Maida Vale Ward

MAIDA VALE WARD LABOUR ACTION REPORT – November 2017

News from Councillor Rita Begum and the Labour Action Team in Maida Vale and Little Venice – Geoff Barraclough and Nafsika Thalassis

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paddington Rec

One of the coaches has started a petition to allow tennis to begin at 7am in Paddington Recreation Ground. We asked local residents what they thought:

“My view is that a 7am start is way too early.  We do hear the noise of the tennis very clearly but actually it’s the shouting of celebration or commiseration at a won or lost point which causes the most disturbance.  So from my side, I would object very strongly to this.  I would add that the basketball players create a lot of noise as well. 7.00am is far too early. At this time of year they would have to start with floodlights on – a real intrusion. I’m in constant contact with the Rec regarding turning off the lights at night. I don’t want them on in the morning.”

We are taking the matter up with the management of the Rec.

Kilburn Park Road/Shirland Road

We have asked the Council to repaint the zebra crossing white lines at the junction of Kilburn Park Road and Shirland Road so that it is clear to pedestrians and drivers.

Oak Tree House, Shirland Road

We have reported this issue to City West Homes and the Council for investigation:

“There’s always a gang of boys always smoking cannabis and taking other drugs whilst sitting on the long concrete outside of the building. The smell of the cannabis we can literally smell it in our home, it’s as if it’s being smoked in our home. This issue mainly takes place on Saturdays after 12:00PM and sometimes on weekdays.“

Maida Vale station

Residents have raised with us the condition and appearance newspaper holders around the entrance to the Maida Vale underground station. Residents say:

“The whole area around the tube entrance is blighted by rusty old paper bins which are never used and other rubbish on a regular basis. “

What do you think? Should the newspaper holders stay or be removed?

Elgin Avenue

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“Please can someone explain why the right-hand side of Elgin Avenue (if walking West from Maida Vale to the Shirland Road intersection) seems to be completed neglected compared to the left-hand side? Particularly the section of Elgin between Shirland and Wymering Road. What is going on?”

City of Westminster College, Elgin Avenue

On Thursday 9th November from 5pm – 7pm, please feel free to drop in at the newly refurbished City of Westminster college building in Elgin Avenue (Maida Vale campus) to check out how it looks and what it offers. For more information about the college see http://www.cwc.ac.uk/aboutus/ourcampuses/Pages/Maida-Vale-Campus.aspx

Lanark Road

We asked the Council to let us know about plans for resurfacing the road after receiving this enquiry:

“Are there any plans to resurface Lanark Road? It’s quite poorly with pothole at the seam of the speed bumps, more noticeable between the section Elgin Avenue and Sutherland Avenue.”

The Council say:

I have had a look at the detailed Annual Condition Survey results and it does show isolated patches that certainly are in need of work and so I would expect this to instead appear as work for localised patches (which may well be full street width) rather than full length resurfacing.”

Randolph Avenue

We have asked Environmental Health to investigate this issue:

“One of the issues I am hearing is the large number of rats appearing in the basement properties both in the rear gardens and front basements in Randolph Avenue. Obviously caused by the building works going on in Lanark Road.”

We have urged the Pest Control Team to visit this site regularly so that the situation can be controlled effectively.

Paddington Service of Remembrance – Sunday 12th November 2017

 

The Paddington Service of Remembrance will take place this year on Sunday 12th November 2017 at 2.30pm at the War Memorial in Lancaster Gate. The Service is to remember all those residents of Paddington who gave their lives in the two World Wars and in conflicts since then.

The 2016 Service of Remembrance at the Lancaster Gate War Memorial was the first for many years. The Service was very well attended by residents, schools, local groups and Councillors and it is now an annual event.

The Service will be led by Father Paul Thomas, Vicar of St James’s Church, Sussex Gardens and is open to all faiths. Following the Service, a reception will be held in the Royal Lancaster hotel. Details of the War Memorial http://www.londonremembers.com/memorials/memorial-cross-at-lancaster-gate

Call for halt to further Metropolitan Police cuts

We have launched a petition calling on the Government to halt its cuts in the Metropolitan Police budget immediately. Further police cuts will make it more difficult for the police to keep neighbourhoods in Westminster safe and secure, as well as dealing with the increase in everyday violence and the constant terrorist threat.

The petition to the Government says:

“Halt the cuts to the Metropolitan Police budget. Having lost £600 million in real terms over the past 7 years, the Metropolitan Police face a further £400 million cut over the next 4 years. 70 per cent of all police spending in London comes from the Home Office, meaning that any change in that funding has a disproportionate effect.”

You can sign the petition here https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/203543

Tackling polluted air – Mayor introduces the T-charge

The Mayor of London has introduced the Toxicity Charge (T-Charge) in central London to tackle London’s polluted air. Research shows that polluted air contributes to approximately 9,400 premature deaths a year in London and costs the health service between £1.4 and £3.7 billion.

The T-Charge is a £10 supplement on the Congestion Charge for vehicles that do not meet certain environmental standards. The Mayor has set the standard at Euro 4 for both petrol and diesel vehicles, and applies to vehicles registered from 1 January 2006. The charge applies during the operational hours of the Congestion Charge Zone, Monday to Friday from 7am to 6pm.

There is a 90% discount for residents living in the Congestion Zone area, a 100% discount for blue badge holders and exemptions for emergency service vehicles and motorbikes. You can see the full details of the T-charge online  https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/emissions-surcharge

What you say

“This is a really good newsletter”

“This newsletter is very good and useful.  Thanks for sending it.”

Please let us know if we can be of help or assistance on any local issues.

Regards

Councillor Rita Begum, Geoff Barraclough and Nafsiks Thalassis

Maida Vale and Little Venice Labour Action Team

 

 

MAIDA VALE LABOUR ACTION REPORT – October 2017

News from Councillor Rita Begum and the Labour Action Team in Maida Vale – Geoff Barraclough, Nafsika Thalassis and Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stuart Tower

We have asked the Council to prune the trees outside Stuart Tower on Maida Vale after receiving these messages:

“There are trees outside Stuart Towers on the corner of Sutherland Ave and Maida Vale that are so overgrown at the bottom that it’s hard to walk past them without having to step into road.”

“This is obscuring view at the traffic lights and narrowing pathway, then few yards going towards Edgware Road there is another tree in the middle of the pavement near the bus stop. They have bricked base and shrubs and bushes growing inside the base, overflowing and causing obstructions.”

Lanark Road

We have asked the Council to let us know about this issue:

“Are there any plans to resurface Lanark Road? It’s quite poorly with potholes at the seam of the speed bumps, more noticeable between the section Elgin Avenue and Sutherland Avenue.”

Rubbish dumping 

We have reported these issues to the Council:

“I wonder, please, if I could lodge a complaint about the increasing amount of refuse being deposited in the area, particularly around trees, the black litter bins (the corner of Formosa Street and Castellain Road is a frequent case in point) and in the garden of St Saviour’s Church. I should add, however, that whenever I have contacted Veolia on the matter, the response time has been very good.” 

We have also reported rubbish dumping in Warwick Avenue.

Tesco, Sutherland Avenue 

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“With Tesco’s bright lights all night and cars, there is absolutely no break from the pollution both noise and vehicle volumes for us residents. It’s worse when our windows and doors are open in the warm weather. Regularly in the early hours around midnight to 2 am you are rudely woken by crashing, breaking glass, and once awake you have to listen to Tesco customers’ car doors opening and shutting and their delivery trucks that come at that hour. It is disgusting that one cannot rest at any time of the day!” 

Pavement cycling 

We have raised this issue with the police:

“Can the police do anything about cycling on the pavements? I had a near miss the other night from two emerging from the darkness at about 25 mph. Do I go left, right or freeze? I choose the latter and am in one piece, but are they muggers? “ 

Recent Casework

Councillor Rita Begum has taken up a number of issues on behalf of local families, including:

  • Morshead Road – Rita helped a family who received an eviction notice from their landlord. After discussions with the Housing department, the landlord has renewed the lease and a new tenancy agreement has been offered.
  • Glasgow House – Rita is in discussions with the landlord of one flat to tackle damp issues, pigeon droppings on the balcony and mice.
  • Torridon House – Rita is helping a resident with a health awareness petition
  • Lauderdale Mansions – Rita has helped a resident regarding a compensation claim with Tesco, including advising on mediation
  • Kilburn Park Road – Rita is helping a family suffering from overcrowding and repair issues.
  • Widley Road – Rita is helping a family who have been told by their landlord that their rent will be increasing. The family cannot afford the increased rent and Rita is advising on where the family can get help.

If you need advice or assistance please contact Rita on rbegum@westminster.gov.uk

North Paddington Foodbank

The North Paddington Foodbank was set up by the Wallerton and Elgin Community Homes (WECH) Housing Association in 2013. Demand has doubled since last year. In 2016/17, it supported 1168 families compared with 520 the previous year. There are on average 2 people per household and one third of them have children.

CAB adviser Noreen O’Neill explains:

“I help a wide range of clients including single parents, the elderly on pension credit, families and, sometimes, ex-offenders on release from prison. The typical profile of clients are those struggling to get by on a low income. They are particularly vulnerable to an unexpected bill or loss of benefits or income, as they have no reserves to fall back on.

“Housing benefit is the most common problem, followed closely by rent arrears and general money and debt problems. Sometimes clients can experience a delay of more than six weeks in receiving benefits, leaving them in an impossible situation, unable to buy food. This can happen when new claims are being processed or when a change of circumstances leads to people having their benefits stopped abruptly while they are reassessed.  Sometimes clients are sanctioned, which means repaying benefits that have been overpaid, which then makes their financial situation even worse.”

If you need further information on the North Paddington Foodbank you can go to: http://www.npfoodbank.org.uk/about.

For advice on debt, housing, employment, benefits or other general advice contact Citizens Advice Westminster via our website http://www.westminstercab.org.uk or call our Adviceline on 0300 330 1191.

Empty Homes

We are supporting the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan who has urged the Government to allow London’s boroughs to increase council tax bills for high-value homes that are left empty. The Mayor wants boroughs be able to boost the empty home council tax levy on high-value properties above the current 50 per cent of council tax allowed, saying that the ability to charge this levy at a meaningful rate will “incentivise occupation” and “generate a more substantial receipt” of support for investment in new affordable homes.

Uber – what you say

“There’s no danger of London losing access to on-demand rides. And no, 40,000 drivers are not losing their livelihood. Most likely, Uber’s new management will make whatever changes are necessary to win the appeal. Even if Uber loses its appeal, other apps will take its place and sign up the drivers. On-demand minicabs are here to stay. You could even set up your own Uber clone business using Taxistartup.com software. Uber may succeed in cornering the London market or it may be put out of business by the regulator and replaced with one or more equally convenient but unsubsidised new services. In both scenarios, the public gets its rides and the drivers keep their jobs but the fares will more accurately reflect the true economic cost of providing the service.”

I do not want to join the debate over the recent suspension of the UBER licence by TfL, but it seems as though this part of town is a congregation area for the Minicabs servicing the Central part of London, as they are frequently parked on the yellow lines and residents’ parking areas waiting for calls. in the winter months they often keep their engines on to keep warm, and are in the habit of emptying their rubbish in the gutter, along with body waste. I go early to work during the week (0630 – 0700) and often see this first-hand. In the absence of any kind of Police or Wardens, which have become scarce, they seem to be able to act with impunity, and drive off if they see any authority approaching. These Drivers obviously provide a service that some people appreciate for their availability and economy, but there is no social provision for their needs, and I doubt their contribution to the local council funding.”

Planning Committee meetings 

We propose to allow direct representations from residents at Planning Committee meetings if we win the Council election in May 2018. Many residents have made the points below to us over the years and we think it makes common sense to give residents a voice:

“I have sat in on Planning Meetings, but only as a silent witness. The majority of Planning Committees in the country allow a number of citizens to have an opportunity in a few minutes to comment. When I have spoken to leading planning lawyers they have been staggered. Perhaps procedures of the Westminster Council have been changed – but if not how can they be made to be democratic?” 

What you say 

“Many thanks for the interesting information. Shocked to hear about all the rats in Paddington Green. I walk through there occasionally but I have never seen any rats – but I have seen people eating there so maybe they leave food waste that attracts vermin.” 

“Thanks to you all! Really interesting and useful newsletter.”

Please let us know if we can be of help or assistance on any local issues.

If you do not wish to continue to receive this newsletter you can unsubscribe below.

Regards

Councillor Rita Begum, Geoff Barraclough and Nafsika Thalassis

Maida Vale and Little Venice Labour Action Team

Twitter @MaidaValeLabour

 

 

MAIDA VALE WARD REPORT – September 2017

News from Councillor Rita Begum and the Labour Action Team in Maida Vale and Little Venice – Geoff Barraclough and Nafsika Thalassis 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nat West Bank, Elgin Avenue

We wrote to Nat West/RBS to protest at the closure of the Nat West Bank near Maida Vale Station (and the closure of the RBS bank at the Elgin Avenue/Harrow Road junction). We are urging Nat West to let the empty unit as soon as possible, rather than keep it empty as they have done to closed branch at the corner of Edgware Road and Aberdeen Place.

Community Safety issues

Karen Buck MP is taking up a number of community safety issues with the police following a series of muggings and car break-ins. Residents say:

“I write as I am very concerned about the alarming number of muggings happening in the Maida Vale and St Johns Wood areas, many involving scooters, and often occurring in daytime for relatively small value items like phones or watches. My neighbour was recently mugged in W9 for her watch while out walking with her husband and baby daughter in the afternoon. 

“I am writing to bring the issue of a series of vehicle break-ins on Elgin Avenue to your attention. I have been a resident in the area since February this year and already have had my vehicle, my partner’s vehicle and three other vehicles on my road broken into. These thieves have caused thousands of pounds in damages, taken items of sentimental value and caused us all to feel unsafe. Vehicles in this area have also been stolen.”

Santander bike hire station

We are supporting the location of a Santander bike hire docking station along Maida Vale outside Dundee House.

Stuart Tower, Maida Vale

We have asked the Council’s Tree Officer to investigate this issue:

“Can I draw your attention again to the poor trees outside Stuart Tower? Roots are restricted by brick walled circles which are now cracking up. Trees are therefore pushing up shoots which now block the pavement and bus stop. Can you put the trees and humans out of their misery!” 

Zebra crossing on Kilburn Park Road – junction with Shirland Road

We have contacted both Westminster and Brent Councils about these issues:

“I noticed that the crossing is very faded and is in urgent need of repainting to make it clearly visible to motorists. This crossing is right on the border between the 2 boroughs so I’m not sure who is responsible. I also noticed that the pavement on the Brent side of the road near the crossing (between Shirland Road & Chippenham Gardens) is in a poor state. It’s looks as if it’s been repaired before in a rather piecemeal fashion and is now very uneven with lots of cracks which are a trip hazard to pedestrians.”

Tollgate House

Tollgate House Residents have been concerned that the building works on the estate have compromised fire safety in their block. The Fire Brigade say:

“The London Fire Brigade has held meetings on site with City West Homes and the building contractors, we have asked for measures to be put in place to ensure that we can respond to an emergency in Tollgate House with upmost expediency. This has included the fitting of a new dry riser (method of delivering water to all floors), ensuring that there is access to the rear of the block for our large ladders and that the escape routes from the building are good as possible. We are also in contact with City West Homes offering advice on changes to Tollgate House during the renovation works (subjects such as the erection of scaffolding). We are also holding meetings regard the development of the new estate area to the rear of Tollgate House. The London Fire Brigade is taking a full and active part in the safety concerns that you have highlighted and we are ensuring that Tollgate House reaches the standards that we require with regard to Fire Safety and Operational response.”

 

Truscott Arms, Shirland Road

Some good news in the press about the re-opening of the Truscott Arms:

“West London gastropub The Truscott Arms is coming back from the dead with a bang, thanks to their addition of top chef Henry Harris to their roster. And yes, there WILL be roasts. In April, we heard the *very* good news Maida Vale’s The Truscott Arms had plans to reopen, and even better, it would be keeping its original format of ground floor and garden pub, with a restaurant upstairs. The news was there would be “contemporary European food” but aside from that, we were scant on the details. 

Now it looks like the one and only Henry Harris, former head chef of Racine, is set to take the reigns, according to the Evening Standard. Henry will be drawing on his expertise in the French cuisine that made Racine famous to create a menu that will “blend British and French influences” – and yes, that does include roasts aplenty. “People can expect a traditional British roast beef with all the trimmings and a nice punchy horseradish, but equally we might lay on a seven-hour slow-roasted shoulder of lamb with rosemary, which has a much more French feel,” Henry told the Standard. 

http://www.hot-dinners.com/Gastroblog/Latest-news/the-truscott-arms-returns-with-racine-s-henry-harris-leading-the-kitchen 

Abandoned bicycles

We have asked the Council to do a regular monthly clear-up of bike racks to remove abandoned bicycles. One resident told us, “I found 10 abandoned rusting bicycle frames within 20 minutes’ walk down to Marble Arch from Little Venice.”

Apprenticeships

The Council has an apprenticeship programme and you can see the opportunities currently available here https://www.westminster.gov.uk/apprenticeships

Aviva Community Fund

The 2017 Aviva Community Fund opens on 12 September. Do you know a local community organisation that could use some funding for a project? Details are here

 

https://www.aviva.co.uk/good-thinking/community-fund/?source=ACFNEWS4&entry=143602&cmp=sml-acf–button-180817–acfnews4-143602-findout

 

Please let us know if we can be of help or assistance on any local issues.

Regards

Councillor Rita Begum, Geoff Barraclough and Nafsiks Thalassis

Maida Vale and Little Venice Labour Action Team

 

 

MAIDA VALE WARD LABOUR ACTION REPORT – August 2017

From Councillor Rita Begum and the Labour Action Team

 

 

 

 

 

 

Widley Road

Residents are opposing plans to redevelop the Widley Road garage site. They say:

“Whilst we need homes, they do need to be built in a way that doesn’t undermine the amenity value of the area for the existing residents. We objected to the current proposed scheme on a number of grounds as it very largely fails to mirror and be sympathetic to the surrounding buildings and architectural features, resulting in an overly intrusive modern style structure”

Paddington Rec – personal trainers

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

“The problem of the shouting personal trainer has not gone away. The shouting, and sometimes the music, still goes on for several hours on most days in the week. Today I woke at 7.15am to counting down “15, 14, 13 go go go, 10, 9, 8, go go go 5, 4, go go go” etc at 100 decibels. I sometimes have to listen to countdowns almost continuously outside my window for 2 hours. I have my breakfast, dinner and tea to countdowns.  He now runs an exercise class for about 10 people outside my windows every Thursday evening.”

 The Chippenham

The owners of the former Chippenham Hotel have been ordered to remove steel shutters and spruce up the long-neglected local landmark, after campaigning by local residents. A letter from Westminster City Council issues the owners of the building with a Section 215 notice under the Town and Country Planning Act. This requires them to carry out works to address the visible neglect that has left the former pub ‘an eyesore.’

 

 

MAIDA VALE WARD LABOUR ACTION REPORT – July 2017

From Councillor Rita Begum and the Labour Action Team

 

 

 

 

Biddulph Road

We are continuing to urge the Council to take action to stop the repeated dumping of rubbish by the black bins in Biddulph Road. Residents have passed us helpful information which we have given to the Council.

Widley Road/Essendine Road

Residents in Essendine Road are very concerned about the proposed development of the garage at 61 Widley Road into 23 flats. Details are

http://idoxpa.westminster.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=OPSG1HRPJXQ00

Kilburn Park Road – pot holes

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“I raised this with Westminster and Brent in Sept/Oct 2016 last year (with pictures s d exact locations of potholes). What is really at stake here is the safety and comfort of cyclist, a key transport and environmental policy for the city. Does not seem that much has been done as both Councils reverted saying the other one was in charge! One would believe one of the two should perfectly know the boundaries…. should be pretty straight forward to fix.”

