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Education, following concerns from parents of children at Millbank Academy. One parent tells us that she

“is up in arms as her children, and other kids in the school, suddenly do not want to go. They are crying as they enter school. I am not sure if you know that many parents are ringing around to other schools – St. Gabriel’s, Burdett-Coutts, St. George’s Hanover Square, St. Barnabas, trying to move their children out of Millbank.”

Lupus Street – dog fouling

We asked the Council to consider the following request;

“Would it be possible to do something about the pavement outside the shops along Lupus Street, particularly the south side? People allow their dogs to urinate here and if there’s no rain it can look horrible for ages. Litter seems to be cleared away fairly quickly but anything that’s spilt, drinks for example, is left. I know that pavements are generally not washed in the area but could Lupus Street be an exception?”

The Council told us;

“The Local Warden has now carried out an inspection on Lupus Street and the stained spots at the backline wall area (where shoppers generally tie up their dogs) will be flushed this week. Areas around doorways can be a bit tricky but we will tackle it as best we can first thing in the morning and the Local warden will continue to monitor it. Lupus Street has a general footway flush every Thursday.”

Lupus Street – Tesco

The Council has updated us as follows;

“This has been passed to the local warden to monitor, so far he has spoken to Tescos to ensure they don’t continue to keep stock/rubbish on the public highway, which they have assured him they won’t. I will ask him for an update temporarily. If it persists I will be taking it up with Tesco head office.”

Lupus Street – parking

We are investigating this problem with the Council;

“On numerous occasions, to no avail, over a period of years and recently I’ve emailed Westminster Council about illegal parking by huge lorries, vans, coaches and other high sided vehicles in the stretch of Lupus Street from number 96 onwards to Lupus Street’s junction with Westmoreland Terrace. There is a single yellow line. During the day only 40 mins loading and unloading is allowed. However, these vehicles persist in parking for hours on end in front of our domestic windows significantly obscuring the access of natural light and blocking the dedicated cycle lane. Often the engines are kept running. No loading or unloading is occurring. The parking continues overnight and has turned this stretch of Lupus Street into a commercial car park. No traffic warden patrols this area after 10am and no parking enforcement is being undertaken. The dimensions of the vehicles are such that they are a magnet for miscreants. Indeed, I was burgled 2 weeks ago and valuable property was stolen – this wouldn’t have happened had there not been a high sided lorry parked outside the house rendering the house invisible from the other side of the street and thus providing an excellent cover for the thieves.”

The Council says;

“We will monitor the location and ensure that an appropriate plan is put in place. However, as parking is permitted on single yellow lines outside of controlled hours we can only to take action on any HGVs or coaches contravening the overnight waiting ban.”

St George’s Square – Pedestrian crossing

We are making enquiries about the following matter;

“I live on the northern triangle part of St George’s Square. Every morning when I get to the Pimlico tube station, I cross the narrow garden Square street, perpendicular to the Lupus Street. Traffic flowing from the south end of the Square can easily be spotted and has to slow down to cross Lupus, however, a lot of traffic short cuts left on to Belgrave Road through this northern Square quieter street. This traffic runs quite fast and is impossible to anticipate since it comes from a blind corner, hence, more than once I have had to jump back in haste on the pavement to avoid collision with vans or cars alike, totally heedless of the pedestrians. Since there is no pedestrian crossing on this minor stretch, nor for that matter on this other side of Lupus Street, in front of the Churc , I wonder at the fact that we haven’t had any accident on that spot, especially with children on their way to and from the academy. Couldn’t it be possible to have zebra crossing on each part of St George’s (either side of Lupus) or for the northern triangle, to simply prevent vehicles from turning aggressively left on the Square? “

St George’s Square – Pavements

We asked the Council to deal with this issue;

“I wonder could you look into the matter of a large cover, normally used I believe by Thames Water and maybe others for making temporary works safe. It is in St George’s Square and has been there for well over a year to my knowledge, probably longer. It has yellow paint and tarmac round it, and is a real eye sore. It is on the pavement in St George’s Square, Pimlico, on the walk down to the lights.”

The Council told us;

“After you reported this we checked out the area and found two yellow covers; one was outside 15 and the other at 81. We have had both yellow covers lifted to confirm what was there. Both were over coal plates; the metal lids in the highway over the old coal shutes to the adjacent property. These coal plates are the maintenance responsibility of the property to which they are linked and are only repaired by the City Council once agreement with the freeholder to cover the cost has been agreed. The coal plate at number 15 does not appear to be defective in any way. This cover has therefore been removed and the tar holding it down taken up from the footway. The coal plate at number 81 was found to have a hole in its surface. The yellow cover has been replaced and a letter is being written to the freeholder asking that they take steps to repair the coal plate and offering our services to do the work at their costs should they prefer. “

A satisfied resident said;

“That’s fantastic! Thanks for the prompt turnround. One of them has been there well over a year!”

Introducing Murad Gassanly, one of your three Churchill Ward Candidates for the Council elections in May 2014

Murad Gassanly

Murad Gassanly, alongside Jason Thomas Williams and Shamim Talukder, will be one of your three Churchill Ward Candidates for the Council elections in May 2014.

“I have lived in Churchill Gardens for 14 years and am passionate about our estate. As a member of the Residents Association Committee I spearheaded Save the Lupus Street Post Office Campaign, putting pressure on the Council and the Government to prevent the closure of this invaluable public service. In these difficult economic times many of our neighbours find themselves facing crisis – from financial issues to housing. As a community organiser I work with residents’ groups, individuals and families to support and empower those facing challenges and difficulties.

I am a London School of Economics graduate (BSc Social Policy and Government) and hold a masters degree with distinction in International Relations, from the School of European Studies, Cardiff University. I am currently engaged in doctoral research, whilst working on international human rights and democratisation issues. I speak three languages (English, Russian and Turkish) and am aware and sensitive to the needs of our multi-ethnic community. I have in the past successfully ran a retail business and am highly attuned to the needs of small and medium size enterprises.

If elected as a councillor my general priorities would be promoting construction of council housing and bringing back Family Quotas, facilitating community integration and social cohesion (bringing different communities in Churchill together), improving services for the elderly and the youth, and supporting small business in Churchill ward. My immediate priority will be the fight to save Lupus Street Post Office and ensuring that any plans for redevelopment of Churchill Gardens estate reflect the priorities of local residents.”

Churchill Gardens pensioners’ lunch club continues despite kitchen robbery

Churchill Gardens lunch club for pensioners has not been defeated after thieves stole £5,000 worth of kitchen equipment.