The Council say:

“We have Kilburn Park Road “between Carlton Vale and bus stop MB” on our programme for this year. This is part of the citywide upgrade of Stone Mastic Asphalt Streets to Hot Rolled Asphalt.”

Tollgate House

We have called on City West Homes to clear the building rubble and machinery from outside Tollgate House. Residents say:

“If these mounds of rubbish were to catch fire residents would be trapped have no means of escape. As far as I can ascertain the building of the community hall and associate buildings in front of Tollgate House would block a fire engine from rescuing residents trapped in Tollgate House. I believe Tollgate House residents safety is being compromised in this “regeneration”. “

 

MAIDA VALE WARD LABOUR ACTION REPORT – June 2017

From Councillor Rita Begum and the Labour Action Team

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elgin Avenue and Biddulph Road

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“The Black bins at the corner of Elgin Avenue and Biddulph Road are an almost permanent eyesore now.  Bags are stacked up (sometime because people are too lazy to put them into the bins) torn open by foxes overnight, household rubbish is dumped without any fear of council retribution. I know we are lucky to have collections twice and day, but in between those collection times the sites are invariably rubbish strewn and squalid.  It’s definitely got worse lately (council cuts?) and of course this is the story all over Maida Vale.  What can be done?  I have contacted the council but no response.”

Warwick Avenue and Maida Vale tube stations

We have again asked the Council to contact a senior manager at the Evening Standard about the piles of newspapers left outside the underground stations every night. Residents say:

“Can we take this matter up with someone else within the organisation please? This issue has been raised with them over the last months on many, many occasions. And yet they continue to do nothing about it. Why should the residents of this area have to put up with their rubbish?”

Following continued newspaper debris left at Warwick Avenue underground station we contacted the Evening Standard direct who say:

I will send a note the to the merchandiser team we have at Warwick Avenue asking that they do more to keep the area clean and tidy, so hopefully you will see an improvement in the coming days. If however matters do not improve let me know and I will look into the issues again for you”

 

 

 

MAIDA VALE WARD LABOUR ACTION REPORT – May 2017

From Councillor Rita Begum and the Labour Action Team

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paddington Recreation Ground

Following Councillor Rita Begum’s petition for baby changing and wheelchair facilities in the pavilion toilets, we are delighted that the Council has agreed to do the works. The Council say:

“I’m pleased to be able to tell you that we have had the prestart meeting for the works to refurbish the gym including the provision of new toilets and baby changing facilities in the main pavilion and a new fully assessable toilet and baby changing facility in the main café area. The new toilet in the café area will have a ‘radar key’ facility which will ensure only appropriate patrons of the cafe will be able to use this new facility.”

Ashworth Mansions

We delighted to hear that the Council has now reached agreement with residents of Ashworth Mansions regarding the planting scheme for the new bluebell glade extension in Paddington Rec. The Council say:

“We have included in the glade extension works an extra 150m2 of space towards the tennis courts. The aim is to have a bigger area for school groups and disperse the children over a wider area and minimise noise for residents. The aim is to finish planting and landscaping by mid- June then to leave the area closed until early Autumn 2017 when we can have a formal opening with one of the local schools.” 

Widley Road

We are supporting residents who have raised their concerns about proposals for 61 Widley Road. They say: 

Despite the Westminster ruling about double basements, there have been 3 pre-planning meetings with the Council to take down a car warehouse and erecting 23 flats on the site, digging down two stories. This development will take away parking, light and privacy of the residents of Widley, Shirland and Essendine Roads. Balconies are being proposed that overlook homes and gardens in this quiet, peaceful area that has enjoyed the warehouse for nearly 80 years. Locals are also upset that the facade of the building is not in keeping with the conservation area.”

The Council Planners say:

“Officers have received a pre-application enquiry regarding the redevelopment of the 61 Widley Road to provide a building comprising 23 flats (some with private terraces) and associated parking (10 spaces).  There is an existing lower ground floor which occupies almost all of the site and a single storey basement is proposed under this. This would appear to be policy compliant.  To the front of the site (under a small area of the existing front parking forecourt) where there is no existing lower ground floor, the proposals are likely to include an area of a ‘2 storey basement’.  This will need to be assessed accordingly as part of any future application. This enquiry is at pre-application stage only and we are aware of all the issues raised in the email below.”

Essendine Mansions

We are supporting residents in Essendine Mansions who are concerned about City West Homes’ decision to close a balcony door and its impact on residents’ safety. 

 

 

MAIDA VALE WARD LABOUR ACTION REPORT – April 2017

From Councillor Rita Begum and the Labour Action Team

Success for Labour’s Rita Begum at Paddington Rec

Labour Councillor Rita Begum’s campaign to get baby changing and wheel chair facilities located in the Pavilion toilets at Paddington Recreation Ground has been successful.

Labour’s Councillor for Maida Vale has received the good news from Sean Stewart at the Council who told her:

“I’m pleased to be able to tell you that we have had the prestart meeting for the works to refurbish the gym including the  provision of new toilets and baby changing facilities in the main pavilion and a new fully accessible toilet and baby changing facility in the main café area. The new toilet in the café area will have a ‘radar key’ facility which will ensure only appropriate patrons of the cafe will be able to use this new facility.”

In March 2017, Councillor Begum submitted a petition to the Council, signed by 38 residents, calling for baby changing and wheelchair facilities in the main pavilion. The petition argued:

“There is no baby changing or wheel chair user toilet available inside cafe and a lot of the users have to go out of the cafe to use the toilet located on the other side of the building. Especially in cold weather it causes so much inconvenience for parents of young children to go out when their child is in desperate need of using the toilet facility.”

Councillor Begum said:

“I am very pleased with the outcome of my petition. As a parent of young children myself, I am looking forward to having a toilet inside the café. This will be so much better as parents will now not have to leave the cafe to take their children in an emergency to the toilet.  Wheelchairs users, too, will be able use the new toilets without leaving cafe. “

MAIDA VALE WARD LABOUR ACTION REPORT – March 2017

From Councillor Rita Begum and the Labour Action Team

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rita has been helping residents all over Maida Vale, including:

  • Residents in Keith House, Carlton Vale who are having problems with their drains
  • Residents in Tollgate House, Tollgate Gardens who are concerned that the refurbishment work is taking long and have caused leaks in the communal areas
  • Residents in Dibdin House who were having problems with a light in communal area which was staying on for too long in daylight and was too powerful during night. Following Rita reporting this, the problem has been solved
  • Residents in Dibdin House were concerned that workmen had left doors open and reduced security in the block. Rita has reported this to the site manager.
  • Residents in Dibdin House asked Rita for advice about finding a possible venue to hire to expand a local ballet school
  • Residents in Biddulph Mansions, Elgin Avenue asked Rita to help with their housing benefit claim following a rent increase asked for by their landlord
  • Residents in Randolph Avenue have asked Rita for advice about an unfair redundancy issue and she has referred them to the City Hall employment service who are supporting them with this issue.

Maida Vale

We haveIs again asked TfL if there any news on the bus stop on Maida Vale (south) between Elgin Avenue and Hall Road. We were promised last year it would come back. TfL say:

“This stop was relocated and we are working with the City of Westminster to provide another stop to mitigate its repositioning. Westminster has held discussions with Councillors for the new stop and a design is being prepared for consultation, this is expected to be circulated during the summer.”

St George’s School, Maida Vale

St George’s secondary school will be expanding to make room for 10 classrooms with provision for 150 more pupils. The school in Lanark Road will build a new three-storey block, covered rooftop play areas, and a sixth-form common room. An existing block will be demolished to make room for the scheme. The building works, which will begin in June.

Dibdin House

We found this booklet which was written by a Dibdin resident for the 50th anniversary of Dibdin House which makes interesting reading… http://www.dibdin-house.org/history/booklet50-bw.pdf

MAIDA VALE WARD LABOUR ACTION REPORT – February 2017

From Councillor Rita Begum and the Labour Action Team

MV March

 

 

 

 

Delaware Road

We have made enquiries about this issue:

I wonder if you can find out why all the mixed recycling bins on Delaware Road have been removed? The 3 large bins near the junction with Sutherland Avenue have always been very well used and very well maintained by us locals.  They are a bit of a lifeline, and without them I fear many more people will just dump all their rubbish and recycling together in the nearby bins. They were a great asset to the community and should be replaced.” 

The Council say: 

“Although previously located on the public highway these recycling bins were actually specifically provided for Delaware Mansions. We have agreed with the managing agents for Delaware Mansions that their waste and recycling bins will instead be stored on their own property. There is a set of public recycling bins approximately 30 metres away on the opposite side of Sutherland Avenue at the junction with Warwick Avenue.” 

Paddington Rec 

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“Is there anything that can be done about the opening hours of Paddington Rec on the weekends. They are closing at 4.30 which seems a bit shortsighted with such a great floodlit running track and pitches. Weekends are essential time for people wanting to stay active when they work during the week. Surely the new management should be providing a better service not a worse one. I am hearing a lot of complaints from local residents about them with regards to bookings etc.”

Also, Councillor Rita Begum has started a petition to get baby changing facilities and wheelchair access to the toilets at Paddington Rec. You can sign here:

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

In addition, we are working closely with residents who have put forward suggestions to improve the proposed Bluebell Glade which would safeguard the amenity of nearby Grantully Road residents.

 

MAIDA VALE WARD LABOUR ACTION REPORT – January 2017

From Councillor Rita Begum and the Labour Action Team

Rita at MV centre

 

 

 

 

 

 

Essendine Road

We were delighted that the planning application to build on the garden land behind Essendine Mansions, Essendine Road was refused. The Planning Committee refused the application because of the the loss of an open amenity space, lack of car parking and insufficient information provided to the Council by the applicant.  

Lauderdale Parade

We have reported this issue to the Council:

“I would like to report a tree that was burnt on a recent arson attack situated at the top corner of Lauderdale Parade, outside the florist.It probably needs taking down because it looks quite badly damaged.”

The Council say:

“I’ll inspect early next week and if necessary arrange for the tree to be removed and a replacement planted.” 

Carlton Tavern – Update

The Council’s Planning Officers have given us this latest update:

“There has not been a judicial review against the Inspector’s decision and the period for Judicial Review has now passed. Officers have had three preliminary meetings with new representatives of the owner of the site and they have advised that it is their client’s intention to comply with the enforcement notice and rebuild the Carlton Tavern in facsimile. The most recent meeting was held on site and sought to assist them in identifying and salvaging materials that will need to be replicated in the rebuilding of the building.

It is my understanding that the site owner’s representatives intend to meet with local resident’s groups that have been involved in the process to get the building rebuilt, in due course, once they have progressed further with how and to what timescale their rebuilding of the Carlton Tavern will proceed.”

Paddington Rec

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“I live close to the Rec and for several hours most days I have to listen to a personal trainer playing his music, and worse, shouting loudly at his clients. I can hear him clearly through my closed double glazed windows even with my radio on. He is not shouting at a football team, just at one or two people.  It is much more intrusive than the general background noise of football or hockey which I don’t mind. If he was in the street it would be regarded as anti-social behaviour.  I have asked him to move to somewhere else and stop shouting. He was polite but has carried on as before. “  

Sutherland Avenue/Maida Vale

We are making enquiries about this issue:

“Do you know why the road at the corner of Sutherland Avenue and Maida Vale has just been dug up for the 4th or 5th time over the past month? It seems quite senseless that whatever works have to be done can’t all be done at the same time.   It must be costing us a great deal of money to keep putting the road and pavement surfaces back time after time!”

Sutherland Avenue

We have asked the Council to make enquiries about this this problem: 

“The paving stones, particularly by the bus stops, from the corner of Sutherland Avenue past Stuart Towers and along to the garden wall by Sandringham Court on the Edgware Road are uneven and falling inwards.  This is because when the water mains were being replaced some years ago, the workmen threw empty water bottles, cigarette packets and other rubbish into the ditch beside the new pipes.  I watched as they did this every day during that hot summer.  As the rubbish decomposed, the infill dropped and the paving stones caved inwards.  Surely, the foreman must know this is the result of shoddy workmanship.  Can you ensure that Thames Water instruct their managers in good practice and perhaps they would like to contribute to replacing our dangerous paving”

Sutherland Avenue/Shirland Road

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“I live at the corner of Sutherland Avenue and Shirland Road. The other flats and I have all noticed that the whole building shudders when one of the double decker buses goes by and are concerned that the structural integrity of the building is being affected. This junction is a very busy one and there have been numerous accidents most recently a fatal one involving a delivery motorbike. The buses and cars drive by very fast especially when the lights are green and we were wondering whether some traffic calming measures may be warranted which would not only improve safety but also help in alleviating this problem we are experiencing with our building.”

 

MAIDA VALE WARD LABOUR ACTION REPORT – December 2016

From Councillor Rita Begum and the Labour Action Team

MV MarchCasework update

Rita has been busy helping many local residents, including the following:

  • Carlton Vale – Rita helped to sort out a housing benefit problem following a rent increase by a landlord which avoided an eviction.
  • Carlton Vale – Rita has requested traffic calming on Carlton Vale to slow down cars driving fast along the busy road
  • Kilburn Park Road – Rita has contacted A2 Dominion about long standing repairs to the kitchen and problems with condensation
  • Elgin Mansions, Elgin Avenue – Rita has contacted the Council to request a cycle rack at the Elgin Avenue junction by Castellian Road flower beds and the pruning of an overgrown hedge on Biddulph Road
  • Randolph Avenue – Rita is helping residents who have received an eviction notice from their landlord
  • Glasgow House – Rita has asked City West Homes to investigate reports about mice infestation.
  • Randolph Avenue – Rita has asked the local police to investigate the theft of a cycle and has asked the Council to provide more secure cycle parking

Sutherland Avenue

We have reported this street lighting fault to the Council:

“I’ve noticed that several street lamps on the block of Sutherland Avenue from No 132 up to the roundabout at the Warrington pub are not working – or possibly not turned on? There’s at least a few on both sides of the street on this block. A safety hazard, surely. Perhaps you could look into this.”

Sutherland Avenue/Warrington Crescent/Lauderdale Road

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“I continue to be concerned about the illegal parking of cars that the end of Sutherland Avenue where it joins the roundabout at Warrington Crescent/Lauderdale Road / etc. There is a zebra crossing at this junction and driver approaching this area who are unfamiliar with it put those crossing in a degree of danger.

Cars parking reduce the sight lines to the Zebra crossing.  BUT, the hatch lines marking the no parking area look exactly like lines for car parking bays. Parking in this area tends to be at busy evening times after the 6:30pm watershed for paid parking, generally for pub visitors.  Unfortunately, this is the time when using the Zebra crossing is most dangerous due to lack of light. Although cars can get ticketed it is better to have a safe crossing.” 

Maida Vale cycle hire bikes

We were very disappointed to read the following news in the local press:

“A plan to extend the cycle hire scheme to Maida Vale for the first time has been put on ice – because of delays in getting planning permission. In September Westminster City Council waved through plans for two new Santander bike docking stations, one outside Dundee House. But Transport for London has said the planning has taken too long and they had temporarily ditched the plans. TfL’s general manager for Santander Cycles, Paul Cowperthwaite, said: “We applied for planning permission on these two locations as part of last year’s intensification and expansion programme, but due to the length of the process we eventually had to prioritise two other locations with existing permission. Those docking stations opened around six months ago.”

http://www.westendextra.com/bike-docking-vale

Paddington Rec

We have asked the Council to deal with this issue without delay:

“I would like to raise the issue of the service at Paddington Recreation Ground since the management of the ground changes from GLL to the new group Active Leisure. We have been using the football facilities since 2006 and this is the worst service we have received. We use the football pitches every Wednesday night and require the lights. Since late August only one of the lights has been working and on a further two occasions a second one has not been working, leaving half the pitch in darkness. Not only is this frustrating, it is dangerous. When the issue has been raised with the management, the response has been that the engineers have been called and we are looking into it. It is now December and the issue is still not resolved. The only discount we have received to date, is that on the first occasion of having two lights not working they are not charging us for that evening’s booking. We would really appreciate your influence in getting the matter resolved quickly, with an appropriate compensation for us, the Westminster customers.”

The Council say:

“Everyone Active have experienced some problems with their supply chain regarding the re-lamping of some of the floodlights but the new lamps have now been delivered and will be installed on Thursday this week. The General Manager has been in regular contact with the customer and has offered 2 complementary pitch bookings in acknowledgement of the inconvenience caused and has also offered to suspend bookings until the issue was resolved.” 

We have also referred this matter to the Manager of the Rec:

“I am not sure whether other residents have brought to your attention some of the practices of personal trainers using the Rec, but an increasing number are playing loud music from portable speakers to accompany the workouts. I have also heard music played several times a week in the early mornings as well. In this instance some young children exercising close by and some inappropriate colourful language in the lyrics. Staff in the Rec reception 10 metres away taking no action.  I am all in favour of personal trainers and people staying fit and healthy but this behaviour is thoughtless and unnecessary. Do the Rec staff have authority to ask trainers to not play music? Could temporary signs be erected or leaflets handed out?”

Kilburn Park Road 

We have asked the Council to liaise with Brent Council about parking along Kilburn Park Road to ensure that residents’ parking bays are safeguarded on the Westminster side.

 

MAIDA VALE WARD LABOUR ACTION REPORT – November 2016

From Councillor Rita Begum and the Labour Action Team

MV March

Kilburn Park Road/Shirland Road

We have reported this issue to the Council:

“On my way home this evening I noticed 2 big potholes just before the junction of Kilburn Park Road and Shirland Road.  I think they need urgent attention!”

Castellain Road

We have again asked the Council to take action to stop drivers going the wrong way through the Castellain Road one-way system. One resident told us he had “the pleasure of arguing with a driver when he explained to me that he was “only going to the bottom of the street” while he couldn’t understand why I was standing in the middle of the street refusing to move till he turned around and went the right way.” 

Braemar House, Maida Vale

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

“There are two recycling bins outside Braemar House W9.   They are always overflowing and sometimes they are not emptied because the binmen say people keep throwing food and general rubbish into them.   Would it be possible to add a general rubbish bin next to the recycle bins with a large notice on each bin saying “RECYCLING ONLY” and “FOOD AND GENERAL RUBBISH ONLY”?   I think this might help with the people walking by.”

The Council say: 

“To address overflow problems, I have tasked officers to monitor the site and adjust the collection schedules as required to better match their usage by local residents. These bins are principally provided for use by CityWest homes residents and I do not believe that there is a need to install a general waste bin at this location as CityWest residents already have their own dedicated waste bins within their buildings. I do understand that at times pedestrian users/dog walkers might deposit litter/food/dog waste in these recycling bins which could contaminate the bins. To address this concern I have tasked officers to trial the installation of a litter bin at this location for four weeks”

The Chippenham – Update

We have continued to make enquiries about the situation at The Chippenham. This is the latest response from the Council:

I’ve been in touch with the City Inspector Nuno Reis who has kindly looked into the issue for us. He has found that there no work is going on, rather squatters are currently using the space. When he visited the site the police were there (with the landlord’s agent) and were securing it post-eviction. A live-in security guard is going to be moved into the building very soon as this has been the third incidence of squatting in less than two months. The agent Nuno met is called Donna Delman and she discussed the existing planning permission but admitted that an application may go in for the building to be converted into residential units.”