Burglars raided the community hall at Churchill Gardens Estate, Pimlico, in the early hours of October 12.

They ripped out a £2,000 commercial cooker, a microwave, electric mixer and fridge freezer filled with food for the weekly lunch club.

But, with donations from neighbours and an undefeated attitude, pensioners continue to enjoy a two-course hot meal every Friday for £5.

Churchill-Gardens lunch club Sue Walsh

Sue Walsh, chairwoman of Churchill Gardens Residents Association, said: “It shows whatever they throw at us, we’ll keep going strong. A wonderful neighbour Susan Moore donated a brand new fridge freezer so we can keep doing the lunches.

“For some of these people it’s the only hot dinner they have.

“The club is so important and it’s proved a great success; week on week our numbers are on the up.

“People have continued to support us, which is immensely helpful.”

The association is waiting for an insurance claim to go through.

Ms Walsh said police had damaged the hall’s security alarm knocking down the front door after responding to what turned out to be a hoax call two weeks before the burglary.

Police continue to search through CCTV to trace the suspects.

The community hall hopes to extend the kitchens and, once the club has a working oven again, to open a cafe in the building throughout the week.

Volunteer cook John Fleming serves a choice of two meals a week including roast pork, curry or bangers and mash, with a dessert and hot drink.

“It’s worth every penny. The chef, John, is brilliant,” said Ivy Powell, 78, who has been going to the Friday afternoon lunch club since it opened last year.

Friend Kathleen Walker, 79, added: “It saves the agony of cooking, once the cafe opens it will be fantastic.”

Churchill Gardens Regeneration Plans

Churchill gardens plan

The Churchill Labour Action Team – Jason Thomas Williams, Murad Gassanly and Shamim Talukder – will be at the Churchill Gardens Regeneration meeting on

Friday 22 November 2013, 3pm – 7pm at Churchill Gardens Community Hall

The Council says it wants residents’ view on regeneration proposals which could include improved school buildings, better play spaces for children and young people, modern residential/nursing care and housing facilities for older people, and improvements to local public and green spaces.

Come and meet the architects and landscape designers before they start. They want to listen to your views and understand what does and doesn’t work on the estate at the moment. They also want your ideas about how things could be improved.

Please let us know your views – contact us at info@citieslabour.org.uk

Jason, Murad and Shamim
Your Churchill Labour Action Team

Future Academies chain under fire over bid to axe playground at Churchill Gardens primary school

The ‘West End Extra’ reports;

ChurchillGardens Primary school

“A PLAYGROUND is to be stripped from a primary school in Pimlico recently taken over by schools minister Lord Nash’s experimental academy chain.

City Hall bosses agreed to axe the site at Churchill Gardens Primary in August West End Extra can reveal, but parents and residents have not been consulted on the decision.

The outcome of a secret report agreed that the playground and another building on Lupus Street will be “released from educational purposes”.

Future Academies – founded by the venture capitalist and Tory peer Lord Nash – took over the school just days after the deal to close the playground was agreed.

The Department for Education must agree to any loss of school land and the former housing chief Cllr Jonathan Glanz and schools boss Danny Chalkley agreed they would write to the education secretary Michael Gove and ask for his permission.

The involvement of Lord Nash, a close ally of Mr Gove, has been questioned, as permission to dispose of a playground at the school run by his education charity will now be sought from the government department that he works in.

Laura Vogel, a primary teacher and former Pimlico resident, said it was “sickening” to learn that permission would have to come from Lord Nash’s own department.

She said: “The massive conflict of interest between Lord Nash and Future Academies should never have been allowed.”

Westminster Council disputed claims that the school would be losing a playground, insisting it would be “relocated or not moved at all” once they have gauged the opinion of residents.

Parents and teachers at Churchill Gardens Primary were said to be opposed to Future’s acquisition of the school earlier this year, which was described as a “hostile takeover”.

The possible conflict of interests heaps additional pressure on Future, which has come under sustained criticism after they appointed an unqualified 27-year-old to run their new school Pimlico Primary. Headteacher Annaliese Briggs walked out just four weeks after the school opened.

They have also been criticised for discarding the national curriculum in favour of a “knowledge-rich” system that has been compared with Victorian rote learning.

The academy chain now runs three of four primary schools in the area, leading to claims parents have little choice but to send their children to the experimental academies.

The decision was made as part of a wider plan to regenerate the Churchill Gardens estate and hand power to a group of residents called Team Churchill Gardens. But residents’ association chair Sue Walsh said she had heard nothing about the loss of the playground.

She said: “I haven’t heard a word about it and I live in the block opposite. I wouldn’t be surprised, to be honest, but they will have to consult us before they do anything.”

The headlines of the rep­ort, titled Churchill Gardens: Improving community facilities for local residents, were published on August 5 but the full report was kept secret and deemed to be “exempt from disclosure by virtue of the Local Government Act… in that it contains information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person”.

The report said that Cllr Chalkley would apply to Mr Gove for “consent to release the following from Education purposes: the ‘sunken site’, on the Lupus street frontage of the Churchill Gardens Primary School; and the old caretaker’s house on the Churchill Gardens Primary School site”.

On August 28 Mr Gove and an undisclosed representative of Future Academies signed a contract, seen by West End Extra, that handed control of Churchill Gardens Primary to the academy chain.

Leader of Westminster’s Labour group Paul Dim­oldenberg said: “Before any land is sold off there needs to be full consultation with the local community. There are already severe concerns about the Nash Futures takeover of the area’s schools and it would be very damaging if this influence were to spread.”

A council spokesman described the application as “box-ticking” and said no decision about the future of the playground had been taken.

They said residents would be asked for their opinion before a decision is made, adding: “The simple answer is we don’t know until residents have decided.”

A Department for Education spokesman said they had not yet received an application from the council, but added: “We will only agree to the sale of school playing fields if the sports and curriculum needs of schools and their neighbouring schools can continue to be met.”

The first meeting between council officers and residents is due to take place on November 22 at the community hall in the Churchill Gardens estate.

Jo Saxton, the director of education at Future Academies, did not respond to requests by West End Extra for comment this week.

Pensioners’ food stolen in raid on Churchill Gardens community hall

The ‘West End Extra’ reports;

“THIEVES stole thousands of pounds worth of fridges and freezers packed full of food for pensioners during a raid on a community hall.

The recent break-in at the Churchill Gardens Estate took place three months after its door was smashed in by police responding to reports of a stabbing in the Pimlico hall, which turned out to be a hoax call.

The damage to the entrance meant that the ­centre was left without a functioning alarm system and exposed to criminals.