 

MAIDA VALE WARD LABOUR ACTION REPORT – September 2016

From Councillor Rita Begum and the Labour Action Team

MV April 14

Recent casework

Some of Councillor Rita Begum’s recent casework;

  • Helped a resident of Lauderdale Mansions who got notice of eviction. Rita gave advice and the resident went to the homeless persons unit and they have been accepted. Once the court notice arrives they will be offered some where to live. They have called to thank Rita for all her advice and support.
  • An Ashworth Mansions resident emailed about a road sign on Grantully Road which is causing a lot of accidents which Rita has reported for investigation.

Braemar House, Maida Vale

We have reported this issue to the Council for action:

“There are two recycling bins on the pavement outside Braemar House.   They are always overflowing onto the street and we have noticed that recently the removal men are not always picking up the contents. On talking to one of the men, they explained that there is often so much household waste in the bins that they cannot pick them up as they are not recyclable. Would it be possible to get a 3rd bin which is clearly labelled “HOUSEHOLD WASTE ONLY”?”

Elgin Avenue/Shirland Road

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“I live very near to the newly installed traffic lights and pedestrian crossing at the junction of Elgin Avenue and Shirland Road. The level of the volume of the beeps of the pedestrian crossing is way too loud. I live at 2nd floor level some 30 feet up and even with my windows closed I can hear it; literally going off every couple of minutes. It’s not fair on the nearby residents that our peace and enjoyment of our properties is now blighted by this going off all the time. Please can the volume level be reduced?”

The Chippenham – update

Councillor Tim Roca reports:

“I’ve asked the Council Enforcement Team to investigate the metal shutters placed on the Chippenham Pub. It’s bad enough the planning system was so weak it allowed the application, but it is outrageous the owners are now making even more of a mess of a local landmark.

MAIDA VALE WARD LABOUR ACTION REPORT – July 2016

From Councillor Rita Begum and the Labour Action Team

MV March

Carlton Tavern victory for residents as planning appeal is dismissed

Maida Vale residents are celebrating as the planning inspector has dismissed the developer’s appeal against Westminster Council’s decision to insist on the rebuilding of the Carlton Tavern ‘brick-by-brick’ following its unauthorised demolition last April.

Councillor Rita Begum, Labour Councillor for Maida Vale, said:

“This is a great victory for the local community which has campaigned ceaselessly for the Carlton Tavern to be rebuilt. We must now ensure that the Carlton Tavern is rebuilt brick-by-brick so that it can continue to serve the local community.”

The inspector’s decision is here https://acp.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/ViewCase.aspx?Caseid=3130605&CoID=0

 Dibdin House

Karen Buck MP reports:

“It was wonderful to finally get together with residents from Didbin House, in the newly re-opened tenant’s hall – which has been unavailable for years! Thanks to the excellent efforts of Polly Roberston and others from the tenant’s group, it now hopes to start a programme of activities for older residents and for families. Local councillor Rita Begum and I are committed to helping fund-raise for activities and to furnish the room for events.”

Rita Begum’s Casework update

Maida Vale Councillor Rita Begum has has helped in the following cases recently:

·      Torridon House, Randolph Gardens – residents came to see Rita about the heating system not working for a long time. Residents had reported this but nothing has been done Rita called the estate office to get it fixed ASAP and the repair is now completed.

·      Edinburgh House – Resident came for advice on her son with a health issue. The son wants to get into employment and needs help. Rita referred her to Working with Men who will meet her son on a regular basis and help with getting him into training or employment.

·      Essendine Mansions, Essendine Road – A resident contacted Rita about the behavior of City West Home staff. Rita has taken it up with estate office area manager who will deal with the individual involved.

Elgin Avenue Environmental issues

We have asked the Council to investigate the following issues raised by residents:

·      A bicycle chained to a lamppost outside 25-32 Elgin Mansions has been there for nearly a year even though it has been reported to the Council on four different occasions. It is surprising that it has not been stripped of any parts, it is an old model and is now looking very weathered.

·      The privet hedge outside 203 Elgin Avenue, on the corner of Biddulph Road has over the years been allowed to encroach more and more over the pavement. It has now reached nearly a metre overlap, restricting the width of pavement to single file between it and a large established tree on the edge of the road. The hedge has been kept in good order, trimmed regularly but has never been cut back to the garden wall. The Council some years ago did pursue this problem and may need to take some action again.

·      The Euro-bins on the corner of Biddulph Road/Elgin Avenue need to be rearranged to accommodate increasing amounts of rubbish, better positioned to enable easy access and improved appearance. There are always two recycling bins and only one general rubbish bin which frequently overflows, leaving bags on the pavement which sometimes get torn open and contents get scattered around the area. An additional general rubbish bin, replacing a recycling one if necessary, would improve the provision. 

Paddington Rec

We have asked the Parks Department to investigate this issue:

“When walking into Paddington Rec from Morshead Road (the entrance from the end of the road where it meets Essendine Road) and you take the path going right, you walk past the chin-up bars. This area that is flooded every time it rains. It completely covers the walking path. Even if you try to walk around it, you’ll still have to step into the puddle of water.”

Maida Vale Countdown sign – Update

Following our enquiries about the missing Countdown sign on the relocated bus shelter, TfL tell us:

“We have been working with UKPN to try and get this work programmed as soon as possible and I can now confirm that they have promised a date of 18th June. We plan to send a site engineer out on the 19th June to check that everything is ok”

MAIDA VALE WARD ACTION REPORT – June 2016

From Councillor Rita Begum and the Labour Action Team

MV March

City of Westminster College, Elgin Avenue

We have asked the College for an update after receiving this enquiry:

“The alteration and refurbishment of the above large building to become a Vocational College was due to be completed in April of this year. The ‘Progress Update’ on their website is dated July 2015. There seems little sign of activity on the site especially if supposed to be nearing completion.

The College says:

“The programme unfortunately hit serious delays between September and January and has only recently again gathered pace.  The works themselves are now due to be completed towards the end of October, enabling the campus to re-open soon thereafter.”

Shirland Road

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“The Truscott Arms is storing its rubbish in the street. They have taken to storing their rubbish on the pavement opposite and there was some all weekend.”

The Council says:

“I will visit the premises soon for reassurance of their waste disposal. They will get a notice from WCC asking to show who their waste carrier is. If the dumping is happening in the weekends mostly and I will then ask my management for approval for out of hours surveillance from our 24 hour team.”

Maida Vale and Carlton Hill/Carlton Vale junction

We have asked the Council for an update on this issue:

“Please could local residents be informed exactly what is happening.  Conway have been working at this junction for many weeks.  We thought it was to carry out the works – changes to traffic signalling, installation of pedestrian man signal or timed lights – as communicated by letter at least a year ago and maybe longer.  However, so far there have been diggings, new kerbstones and paving stones but the lights remain very pedestrian unfriendly, difficult to see and short time span and these are only temporary.”

Rita Begum’s Maida Vale Case Work update

·      We have been helping residents in Invergarry House, Carlton Vale with issues such as condensation in one of the bedrooms, leaking toilet in the bathroom and the wall outside front door is cracking.

·      We have requested double glazing to be done on all windows in a flat in Renfrew House, Carlton Vale.

·      We are helping residents Glasgow House, Lanark Road, living in overcrowded conditions and have written a supporting letter for them to be rehoused in a larger property.

·      We are helping residents in Edinburgh House, Lanark Road who are concerned about the standard of cleaning in the common parts.

MV March

 

 

 

 

MAIDA VALE WARD ACTION REPORT – May 2016

From Councillor Rita Begum and the Labour Action Team

Carlton Vale public enquiry

Carlton Tavern 1According to the BBC website:

“Developers who knocked down a 1920s west London pub shortly before it was to be given listed status have been called “thugs and vandals”.

Maida Vale resident and community activist John Simmance made the comments at a public inquiry into the demolition of the Carlton Tavern.

Developers CLXT Ltd knocked down the pub last year despite being refused planning permission to build 10 flats.

The local authority ordered it to be rebuilt, but the developers refused.

Westminster City Council and local campaigners said it should be rebuilt “brick by brick”.

Councillor Rita Begum told the government-ordered inquiry at Westminster City Hall that developers “rode roughshod” over the community.

Mr Simmons said the pub had survived the Blitz, the Westway build and 1960s housing development.

He added that the community did not know that it was at risk of being developed and that if it did, “us Cockney builders and plumbers would have gone down and stopped it”.”

Maida Vale/Elgin Avenue junction

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

“The traffic light crossing at Maida Vale main road at the junction with Elgin Avenue and Abercorn Place. There is no ‘green man’ display indicator. Isn’t this rather dangerous and a safety risk, or am I missing something?”

Maida Vale bus stop

We have asked TfL for an update on this issue:

The relocated bus stop in Maida Vale still does not have a digital display advising what time the buses will arrive at the stop.  I notice these displays seem to be disappearing in other places too. These are invaluable for people waiting at the bus stop. Like the displays inside the buses which advise the name of the next stop. One of the improvements which persuades me to use buses rather than my car. “

Rita Begum is Labour’s choice for Lord MayorRita at MV centre

Maida Vale Councillor Rita Begum is Labour’s choice for the next Lord Mayor of Westminster to be elected at the Annual Council meeting on 18th May.

Rita is a local mum who has lived in Westminster for the whole of her adult life, having been a pupil at Wilberforce Primary school & St Augustine’s Secondary school.  She has worked in community engagement for some years at both the Stowe Club and the Beethoven Centre and was elected to Westminster Council in 2014 – where she is a member of the Scrutiny Committee for Children & Sport.  Her husband is involved as a volunteer with MIND (the mental health charity) & Queens Park Bangladesh Association.

Rita was elected as a Councillor for Maida Vale Ward in May 2014.

She has a special interest in child and youth development and is a Board Director of Paddington Youth Enterprises Ltd – a social enterprise company promoting employment & business enterprise opportunities for youth.

Rita has an excellent reputation in fundraising, social organisation, charities and event organisation.  She appreciates that the post of Lord Mayor is devoted to the promotion of the City, its initiatives and support of a wide range of local organisations, including charities and business.  As its first citizen, she would welcome important visitors and dignitaries to the city, with royal visitors being welcomed by the Queen’s representative.

Rita already works tirelessly for her community and would bring vitality and youthfulness to the role.  Should she be elected she would expect to go that extra mile by promoting more inter-generational activities & would introduce a Mayor’s medal for young people aged 18 and under who have inspired others by their actions.  She would also broaden the Civic Reception model to encompass Community based receptions in the North and South of the Borough – reflecting the values & diversity of mixed generations.  In this respect she would introduce a monthly ‘At Home with the Lord Mayor’ – to which members of the public would be welcome to come and share a cup of tea.

Rita would be pleased to ensure that the Lord Mayor’s Annual Appeal should benefit young people with mental health concerns.

To endorse Rita for Lord Mayor go to http://ritaforlordmayor-labourclp250.nationbuilder.com/

MAIDA VALE WARD ACTION REPORT – April 2016

From Councillor Rita Begum and the Labour Action Team

Rita at MV centre

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lanark Road update

Westminster Planning Committee approved the Lanark Road scheme on March 29th, despite intense concern about the impact this would have on light and on the privacy of the surrounding properties. On the positive side, the scheme includes the re-building of the community centre and youth club, as well as a mix of housing (including affordable homes) provided in partnership with the charity Dolphin Living. However, the height/bulk of the development has caused understandable unhappiness locally. Planning approval has also been subject to Dolphin making some changes to the rear elevation.

Castellain Road Update

The Council has told us the following:

“In terms of the abandoned vehicle, Police and DVLA checks revealed that the vehicle is not taxed and neither could we track down a registered owner.  As such the vehicle was declared abandoned and has now been removed and destroyed. 

On the issue of vehicles driving the wrong way down Castellain Road, this has been escalated to the Police designated ward officer as it is the police who would be the enforcing agency in this instance.  We have visited the site and whilst the entry is clearly signed to those approaching from opposite or turning into the street from the right, the signs are not clearly visible if approaching from the left. We have asked the road management team to ensure that the signage issue is resolved as a matter of urgency. “

Residents say:

“We indeed had a nice surprise to see the vehicle gone upon our return from half term! As for vehicles going the wrong way, the signs at the end of the road are quite obvious and if drivers cannot see them, maybe shouldn’t they be driving altogether as lacking peripheral vision! Thanks again for all your efforts”

Elgin Avenue and Lauderdale Road

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“The zebra crossing at Elgin Avenue and Lauderdale Rd has been blocked off / under repair for some time now. Please can you advise when this will be repaired?”

Maida Vale ‘disappearing bus stop’

It looks like we may have won the battle of the disappearing bus stop on Maida Vale!  According to Leon Daniels Managing Director Surface Transport, Transport for London:

“A TfL representative met with Westminster City Council on site on 26 February to assess potential locations for a new bus stop along Maida Vale.  I am pleased to say that subject to public consultation, a new bus stop will be installed at the northern side of the Vale Close and Maida Vale junction in late summer 2016.”

 

Maida Vale Ward Action Report – March 2016

From Councillor Rita Begum and the Labour Action Team

Rita at MV centre

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lanark Road update

On Tuesday 29th March, the Council’s Planning Committee considered an application for the current Youth facilities on Lanark Road to be extended and expanded. Alongside local residents, I have campaigned for these facilities to be upgraded. The proposed centre would have significant local benefits particularly for young people.

However, a number of residents contacted me with their serious concerns about the proposals which they believe would cause significant problems in terms of privacy, overlooking, and loss of light for Carlton Vale and Randolph Avenue residents. The proposals also suffered from a lack of public consultation. Alongside ‘Save Maida Vale’, as the Labour Councillor in Maida Vale, I opposed this application.

I also argued that Westminster City Council should have looked at possibility of using the affordable housing fund to assist in the delivery of Lanark Road scheme.

The proposal was approved by the Planning Committee and a number of additional conditions were attached to the planning permission in response to residents’ concerns:

  • Revised rear elevation design treatment to introduce greater verticality and order
  • Revised elevations and sections (where relevant) to incorporate measures to reduce overlooking and general disturbance to properties to the rear on Randolph Avenue, by removing balconies, terraces and altering fenestration and to the front to reduce potential overlooking to St Georges School.
  • Improvements to the environment at the bottom of the Scottish Towers

Paddington Rec – trees

We asked the Council’s Tree Officer to investigate this issue:

“We have recently arrived into the borough and now live in Leith Mansions on Grantully Road which is a delight, not only for the peace and quiet but the view across Paddington Rec. However the trees on Grantully road pavement have been pruned but the trees on Paddington Rec itself just on the Rose Garden side are incredibly high and do not seem to have been pruned in a long time. Could you ask if this is likely to be done any time soon.”

The Tree Officer says:

“There is a long-standing policy of regular crown reduction for the mature plane trees that line many of the roads in Maida Vale, including Grantully Road. The reason for this regular cycle of crown management is to maintain the trees at an appropriate size for their setting, and importantly to minimise the risk of tree related subsidence damage to the adjacent properties.

The mature plane trees in our parks and gardens have space to grown, further from properties and therefore there is not the need to manage the size of the trees as we do with the street trees. However, they are managed to minimise any potential risk that they may pose to public safety. These particular trees are inspected annually for any dead or diseased branches which if found is removed. There are no plans to reduce the height of these trees unless of course it became necessary to do so for safety reasons.  “

Sutherland Avenue/Castellain Road

We have asked the Council to contact BT about the red phone box at the corner of Sutherland Avenue and Castellain Road. Residents say:

“It’s in quite a dreadful state with graffiti and smashed glass. A bit of a blight on an otherwise attractive residential street.”

The Council says:

“We have reported this to BT and they will generally sort issues such as this out when they are raised with them. It is probably best for residents / businesses to report issues such as this directly to BT as they respond in the same timescales to residents as they do to a report from Council officers.  The number to call is 0800 661 610.  The more pressure that BT is put under (not just by the Council) regarding the state of their kiosks the more likely it is that a) they will get cleaned up and b) where appropriate they will be removed.”

Maida Vale Ward Action Report – February 2016

From Councillor Rita Begum and the Labour Action Team

Rita at MV centre

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lanark Road Development

Councillor Rita Begum sets out why she objects to the Lanark Road proposals as currently designed and has written to the Council to say:

“I would like to take this opportunity to put on record my objection to the Dolphin Living development as it is currently proposed on Lanark Road. As you will know this application has caused significant concerns for a large number of local residents who have let me know their worries about the proposed height and bulk of the proposed new block of flats. As currently designed, some residents consider that the block could cause significant problems over privacy, overlooking and light for residents in Carlton Vale and Randolph Avenue.

This application has suffered from a significant and damaging lack of communication from an early stage with two of the three of Maida Vale councillors and with the wider local community. It seems that initial pre-application discussions by the developer were conducted primarily with one of the three ward councillors (not me), council officers and the Cabinet Member, which did not capture the full extent of possible community concern. While efforts by the developer to discuss residents concerns have been made more recently, these discussions have taken place with the current design already in place. A site visit for me was only arranged by the developer on Tuesday 2nd February. I put a number of questions to the Cabinet member for Housing 3 weeks ago on behalf of local residents but these have still not been answered at time of writing. Over the last few months I have worked to see if meaningful change to the scheme could be achieved by the time of it reaches committee, however at this stage it does not look hopeful.

This is potentially a very important scheme for the local area. The current youth and community facilities are in need of upgrading and the proposed new centre would have significant local benefits, particularly for young people. The provision of 10 new social housing flat for families plus the new intermediate flats, provided they are genuinely affordable for local people, are also welcome.

Westminster Council should look again at the possibility of using the affordable housing fund (to help with the intermediate flats) or the incoming Community Infrastructure Levy (to help with the youth and community centre) to assist with the Lanark Road scheme. Such additional funding could enable a revised scheme to provide its important community benefits whilst reducing the proposed height and bulk of the new building.

It is with a heavy heart that I am unable to support this scheme as proposed. I would urge Dolphin Living and the Council to rethink the project and come back with a revised scheme that helps provide these important new community facilities and affordable housing but also meets the needs of existing residents.”

Karen Buck MP has written to the Council to raise her concerns about the proposals. She says:

“I have already raised with you the fact that a number of local residents have been in contact with me regarding their concerns over the impact of the proposed housing and community facilities development in Lanark Road. I am also aware of the objections put forward by the Paddington Waterways and Maida Vale Society, which echo these concerns regarding the height and bulk of the scheme as it stands, and the impact this has on privacy and loss of light, particularly for residents in Carlton Vale and Randolph Avenue. There is clearly a case for looking a gain at aspects of the design to see how these concerns can be mitigated, even if they cannot be met in full.

We need more sub-market (and especially genuinely affordable) homes in Westminster, and there is, of course, a very strong case for the re-provisioning of the Lanark Centre and Paddington youth club on this site, in line with long-standing council plans. I also appreciate also that the business case for both the housing and community elements dictates the scale of the proposed development. It would be worrying if alterations to the scheme resulted in either a loss of the sub-market housing or the community facilities, since both are much needed and the number of sites available for development is so limited. In this respect, the case for negotiating a significant increase in the proportion of affordable housing from the two strategically significant developments now under consideration in Paddington and Edgware Road/West End Green is overwhelming. It is impossible to consider all these schemes in isolation, because meeting the Council’s housing needs *without* ensuring a reasonable proportion of affordable homes in large developments inevitably adds pressure to deliver on smaller schemes such as this.”

 

Carlton Tavern, 33A Carlton Vale, London, NW6 5EU

The Public Inquiry starts at 17th May 2016 for 8 days in Rooms 1A, B and C, 17th Floor, City Hall, 64 Victoria Street, London, SW1E 6QP.

The appeals have been made following:

  • The refusal by Westminster City Council on 13th January 2015 to grant planning permission to demolish The Carlton Tavern and to erect a new building consisting of a public house at ground floor level with residential flats above it, and
  • The decision by Westminster City Council to issue an Enforcement Notice dated 19th June 2015. The Enforcement Notice alleges that the demolition of The Carlton Tavern, which occurred on 8th April 2015, was unauthorised – and it requires the public house to be re-built in materials matching those used in the original building, both inside and out.