Sue Walsh, chairwoman of the residents’ association, said: “We’d just done a shop and we had two freezers that were full to the gunwales with bacon, sausages, meat for pies, stuff that we use for their lunches.

“We couldn’t put the alarm system on until the doors were put back on and word must have got around, because somebody broke in the back door and they raided our kitchen and stole all the appliances and all the food that we had for the pensioners. I’ve been battling the police to try and get them to make a contribution.

“We’re a charity, now left with a £3,000 bill for new doors.

“For some of these people it’s the only meal that they get because they don’t cook for themselves in the evening.

“But we haven’t been defeated, we’ve managed to get little cookers and we’re still providing the lunch. We’re not going to be beaten by it.”

Belgravia police tracked down the hoax call which was made during the August bank holiday weekend, but discovered it was made from a pay-as-you-go phone and could not take further action. Thieves were able to break in unnoticed because the broken doors meant the alarm system could not be restarted.

Ms Walsh said the police should have done more to help, adding: “Thieves took everything and it was generally left in mayhem.

“If the police had helped us with the doors it may not have come to that.”

The doors were finally replaced last week and the alarm has now been reinstalled.

Ms Walsh said: “It’s just an expense that we can’t afford. We are being pressured to pay our bills and keep up to date with the hall, and then we get setbacks like this.”

The Met police did not respond to request for a comment.”

How many people does it take to repair the lift at Pimlico Library?

We asked the Council why the lift at Pimlico Library has been broken for the last three weeks.

This is what the Council told us;

“The lift at Pimlico has indeed now been out of order for over 3 weeks and has, regrettably, caused great inconvenience and distress to some of the customers using the library. After an initial inspection, I was led to believe that the lift required a replacement part which had to be imported. This finally arrived on site last Friday. Engineers then attempted to replace the part only to discover there were further parts (hinges) that also needed to replacing. Engineers have been on site today with the additional parts, and as yet, still have not got the lift working, but will be back tomorrow morning. I will be monitoring progress and will be doing all I can to ensure that the lift is up and running as soon as possible.

Various improvements have been made to the lift since its initial installation, but it is fair to say that there are still some ongoing reliability issues. I will be picking this up with our Property Department to see whether there are any further improvements that can be made, either to the design or the maintenance regime, that can improve the situation.”

Jason Thomas Williams of the Churchill Labour Action Team said;

“The lift is really essential to get into the library for anyone with mobility issues or a push chair. The Council should have sorted this out weeks ago”

Churchill Labour Action Report – November 2013

From Jason Thomas Williams, Murad Gassanly and Shamim Talukder – Your Churchill Labour Action Team

Churchill Gardens Estate

Churchill gardens plan

We did a walkabout on the estate and we have contacted City West Homes about the following issues;

• The issue of anti-social behaviour and drug use in stairwells came up in Chippendale House, there was a distinct smell of drugs in the lifts and litter in the stairwells. One resident reported that some plant pots had been thrown from the balcony after dark and that the police had attended but not had a strong enough presence on foot often enough to reassure residents.
• There was also concern about groups congregating in stairwells in Lutyens House and drug use. In both houses there was concern about noise from the Football pitch between Lutyens and Chippendale at night. There is support for the pitch especially for the younger children but residents told us that there are no toilet facilities so late at night and some young people are using the entrances to Chippendale, opposite the pitch to urinate in, as well as the issue of noise when leaving the pitch after 8pm.

City West Homes tell us;

“I was disturbed to read about the issue of individuals urinating in block entrances and also plant pots being thrown balconies. The estate office have had no reports of this from residents, however, I have asked them to send a letter to all residents reminding them that should any of this kind of behaviour be occurring on the estate that they should report it immediately. In line with the observations made by residents, we have had reports of youths congregating in and around Lutyens House during the day. We have liaised with the Safer Neighbourhood Team on this and along with them, we will be monitoring this area closely”

Churchill Gardens Safer Neighbourhood Team Report

churchill gardens

“We are concerned about groups causing Anti-Social Behaviour such as dealing drugs and making noise. We are taking this very seriously with our partners such as City West Homes. There has been a lot of action taken in the last month which we hope to increase so that your estate is a nicer place to be. There have been numerous letters sent by City West Homes to those causing this nuisance. Some have had letters advising of their poor behaviour giving them an opportunity to stop their current behaviour. The worst offenders that live outside the estate have had banning letters sent to them. We are putting together ASBO applications for certain individuals at this time. We are also going to refer people on benefit with abnormal amounts of money on them or a life style above their means to the Department of Work and Pensions so they can investigate and act where appropriate. We the police are working closely with our partners so the right people are identified and joint coordinated action is taken. This will be more effective in the long run.”

If you have any information of addresses or persons that could be of interest to the police please contact Churchill SNT on 020 8721 2805. If you wish to remain anonymous please call Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111. Or email Churchill.snt@met.police.uk

Churchill Gardens Estate Hall

We were very disappointed to hear this news and are doing all we can to help;

“In the early hours of Saturday 12th October thieves broke in and have stolen everything from our kitchen, including our Oven, Fridge Freezer full of food, Microwaves, Utensils, in fact everything. This has a great impact on our elderly residents who come along for their lunch every Friday. We are still going ahead with our lunches, we are “begging, borrowing and stealing” just to show we are not defeated by this. When the police smashed their way in back in August they disabled the alarm system. This cannot be reinstated until we have new doors, we keep being given different dates for these doors to be fitted but as of today’s date the doors are still not fitted. My belief is that if the hall had its normal alarm system in place Saturday’s incident would not have occurred.”

Tesco Lupus Street

Lupus Street sign

We have asked the Council to take action on this matter;

“Every day, and all day, including the weekend, this store keeps its piles of rubbish in metal cages OUTSIDE the store on the public footpath. I have spoken to the Manager and have telephoned Tesco head office three times. Each time I am told that of course this is a disgrace and, of course, the matter will be dealt with immediately. Nothing ever happens. We were told that Tesco would enhance the neighbourhood – it has turned this area of Lupus Street into a permanent rubbish dump. Please, please can the Council take action?”

Westminster Council leaves Balmoral Castle public house empty for eight years and runs up a £200,000 scaffolding bill

Balmoral Castle

Westminster Council has allowed the Balmoral Castle public house on the Churchill Gardens estate to remain empty for eight years and has run up a £200,000 scaffolding bill to keep the building standing.