Residents attend the inquiry (personally, or through a representative), and at the Inspector’s discretion, give their views there.

It would be greatly appreciated if you could confirm your attendance, please email ecox@westminster.gov.uk. This will provide the Council with an idea on the capacity of the room.

Guidance on this appeal procedure is available by going to http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/pcs and clicking on ‘Guidance on the appeal process’.

Maida Vale Ward Action Report – January 2016

From Councillor Rita Begum and the Labour Action Team

Rita at MV centre

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lanark Road project

Councillor Rita Begum has been taking up residents’ concerns about the Lanark Road project.

At the Westminster City Council Meeting on 20th January 2016 she asked the Cabinet member for Housing and Regeneration the following questions:

  • Would the Cabinet member please comment on the length of time it took to consult on the project; why resident consultation did not take place before deciding the Regeneration site; why only one Maida Vale ward member was engaged in the drafting of the scheme and have officers yet acted on my proposal to make a site visit & jointly review the proposed design and impact to neighbours in Randolph Avenue?
  • Is it common practice to exclude the involvement of Ward Councillors in capital regeneration projects – as in my case it took until mid-October 2015 for me to be even briefed/consulted?

Subsequently Rita has asked the following written questions to the Cabinet member for Housing and Regeneration:

  • I would welcome your comments on why I appear to have been kept in the dark about this regeneration project?
  • I have had to deal with many residents’ queries and questions regarding the consultation and progress of the proposals. Why was I was not adequately briefed to provide answers?
  • In discussions with Randolph Avenue residents it has become clear that inadequate information has been made available to check the height and length of the new building?
  • The design impacts on lighting to the windows of adjoining basement flats, which does not appear to have been fully recognised by the architects and deserves a reconsideration before the Planning Committee are asked to consider the plan. What can you do to assist in any reconsideration?
  • What communications and consultation work was carried out to establish what regeneration project was appropriate for the site in Lanark Road and whether the scale of the project was appropriate before launching it for consultation?
  • Dolphin Living are the lead people on the project – when the tender came to Westminster to choose the design were any residents involved in the process?

Elgin Avenue

We have asked the Council to repair a number of deep potholes on Elgin Avenue between Randolph Avenue and Biddulph Road.

Castellain Road

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“I am petrified to see that in the past few months, a number of vehicle are driving through Castellain Road in the wrong direction. This is becoming a much too often occurrence and again fear for all residents of all age as needless to point out that these vehicles are not even driving in slowly! Would the answer be to fit automatic camera(s) sending an immediate ticket to the registered owner of the vehicle?”

We have also asked the Council to removed an abandoned blue Jaguar car which has ben there for weeks accumulating parking tickets.

Parking at Essendine and St Augustine’s Schools – Update

The Council has given us this update:

We have recently received several complaints from nearby residents and parents regarding the issue of parking around Essendine and St Augustines’s schools.  As a result of this we have increased the activity of our marshals in these locations. 

We do provide a parking concession for all schools whereby parents can register for the scheme and display a badge that allows them to park on single and double yellow lines for 10 minutes in order that they can drop off their children without having to park directly in front of the school and also preventing the need for double parking.  However, I understand both of the schools in question have so far not taken up the offer of joining the scheme.

We are also proposing that when the schools return on 11 January we will send Marshals to both locations to carry out a zero tolerance campaign, Monday – Friday between the hours of 08.30 to 09:00 and 15:15 to 15:45. We will support this action with our CCTV vehicle.  We will also provide any necessary support to our marshals as there has been aggressive behaviour from some of the parents when approached by the marshals. In the long term we will continue to recommend that both schools join the schools parking concession programme and that the schools themselves actively promote the benefits of safe parking. “

Maida Vale Ward Action Report – December 2015

From Councillor Rita Begum and the Labour Action Team

Rita at MV centre

 

 

 

 

 

 

Junction of Maida Vale/Carlton Vale/Carlton Hill

The Council has proposed junction safety improvements to improve safety for pedestrians at this busy traffic signal junction, which is outside St George’s secondary school. The traffic signals will be upgraded to include a dedicated all-red pedestrian phase (including pedestrian countdown facilities). This means that whenever a pedestrian push button is activated, all the traffic signals turn to red and a green man is shown, allowing pedestrians to cross.

The physical pedestrian crossing facilities will be improved at the junction by repaving the footways and widening the crossing points. The road will also be resurfaced at the junction.

An assessment on the street lighting undertaken in June 2013 identified that the existing lighting did not conform to current lighting standards and should also be upgraded.

Transport for London has also informed the City Council that two existing red light cameras at this junction will be upgraded in conjunction with this scheme.

The existing right turn ban from Maida Vale north to Carlton Hill is in operation from 7am to 7pm only. This is proposed to change so that the restriction is in operation 24 hours a day.

In all, the proposals include:

  • Upgrade of the traffic signals to include dedicated all red pedestrian phase (where all traffic is held at a red signal whilst pedestrians cross the road);
  • The traffic signals will be upgraded to include for the count-down indicators;
  • Widening the existing crossings;
  • Widening the existing footways around the junction;
  • Upgrade the existing red cameras at the junction;
  • Introduction of advanced stopping lines for cyclists;
  • Amending the existing northbound no right turn ban from Maida Vale into Carlton Hill (currently in operation 7am to 7pm) to be in operation 24 hours a day;
  • Resurfacing the carriageway on the junction;
  • Upgrading the existing highway lighting;

Taking up local issues

Councillor Rita Begum has been taking up cases on behalf of local residents, including the following

  • A resident in Glasgow House living in overcrowded conditions. She lives in one bedroom with her 5-year old boy. Rita has written to the Housing Department and is waiting to hear if she enough points to qualify for a 2 bedroom flat
  • A resident in Kilburn Park Road whose house was flooded by a leak from the bathroom above. Rita contacted Genesis housing who have since repaired leak but didn’t replace her carpet
  • Rita helped a resident of Lauderdale Mansions with the ward budget application process
  • A resident in Kilburn Park Road with damp in the living room and a dirty carpet with lots dust. Rita contacted the A2Dominion housing officer responsible who is dealing with the issue.
  • A resident in Kilburn Park Road made a complaint about noise coming from bus engines. Rita has written to TfL and is waiting on their response

Parking problems at St Augustine’s and Essendine Schools

Rita has been meeting with representatives from St. Augustine’s School, Carla Lowe, Road Safety officer and Claire Dunn to discuss parking problems caused by cars parked on double yellow lines, zig-zag lines, single yellow & double yellow lines. These parking problems are making it hard for children to come into school.

We have called on the Council to deploy Parking Marshalls to control parking between 8.30am to 9am and from 3.15pm to 3.45 when the problems are at their height.

These problems are the same at Essendine School and we are urging action at both schools.

Lauderdale Road

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“I take my dog for a walk late evenings, and regularly see people entering and leaving Tutun on Lauderdale Road at post 12:00 am midnight. The people entering and leaving don’t want to engage with me when I ask them what they are doing in there. The shop is blacked out, and it seems entirely suspicious. Please could the Council confirm if they are aware of the activities that take place at Tutun, and confirm what these actually are, and what they are licensed to be doing there.”

Blomfield Road/Edgware Road/Maida Vale junction – update

Transport for London has told us:

“To provide a pedestrian only phase at the crossing on Blomfield Road we would need to operate an ‘all-red’ stage, which is when traffic is stopped on all arms of the junction. With the current level of traffic using the junction this would cause problems that we do not believe could be managed at present.

If we were to consider installing ‘walk with traffic’ pedestrian facilities it would require us to ban some traffic manoeuvres, which is not felt to be viable at this time. We have previously given consideration to a more comprehensive improvement scheme; however, traffic modelling indicated this also had significant negative impacts on the road network (including adjacent borough roads). Furthermore, collision records at the junction show out of eight collisions resulting in injury in the 36 month period to June 2015, two involved cyclists and only one involved a pedestrian (the latter occurring on the Maida Avenue arm of the junction).  

As a result, a decision was taken to concentrate on measures that would improve cycling facilities, without adversely affecting other road users. I would stress however that our current consultation does not preclude consideration of a future scheme to improve pedestrian crossing facilities at this location if – taking into account the need to balance traffic flow through the junction – we can develop a feasible scheme.”

Maida Vale bus stops – update

We have asked TfL to look at this issue:

“I am not affected by the positioning of the bus stop as I live off Hall Road. But I do miss the indicator which was on the old bus stop which told you when the various buses were due to arrive. Can you get TFL to replace this please?”

Maida Vale Ward Action Report – November 2015

From Councillor Rita Begum and the Labour Action Team

Rita at MV centre

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maida Vale bus stop – update

Residents tell us:

“Residents of Maida Vale, between Abercorn Place and Hall Road are very distressed at the sudden removal of the only bus stop on their block going south, with no consultation whatsoever by Transport for London. The stop, which had been there for 40 years, was removed at the whim of one resident who didn’t like a bus stop outside his house and paid TfL £11,000 for its removal. The residents, many of whom are elderly, disabled or with small children, feel that it is not right to have no bus stop on this long block whilst having two on the previous block and now two on the block ahead. If TfL had used their common sense, they could have just moved the stop back a little and everyone would have been happy.”

Kilburn Park Road

We have asked Gustavo, the Maida Vale Inspector to investigate these issues:

“We now have metal chairs and a fly mower on the pavement by a lamp post and this has been there since last week end. Rubbish has started to come back again, and night time parking is getting even worse and we are paying more to park our cars some time even during the day.”

Gustavo tells us:

“I was monitoring Kilburn Park Road every day this week and I can confirm that no dumping has been found outside the collection times with the exception of isolated bags. Unfortunately, the services are reduced on the weekends therefore waste left on the pavement on Saturdays and Sundays will remain uncollected until Monday. If this situation does not improve I will request approval from my management for monitoring from the 24 hour team on the weekends as well. In the meantime, evidence found on Kilburn Park Road from waste disposed incorrectly might be used for enforcement measures.”

Paddington Rec

We have asked the Council to sort out this issue:

“I’m writing regarding the closing routine at Paddington Recreation ground. Weekend opening hours at this time of year only run until 4.30 pm, but when I was there this Sunday the attendants came to close the playground at 3.30 pm, a full hour before the park closes! It was packed full of children and their parents who had to leave, many of whom had only just got there. I spoke to the attendant, who was very polite, but said they have to close the whole park down and the football pitch and cafe won’t let them until 4 pm so they start with the playground as there are not enough of them to do it in time otherwise. It seems a real shame that, particularly in the winter months when there’s not much chance to be outside, so many children, who are often too young for other activities in the park, have things cut off so early. Can winter opening hours on the weekend not be extended any further?”

The Council say:

“I have looked into the issue with the site team and it was the case that the security team started closing the area from 3.35pm. It appears this was due to a misunderstanding by a relatively new Duty Manager relating to the changing park closing times but needless to say, this is completely unacceptable. It does tend to take 25-30 minutes to clear the park prior to closing and pitch and court activities are usually cleared 30 minutes before closing (after bookings have ceased) followed by the playground and other ‘informal’ areas. The General Manager has raised this matter with the operational and security staff concerned and I have made it clear we do not expect to see a repeat, particularly given the previous issues raised. “

Maida Vale Ward Action Report – October 2015

From Councillor Rita Begum and the Labour Action Team

Rita 14MV Feb14

Carlton Tavern, Carlton Vale

Karen Buck MP has written to the Planning Inspectorate about the forthcoming Public Inquiry:

“I write to express my deep concern about the unauthorised demolition- as a local resident and user of the adjacent Paddington recreation ground and in my capacity as a Member of Parliament. Constituents had been raising worries about the proposed development prior to the Council’s original rejection of the plans, but the overnight demolition this spring caused shock waves across the community. Many local residents want to preserve their pubs and other facilities. Others are primarily anxious to ensure that, whatever the use to which the building is put, it is well-designed and in sympathy with the immediate environment, not least in recognition of its past. Everyone is united in opposition to the behaviour of the owners, who are widely seen to not only have acted badly but to have sought to flout due process. I hope that the widespread objections of the local community will be properly reflected in the decision of the Planning Inspectorate.”

Councillor Adam Hug, Leader of the Labour Group, has also written. He says:

“Failure to support the enforcement notice would set an extremely dangerous precedent whereby unscrupulous developers could routinely ignore planning decisions and enforcement actions that they disagree with. If CLTX fails to restore the pub to its previous design and specifications using existing and similar materials it risks allowing the developer to create a scheme more to its liking than if it had followed lawful channels, again creating a dangerous precedent. The wide array of photographs provided by Historic England and the local community and the range of plans and designs captured as part of the planning process make CLTX’s claims not to be able to closely reproduce the pre-existing design ring very hollow indeed.

CLTX’s actions have galvanised the community across North Westminster and South Kilburn in opposition to their actions, restoring the Carlton Tavern to its original specifications is the clear will of the local community. I therefore urge you to reject these two linked appeals. “

In addition, Maida Vale Councillor Rita Begum has written a joint cross-party letter to the Planning Inspector alongside her two Conservative Ward colleagues.

Kilburn Park Road

We have asked the Council to take action on the following:

• more rubbish bins to encourage residents and others to dispose of their rubbish responsibly
• locate bike stands along the road. Currently there are bikes chained to lamp posts and railings and is very unsightly
• bring forward traffic calming along Kilburn Park Road so that sppeding cars can be slowed down and so that pedestrians can cross safely. Perhaps a zebra crossing?

Given the huge increase in the population in the area over the next few years because of the development on the Brent side we have asked the Council to take a joint approach with Brent Council.

Elgin Avenue and Shirland Road junction

We are continuing to press the Council to improve this junction

“There is one thing that concerns, not only me, but many fellow parents of children attending St. Peter’s, St. Saviour’s, St. Joseph’s Schools and that is the junction of Elgin Avenue and Shirland Road that is really very dangerous for pedestrians. Drivers often do indicate whilst turning left onto Shirland Road from Elgin Avenue and sped around the corner. My son and I have often almost been hit on a number of occasions and we are not alone as that junction is notorious among those who take their children to school. Indeed, it is so bad that, even though my son is ten and we live on Elgin Avenue, we are still unable to allow him to walk to school on his own because of that junction. May I suggest that a Lollipop person or a proper crossing would help hugely even if employed only between 8 and 9 am and 3 and 4 pm as it is very dangerous.”

The Council says:

“Following a Local Safety Scheme study a scheme for the provision of an all-red to vehicles pedestrian stage at the Elgin Avenue/Shirland Road junction has been agreed and is being progressed for implementation next year. Consequently the option to have a school crossing patrol at the junction is not being considered. However, in view of the fact that two schools in the area have raised concerns over the safety of school children when travelling to and from school it is proposed to undertake a study of pedestrian accessibility and movement in this area. This study will help to identify whether there are locations where measures could improve safety for pedestrians, particularly school children. In addition the schools in the area will be contacted about delivering some road safety education.”

Morshead Road

We have reported this issue to the Council:

“Yesterday, some workmen outside my block of flats were using the street to saw and cut various pieces of kitchen/bathroom units. Later I passed the black refuse bins nearby and noticed a pile of debris which very closely resembled the doors and drawers that I’d seen the men working on earlier in the day. Also on this pile of fly tipped stuff was glass and metal odds and ends. I photographed the pile as well as the van belonging to the workmen that had parked illegally all day. I contacted the council, sent them the report with the photographs. I was told, they don’t/can’t do anything about it for 12 hours. If they don’t have enforcement officers available to troubleshoot at the time, what is the point of anyone bothering to report an incident of fly tipping. They are not going to be able to prosecute people for this if, when they are given a report they don’t act on it till the next day or even later. I’d welcome your thoughts on this. It is a dreadful ongoing problem with mattresses and endless piles of builders’ debris being left outside Paddington Rec almost all the time.”

Maida Vale recycling

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“I am writing to you to ask you to find out what is happening to our street recycling services. Up to now this has been an excellent service with bins emptied regularly. However it seems since the summer the frequency of emptying seems to have declined. Recently our local bins (Delaware Rd, Sutherland Avenue & Warwick Avenue) seem to be perpetually full, with excess recycling piling up on the street, the pavement and on top of the bins. This encourages dumping, litter, animals and is deeply unhygienic and unsightly. This is obviously unacceptable, so could you find out why this has developed over the last few months, and ask the council to reinstate their previously excellent service.”

Carlton Vale

We have launched an on-line petition to persuade Westminster City Council to install a Zebra Crossing at the Carlton Vale Paddington Recreation Ground Entrance, next to the Carlton Tavern pub. Many children cross at this junction, with the St Georges Secondary school around the corner. This is a high density residential area with many elderly and young people living here. Large numbers of vehicle pass on this road speeding without stopping or noticing cars parked on the street. Anyone who uses or passes here on a regular basis is aware of the near misses that occur daily at this site. It is only a matter of time before a fatality occurs and this is something nobody wants to happen. The problem with this crossing is the landscape in which it is set, poor visibility, a narrow and busy environment.
You can sign here http://petitions.westminster.gov.uk/carltoncrossing/

Paddington Rec

This concern has been raised by a resident:

“The team at Paddington Rec is becoming increasingly aggressive at pushing people out of the park 30 minutes before closing time. They start by blowing their whistles excessively from 9:00pm onwards and shouting at people to leave. This is entirely unnecessary, causing a local disturbance for 30 minutes, and I believe verging on the abuse of people using the last 30 minutes of opening hours to finish their exercise and walk their dogs. The floodlights go off at 9:00pm, which is a good signal the park is closing, and in my opinion they should not be starting the process described above until 9:20 – which would be much more civilised and cause far less disturbance.”

The Council says:

“I’ve contacted the General Manager at the site who has confirmed that the site team should be verbally reminding users at 9.20pm of the closing time and that a whistle should be only used if there is a specific need to gain someone’s attention (i.e. if they are not complying). The site team will be reminded of the arrangements.”

Basements

Karen Buck MP’s bill designed to help local planning authorities restrict the size and depth of basement development has had its first reading in the House of Commons. This Bill was introduced to Parliament on 16 September 2015 under the Ten Minute Rule. This allows an MP to make his or her case for a new bill in a speech lasting up to ten minutes. The Basement Excavation (Restriction of Permitted Development) Bill 2015-16 is expected to have its second reading debate on Friday 29 January 2016.

Maida Vale Ward Action Report – September 2015

From Councillor Rita Begum and the Labour Action Team

Rita 14MV Feb14

Call for Carlton Vale zebra crossing

Maida Vale Labour Councillor Rita Begum has launched an on-line petition to persuade Westminster City Council to install a Zebra Crossing at the Carlton Vale Paddington Recreation Ground Entrance, next to the Carlton Tavern pub.

Rita says:

“Many children cross at this junction, with the St Georges Secondary school around the corner. This is a high density residential area with many elderly and young people living here. Large numbers of vehicle pass on this road speeding without stopping or noticing cars parked on the street. Anyone who uses or passes here on a regular basis is aware of the near misses that occur daily at this site. It is only a matter of time before a fatality occurs and this is something nobody wants to happen. The problem with this crossing is the landscape in which it is set, poor visibility, a narrow and busy environment.”

You can sign here http://petitions.westminster.gov.uk/carltoncrossing/

Carlton Tavern demolition: Public inquiry into illegal demolition of historic pub

The illegal demolition of the historic Carlton Tavern pub will be decided by a public inquiry. Westminster City Council took the unprecedented legal move in May of ordering developers CLTX Ltd to rebuild the pub brick by brick. Developers CLTX Ltd had previously been refused permission by the council to pull down the building and replace it with a new pub at ground level and 10 flats above.