Labour Councillors say that the long-empty Balmoral Castle public house, vacant since 2006, should be converted to new homes for older people. Situated very close to Darwin House, which provides supported housing for elderly people on the Churchill Gardens estate, Labour Councillors have proposed that the five storey Balmoral Castle building be renovated to comprise one bedroom independent living units with alarm access to Darwin House.

Labour say that these new flats could then be offered to older Westminster Council tenants who currently occupy family-sized flats, who wish to move voluntarily to a smaller flat, thereby releasing these family sized properties for families on the Council’s waiting list.

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Leader of the Labour Group, said;

“The Balmoral Castle has been vacant for far too long and sums up Westminster Council’s long-term neglect of the Churchill Gardens estate and the needs of local families. It makes no sense spending £25,000 a year to keep this building vacant. The Council should renovate the building to provide purpose-built homes for older residents who want to down-size from a family flat. This will also help some of the many local overcrowded families in need of a bigger flat”

Labour Councillors, supported by the Churchill Labour Action Team of Jason Thomas Williams, Murad Gassanly and Shamim Talukder, have been campaigning consistently for the Council to refurbish the Balmoral Castle.

In April 2010, Westminster Council’s Director of Housing announced; “Residents should be assured that we want to resolve this situation and we will be working with them in the coming weeks.”

However, nearly four years later and £100,000 more spent on scaffolding, nothing has happened and the pub remains derelict.

Second headteacher quits at schools minister’s academy chain at Churchill Gardens Primary school

ChurchillGardens Primary school

According to the ‘Guardian’;

“A second headteacher from an academy chain set up by the coalition’s schools minister is to leave her post this term, prompting concerns about their governance.

Susan Rankin-Reid, the acting head of Churchill Gardens academy, in Pimlico, central London, has agreed to leave Future Academies, which was set up by Lord Nash with his wife and oversees four schools.

Colleagues and friends said she was bullied by academy managers, following a takeover by Future at the beginning of the school year. Parents at the school gates on Friday accused Lord Nash’s charity of forcing her out.

Last week the Guardian disclosed that Annaliese Briggs, a 27-year-old headteacher with no teaching qualifications who was controversially appointed to Pimlico Free School, had resigned after three weeks in the job.

Future Academies, which has four schools in its group, is seen as a blueprint for future institutions to be rolled out by the education secretary, Michael Gove.

Future has its own curriculum development centre, which focuses on a knowledge, rather than skills-based, curriculum. Its work is influenced by ED Hirsch, the American academic whose ideas have influenced the national curriculum review.

Labour called on Nash, a former venture capitalist and Tory donor who made a fortune from government contracts, to explain why the academy was unable to retain senior teaching staff.

Kevin Brennan, the shadow schools minister, said: “Another week, another resignation at the Future Academies chain set up by a government schools minister. Parents will want to know exactly what has gone on here so that they can be sure that their children’s education is in good hands.

“How can it be right that he is responsible for clearing up the mess made by an organisation he founded and ran? This week we have seen how important proper oversight is with the fiasco at the Al-Madinah Free School and it is barely credible that he could remain impartial in this situation. It is time for oversight of this chain to be taken off him.”

Churchill Gardens, for three- to 11-year-olds, became part of the Academy group six weeks ago after a fractious campaign over academy status at the school which followed a “requires improvement” Ofsted inspection.

The staff body mounted a vigorous campaign in favour of a “play-based” learning approach.

Rankin-Reid, who is also a qualified Ofsted inspector,,has been subjected to a campaign of bullying from staff at the academy, a colleague said. “She was forced out in the end, despite the fact she is wanted by staff and parents,” the source said.

Parents on Friday blamed the academy for forcing her out. Patience Freeman, who was picking up her children Lois, 9, Jesse, 6, and Simean, 5, said she is looking for an alternative school because of the constant changes brought in by Future.

“I blame them [Future]. The headteacher is very good and we want her to stay. Ask around and 95% of the parents and staff will agree with me,” she said.

Last week the group came under intense scrutiny as Briggs quit just weeks after the school opened its doors for the first time.
Future Academies, founded by Nash and his wife Caroline, is free to appoint unqualified teachers, but defended the selection of Briggs, saying she was “uniquely qualified”.

Future Academy did not respond to questions asking for an explanation of Nash’s role in Briggs appointment, but it understood that he was fully behind the decision. The Academy also refused to answer questions asking about Lady Nash’s role in Briggs appointment; why parents at Pimlico Primary claim they were “misled”; and how many applicants were interviewed for Briggs job. The academy chain also did not respond to questions asking who is on the governing body of the school – the panel responsible for appointments – which is not posted on the academy’s website.

Nash, a venture capitalist, and his wife became Tory donors in 2006 and helped to finance David Davis’s 2005 leadership bid. One of his previous investment vehicles, Sovereign Capital, owned companies with more than £70m worth of government contracts. In January he became a life peer and schools minister.

Future Academies did not respond to requests for a response to the bullying claims.

A DfE spokeswoman said that Nash did not take any decisions which affected schools in which his charity was involved. “The decision to do this was made when Lord Nash became minister to avoid any conflicts of interest,” she said.

Michael Parker, secretary of the National Union of Teachers in Westminster, said that teachers across the academy are concerned by the new curriculum.

“It’s a real worry, in the opinion of the staff that are there, that it is not a curriculum that will allow the children to flourish,” he said.

http://www.theguardian.com/education/2013/oct/18/headteacher-quits-schools-future-academies

David Cameron called on to mount an enquiry into Pimlico Primary Academy shambles

Westminster Labour Councillors have called on Prime Minister David Cameron to mount an inquiry into the Future Group’s stewardship of Pimlico Primary Academy and its sister schools, Churchill Gardens Primary Academy and Millbank Primary Academy, following the resignation of Pimlico Primary Academy Head Annelise Briggs after just six months as Head.

Ms Briggs was appointed as Head early this year by the Future Group despite her having no school teaching experience and no experience of running a school.

The Future Group is run by long-standing Conservative Party donor, Lord Nash who was appointed a junior Education Minister this year and works under Education Secretary Michael Gove.

The resignation of Ms Briggs as Pimlico Primary Head teacher follows the resignation of the acting Head Teacher at Churchill Gardens Primary Academy (another Future school), Susan Rankin-Reid, who has announced that she is leaving at Christmas. Susan Rankin-Reid was appointed as acting Head following the takeover of the school by Future in July.

While at Millbank Primary Academy, another local state primary school taken over by Future, the headteacher Alyson Russen is now executive head of all three Future primary schools. Her deputy is acting up as head of Millbank, and the teacher who was acting as Millbank Academy deputy is now at Pimlico Primary acting as Head Teacher, leaving Millbank Primary Academy with a below strength leadership team.

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Leader of the Labour Group, said;

“The chaos at Pimlico, Churchill Gardens and Millbank Primary Academies, all run by the Future Group which is led by a Conservative Education Minister, needs to be sorted out without delay. Michael Gove is clearly conflicted and cannot conduct an inquiry into his own junior Minister’s affairs. The Prime Minister needs to act swiftly so that parents and pupils at these three schools can be confident that all three schools are being managed in a competent and effective manner.”

Churchill Gardens Estate calls on police to tackle dangerous dogs and drug dealing problems

The ‘West End Extra’ reports;

“POLICE have been urged to tackle an “ongoing” problem of anti-social behaviour which is blighting estates in Pimlico.

Scotland Yard sent officers to meet with Churchill Gardens residents last week where they asked for help in dealing with groups of teenagers that are gathering at night in public squares.

Members of the public have raised concerns about dangerous dogs and drug dealing in the squares and smoking cannabis in stairwells.

Sue Walsh, chairwoman of the Churchill Gardens residents’ association, said: “What we’re trying to do is get rid of an ongoing problem we’ve got in the square, dealing with drugs and dogs and so on.

“It’s mainly the dog issues and they’ve got the dogs off leads and things. They’re being trained to be aggressive and people feel intimated when they see those dogs and it can be quite worrying for some of the residents.”

The Met suggested they may open a new contact point at Chaucer House on the estate and are looking into setting up a dedicated phoneline that people can phone to report crime.

Ms Walsh said the problem often came from teenagers who did not live on the estate, but she added: “What we’re asking for is if the offenders live on the estate, then obviously something should be done and their parents should be called to account.

“What we’ve asked for is a designated number for Churchill Gardens so that people can ring if they think that drugs are being smoked on the stairs or dealt in the square.”

Churchill Gardens Tenants Hall

We have been contacted by the Tenants’ Association about the damage done to the doors of the Churchill Gardens Estate Hall recently during a police raid following a hoax call alleging a fatality. During the raid the Estate Hall doors were very badly damaged, including the door frames which support the heavy fire doors, and will cost an estimated £3,000 to repair. In addition, we are told that the building was not left in a secure state following the raid and damage to the doors. The Tenants’ Association does not have the money to do this work and is looking to the police to help them with this problem which is not of the Association’s making. We have asked the Police to consider how they might be able to help with this most unfortunate situation.

Fight to save Lupus Street Post Office taken up at Labour’s Brighton Conference

Jason

Local Churchill ward campaigner Jason Thomas Williams has spoken out against the Tory led Government’s refusal to support Pimlico residents’ call to save Lupus Street post office at Labour’s Annual Conference at Brighton.

Speaking at this week’s Labour Party Conference in Brighton, Jason said;

“The Lupus Street Post Office is a vital part of the local community and residents face a 20 minute walk to the nearest post offices in Vauxhall Bridge Road and Ebury Street and its closure will have a devastating effect on the community and local businesses.”

In his response to a petition from local residents presented to Parliament, Business Secretary Liberal Democrat Vince Cable MP, has rejected residents’ pleas to save the post office.

First, Mr Cable has washed his hands of any responsibility for the closure proposal and second, he tells elderly and disabled residents that it is OK for them to walk 20 minutes to the nearest alternative post offices

The consultation over the Post Office’s closure has now been delayed until 2014, causing more uncertainty for local people.

Government Minister Jo Swinson MP, the Minister responsible for Post Offices, previously snubbed a request from residents for an urgent meeting for her to see first-hand the importance of the threatened Lupus Street Post Office for the local community.

In a response from her office, the Liberal Democrat Minister for Employment Relations and Consumer Affairs refused to meet local residents and restated the plans to merge the Post Office with branches in Eccleston Street and Vauxhall Bridge Road.

Jason said;

“This is stark contrast to the local Labour campaign to keep the Lupus Street Post Office open which saw former Labour Home Secretary Alan Johnson MP join local Labour campaigners Murad Gassanly, Shamim Talukder and Jason Thomas Williams in fighting plans to close the Pimlico Post Office, an important community service for older people and families.”

Pimlico District Heating Undertaking (PDHU), the UK’s first combined heat and power network, will be opening its doors to the public for Open House London on 21 September 2013 and 22 September 2013.

PDHU

This event offers a great opportunity to view the impressive engines which help PDHU to supply clean, affordable energy to over 3,300 properties in the Churchill Gardens area. You can also climb the thermal store, a 41 metre tower, for fantastic views over Westminster.

The tours are free, and will take place from 10am – 5pm, at PDHU Pump House, Churchill Gardens Road, London, SW1V 3JF.

Angry response from residents to Government refusal to halt Lupus Street post office proposal

sue walsh

In response to the Government’s refusal to intervene and stop the Post Office proposal to close Lupus Street post office, Sue Walsh, who is chair of the Churchill Gardens residents’ association, told the ‘West End Extra’:

“Let Vince Cable come down here and walk down there in the rain with two kids in the buggy or an elderly relative and let him stand outside in the queue. People already queue out into the street, so, if they’ve got the extra footfall from Lupus Street then it’s going to be even worse. It’s too far for the elderly to walk to and there’s no disabled access. In Lupus Street everybody is familiar with each other so there’s an element of safety, but when you’re in Vauxhall Bridge Road, nobody knows anybody and that can make some of the elderly people fearful about picking up money.”

Government refuses to support Pimlico residents’ pleas to save Lupus Street post office

Lupus St Alan Johnson

The Government has refused to support Pimlico residents’ call to save Lupus Street post office.

In its response to a petition from local residents presented to the Government by Mark Field MP, Business Secretary Liberal Democrat Vince Cable MP, has rejected residents’ pleas to save the post office.

First, Mr Cable has washed his hands of any responsibility for the closure proposal (“The Government note that the implementation of the Crown Transformation Programme is an operational matter which is the responsibility of senior management at Post Office Ltd”) and second, he tells elderly and disabled residents that it is OK for them to walk 20 minutes to the nearest alternative post offices (“The Government note that in the case of Lupus Street, Post Office Ltd is proposing to merge operations with the nearest alternative Crown branches at Vauxhall Bridge Road and Eccleston Street, which are within half a mile, and a mile of Lupus Street branch respectively”).