A public inquiry was called for by local Councillors and Westminster North MP Karen Buck who said;

“It is wholly unacceptable that a developer can be permitted to flout the rules as CLTX has done- and even more so when the flouting was accompanied by such radical and destructive action as overnight (semi)demolition.”

“Residents, and those following the story of pub closures and the development of similar buildings in high-value areas, will be seeking reassurance that such actions are not permissible and redress can be obtained. 

“There is a widespread belief (whether justified or not) that the ‘developer pound’ can over-ride the community interest, and it is essential that trust in due process must be restored and seen to be- in public.”

Trees outside Stuart Tower, Maida Vale

Following our request to the Council to prune the trees by the bus stop a resident tells us:

“Passed by today – so much better. Thank you for sorting.”

Kilburn Park Road

We have reported a number of instances of dumped rubbish along Kilburn Park Road and asked the Council to remove them.

Paddington Rec – what you say

“I would agree that it is senseless and unhygienic to allow dogs on the cricket pitch in Paddington Recreation Ground. Perhaps they could be given a much larger dog area (the entire hill to the west of the cafe?) I would suggest that the demographics of the area have changed in the 9 years I have lived here and there are far more families with small children in the park, making the dogs off leads policy dangerous. “

“The regular, local dog owners (and there are many us) who use the park are extremely responsible and in control of their dogs. We are there day in, day out, 12 months of the year. If there was an aggressive dog around, word would get around and something would be said or done. We have a strong sense of ‘community’ and consequently care about the place as we are some of its most frequent users. It is also something of a meeting place for us. As a result, not only do we pick up all our dog poo, we are also very active in chastising those who don’t. In general, when there is poo that has not been cleaned up, it is not from a local, regular user. If you were to go down to the Rec today, you would struggle to find much poo at all.”

“As the ongoing debate rages about the off lead dogs in Paddington Rec some recent issues need to be addressed. Last week another person walking through the park was bitten needing stitches. There is another issue that needs to be addressed as the park are now hiring the cricket pitch to clubs for matches charging a fee how could this possibly be viable to also allow dogs to roam throughout the pitch-this needs to be re-examined from a health and safety issue. As you know there are several special dog only areas in this park.”

Maida Vale Ward Action Report – August 2015

From Councillor Rita Begum and the Labour Action Team

Rita 14MV Feb14

Fury after Maida Vale resident pays TfL £11k to move bus stop from outside their home

The ‘Wood & Vale’ reports:

“Transport for London have been accused of being “bought off” after it was revealed a resident paid £11,000 to have a busy bus stop moved from outside their Maida Vale home.
The unknown homeowner who lives in Abercorn Place, one of the most exclusive streets in the area, funded the operation to relocate the bus stop five minutes down the road. According to furious commuters the move was done without prior warning or consultation with them.

Susan Segal, 72, who relies on the regular 98, 16 and 332 services to take her to her daily shop in Kilburn was shocked to find the stop had vanished six weeks ago. She is leading calls for TfL’s ombudsman to return the stop to the spot it occupied for 35 years. She said:

“I looked across the street and thought ‘where’s the bus stop?’ and it was gone. We’re very annoyed, there’s been no consultation and we can’t see that it was necessary. It’s a public bus stop so how can somebody just pay to have it moved? I think it’s disgusting. It looks like anybody who has the money can pay the council and TfL.  Now there’s a long block with no bus stop and bringing shopping home is a nightmare for us senior citizens- it’s terrible.”

After she complained to TfL, Dave Finlow, a customer services adviser, confirmed in a letter:

“We did indeed move the stop to accommodate a dropped kerb. This was requested (and the full costs to the council and TfL paid for) by a local resident.”

Documents seen by the Wood & Vale reveal a joint TfL and council decision was made to relocate the stop to its new position between Hall Road and St John’s Wood Road after two homeowners complained the stop and its seated shelter were “obstructing them from accessing their property easily.”

Labour Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, who is backing the residents’ campaign to have the bus stop reinstated, said: “It looks like another case of ‘money talks’ if one household is able to pay to move a bus stop like this.”

Ian Stanton, TfL’s regional infrastructure manager for west London, said:

“The bus stop was relocated at the request of a local resident who needed vehicular access to their property at all times. The cost of relocating the bus stop was met entirely by the resident. The new bus stop continues to be served by route 16, 98 and 332 services and also, for the first time, is served by route 46 and 187 services.”

Carlton Tavern Update – HSE agrees to review decision not to prosecute

Maida Vale Labour Councillor Rita Begum reports:

“Yesterday I met officers of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to discuss the disgraceful demolition of the Carlton Tavern with my Maida Vale Ward colleague Councillor Thomas Crocket and Council officers.

The main point from the meeting is that, although the HSE has taken action against the owners and developers of the Carlton Tavern, they have stopped short of bringing a prosecution.

However, following our discussions yesterday, the HSE has agreed to review the decision not to prosecute.

In order to help the HSE review their decision we need to provide evidence of the dangerous and reckless way in which the demolition was carried out.

We need any resident who took photos or footage of the demolition to get in touch with Councillor Crockett (preferably by email at tcrockett@westminster.gov.uk) and send it to him as he is the agreed single point of contact.

It must come from the person who physically took it, as the HSE must be in a position to require that person to give evidence to that effect, should this be needed in due course.

If you could do this as soon as possible, it would be a great help. We would like to be in a position to review everything by the end of next week if practicable so Thomas can send one bundle of evidence over to the HSE.

Thomas and I are working together on this to ensure that the voice of the community is heard loud and clear!”

Elgin Avenue/Shirland Road Junction – Update

The Council tells us:

“A number of proposals have been made which should improve safety at the junction. These include

• Green man crossing facilities on all arms of the junction through the addition of an all-red vehicle stage in the traffic signalling.
• The pedestrian crossings will be widened and will include tactile paving and skid resistant surfacing on all approaches.
• Street lighting will be improved and Double Yellow Lines brought in around the junction to improve visibility.
• Cycle reservoirs will be added on to all approaches to improve cycle safety.

TfL also intends to commence traffic signal modernisation. Their implementation has been postponed in order to co-ordinate their upgrade with our proposal to implement pedestrian facilities at this junction. Officers are discussing the timing of implementation with TfL in order to manage these changes. “

Sutherland Avenue/Shirland Road junction – Update

The Council tells us:

“Two schools in the area have also raised concerns over the Sutherland Avenue and Shirland Road junction. Therefore, it has been suggested that a study is carried out through Westminster City Council’s School Travel Plan to review pedestrian accessibility and movement in the area. This will help to identify whether there are any locations in the area where measures could improve safety for pedestrians, particularly school children. This review should bring to our attention any other roads or junctions requiring improvements. “

Trees outside Stuart Tower, Maida Vale

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“The area is resembling a jungle with the trees now so outgrown around their trunks it’s beginning to obstruct the footpath – worth a look and a prune.”

Maida Vale Ward Action Report – July 2015

From Councillor Rita Begum and the Labour Action Team

Rita 14MV Feb14

Council thanks Rita for helping make recycling events a success

Councillor Rita Begum has received the following letter from the Council to thank her for her help in making recent recycling events a success:

Dear Councillor Begum,

On behalf of the waste and recycling team, please accept our belated but sincere gratitude for your assistance at the Give and Take events in Maida Vale and Queen’s Park. Your help on the day along with your twitter promotional activities contributed immensely to success of the events.

The 3 events in June collected 493kgs of items and we achieved an overall 91% recycling and reuse rate which is excellent. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if I can help in any way.  

Best regards,

Andrew Cook

Contracts Officer (Waste and Recycling)

City Management and Communities

Westminster City Council

Government Minister urged to take action on Carlton Tavern demolition

Councillor Adam Hug, Leader of the Labour Group, has called on the Government Minister responsible for the Health and Safety Executive to review the decision not to take action against the owners of the Carlton Tavern for their irresponsible and reckless demolition of the pub in April.

Justin Tomlinson MP,
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Disabled People,
Department for Work and Pensions,
Caxton House,
Tothill Street,
London,
SW1H 9NA
Dear Justin Tomlinson MP,

Carlton Tavern

I am writing to you as the Minister with responsibility for Health and Safety, regarding the unlawful demolition of the Carlton Tavern in Westminster on 8th April 2015. The pub was partially knocked down without planning permission and with no health and safety measures in place. Demolition of the pub posed a real risk to those in neighbouring properties as well as potentially to those on site and passing by.

Following the incident I wrote to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) regarding whether they would be taking action against those who ordered and carried out this dangerous demolition. I was responded to by the Principle Inspector of Health and Safety Sarah Claker. She informed me that following the incident an inspector visited the site and met with Westminster officials together with the contractor and a representative of the Client. The inspector subsequently wrote to both duty holders outlining their responsibilities and served an Improvement Notice requiring provision of welfare facilities on site, which was complied with. However she stated that this would be as far as HSE would be taking the case and it did not propose taking any action against either duty holder. She explained that HSE felt it was doubtful they would be able to obtain sufficient evidence to meet the evidential test of the Code for Crown Prosecutor.

I am very disappointed by the decision of the HSE to not prosecute those responsible for this unlawful and dangerous demolition. There is a wealth of evidence including video footage of the demolition and witness testimony which would be able to categorically prove the dangers caused by the duty holders, and I believe it is irresponsible for HSE to not take action against them.

A prosecution would not only reflect the harm that could have been caused by their actions but also help reduce the risk that these same owners and contractors, as well as others in the area, do the same in future with other pubs and properties. By letting the duty holders get away with their blatant disregard for Health and Safety Laws, HSE are encouraging these actions to happen again.

I would kindly ask that you review the decision taken by the HSE not to prosecute the owners and contractors of the Carlton Tavern and take action as appropriate. I look forward to your response.

Yours faithfully,

Councillor Adam Hug
Leader of the Opposition
Westbourne Ward

Dibdin House

Residents at Dibdin House are celebrating two big successes this summer. After a spirited local campaign, the estate’s landlord has dropped plans to turn the communal hall into a luxury flat and has instead agreed to allow residents access to their hall again for community events.

Grainger have also responded quickly to Karen Buck MP’s complaint about rent setting for Assured Tenants at Dibdin House. They acknowledged that errors had been made in implementing their rents policy and modest refunds and rent reductions have been given to all affected tenants.

Paddington Recreation Ground

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“Once again we have been disturbed by dogs off lead in Paddington Recreation Ground. This time as we had a picnic on the grass so the children could kick a ball around we were bothered by two small dogs. Their owner casually kept a distance and laughed as they invaded our picnic and helped themselves to chicken drumsticks and frightened the children. The female owner then started shouting at us that we had no business eating chicken in the park and was incredibly rude. At no point was there an apology or actually picking up the dogs and removing them. Instead she picked up some of our food. Can you please explain why in a heavily used park with 3 special dog parks why it could be possibly safe to allow dogs off lead? This is unacceptable.”

The Council says;

“The ‘dogs off lead’ policy has been in place for some time at Paddington Rec in accordance with the byelaws. It is an arrangement which is extremely valued by dog owners and a petition to retain this arrangement was presented to the Council in 2006. The (then) Cabinet Member for Customer and Community Services approved a report advising that there is no intention of introducing a ‘dogs on leads’ policy at the site provided there is no significant change in the circumstances. However, I fully appreciate that the arrangement is not universally supported and acknowledge that the policy can cause issues for other users of the park. Clearly on this occasion the behaviour of the dog owner is extremely irresponsible. If you are able to provide any further details of the incident (date, time, location etc), I will ask the site team to review the CCTV system to see if we’re able to identify the customer concerned and will then ask the site manager to speak with them to reiterate their responsibilities and our reasonable expectations of dog owners.”

Vale Court, Maida Vale bus stop relocation – what you say

“I live very near this new stop. I cannot see any good reason for re-sitting this bus stop. I have since been trying to work out what possible traffic advantage if any, its new positioning affords. My now retired brother used to work for what was then London Transport, and his actual job was to site bus stops in appropriate places in Central London, taking traffic flow, road conditions and road junctions, etc., into account. When I showed him where the new stop now was, he was very perplexed and said that he would never have sanctioned such a move, in his day, as he too, couldn’t see any gain from doing it.”

“I totally agree about the Bus Stop at Vale Court. I lived in Braemar House for about 52 years. It has always been there. Two bus stops between Carlton Vale to Elgin Ave and two stops from Hall Road to Clifton Road and none between Elgin Avenue to Hall Road”

Maida Vale Ward Action Report – June 2015

From Councillor Rita Begum and the Labour Action Team

Rita 14MV Feb14

Labour Councillors call for HSE action following Carlton Tavern demolition

Labour Councillors have written to the Health and Safety Executive to ask what action has been taken by the HSE regarding the unlawful demolition of the Carlton Tavern in Carlton Vale on April 8th.

Maida Vale Labour Councillor Rita Begum said:

“I strongly urge that firm action is taken by the HSE, both in terms of the harm that could have been caused by the pub owners’ irresponsible actions and to help reduce the risk that these same owners and contractors might do the same in future with other pubs and properties in our area. “

Councillor Adam Hug, Leader of the Labour Group said;

“The demolition of the Carlton Tavern posed a real risk to those in neighbouring properties as well as potentially to those on site and passing by. Can you please update me and ward Cllr Rita Begum about whether the HSE proposes taking action against those who ordered and carried out this demolition?”

An update from Councillor Rita Begum on some of her recent casework:

• Rita helped a family in Dibdin House living in a flat which suffers from damp and assisted them with a letter to the Council about their re-housing needs.

• A family in Falkirk House came to Rita’s regular surgery for general advice about their housing situation.

• Rita assisted a resident of Glasgow House who was concerned about the Bedroom Tax by providing the information they need.

• A resident of Edinburgh House came to Rita’s surgery regarding their housing situation and wrote a letter supporting their request for a transfer.

• Rita helped a leaseholder family in Braemer House who previously lived in Wingfield House, Tollgate Gardens and have been moved because the Council is demolishing the block as part of the regeneration plans. The flat in Braemar House suffers from disrepair and work was not carried out properly before the family moved. Rita is taking up their case.

• Rita is helping a family in Falkirk House with their application for larger property.

• Rita is liaising with Karen Buck’s Office about arranging a visit to the Houses of Parliament for a resident of Castellain Mansions

• A resident of Glasgow House has asked Rita to help after she had to leave her home to stay with family until water leaking from flat above is sorted out. Rita is liaising with City West Homes about this.

• Rita is helping a resident of Torridon House with a housing benefit issue.

Bus stop outside Vale Court, Edgware Road

We are making enquiries about this issue:

“Why has this bus stop been moved 500 metres down the road opposite Stewart Towers? This is a total waste of money and man power. It now means that the walk from Elgin Avenue stop to Hall Road stop is considerable longer. The new bus stop is much nearer the Clifton Road stop. None of this makes any sense at all.”

Kilburn Park Road – parking

We are making investigations with the Council about this issue:

“Since the new flats in Brent have been built and occupied parking on the Westminster side is becoming more and more difficult mainly near the traffic light end where the houses are. The people living in the flats on Brent are managing to get parking permits to park in Westminster and this has been going on for many years as I have watched people get out of their car on our side of the road and cross with loads of shopping to go into the flat that were opposite .

If I have parked on the Brent side at night, I have move my car before 8.00am the next morning and then spend my time looking around for somewhere to park, because the spaces our side Westminster have been taken by the residents in Brent. I have landed quite a few tickets from Brent for parking just after the start time. I thought when we applied for permits we had to prove we lived on the Westminster side and this was done through the electoral role. I feel something needs to be sorted out as we have to pay for permits and not able to park near our homes.”

Kilburn Park Road – rubbish dumping

We have asked the local Inspector to investigate this recurring issue:

“I do feel strongly about the rubbish on Kilburn Park Road after a few months of nothing being dumped I returned from a week away to find rubbish back at the lamp post outside 105 and 107. And this morning when I walk passed them all the bags had be bitten into by the rats”

Essendine Nursery – Update

Local resident Helena Krawitz who led the campaign to stop the closure of the Essendine nursery reports:

“Since Westminster Council announced they wanted to close the Essendine stay and play sessions, I have been working with them to find a way to keep some kind of local service going. The BAD news was that I could not persuade them to keep it open in the centre behind Essendine School. The GOOD news, actually GREAT as far as I’m concerned, is that they will fund a smaller scale alternative. Hurrah!! From the beginning of the next school year, there will be 2 stay and play drop in sessions during term time. One will be on a Tuesday, 9.30-11am inside Essendine School. The other will be inside the Paddington Rec Bowls Club, 9.30-12.30.”

Maida Vale Ward Action Report – May 2015

From Councillor Rita Begum and the Labour Action Team

Rita 14MV Feb14

Owners of the Carlton Tavern ordered to rebuild the pub ‘brick by brick’

Carlton Demo Council
Community campaigners scored a great victory on Tuesday 5th May when they succeeded in getting Westminster Council to order the owners of the Carlton Tavern to rebuild the pub they bulldozed in April ‘brick by brick’.

The campaign, led by Dibdin House resident Poly Robertson and Maida Vale Councillor Rita Begum, has forced Westminster Council to support the community demand for the pub to be rebuilt.

Councillor Rita Begum said:

“We are delighted that the Council has ordered the owners to rebuild the Carlton Tavern and we will continue to work alongside local residents until the pub has been rebuilt and is open to the community once again”.

Maida Vale Ward Action Report – April 2015

From Councillor Rita Begum and the Labour Action Team

Rita 14MV Feb14

Sign the petition to get the Carlton Tavern rebuilt

Local residents have started a petition to get the Carlton Tavern rebuilt. You can sign here:

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

Carlton Demo Council
At the Council meeting 29th April local residents were out in force to protest about the bulldozing of The Carlton Tavern.

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg asked this question:

“What legal action is being taken against the company responsible for the illegal demolition of the Carlton Tavern for breaches of the planning and health and safety regulations? Will the Council require the owners to rebuild the Carlton Tavern, brick-by-brick, so that this pub can continue to serve the Maida Vale community?”

And residents have been in touch to say:

“Like many local residents I am appalled at the vandalism which the demolition of this local amenity represents and the outrageous and flagrant disregard of the law by those responsible. I encourage you and the other members of the planning committee to take the strongest possible action in this matter and insist on the rebuilding of the Carlton Tavern in facsimile both as to external and internal appearance.”

“I am not a pub-goer so never once visited it, but, from my point of view, it was a local landmark, a very popular amenity and part of the Maida Vale landscape and community so I was as outraged as everybody else to see what happened to it. My concern, as much as the rebuilding of the pub, is that greedy developers who have no interest in the local area or people should not get away with such blatant law-breaking and disregard for local government and local people.”

Meanwhile, on 5th May the Planning Committee will be asked to consider requiring the owners to rebuild a replica of the pub. See the report here:

http://committees.westminster.gov.uk/documents/s13074/ITEM%2001%20-%20THE%20CARLTON%20TAVERN%20P.H.%2033A%20CARLTON%20VALE%20NW6.pdf

Kilburn Park Road

We have reported dumped builders’ rubbish outside 125 Kilburn Park Road.

Elgin Avenue

We have asked the Council to investigate this suggestion:

“I live in Biddulph Manions and have been a resident of Maida Vale for the last 14 years – so know it well. Regarding the dangers of Elgin Avenue, I fundamentally feel that it is because it is such a straight road and the traffic lights are visible from a long way off, that people ‘race’ to the green light, and then may not be able to stop in time – especially at the junction of Shirland. A simple solution would be to cover the traffic lights with those ‘angular’ covers, so that the colour of the light is only visible when you are relatively close to the light, rather than 200m+ away. I would suggest this be tried out, as it is a simple, but possibly very effective solution!”

Dibdin House residents win victory to use community hall

Dibdin victory 2
The local press reports that campaigners from the Maida Vale estate where Sir Bradley Wiggins grew up are celebrating after being allowed access to their much-loved community hall.