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmhansrd/cm130902/petntext/130902p0001.htm#13090228000089

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Leader of the Labour Group, said;

“It is extremely disappointing that the Government has rejected residents’ call to save Lupus Street post office. The closure of this post office would be a major community loss, particularly for residents on the Churchill Gardens Estate, and for the wider Pimlico area. Labour Councillors and the Churchill Ward Labour Action Team of Murad Gassanly, Jason Williams and Shamim Takluder, will continue our campaign alongside local residents and Post Office workers, to keep the post office open”

Westminster Council services under threat if Lupus Street Post Office closes

Lupus St Alan Johnson

The proposed closure of Lupus Street Post Office will mean that, in addition to the loss of the post office service, hundreds of residents will lose the ability to pay their Council rent and Council Tax or renew their parking permits.

Last year, Westminster Council closed all of its One Stop offices and transferred all face-to-face financial transactions to Post Offices all over Westminster. There are currently about 500 Council-related cash transactions a month at Lupus Street Post Office and if the Post Office is closed then residents on the Churchill Gardens estate would lose their current service and would have no alternative but to walk for at least 20 minutes to the Vauxhall Bridge Road or Eccleston Street post offices to pay bills.

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Leader of the Labour Group, said;

“The closure of Lupus Street Post Office would be a ‘double-whammy’ for local residents. Not only would they lose their post office but they would also lose a local office where they can make cash payments to the Council. This is particularly bad for the elderly and disabled and anyone who has difficulty walking long distances”

“Having closed all its One Stop offices and transferred everything to the Post Office the Council has a responsibility to ensure that residents continue to get the local service they were promised and can continue to make financial transaction in Lupus Street at the post office.”

“It looks like Westminster Council and the Post Office are in cahoots to deprive Churchill Gardens residents of decent local services. Is this what the Conservatives mean by “we’re all in this together”?

Taxpayer lost £38m on Chelsea barracks sale

Chelsea Barracks

According to the ‘Sunday Times’;

“TAXPAYERS were deprived of tens of millions of pounds in stamp duty on the sale of Chelsea barracks to one of the developer Candy brothers and the Qatari government, a court has ruled.

The sale of the 12.8-acre Ministry of Defence site for almost £1bn in 2007 was the UK’s most expensive residential development deal at the time but it has been beset by controversy. The plan to develop 450 luxury residences and 123 affordable homes remains on hold.

Last week, a tax tribunal judge ruled that a complex scheme devised to buy the property free from stamp duty was unlawful.

The Qataris have been ordered to pay £50m — £12m more than if they had paid the stamp duty due at the time of the deal. Christian Candy sold out of the consortium in 2008 and is not liable for any tax.”

We want our bus stop back, say Churchill Gardens residents

24 bus

The ‘West End Extra’ reports;

“A vital bus stop in the heart of Pimlico that was knocked down by a Tesco delivery lorry six months ago has still not been replaced.

Transport for London (TfL) want to replace the bus stop in Alderney Street – which is used by elderly residents from the nearby Churchill Gardens Estate each day – more than 50 metres down the road when they install it later this year.

Residents of the estate are opposed to the move and believe they have been ignored in favour of big business. Sue Walsh, chairwoman of Churchill Gardens Residents’ Association, said: “It just seems like big business have knocked it down and thought, ‘right, that’s it, we’ve got our own way’, and it’s not going back there and it’s not fair.

“They shouldn’t just be allowed to knock it down and have it put somewhere else just because that’s where their lorries like to park.”

The bus stop was hit by a van delivering to Tesco on Lupus Street in December.

Ms Walsh said: “About an hour later a van from TfL pulled up, straightened all the pavement out, took the bus stop away and that was it.”

TfL said they decided to move the bus stop on “safety grounds” following “repeated damage”, but residents are adamant this was the first accident. They have raised concerns about the safety of the new site due to a lack of lighting.

Ms Walsh said: “They are planning to put it down the road by Pimlico Primary School, but it’s very dark there at night and it isn’t suitable for an elderly people. When you get off late at night at the old stop, Tesco is very well lit and there’s a security guard there, so there’s an element of safety as well.”

Local businesses say they have lost out on trade as less people have walked past their stores since the bus stop was removed.

Churchill Gardens resident Murad Gassanly said: “The small businesses in Lupus Street are losing passing trade from the passengers alighting from the buses. They say that if people alight further up the road they do not bother to walk back on themselves to the shops.”

Darren Canty, infrastructure controller for London Buses, said: “Following repeated damage to the Alderney Street bus stop a decision was taken, on safety grounds, to move it.

“The previous location did not have a designated space to allow the bus to stop. This meant that other vehicles could park close to the bus stop preventing the bus from pulling in close to the curb, allowing passengers to alight safely. This was of particular concern for passengers with limited mobility or using a wheelchair.

“We worked with Westminster Council to find a more suitable location for the bus stop around 50 metres east on Lupus Street where designated road markings could be introduced to improve both bus and passenger accessibility. The introduction of the new bus stop is currently subject to a public consultation. We hope to introduce the new bus stop in the next few months.”

A spokesman for Tesco said they would not comment on the bus stop.

You can sign the petition to reinstate the bus stop at http://petitions.westminster.gov.uk/24busstop/

Campaign to save Lupus Street Post Office moves up a gear

Lupus St Alan Johnson

Labour’s campaign to save Lupus Street Post Office from closure has moved up a gear with the tabling of a motion for the next meeting of Westminster City Council on Wednesday 10th July;

The motion, to be moved by Councillor Nilavra Mukerji and seconded by Councillor David Boothroyd, says;

“This Council agrees that the closure of the Lupus Street Post Office would be damaging for the Pimlico community, particularly local residents who would be faced with a 20 minute walk to the nearest post office, and local businesses who would be faced with a loss of trade. The Council therefore calls on the Post Office to listen to the community and to withdraw all proposals to close Lupus Street post office.”

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Leader of the Labour Group, said;

“This is a vital issue for the whole community and we are hoping for a cross-party agreement so that the motion is passed unanimously by the full Council. This will send a very strong message to the Post Office bosses that closure of Lupus Street would be the wrong decision and will be fiercely resisted.”

Government Minister refuses to meet residents trying to save Lupus Street Post Office

Lupus St Alan Johnson

Government minister Jo Swinson MP, the Minister responsible for Post Offices, has snubbed a request from residents for an urgent meeting for her to see first-hand the importance of the threatened Lupus Street Post Office for the local community. In a response from her office, the Liberal Democrat Minister for Employment Relations and Consumer Affairs refused to meet local residents and restated the plans to merge the Post Office with branches in Eccleston Street and Vauxhall Bridge Road.

This is stark contrast to the Labour campaign to keep the Lupus Street Post Office open which this week saw former Labour Home Secretary Alan Johnson MP join local Labour campaigners Murad Gassanly, Shamim Talukuder and Jason Thomas Williams in fighting plans to close the Pimlico Post Office, an important community service for older people and families.

A petition started by Labour Councillors has already gathered over 400 signatures in support of the Post Office.

Local Labour Churchill Ward campaigner Murad Gassanly said;

Murad Gassanly

“It’s bitterly disappointing that the Government refuse to change its closure plans for the Lupus Street office which could have a real negative effect for local people and a knock on effect for local businesses who rely on the post office and the resulting footfall.”

“The Churchill Labour Action team have spent the last few months working hard campaigning on this issue and will keep up the momentum so we continue to speak up for our communities and our local Post office.”

A copy of the Government letter can be found here Letter on Lupus St from Govt

Alan Johnson MP joins Churchill residents to save Lupus Street Post Office

Lupus St Alan Johnson

Alan Johnson MP, former Home Secretary in the Labour Government, was with local residents, post office workers and Labour Councillors in Lupus Street to join the campaign to keep the Post Office open.

Mr Johnson, who started life as a postman and rose to become leader of the Communications Workers’ Union before entering Parliament in 1997, was present to support the community’s efforts to keep the Lupus Street Post Office open.

Murad, Alan and Paul

In addition Murad Qureshi, Member of the London Assembly, was present to give his support alongside Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Leader of the Labour Group.

The campaign to save Lupus Street Post Office has been spearheaded by Churchill Ward Labour campaigners Murad Gassanly, Jason Thomas Williams and Shamim Talukder, together with the CWU.There are already over 400 signatures on the on-line petition with many more signatures on paper petitions.

You can sign the petition at http://petitions.westminster.gov.uk/lupusstreet/

Local group has designs on Chelsea Barracks site

Chelsea Barracks

According to ‘Planning’ magazine;

“A group claiming to represent residents and businesses around Chelsea Barracks in central London has applied to Westminster City Council to become an official neighbourhood forum for the area.

If approved, it would mean the prospective Chelsea Barracks Neighbourhood Forum could start drawing up a neighbourhood development plan for an area between the River Thames and Victoria train station.

Chelsea Barracks is the site of a controversial application to redevelop the old military building into new homes.

The scheme hit the headlines in 2009 when Prince Charles’ opposition on design grounds to a Lord Rogers masterplan was revealed and the plans were dropped.

New outline plans to create up to 448 homes were approved in June last year. In January, however, the applicant and landowner, Qatari Diar, said these latest proposals would be reviewed because of the economic slump.

The neighbourhood forum application says the group has met Qatari Diar, the “largest local land owner”, and “they are happy to get involved if we are successful”.

Planning approached Qatari Diar for a comment, but it had not responded by the time of going to press.

The application goes on to say: “Those who live around the borders of the former Chelsea Barracks found themselves exposed to a controversial development on the old barracks site. As a result, the residents united to object and this has formed a very strong sense of community locally.”

Alan Johnson MP supports campaign to save Lupus Street Post Office from closure

Alan Johnson

Alan Johnson MP, former Home Secretary and former Communications Workers Union General Secretary, has added his weight to the campaign to save Lupus Street Post Office and will be visiting the post office at 12 noon on Tuesday 18th June.

The campaign has already gained wide support from all sections of the local community who have pointed out to the Post Office that;

• Residents face a 20 minutes’ walk to the nearest alternative post offices in Vauxhall Bridge Road and Ebury Street with no direct bus links. This is of particular concern to older, infirm and disabled residents.
• The queues at Vauxhall Bridge Road post office are already regularly stretched outside on the pavement, a fact acknowledged by the Post Office
• The Post Office in Vauxhall Bridge Road does not have access for disabled customers with wheelchairs and the Post Office representatives could not say how much it would cost to do the required works.
• The Post Office say that Lupus Street Post Office ‘loses £100,000 a year’; they say that for every £1 of income it costs the post office £1.84. However, statistics provided by the Post Office to the CWU suggest that the figure is £1.33. The confusion over this key financial aspect is of serious concern and casts doubt on the reliability of the figures on which the Post Office is basing its case for closure.
• The use of Lupus Street post office for Council-related transactions is the highest in Westminster and if this post office is closed residents will have nowhere where they can pay their rent and rates or renew their parking permit in person now that the Council has closed all its One Stop shops
• Lupus Street traders use the Post Office banking facilities and if this post office were to close, local businesses would lose this important business facility, as well as having the increased worry of having to carry cash some distance to banks elsewhere
• Experience elsewhere shows that when post offices close down the surrounding local businesses suffer badly, leading to more empty shops, to the detriment of the wider community.

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Leader of the Labour Group said;

“It is great news that Alan Johnson is coming to Lupus Street to give his support to the campaign. Alan’s presence will send a strong message to the Post Office ‘top brass’ that they will have a hard job closing down Lupus Street and they have got a real fight on their hands.”

Letter to the Post Office Chief Executive calling for the withdrawal of Lupus Street post office close plans

Lupus Street PO demo

Paula Vennells
Chief Executive
The Post Office
148 Old Street
LONDON
EC1 1AA

Dear Ms Vennells

Lupus Street Post Office

I am writing to register Westminster Labour Councillors’ total opposition to the the closure of Lupus Street Post Office.

I was at the well-attended Public Meeting at Churchill Gardens Residents’ Hall on 29th May when it was revealed that;

• Residents face a 20 minutes’ walk to the nearest alternative post offices in Vauxhall Bridge Road and Ebury Street with no direct bus links. This is of particular concern to older, infirm and disabled residents.
• The queues at Vauxhall Bridge Road post office are already regularly stretched outside on the pavement, a fact acknowledged by your representatives. The fact that your representatives are aware of this fact and yet are contemplating increasing the size of queues at an already over-capacity post office says volumes about the Post Office’s understanding of ‘customer service’
• The Post Office in Vauxhall Bridge Road does not have access for disabled customers with wheelchairs and the Post Office representatives could not say how much it would cost to do the required works.
• The Post Office representatives at the meeting say that Lupus Street Post Office ‘loses £100,000 a year’; they say that for every £1 of income it costs the post office £1.84. However, statistics provided by the POst Office to the CWU suggest that the figure is £1.33. The confusion over this key financial aspect is of serious concern and casts doubt on the reliability of the figures on which you are basing your case for closure.
• The use of Lupus Street post office for Council-related transactions is the highest in Westminster and if this post office is closed residents will have nowhere where they can pay their rent and rates or renew their parking permit in person now that the Council has closed all its One Stop shops
• Lupus Street traders use the Post Office banking facilities and if this post office were to close, local businesses would lose this important business facility, as well as having the increased worry of having to carry cash some distance to banks elsewhere
• Experience elsewhere shows that when post offices close down the surrounding local businesses suffer badly, leading to more empty shops, to the detriment of the wider community.