Residents were banned almost two years ago from using Dibdin Hall on the Dibdin House estate by owners Grainger, which cited “health and safety” concerns. But residents said they were being barred because developers feared it would jeopardise plans to turn it into housing.

After a hard-fought battle with the support of former MP Karen Buck, who is seeking re-election in May, community groups have been allowed access to the hall during the week.

Polly Robertson, 47, who has lived in the estate for 30 years, said: “We’re so happy. This is something that we’ve fought for for a long time, to keep something that the Dibdin House residents have always had – people have even got married there in the past.

“To have it taken away from us, we had no community, no means of communication. We have to thank Karen Buck and her team who have been instrumental in making this happen.”

Ms Buck said: “This is fabulous news. Dibdin House has an incredible sense of community, there are a lot of people who have been there for 50 years and always run activities there. When they lost the hall they lost the heart of Dibdin House, it’s a real win to get that back.”

Grainger’s Karen Burfield, responsible for managing Dibdin House, said: “We are pleased to confirm that following our review… and the work undertaken by Ms Robertson and others to set up a residents’ association, we have reached an agreement whereby we are able to make the hall available.

“To ensure that the space was safe and secure, it was necessary to undertake certain health and safety works… and ensure insurance and other protections were in place.

“We are happy that we’ve been able to reach this positive outcome and look forward to working with the residents going forward.”

Promoted by Andy Whitley on behalf of Karen Buck both at 4g Shirland Mews, London W9 3DY

Carlton Tavern Update – Pressure grows to rebuild the pub

Carlton Tavern 3
Maida Vale Labour Councillor Rita Begum said:

“The strongest possible action should be taken by the Council against those responsible for this blatant act of vandalism and destruction of this local community facility”

“The demolition of the Carlton Vale has united the entire community who now want the owners to rebuild the pub exactly as it was before the bulldozers destroyed it”

What residents say

“Absolutely shocking what has taken place and I do hope that WCC will be pursuing those responsible and advocating the strongest penalties possible.”

“Can the owners be made to rebuild said ‘Carlton Tavern’ like for like, after their disregard of the rejection notice?”

“I was shocked to read of the unpermitted demolition of this attractive pub, I hope that you will be pushing for action to be taken against the developer.”

“What can we do to help urge the council to get the developers to rebuild this. As so many have pointed out this is the probably the only way to ensure that they don’t make lots of money out of this site and that they pay the proper price for knocking down a building without planning permission and in such a dangerous manner. It is absolutely heartbreaking looking at it and thinking of all the people who value it as a meeting place and the poor landlady who presumably is now out of work.”

Rebuild the Carlton Tavern!

Carlton Tavern 1

Labour Councillors have called on Westminster Council to take the strongest possible action against those responsible for the demolition of the Carlton Tavern on Carlton Vale and called it “an act of vandalism” which has united the local community in calling for the pub to be rebuilt as it was before the bulldozers moved in.

Councillor Rita Begum, Maida Vale ward for Labour, said:

“It was a shock. I have never seen anything like it in my entire life. I went past just the other day and there were people drinking inside the pub – there was no warning whatsoever. They were going to confirm it as a listed building on Wednesday. I think the developers found out it was going to be a listed building and that’s why the destroyed it. The whole community is in shock. How can they do this without approval?”

Carlton Tavern 2

Historic England said there were plans to recommend the pub be given a grade II listing pending approval from the Department for Culture Media and Sport.

“The Carlton Tavern built in 1920-21 for Charrington & Co, probably by Frank J Potter, was an early inter-war improved public house, carefully detailed and built of good quality materials, showing the vision of a leading London brewery.”

“It was laid out as an improved pub with a public bar, and originally off sales, a saloon, and unusually a luncheon and tea room. The site was remarkably well-preserved externally and internally, it displayed the hierarchy of rooms in their fixtures, fittings and decorative treatment and retained all its external signage.”

“Few pubs were built at this date and fewer survive unaltered. It also had great historical interest as an improved pub, illustrative of growing concern at raising the reputation of public houses, by providing family facilities and reducing drunkenness.”

Maida Vale Ward Action Report – March 2015

From Councillor Rita Begum and the Labour Action Team

Rita 14MV Feb14

Dibdin House update

Private tenants at Dibdin House have been complaining to Karen Buck MP about inflation-busting rent increases for several years. Karen has found evidence to suggest that not only are Grainger’s 7% annual increases for Assured Tenants way out of line with increases in prices or wages, but are also in breach of their own rents policy. Karen has put a formal complaint to their Directors and plans to ask the Housing Ombudsman to intervene if Grainger don’t end this rip-off.

Essendine Play service

Despite a parent’s petition and strong opposition to the plans, Westminster Council went ahead with plans to cut play, children’s and youth services at their full council meeting at the beginning of the month.

The planned cuts to front line services are:

• £500,000 from the Children’s Centres
• £150,000 from the Play Service
• £125,000 from Youth Services

The total to be taken from Children’s services is £2.9m, which includes £793k of savings from “reducing demand and unit costs and in particular with respect to Looked After Children placements and Early Help staffing”. The youth service is set to halve over this year and next, so that by 2016 Westminster we will be investing just £2 per young person per month.

Maida Vale Ward Action Report – February 2015

From Councillor Rita Begum and the Labour Action Team

Rita 14MV Feb14

Maida Vale Labour Councillor Rita Begum explains how she has been helping individual residents with everyday problems:

– Randolph Avenue W9 – Residents asked Rita to help with dampness caused by rain water coming through the window. Rita wrote to Genesis housing to sort out this matter.

– Strome House, Carlton vale – Rita is dealing with an ongoing repair issue with Notting Hill Housing. There is lots of damp in the house and repairs have not been carried out on time.

– Dibdin House – At the request of residents, Rita raised issues with St George Secondary School about loud noise. Rita also requested Westminster’s rubbish & recycling team to provide pedal bins for Dibdin House elderly residents.

Castellain Road

On behalf of a Castellain Road resident we made enquiries about why an abandoned car had been left for 6 months in the street. Following our enquiries the Council told us:

“The vehicle has been removed from the street. The reason for the delay in removing this vehicle was due to the police checks taking more time than expected”

We are now liaising with both police and parking department to see what went wrong and what needs to be done to ensure that this does not happen again. We were pleased to receive this message from the resident:

“Many thanks for your intervention which has indeed worked! The vehicle has been removed and disappeared from our sight! Again, many thanks”

Braemar House, Maida Vale

We reported to City West Homes that there are pools of water on the communal stairs which is very dangerous.

Elgin Avenue

The Council has given us the following update on action being taken to tackle persistent rubbish dumping:

“The recycling bins at the junction of Elgin Avenue and Morshead Road were removed by the recycling team once it was identified that they belong to Westminster College and were placed incorrectly on public highway. An additional bin was added at the Micro Recycling Centre site at Delamere Terrace which was poorly located and has now been removed.”

Elgin Avenue – Big Black Bin sites

• Twice daily inspections carried out my local wardens, and additional early morning checks by Veolia management
• Wardens and Veolia are reporting a significant reduction in dumping at this sites

Labour Councillors are supporting parents who are campaigning to keep open the Essendine play centre

Parents say:

“The Essendine stay and play facilities should remain open to everyone for the following reasons:

1. Essendine performs a vital social and community support function bringing people together from across the spectrum to share their experiences and help each other. Removing this local service for families in the newborn to 2 years will leave people, and new mothers in particular, vulnerable.

2. The need for support and help is not just a function of income. The need for support and help is also based on your ability to cope with a young child. Many parents in the Maida Vale area do not have any local family support.

3. Having a child shrinks your world. Just getting out of the house can be a challenge in itself, so services need to be easily accessible, not a mile away.

4. Health visitors alone can’t perform this vital social and community support function. They don’t have the time or resources as their services are already over stretched.

5. If Essendine stay and play facility is closed, where will people go if the other centres are already at capacity? We need safe play space.”

You can find out more at

https://www.change.org/p/kevin-jones-jan-compton-keep-essendine-ecm-stay-and-play-sessions-open?recruiter=7237037&utm_campaign=signature_receipt&utm_medium=email&utm_source=share_petition

Elgin Avenue speeding – what you say

“I have been mulling over the report on the impact of a 20mph speed limit on Elgin Avenue issued by the Council, which I read a few weeks ago. I had signed the petition last year. What amazed me was the narrowness of the remit for the report, and how old-fashioned and ’20th century’ it all felt. The only criterion used was the impact on safety, and you would have been forgiven if you had taken from the report (i) not until we have a few more serious injuries or even deaths would anything be changed, and (ii) that a 30mph limit is as safe if not safer than 20mph (so perhaps I can assume a 40mph limit is even safer?) The basic assumption was also that the existing position is best.

It really is about time that Westminster Council took a more modern and mature approach to the issue of cars in the borough. The streets are for the people who live here, and passing motorists are our guests. Issues of quality of life, noise pollution, air pollution, visual pollution, wear & tear on infrastructure are the reasons people these days are not happy with the status quo. Cycling with your child along Elgin Avenue – or anywhere else, wedged between parked cars (which may open their doors at any time without warning), and vans & cars speeding past at 30mph (or often more) is not acceptable. Apparently it is no longer acceptable to fine motorists for speeding – so on Warwick Avenue, Sutherland Avenue, Elgin Avenue, etc. they regularly speed without sanction – a flashing light telling them they are speeding is totally ineffective.

I am also a motorist and hate others speeding; people seem to believe that it’s fine to drive at any speed they consider “safe”. Westminster Council need to wake up to today’s world, and realise that local residents have a right to want to improve their local environment. 20mph limits in the whole borough should be the objective, like in Camden. As a very modest start, why not instigate a regulation that all Westminster roads currently with road humps should become mandatory 20mph zones, ideally enforced with cameras so people stick to it. That would be a first step, and it would become apparent that the world as we know it would not cease to function. We can then extend the 20mph limits to the vast majority of the roads in the borough.”

Maida Vale Ward Action Report – January 2015

From Councillor Rita Begum and the Labour Action Team

Rita 14MV Feb14

Maida Vale Labour Councillor Rita Begum explains how she has been helping individual residents with everyday problems over the past month:

• A Randolph Avenue resident contacted Rita about a pavement replacement issue. Rita reported this for action.
• A Randolph Avenue resident contacted Rita about a tree which was cut down and wanted to know when it would be replaced. Rita reported this, as it was in front of their house, and it was done in 2 weeks.
• A Torridon House resident contacted Rita to report a Gas leak. Rita called the emergency number and got it repaired.
• A resident of Keith House contacted Rita regarding a heating issue. Rita contacted the co op and was told as they are leaseholders they will have to pay for any repair work themselves.
• A resident of Godwin House, Tollgate Gardens contacted Rita about a problem with local lighting. Rita reported this to City West Homes and is waiting for a replay.
• A resident wrote to Rita enquiring about nappy recycling. Rita got her all the available information and emailed her with all the details.

Ashworth Mansions

Ashworth Mansions

We have asked the Council to remove the graffiti from Ashworth Mansions following a recent attack.

Update – we are delighted that the graffiti has now been removed.

An accident a month on Elgin Avenue but Westminster Council rejects residents’ plea for 20mph speed limit

Westminster Conservatives have rejected residents’ plea for a 20mph speed limit on Elgin Avenue despite a petition from over 250 local residents and an accident record of 33 accidents over the 36 months from June 2011 to May 2014.

According to the Council’s records there were 33 accidents over the 36 months from June 2011 to May 2014.

• One of the accidents was a fatal personal injury accident
• 8 were serious personal injury accidents
• 24 accidents involved slight personal injuries

11 of the accidents occurred at the junction of Elgin Avenue with Shirland Road. The Council say that a road safety scheme will now be designed for this junction.

The police say that the average speed of traffic along Elgin Avenue is 31 mph and three of the accidents were speed related:

• One occurred at the junction of Elgin Avenue and Shirland Road and involved a vehicle turning right at speed on an amber light and colliding with a motorcycle
• The second was south west of the junction of Elgin Avenue and Shirland Road and involved a vehicle reversing at speed and colliding with a pedestrian crossing the road; and
• The third was at a junction of Elgin Avenue and Chantry Close and involved a vehicle travelling at speed and colliding with a vehicle waiting to turn right then colliding with a vehicle wanting to go ahead, which hit another vehicle that then hit another vehicle.
• The first two were serious injury accidents and the third was a slight personal injury accident.

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

“It is very disappointing that despite an accident rate of one a month, including one death, the Council refuses to introduce a 20mph speed limit on Elgin Avenue. At the very least, the Council should introduce a pilot scheme to see if we can reduce accidents on this busy residential road.”

Petition information – http://petitions.westminster.gov.uk/ElginAvenue/

Charlie hebdo graffiti
Maida Vale Library

We have asked the Council to remove graffiti about the Charlie Hebdo attack which appeared on the corner of Shirland Road and Sutherland Avenue and outside Maida Vale Library.

Dibdin House Update

Karen Buck MP has written to Dibdin House residents with an update on the latest news:

Dear Resident

Earlier this month I met again with staff from Grainger and Polly and members of the Residents Association to discuss issues at Dibdin House.

Dibdin Hall

I am delighted that Grainger have finally agreed to grant residents access to Dibdin Hall.

It has been a long and difficult year of negotiation but Grainger have conceded that it is not fair to ban residents from using their community hall altogether. The Residents Association will be able to have weekday access to the hall in the New Year.

I hope that we will soon see regular social events in the hall again, like coffee mornings and bingo clubs, as well as activities for children during the holidays.

I have put it to Grainger that weekday access is only part of the solution, as most Dibdin House residents also work. They have agreed to consider also allowing some evening and weekend access and promised to give us their answer on this in January.

Rising Rents

Rising rents and service charges were once again raised as a major issue of concern. I have asked Grainger to work with my office and Citizens Advice to put on an advice event in the hall to get tenants the correct advice and point them towards the help that is available.

I would urge any protected or assured tenant who is hit with an unaffordable rent increase to seek advice from the council’s Tenancy Relations Team. They can be contacted on 020 7641 1000 at hoscustomerservices@wcchos.org.uk or in person at 101 Orchardson Street, NW8 8EA.

Several residents have successfully challenged Grainger’s proposed rent increases by applying to the Tribunal. Tenancy Relations can provide you with advice and assistance to do this.

Advice for leaseholders

I am also holding another advice event for leaseholders with the Leasehold Advisory Service. This will be on:

 

Saturday 31 January 2015 at 12.30pm
At
The Maida Centre, 221 Lanark Road, W9 1NX

 

Any Dibdin House homeowner with concerns or queries about their lease would be very welcome to attend. In order to make the most of the specialists we have available, I would ask that you pre-book at place by emailing my office on buckk@parliament.uk

As ever, please do feel free to contact me directly about these issues or any other matter of concern.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Yours sincerely

Karen Buck MP

Maida Vale Ward Action Report – December 2014

From Councillor Rita Begum and the Labour Action Team

Rita 14MV Feb14

Action on rubbish dumping

Dumping rubbish is a major issue in Maida Vale at present. I regularly report any dumping in various locations in Maida Vale to Gusatavo Leite our Local Westminster Warden when this occurs. You can contact Gustavo at gleite@westminster.gov.uk

Help for leaseholders

Rita at MV centre

Karen Buck, our MP for Westminster North held a leaseholder advice session on The Maida Centre, Lanark Road on Saturday 18th October 2014 which was well attended by local residents from all across the neighbourhood, where they had opportunity to get answers to many questions.

Karen Buck MP has asked the Leasehold Advisory Service to repeat it in January. If you are a lessee interested in some free advice, please contact Karen to book a place, buckk@parliament.uk. The session will be held on 31st January 2015 at 12.30pm in the Maida Centre, 221 Lanark Road, W91NX.

Traffic speeds – time for 20mph limit?

Speeding traffic is still a big issue in Randolph Avenue, Shirland Road and Elgin Avenue, and putting a 20mph speed limit might improve the situation.

What do you think?

Kilburn Park Road

Antisocial behaviour is an issue in parts of Kilburn Park Road, according to as some residents living there. Residents have raised the following – bicycle riders riding on pavement too fast while elderly residents are walking; young people hanging out in groups making residents feel intimidated; and drug dealing. I have informed our local warden of the situation and Westminster safer neighbourhood team continues to monitor this on a regular basis.

Regeneration plans

Regeneration is going ahead on Lanark Road with The Maida Centre and North Paddington Youth club getting completely regenerated. Major work will be done in 2015 to the Scottish Towers, which includes Edinburgh, Falkirk and Glasgow Houses. I have been consulting with residents’ association to ensure everyone’s views are heard.

Bike docking stations

A big thanks to everyone who signed my petition for an additional docking station in Maida Vale for Barclays bikes. We collected 131 signatures and I will be putting it forward to the GLA.

Happy Christmas!

Christmas shopping

I was delighted to join Maida Vale residents who travelled to Canterbury for Christmas shopping on Saturday 29th November 2014.

Wishing you all greetings for the festive season

Rita’s Advice Sessions

My regular advice surgeries are held at the following venues:

• The Maida Centre every 3rd Wednesday of the Month from 7pm to 8pm

• Paddington Recreation Ground Café on every 3rd Saturday of each month, 10am – 12 noon.

• Occasional ones will be held at the Glasgow House Estate Office, please check with the office for more details.

Maida Vale Ward Action Report – November 2014

From Councillor Rita Begum and the Labour Action Team

Rita 14MV Feb14

Maida Vale Labour Councillor Rita Begum explains how she has been helping individual residents with everyday problems:

• Rita wrote to Genesis Housing on behalf of a Kilburn Park Road resident about Genesis putting up the service charge by £10 per week without giving any explanation and is currently in the process of receiving an explanation.

• On behalf of an Elgin Avenue resident, Rita dealt with damp issue in the property and housing eligibility application for homelessness. He was accepted and is waiting for a placement. Rita also referred him to advice charity Z2K to help with housing benefit cap.

• On behalf of a resident of Pebbles House whose son is living in temporary accommodation in Camden, Rita wrote to Camden Council to ask that they consider his situation and help him move closer to his mother. The son is an unpaid carer for his mother and Rita also referred him to Carers Network Westminster.

• A resident of Lanark Road contacted Rita about her taxi card application which was previously dismissed but following Rita’s help she has now been since given another.

• Rita helped another Lanark Road resident with her Home Ownership application and wrote a supporting letter to City West Homes.

• Rita helped a resident of Shirland Road who is a live-in carer and wanted to know his rights when the person he is caring for dies. Rita advised him that he needs to get in touch with his Housing Association landlord and put himself on the social services carers list. Rita also referred him to Carers Network Westminster.

• Rita contacted the Maida Vale warden about rubbish left outside 103 Kilburn Park Road and causing problem for other neighbours.The warden has written to residents telling them not to leave rubbish outside and advising them to leave it on the day of collection only.

• Rita helped a resident of Helmsdale House who had a blocked sink which had been outstanding for nearly a month. The repairs have now been done.

• On behalf of residents of Invergarry House, Rita raised issues following the theft of their car with the community protection team who are now helping the residents and will be keeping an eye on Carlton Vale vehicles.

• Rita helped residents of Keith House who raised questions about double glazing to their property. Rita was able to advise them that this is in the 2016 major work programme and residents will be consulted on this.

• Rita helped a resident of Sutherland Avenue by referring her to the Westminster work programme which helped her get back into full time paid employment.

• A Carlton Vale resident complained about noise issues coming from St George’s secondary school. Rita called St George’s and spoke to the Head’s PA who resolved the noise issue.