It is clear that local residents and businesses are totally unanimous in their opposition to the closure of the Lupus Street post office. The Lupus Street post office has been at the heart of the community for decades and its closure would not only hit residents hard, but would lead to a loss of business for local shops.

You may be aware that a petition calling for the Lupus Street post office to remain open has already been signed by over 320 people and other petitions organised by the CWU and the Labour Party have already attracted many hundreds of signatures.

http://petitions.westminster.gov.uk/lupusstreet/.

You may also be aware that the opposition to the closure of the Lupus Street post office has cross-party support, as well as the support of local residents’associations and community groups.

I urge you to withdraw any thoughts you have of closing Lupus Street Post Office.

yours sincerely

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg
Leader of the Labour Group
Westminster City Council

No ‘Passport to Pimlico’ for residents if Lupus Street Post Office closes

Passport to Pimlico

Residents in Pimlico will not be able to get expert help with their passport applications and renewals if plans to close the Lupus Street post office are approved. The Lupus Street post office closure would mean that Pimlico residents will not be able to use the ‘Check and Send’ service offered by the Post Office and could therefore face delays in getting their passports.

According to the Post Office website;

“For just £8.75 you can get your passport application right first time using Check & Send, a service that’s recommended by the Identity and Passport Service.

Key benefits

• Peace of mind: from the form to the photos we’ll make sure everything meets the approved standard
• Secure: we’ll send your application by Special Delivery™
• Save time: Up to one third of applications sent to the Identity and Passport Service directly are delayed due to basic errors. Avoid these delays by using Check & Send

Getting started

Pick up a Passport Application form at your local Post Office® branch, fill it in and take it – documentation and photos – back to your Post Office.

Our counter staff will check that you’ve filled in all the right boxes, signed where necessary, have the right documentation and that your photos are suitable. They’ll then send it off for you using Special Delivery.”

http://www.postoffice.co.uk/passport-check-send

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Leader of the Labour Group, said;

“Unlike the Pimlico residents in the 1949 film classic, ‘Passport to Pimlico’, today’s Pimlico residents will have nowhere local where they can get expert help to apply for and renew their passport if the Lupus Street post office is closed and the eight staff lose their jobs. The campaign to keep Lupus Street post office open involves the whole community, all the political parties and the Communications Workers Union. And just like the post-war Pimlico residents who fought their corner to keep their independence, today’s Pimlico residents will not allow the Post Office to close the Lupus Street branch without a big fight”

A petition calling for the Lupus Street post office to remain open has already been signed by over 320 people

http://petitions.westminster.gov.uk/lupusstreet/

Churchill Gardens residents face long and difficult journey to nearest post office if Lupus Street post office is closed

Lupus street post office

Residents living on the Churchill Gardens Estate will face a 20 minute walk to the nearest post office in Vauxhall Bridge Road if Lupus Street Post Office is closed, a packed meeting of residents heard last night.

The meeting, organised by the Communications Workers Union and addressed by Labour GLA member Murad Qureshi and Post Office representatives, was held in the Churchill Gardens Residents’ Hall, and heard that;

• Residents face a 20 minutes’ walk to the nearest alternative post offices in Vauxhall Bridge Road and Ebury Street with no direct bus links
• The queues at Vauxhall Bridge Road post office are already regularly stretched outside on the pavement
• The Post Office in Vauxhall Bridge Road does not have access for disabled customers with wheelchairs and the Post Office representatives could not say how much it would cost to do the works.
• The Post Office representatives at the meeting say that Lupus Street Post Office loses £100,000 a year; they say that for every £1 of income it costs the post office £1.84 (although statistics provided by the CWU suggest that the figure is £1.33)
• The use of Lupus Street post office for Council-related transactions is the highest in Westminster and if the post office is closed residents will have nowhere where they can pay their rent and rates or renew their parking permit now that the Council has closed all its One Stop shops
• Lupus Street traders use the Post Office banking facilities and if the post office were to close, local businesses would lose this important business facility, as well as having to carry cash some distance to banks elsewhere
• Experience elsewhere shows that when post offices close down surrounding local businesses suffer badly, leading to more empty shops

Labour Party campaigner and Churchill Gardens resident, Murad Gassanly, called on Westminster Council to reduce the Post Office rent in order to keep the post office in Lupus Street, at the heart of the Churchill Gardens and Pimlico community.

Speaking after the meeting, Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Leader of the Labour Group, said;

“Churchill Gardens residents are totally unanimous in their opposition to the closure of the Lupus Street post office. The Lupus Street post office has been at the heart of the community for decades and its closure would not only hit residents hard, but would lead to a loss of business for local shops. The Council needs to act swiftly to ensure the post office stays in Lupus Street otherwise the Council could see its rental income from existing shops disappear in the wake of shops closing down”

A petition calling for the Lupus Street post office to remain open has already been signed by over 300 people

http://petitions.westminster.gov.uk/lupusstreet/

Petition to reinstate the 24 bus stop on Lupus Street

24 bus

We have posted a petition on the Council’s website calling for the reinstatement of the 24 bus stop outside Tesco on Lupus Street.

Since the bus stop was moved many local residents, particularly the elderly, find the new location very inconvenient.
You can sign the petition at

http://petitions.westminster.gov.uk/24busstop/

“We the undersigned petition Westminster City Council to press Transport for London to reinstate the 24 bus stop outside Tesco on Lupus Street”

Save Lupus Street Post Office

Lupus street post office

The Post Office on Lupus Street is a vital community resource and used by local residents every day, but its future is under threat.

Labour Westminster councillors have launched a petition to save it, and we have been working with the Communications Workers Union to protest against its closure.

Closing our Post Office would be a huge loss to the entire community.

To save this essential local service sign the online petition at http://petitions.westminster.gov.uk/lupusstreet/ and ask your family, friends and neighbours to do the same.

If you want to do more, you can write to Paula Vennells, the Chief Executive of the Post Office, telling her why the Post Office is important to you and asking her to commit to keep it open. Her address is Chief Executive, Post Office, 148 Old Street, London EC1V 9HQ.

You can get in contact with your Labour Party at info@citieslabour.org.uk

Our latest leaflet is here Lupus Street Post Office leaflet

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