• A resident of Glasgow House wanted some advice on setting up his own business and Rita referred him to the Westminster Enterprise Centre, St Peter’s House, 59 Elgin Avenue, London W9 2DB

Elgin Avenue

We have reported the following issues to the Council:

• The traffic light at the junction of Elgin Avenue & Harrow Road – the time allowed on Green (traveling East/West) is sometimes as little as 5 seconds! Bearing in mind the high volume of buses crossing the Harrow Road, and the surprisingly light volume of the Harrow Road traffic, there is a need for these times to be adjusted.
• The 3 recycling bins at the junction of Elgin Avenue/Morsehead Road constantly attract the dumping of general rubbish cluttering up this corner. Perhaps an additional Eurobin is needed there for this?
• The bank of recycling bins at the Maida Vale end of Elgin Avenue – the clothing bin is constantly overflowing. It needs a second bin!

We contacted the local area warden concerning the dumping of rubbish at the junction of Elgin Avenue/Morsehead Road. He he agrees the site has become a very unpleasant ‘hot spot’ for dumping of waste from a minority of residents of Maida Vale that do not follow the council collection times and procedures for disposal of waste. He has taken the following measures in agreement with his management:

• Veolia (the Council’s waste contractor) is monitoring the location at early hours
• He has requested the night/evening team to monitor it as well;
• Stronger enforcement has been approved, meaning Fixed Penalty Notices will be issued for alleged offenders without the need of more educational measures from now on;
• He has sent 4 warning notices and 8 Fixed Penalty Notices to alleged offenders based on evidence found at the site in October and November

Kilburn Park Road

We are making enquiries about this issue:

“I don’t know if it’s you I have complained to before about the rubbish being left at the lamp post outside 105 Kilburn Park Road. It stopped for quite a while. Well it beginning to start again as there were two bags out there yesterday plus a kitchen chair. We are plagued with rats in this street and we don’t need to encourage them to stay.”

“Also over a year ago we had a very nice Road sweeper and whilst he cleaned Kilburn Park Road we had a very clean road. Anyway since this gentleman has gone Kilburn Park Road is hardly cleaned at all, the gutters are dirty and the pavements as well. I have seen a sweeper up and down here and they just walk from one end of the road pushing his trolley and cleans nothing at all, Please can you get this sorted out.”

Noise from Maida Vale Tube Station
MV station

Several Maida Vale residents have contacted Karen Buck MP about increasingly loud noise and vibrations from the tube station.

While some noise is only to be expected, people told her that this was worse than they had ever known it.

Karen raised this issue with TfL and they have investigated.

They have identified the source of the problem as some new rail fastenings and replacements are now being specially manufactured.

These should be ready to be installed in the Spring.

‘Maiden of Maida Vale’ mural

Maiden of Maida Vale

We are supporting the campaign to save the ‘Maiden of Maida Vale’ mural from its removal by Westminster City Council’s planners. According to the campaign website:

“‘Splash 2’ by renowned urban artist FinDAC is a piece of art which was commissioned by the leaseholders of 128 Elgin Avenue in Maida Vale.

The Council are referring to this stunning artwork as ‘advertising’ and having a ‘negative visual impact upon the building and the Maida Vale Conservation Area’.

In our experience, this is far from the case. Our intention was to enhance the local area we consider as ‘Shirland Village’, and to bring a smile to the faces of the local community.

We have had an incredible amount of positive feedback from people of all ages about our beautiful ‘Maidens of Maida Vale’, and how they feel the mural really enhances the area.

Please help us fight to keep the mural by signing this petition!!”

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/save-the-maiden-of-maida-vale

Congratulations to the Truscott Arms – best roast dinner in Britain

The Truscott Arms in Maida Vale has beaten more than 300 pubs and restaurants to be crowned makers of the best roast dinner in Britain. The award was given as part of Unilever Food Solutions’ annual British Roast Dinner Week. The Truscott’s chef, Aiden McGee, has previously worked at the Michelin-starred Launceston Place restaurant in South Kensington.

Maida Vale Ward Action Report – October 2014

From Councillor Rita Begum and the Labour Action Team

RitaMV Feb14

Elgin Avenue Rubbish Collection

We have asked the Council to investigate the unsatisfactory situation at these locations;

Elgin Avenue, between Ashworth Road and Biddulph Road

MV rubbish

“Rubbish from this area is collected on Mondays. However, by Tuesday, there is dumping of rubbish along the tree belt. It builds up considerably over the course of the week and remains there all week.”

Rubbish and Recycling Collection Point at Elgin Avenue and Biddulph Road

mv rubbish 2

“This area is laden with rubbish and litter. When the tips overflow people leave rubbish and recycling alongside the tip. As a result we get a build-up of festering garbage accompanied by lots of scavenging pigeons.”

Results of Karen Buck MP’s Thames Water Survey

Around 140 people responded to Karen Buck’s survey about the Thames Water works taking place in Maida Hill and Little Venice and the full results are available on her website here

http://karenbuck.dreamhosters.com/index.php/karenb/articles/thames_water_report/

Overall feedback has not been positive and you have told Karen about poor communication from Thames Water, frustration with delays and many problems including noise and environmental issues, worse traffic and increased difficulty getting around the area.

Based on residents’ responses, Karen has written to Thames Water to ask them to take action to improve the situation for local people. She has requested an assurance that works can be completed in line with the current deadline, better and more frequent communication, help for those living right next to the work sites and, given that the survey found that residents in Maida Hill had been most disrupted by the project, major improvements to Tamplin Mews Gardens as a form of recompense.

Beds and sofas are dumped on Maida Vale streets as charges lead to a fly-tipping ‘epidemic’

MV flytipping

The ‘West End Extra’ reports

“AN OUTBREAK of illegal fly-tipping has hit Maida Vale this summer after City Hall introduced charges to remove large household objects such as beds and sofas.

Bags of rubbish, old fridges and piles of unwanted clothes have become a regular sight on the streets of W9. The problem has even been described as a “fly-tipping epidemic”.

Westminster North MP Karen Buck said the situation seemed to have worsened this summer, adding: “I can’t help suspecting this is linked to the increase in charges for removing bulky items.”

Street cleaners regularly remove the pile-up and warning signs have gone up on trees and lamp-posts, but some believe stronger action should be taken by Westminster Council.

Maida Vale resident Aoutmen Rais said: “The council sent out a newsletter warning people not to fly-tip, but it’s not enough. You still see whole beds and fridges by the recycling bins near our house.”

Staff at the Carlton Tavern in Carlton Vale said: “Clothes and furniture have been being dumped by the recycling bins outside the pub every weekend for seven years. It’s shocking.”

The illegal dumping of waste can lead to an unlimited fine and even a prison sentence for offenders. The council has started charging over £20 for the removal of furniture and large household waste and Labour councillor Rita Begum believes this has contributed to the problem.

But Conservative Tom Crockett said charges were “necessary”, arguing that in recent years the council has not been able to afford to give its constituents “the luxury of free or heavily subsidised waste removal”.

He insisted that the issue is not a long-term one, arguing that “at this time of year, many houses are having clear-outs and, understandably, people are upset about the rubbish left on streets as a result.”

Cllr Ed Argar, cabinet member for city management, said: “The city council always moves swiftly to clear waste that has been dumped illegally and identify those responsible. While the majority of residents and businesses in Westminster dispose of waste in the right way, an anti-social minority choose not to play by the rules.

“There is no evidence that the introduction of the bulky waste charge five years ago – which remains one of the lowest in the capital – has led to an increase in the amount of rubbish dumped illegally, but we take the concerns raised by local residents and businesses very seriously and will not hesitate to take action against those found to be responsible.”

Falling Trees Update

Following the recent incidents of falling trees in Castellain Road and Shirland Road, we asked the Council’s Arboricultural Officer to let us know the situation. This is what he says;

“The two incidents, one on Shirland Road and the other on Castellain Road are coincidental. The Castellain Road tree failed owing to a fungal infection of its root system and the Shirland Road tree failed owing to a structural weakness where a side branch joined the main trunk. The trees were surveyed three years ago and are due to be surveyed over the next four weeks as part of the council’s cyclical inspection regime. The inspection is undertaken by a qualified and very experienced arboriculturist. I will also inspect any tree that the surveyor recommends for removal. The ward councillors will be informed by myself of any tree that does need to be removed on safety grounds.”

Maida Vale Ward Action Report – August 2014

From Councillor Rita Begum and the Labour Action Team

RitaMV Feb14

Castellain Road

We have made enquiries about this issue;

“I am a resident of Castellain Road and have concerns about the well-being of trees in the area. The plane trees on our local streets are important both for aesthetics and for air quality improvement. I have noticed that a number of plane trees in the area have been felled over recent months. Is this because they are unsafe/unhealthy? We do not want to lose trees, unless it is unavoidable. What is the pollarding schedule? In the past, trees were pollarded every year, but I believe this was reduced to every two years. Is this still the case? I think it is important that trees be pollarded at least every two years. A tree in Castellain Road fell on Thursday 31 July. Thankfully nobody was hurt. I can only assume that, despite external appearances, the tree was “ill”. How are trees monitored (for health)? Is this done by the tree surgeons when they pollard?”

The Council says;

• The only reasons we would remove trees in Castellain Road is if they were found to be in poor health/condition and we could not retain the tree in a safe condition or if the tree was implemented in an insurance case and found to be causing damage to a property which could not be mitigated against by remedial works. In short a tree would not be removed unless it was the last option and we always look to re-plant where possible.
• The Plane trees are pollarded every 2 years. This work is done over the winter months.
• The tree that came down in Castellain Road last week was found to be infected with a decay fungus at the base of the main stem. A full survey of these trees is carried out every 3 years with remedial pruning work recommended where necessary. This work would be further to the pollarding work done every 2 years. This survey is due take place this year.

Shirland Road

A tree also fell down in Shirland Road. We have asked for further details and information on the safety of the rest of the trees in the street.

Maida Vale Ward Action Report – July 2014

From Councillor Rita Begum and the Labour Action Team

RitaMV Feb14

Lanark Road

We have made enquiries about this;

“You have reported on the (lack of) hanging baskets in Randolph Avenue and I’ve noticed that they’re missing from Lanark Road, too. They may not seem important, but they are very cheering and make the place look well cared for and I think residents respond to this.”

Following our enquiries we received this message;

“I noticed this morning that the hanging baskets in my section of Lanark Road (Elgin Ave to Carlton Vale) had been hung! I was intending to send a follow up email this evening, but you beat me to it. “

Maida Vale bike-hire petition

Barclays_Bike_Hire_Docking_Station
Maida Vale Councillor Rita Begum has started an on-line petition calling for additional bike-hire docking stations in the Maida Vale area.

Her petitions reads;

“We the undersigned call on Westminster Council to urge the Mayor of London & TFL to locate additional docking stations for the bike hire scheme in the Maida Vale area beyond Warwick Avenue, so that residents of Maida Vale can use the bikes from their neighbourhood”

You can sign the petition here http://petitions.westminster.gov.uk/Maidavalebike/

Councillor Rita Begum’s Advice Surgeries for Maida Vale Ward residents

Councillor Rita Begum holds advice sessions as follows;

PADDINGTON RECREATION GROUND CAFÉ – 10am till 12 noon – 3rd Saturday of each month
MAIDA CENTRE – 3rd Wednesday of each month – 7pm till 8pm
GLASGOW HOUSE – 11am to 12 noon – from Thursdays 25th November to 22nd January 2015

You can contact Councillor Begum at rbegum2@westminster.gov.uk 020 7641 2230

Rita was at the Maida Hill Market with local residents celebrating the Irish Festival

Rita at MH Market

Maida Vale Ward Action Report – June 2014

From Councillor Rita Begum and the Labour Action Team

RitaMV Feb14

Randolph Avenue

We have asked the Council to let us know the situation with the hanging baskets in this part of Randolph Avenue;

“We are disappointed to see that the portion of Randolph Avenue between Elgin and Sutherland has not been provided with hanging baskets this year. This may seem trivial, but such small details greatly improve the overall ambience of the area. Given that hanging baskets are in evidence in other streets, it is hard to explain their absence in this part of Randolph Avenue. We appreciated their presence last year and hope they will make a comeback soon.”

Sutherland Avenue

Following the recent petition calling on the Council to take action to improve pedestrian safety on Sutherland Avenue outside St Joseph’s School, residents have made the following points about the traffic situation in the area;

• The roundabout. For both pedestrians and cars, you can’t actually see through the roundabout. There are shrubs/ornamental garden in the middle so you can’t tell if a car has entered the roundabout and at what speed.
• Cars coming from Hall Road are in two lanes. But Sutherland Avenue is one lane, so you inevitably get the two-lane traffic “racing” into the one lane when there is a green light for traffic entering Sutherland Avenue from Hall Road. This increases the speed.
• Pretty shocking car drivers. Lots of reports of cars not stopping at the pedestrian crossing; drivers on mobile phones; cars overtaking other cars at the pedestrian crossing.
• The council recently laid down some very sticky tarmac on the roundabout. In a perverse way means that car drivers actually take on the corner at an increased speed than they previously could.
• Cars coming from Hall Road to the roundabout/Warrington Crescent. There is no pedestrian crossing on Warrington Crescent. Cars typically do not indicate whether they are turning down Warrington Crescent and makes it very difficult to know when it’s safe to cross Warrington Crescent.
• The nature of the junction actually makes it more dangerous. It can go from being incredibly busy to no cars at all. It’s almost more dangerous when it’s not busy as that is when cars are able to build up greater speed than what is safe for everyone.

Karen Buck writes to Tollgate Gardens residents

Dear Resident

Life on Tollgate Gardens

The Council are planning a major redevelopment of the Tollgate Gardens Estate and the area will see drastic changes in the coming years. So far four developers have submitted tenders to lead the project and one is expected to be chosen next month.

I want to make sure that existing residents are not forgotten about and that upkeep of the Estate is not allowed to slide before work begins.

I have received many complaints from Tollgate House residents about broken lifts in the building, which could only carry the weight of one person. This has caused inconvenience to all and severe problems for elderly and disabled residents as well as families with young children.

I understand contractors attended to fix the lifts at the end of May and I have not received any further complaints. However, I cannot help but feel the problem would have been dealt with quicker on an Estate not due for redevelopment.

I am also aware that many properties in Godwin and Wingfield Houses are boarded up, making the Estate look unfriendly and abandoned. The council are using most of these buildings, which are due to be pulled down in mid 2015, as temporary accommodation for homeless families. I have asked why they cannot use all the flats for this purpose, easing the housing shortage and keeping the Estate looking pleasant for residents, but have not received a satisfactory answer.

I would be very interested to hear your views about life in Tollgate House in the build up to the Estate’s redevelopment. I would be happy to raise any issues of concern with the council or CityWest Homes.

Please do get in touch about this or any other issue by contacting me at:

● FREEPOST, 4G Shirland Mews, London, W9 3DY
● 020 8968 7999
● buckk@parliament.uk

Yours sincerely

Karen Buck MP

Rita gives her support to the new Maida Hill Market

Maida Vale Councillor Rita Begum visited the new Maida Hill Market on Saturday to lend her support to the community initiative.

MHMMHM4

Councillor Rita Begum, Maida Vale’s new Labour Councillor

Councillor Rita Begum was elected a Councillor for Maida Vale Ward on 22nd May

Rita

Thank you for your support and the trust you have placed in me. I will do all I can to represent the residents of Maida Vale and to take up your concerns with the Council and other agencies and organisations.

I have lived in the area all my life. I went to secondary school at St Augustine’s. For many years I have been actively involved in working with the local community. I enjoy the work I currently do as a community information officer based in the Beethoven Centre in Queen’s Park where I meet people from various backgrounds. I was a member of the Queen’s Park Forum, Sure Start, Paddington Farm Trust and was chair of Henna ladies group. I have run many projects with local charity groups such as Carers Network, British Arab resource centre, Westbourne Forum, London Tigers, WECH Community centre, Marylebone Bangladesh Society and Voluntary Action Westminster.

You can contact me at rbegum2@westminster.gov.uk

Karen Buck MP’s letter to Dibdin House residents

Dear Resident

I recently met again with senior representatives from Grainger PLC, the property company now running Dibdin House. I am writing to you now to keep you updated on the issues we discussed.

Dibdin Hall

For the past year Grainger have maintained that the hall has been closed due to health and safety concerns. This has always struck residents as odd, as the hall has been used for many years without incident and Grainger staff still use it on a daily basis.

Grainger have now conceded that health and safety is not the main reason the hall remains closed. As you may be aware, Grainger are considering plans to convert the hall into flats for private sale. To do this, they would need to get the council to approve a planning application.

However, council planning policy seeks to protect community floorspace. Planning officers at the council have told me:

“In all cases the Council will need to be satisfied that the overall level of social and community provision is improved and there is no demand for an alternative social and community use for the floorspace. All I can assume that if they (Grainger) let the residents use the space even for a temporary period they will have great difficulty in demonstrating to us that there is no demand for this hall.”

So it appears that Grainger are keeping the hall closed so that, if and when they do submit a planning application to turn it into private flats, it will appear to the council that there is no demand from residents to use the hall.
Grainger admitted as much to me in a letter saying:

“You are correct that we are making plans for the future of the hall and as such we are currently undertaking a feasibility study in relation to converting the hall into residential units. Once we have completed this feasibility study, we would then need to submit our application to the planning department for a final decision to be made. This whole process may take 6-12 months and whilst this process is being undertaken we cannot allow the use of the hall, albeit on a temporary basis, as this may jeopardise any planning decision.

The health and safety report that was commissioned in relation to the hall is an internal document and I can confirm that the works identified were relatively minor. However, despite the relatively minor nature of the works we cannot allow use of the hall for the reason mentioned above.”

I believe it would be a great shame if Dibdin Hall were to close permanently, as it has for many years served as the heart of this community. It is deeply regrettable that Grainger have, in my view, chosen to misuse their power at Dibdin House by keeping the hall closed in order to artificially present to the council a belief that tenants have no desire to use it.

Nevertheless, I do not think this is any reason for residents not to request use of the hall, should they wish to do so. If written or email copies of such requests were kept, these could prove very useful when submitting objections to any planning application.

Anti-Social Behaviour

I am sorry to say that I have been receiving credible reports that ASB is once more an increasing concern at Dibdin House. I am speaking to the Police about what measures can be put in place before the summer months to nip the problem in the bud.

It is most unhelpful that once more the gates are out of action, allowing anyone to access the estate. Grainger have explained that water has been allowed to get into the gate panel, breaking them completely. As the panel is no longer manufactured, Grainger say they will need to replace the entire system, with resulting delays and additional costs to leaseholders.

Transfers

I remain in dialogue with Grainger about transfers. While they are now approving medical transfers in some cases, they continue to have no way of dealing with overcrowding.

Grainger’s Director of Corporate Affairs assures me that this issue remains under review across their entire range of former Church Commission estates and I am liaising with the Housing Department at the council to see how they could help facilitate transfers for growing families.

Please do let both Grainger and my office know if this issue affects you, as it is very important to know the scale of the problem.

Maintenance

The External Condition Survey, which Grainger have organised to deal with problems across Dibdin House such as damp and mould and problems with the windows, should report back in mid-May. A plan for major works should be drawn up a few months after this. The internal property condition surveys have been delayed due to staffing issues, so any tenant with a repair query should call Kier or contact Darin.

I hope this letter serves as a useful update on issues that affect Dibdin House. I will continue to push Grainger for progress on all of these issues and will be in touch with another update later in the year.

As ever, please do get in touch if you want to discuss how these issues affect you personally, or if there is anything else you want to raise with me as your MP.

All the best

Yours faithfully

Karen Buck MP

Maida Vale Campaign Update – May 2014

From your three Labour Candidates – Eram Ayub, Rita Begum and Romena Toki
eramRitaRomena

Dibdin House

Karen Buck MP recently met again with Grainger, the property company now running these former Church Commission flats in Maida Vale. She says;

“We discussed the need for a new community space, now Grainger have closed the tenants’ hall, the policy on controlling rent rises and ongoing work to get a handle on maintenance.

I am also speaking to the council about what can be done to help facilitate transfers for overcrowded families and people with a medical need to move and I am speaking to the Police about fresh reports of anti-social behaviour.”

Pedestrian Safety

Following concerns Karen Buck MP and we have raised about pedestrian safety on Elgin Avenue, the council has agreed to install speed activated warning signs along the road, to alert drivers who exceed the speed limit. TfL are also modernising the traffic signals at the junction of Elgin Avenue and Shirland Road and installing countdown timers on the signals at Maida Hill Market to help pedestrians make informed decisions about when it is safe to cross. Following complaints we have passed on from local residents, the Police will also be carrying out a short period of high profile enforcement around Warwick Avenue station, to ensure motorists take due care around the pedestrian crossings.

Window upgrades in W9

We have been contacted by several Maida Vale residents living in Victorian properties who are concerned about the restrictions the council’s planners place on window upgrades. Residents say the traditional single glazing they must keep is the cause of cold and damp problems and higher heating bills.

Local landlords have also fallen foul of the planning rules, with Stadium Housing Association being ordered to remove new double glazing from 42 properties in Maida Vale.

Biddulph/Grantully Roads

Following prepresentations from residents which we have fully supported, the Council has agreed to erect additional signage at the junction of Biddulph Road and Grantully Road to highlight the one-way traffic designation of Grantully Road. NO ENTRY road markings at the junction of Elgin Avenue and the northern arm of Ashworth Road will also be included.

Maida Vale Action Report – May 2014

From your three Labour Candidates – Eram Ayub, Rita Begum and Romena Toki
eramRitaRomena

Maida Vale election leaflet

You can read about us and our pledges for Maida Vale here Maida Vale leaflet

Shirland Road – Let’s keep Maida Vale clean

We have called for rubbish dumped by trees along Shirland Road to be removed by the Council.

Shirland 1Shirland 2

With so much dumping happening at the weekend we say that the Council should introduce a weekend rubbish removal service to patrol the area. What do you think?

Castellain Road – Let’s keep Maida Vale clean

We are making enquiries with the Council after receiving this enquiry;

“I wonder if it would be possible to clean the pavements in Castellain Road – the section along Castellain Mansions? It is becoming very unpleasant”

Widley Road rubbish dumping – Let’s keep Maida Vale clean

A resident in Widley Road has been in touch about the constant rubbish dumping in her street;

“This was the rubbish piled at the end of my road (Widley Road) with the junction of Elgin Avenue this morning. I am at my wits end with the eyesore that I see every single day, at least 3 times a day.

The current bins are ineffective. 1 rubbish bin for 500 households is woefully inadequate. People walk across from Delaware, down from Elgin and from the whole of Widley. This is ridiculous.

I propose that more bins are situated on surrounding streets. Both sides at the Elgin End of Delaware, at the junction of Shirland and Elgin and more bins on Widley. They should be the foot operated bins too, as I see people approach and they don’t want to touch the bin, so they just dump their bags. If we had more bins, there may be scope to save money on the amount of refuse truck journeys.

I know the council has budget issues, but we have health and safety issues. Rats, pigeons and trip hazards – not to mention the smell.

Please can you do something about it? I am happy for you to fix a camera on my window sill, if you need to see the mess in action.”

We have reported this for the Council’s urgent attention

Widley Road

Lanark Road rubbish – Let’s Keep Maida Vale’s streets clean

The Labour Action Team has reported yet another example of the Council’s poor record of keeping Maida Vale’s streets clean – this time in Lanark Road

Lanark Rd rubbish

Sutherland Avenue/Randolph Avenue road safety petition

There are over 135 signatures on the online petition on the Council website – please add your name

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

Campaign to stop the closure of the Maida Vale Nat West bank

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

Murad Qureshi said;

Murad Qureshi

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

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

Maida Vale Action Report – April 2014

From your three Labour Candidates – Eram Ayub, Rita Begum and Romena Toki
eramRitaRomena

Andover Place

We have asked the Council to remove builders’ waste dumped in Andover Place

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Ashworth Road and Grantully Road – Traffic

We are taking this issue up with the Council;

“I want to raise with you a concern I have about traffic traveling the wrong way down Ashworth Road( north-west bound) and Grantully Road (west bound). I have witnessed several times in the past few weeks cars either turn into Ashworth Road from Elgin Avenue towards the Rec/Grantully Road against the flow of one way traffic, or pull away from a parking space along Grantully Road and travel the wrong way towards Biddulph and Morshead Roads. Whilst there are one way signs at the junction of Ashworth and Elgin and at the junction of Biddulph and Grantully, this does not seem to be sufficient to deter drivers from either deliberately or mistakenly driving the wrong way. With the number of cars that travel along Grantully and the number of pedestrians using the Grantully gate for the Rec it can only be a matter of time before an accident happens. I would very grateful if you could raise this issue and see what additional measures can be taken to ensure drivers use the one way system correctly on Grantully and Ashworth Roads.”

Braemar House, Maida Vale

We have contacted Thames Water after residents of Braemar House told us about poor water pressure.

Clifton Road

We have asked the Council to repair the short section of Clifton Road between Lanark Road and Randolph Avenue which is in a bad state of repair, especially near the bus stop outside Tesco’s. The section from Lanark Rod to Maida Vale (buses only from west to east) was recently repaired.

Postbox on Edgware Road causes a stir as it sinks into the ground

According to the ‘West End Extra’;

Post box photo 3

“The postbox, in Edgware Road, has been dubbed the “leaning pillar box of Maida Vale”, but it remains to be seen whether it will attract the same kind of attention from tourists as its famous Italian counterpart, or even the nearby Abbey Road crossing, made famous by the Beatles.

The West End Extra understands that the pillarbox was hit by an ambulance several weeks ago, but Royal Mail said their team in Maida Vale “aren’t aware of any postbox” that “matches the description”.”

Petition calls for action to improve road safety at Sutherland/Randolph Avenues junction

Sutherland

We have started an on line petition calling on Westminster Council to improve road safety at the junction of Sutherland Avenue and Randolph Avenue outside St Joseph’s School

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

The petition reads:

“We the undersigned petition Westminster City Council to take action to improve road safety at the junction of Sutherland Avenue and Randolph Avenue outside St Joseph’s School”

Residents say;

“Cars are not stopping on the pedestrian crossing (this happens all the time). Cars are driving too fast and not stopping also when you cross from the Warrington pub to St Joseph’s School. You definitely take your life in your own hands when you cross in that area.”

Randolph Avenue Action Update

The Maida Vale Action Team was out in Randolph Avenue today

MV April 14

We have asked the Council to clear the dumped rubbish outside 233 Randolph Avenue and repair the loose sign post outside 132 Randolph Avenue.

Randolph Ave April 14

We are also redoubling our efforts to get the Council to improve road safety at the Sutherland Avenue/Randolph Avenue junction where there there have been a number of recent accidents.

Sutherland Avenue/Randolph Avenue road safety plea

Sutherland

We have called for measures to improve road safety in the Maida Vale and Little Venice area after receiving the following distressing message from a local resident;

“I just wanted to let you know that we have had 2 serious accidents on the corner of Randolph Avenue and Sutherland Avenue (crossing from the Warrington pub to St Josephs School). On 2 April in the morning there was an accident involving 2 cars (police and ambulance were there). And today 840am, 3rd April there was a 10 year boy cyclist was involved in an accident (ambulance and police were there again). Very distressing for all the neighbours. Cars are not stopping on both the pedestrian crossing (this happens all the time). Cars are driving too fast and not stopping also when you cross from the Warrington pub to St Joseph’s School. You definitely take your life in your own hands when you cross in that area. I know, I’ve been living in the neighbourhood for 8 years.”

Last month, we started an on-line petition calling for a 20mph speed limit in Elgin Avenue which has so far attracted over 200 signatures http://petitions.westminster.gov.uk/ElginAvenue/

Campaign Update

The Maida Vale Labour Action Team was out and about at the weekend, talking to residents and taking up local issues.

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Security Update

Karen Buck MP has written the following letter to residents in Maida Vale and Little Venice;

“Dear Resident,

I am concerned by a number of reports in the local area of a recent increase in both commercial and residential burglary, including a number of thefts of buggies and other items from the communal areas within blocks of flats.

The local police teams have been increasing patrols but I am very aware of the fact that this is probably not enough to increase their visibility sufficiently to provide reassurance – and this may have been true even before the reduction in size of our ward-based Safer Neighbourhood Teams.

I have, therefore, asked Westminster police to consider bringing in the mobile police station, to demonstrate an increased local police presence. I very much hope that this will be agreed soon.

Police are, additionally, advising people not to leave items, especially valuable items, in communal areas.

Here are some of the key points from my recent correspondence with police about these problems:

– The police are conducting targeted crime prevention patrols to the most burgled streets across the North Wards and this includes actively looking for open and vulnerable premises and highlighting them to the respective owners and landlords. For persistent premises we also have refer them to environmental health to take enforcement action around their communal security

– The police recently started ‘Super Cocooning’ Non Residential Burglaries. ‘Super Cocooning’ is an enhanced form of crime prevention combined with witness enquiries carried out after a premises has been the victim of a burglary. Door to door enquiries are carried out not only to establish if witnesses can be traced but also to alert other residents/business owners that a burglary has taken place.

-Ttargeted patrols have been carried out around affected Wards over the last two weeks in addition to increased crime prevention visits including target hardening visits in conjunction with the local crime reduction officers.

For your information: The Maida Vale Safer Neighbourhood Police Team Number is : 07920 233 950

Always dial 999 in an emergency, but use the 101 number to report crimes and other concerns that do not require an emergency response.

I hope that this is helpful.

Yours sincerely

Karen Buck MP”

Maida Vale Action Report – March 2014

From your three Labour Candidates – Eram Ayub, Rita Begum and Romena Toki
eramRitaRomena

Crime Update

Following a number of recent burglaries from shops in Lauderdale Parade and from hallways in Castellain and Lauderdale Roads, we have joined with Karen Buck MP to call for a mobile police station to be located in the area to deter criminals and to reassure residents.

Maida Vale

We have reported broken traffic lights at the junction of Sutherland Avenue and Maida Vale facing Hall Road.

We have also reported the potholes in the northbound bus lane on Maida Vale between Hall Road and Kilburn.

Little Venice and Maida Vale security concerns

Warwick AvenuewstationMV station

There have been a number of mobile phone thefts and retail premises burglaries recently and we have suggested the following;

• The installation of signs at and near Warwick Avenue and Maida Vale tube stations suggesting that people don’t pull their phones out as they leave the stations
• The introduction of a system whereby local businesses are informed when there have been local crimes. Lauderdale Parade has experienced three shop break-ins in the quite recent past, but other shops weren’t warned of this.

Working together, in partnership with the police, we can reduce crime locally.

A great morning in Maida Vale

The Maida Vale Action Team were meeting residents on Sunday 16th February and taking up local issues

MV Feb14

Petition calls for 20mph speed limit on Elgin Avenue

An on-line petition to introduce a 20mph speed limit on Elgin Avenue in Maida Vale has been started by Westminster’s Labour Councillors.

The petition can be found at

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

Rita Begum, Maida Vale Action Team member said;

“Residents say that Elgin Avenue is becoming more dangerous as drivers speed up and down to the detriment of pedestrians and cyclists. Introducing a 20 mph speed limit in residential areas in Westminster will cut deaths and serious injuries on our roads. It will cut accidents by 40%, save 8 lives and 600 injuries every year, as well as saving £50 million a year in hospital, police, ambulance and other costs.”

Listening to Maida Vale residents and taking up your local concerns

MV big canvass

Labour’s Maida Vale Action Team was out this weekend and in strength to listen to local residents and take up your concerns.

If you have a local issue that you would like us to take up contact Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg on pdimoldenberg@hotmail.co.uk

Maida Vale Action Report – February 2014

From your three Labour Candidates – Eram Ayub, Rita Begum and Romena Toki
eramRitaRomena

We have made enquiries with the Council after residents raised the following issues;

• There is a long wait for the pedestrian lights to turn green at the junction of Maida Vale and Hall Road. We have tried them out and can confirm that the phasing is certainly not pedestrian-friendly.

• Cars often go eastwards along Clifton Road, which is for buses only. This can cause problems for pedestrians at the junction with Maida Vale. Cars approaching Maida Vale from the Warwick Avenue direction should turn left when they reach Clifton Road. We have asked if better signing here would help.

Doctors’ Surgeries

Seven day GP opening service has been extended to the following surgeries;

North West London Medical Centre
56 Maida Vale, London, W9 1PP
Tel: 020 7624 4433
Open 8am to 4pm

Third Floor Lanark Medical Centre
3rd Floor, 165 Lanark Rd
London, W9 1NZ
Tel: 020 7624 8616
Open 10am to 6pm

You are able to walk in or book a same day appointment at these practices. You do not have to be a member of the practice to use the service, and registration with your own GP will not be affected.

Maida Vale Action Team out and about

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The Maida Vale Action Team of Eram Ayub, Rita Begum and Romena Toki have been out and about in the ward talking to residents and taking up issues on their behalf, including;

– overcrowding in Edinburgh House
– rubbish dumped in Randolph Avenue, Shirland Road and Lanark Road
– potholes in Andover Place
– anti-social behaviour in Dibdin House

Please get in touch if we can help you

Mystery as Maida Vale primary headteacher quits

The ‘Wood& Vale’ reports;

“An investigation into the leadership of an “outstanding” primary school has been launched.

St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, Maida Vale, is the subject of an investigation by the Diocese of Westminster after “certain issues” were brought to its attention.

The announcement has coincided with the unexplained departure of headteacher Catherine McKeever on Friday after six years.

It is also understood that the chairman of governors was replaced in December.

One parent at the Lanark Road school, who would prefer to remain anonymous, told the Wood&Vale the headteacher had been absent for two weeks without explanation before she left. She said: “Everyone at the school has been quite defensive about the reason for the head leaving suddenly. It is very strange this has happened.”

St Joseph’s also refused to comment when approached by the Wood&Vale.

Ms McKeever announced her departure on the school’s website, where she paid tribute to the teachers who “maintain the highest standards that our parents have come to expect”.

She said: “In reaching my decision to take my leave, I was reassured that St Joseph’s rests on strong foundations and I am therefore confident that it will continue to thrive and excel.”

The diocese said it could not say why the investigation had been called because further comment could “prejudice the findings and the ways forward thereafter”.

A spokesman said: “Certain issues relating to St Joseph’s Primary School, Maida Vale, have been brought to the attention of Bishop John Sherrington, chairman of the Diocesan Education Commission.

“Before making any final decisions Bishop John Sherrington has commissioned an independent investigation of leadership and governance at the school.”

The last full Ofsted inspection of the school, which has 325 pupils, was in June 2008. Then, it was found to be “outstanding”. An interim inspection in January 2011 found standards had remained high.

The most recent Key Stage Two results placed the school in the top one per cent of schools in the country”

Lanark Road rubbish piles up

Lanark rubbish

The Labour Action team has reported more rubbish dumped in Maida Vale – this time in Lanark Road where an overflowing rubbish bin was spotted this Sunday by Rita Begum and Romena Toki.

We have reported this to the Council and hope that speedy action is taken to remove this unsightly rubbish.

Randolph Avenue rubbish clear-up success

Randolph rubbish 2

We have had success in getting the rubbish cleared from around the trees in Randolph Avenue.

The Council has told us;

“Concerning the dumping of waste on Randolph Avenue Veolia the warden for the area will check daily. If we establish from the evidence from the daily checks who the offenders are enforcement action will be taken but either way we will see to it that the waste will be arranged to be cleared at the earliest opportunity.

Educational letters have delivered on Randolph Avenue on both Maida Vale and Little Venice boundaries in regards of waste collections time bands and their correct disposal.

As always we are grateful for the help of residents identifying issues and continue to encourage them to contact the Environmental Action Line on 0207 641 2000″

MAIDA VALE ACTION REPORT – January 2014

From your three Labour Candidates – Eram Ayub, Rita Begum and Romena Toki
eramRitaRomena

Elgin Avenue – City of Westminster College

The College has updated us with the latest situation on the refurbishment of the building;

“The College’s Governors have just recently given the go ahead to move forward with the comprehensive refurbishment of the Maida Vale Centre. Over the next three to four months, we will be working up the proposals with a view to a start on site in June/July 2014. The fully refurbished site will open as the College’s Maida Vale Campus in September 2015. Current thinking is that the refurbished campus will be used primarily to accommodate education and training provision for adults, with the younger 16-18 student cohort being based mainly at Paddington Green. Until such time as work starts on site, the buildings will be protected by the presence of live-in caretakers, as at present.”

Lauderdale Road

We have asked the Council to investigate this problem;

“Can someone from the Council please come down Lauderdale Road and take a look at the drains in the road; they have not been cleaned for years. It’s only a matter of time before the basement flats are going to get flooded. It’s all on the odd numbers side of the road Lauderdale Mansions South. One night the pavement was so badly flooded residents could not gain access to their homes”

The Council says;

“The gullies were visited but unfortunately there were cars parked over them so the necessary cleaning works could not be carried out. Looking back at the system it appears, over the past two months, that there has been a total 4 visits to the gullies. Also in May & July attempts were made but once again cars were parked over the gullies. In order to attempt to get the situation resolved as quickly as possible the service provider has booked parking suspensions again for Wednesday 18th December. Obviously we hope next week we will be more successful and in order to try and highlight the suspensions to the local residents prior to the clean attempt, we will using the gully sticker arrows and flyers. Once I have news back from the service provider next week I will provide you with a further update.”

Residents say

“Thank you again, it has been a long time since we have had any action on our drain issues. I can also confirm that our estate manager wrote long ago to the Conservatives and did not even get the satisfaction of a reply!”

Widley Road

We have asked the Council if the following requests from residents can be considered:

• Black Bins: we really need two at each end of the road. Most mornings the existing one at each end is full, with rubbish bags dumped on the pavement nearby. These are often opened by foxes. Any chance?
• Bicycle racks: we really need more than the existing set in the middle of Widley Road – outside 31-40 Southwold Mansions. Another set of bicycle racks on the parking-free zone outside 115 Elgin Avenue on Widley Road would work.

Dibdin House

We are making enquiries with the police after receiving this report from a resident;

“We have a group of youths who come in. The group all smoke drugs and cigarettes, stand in groups and fight and drop litter. As they are inside the estate they are not seen by the police outside during the day. This used to be a very bad area of concern here and with two other boys who one now left and other been taken to court and I truly don’t want to start again with all this, it is not fair on any of us. What can we do? “

Andover Place

We have asked the Council to investigate he cobbles in Andover Place. In places there are very uneven and loose cobbles and they must cause a hazard for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists.

Randolph Avenue

We have called on the Council to clean up Randolph Avenue on a regular basis. Rubbish is regularly dumped by trees and left for far too long before it is cleared away. Clearing rubbish dumped on the streets should be a high priority for the Council so that the local environment can be maintained to a high standard. Allowing the rubbish to remain on the streets just encourages people to dump more on a regular basis and blights the environment

Shirland Road rubbish clean up plea

rita and Romena

Labour candidates Romena Toki and Rita Begum have been out and about this Christmas and spotted more dumped rubbish by a tree in Shirland Road.

Romena said that keping Maida Vale’s streets clean and tidy will be one of our priorities if we are elected in May 2014.

Please let us know if there are any areas that need to be cleared of rubbish or are places where rubbish is dumped regularly”.

Call for Randolph Avenue clean up

Labour Candidates Rita Begum, Eram Ayub and Romena Toki have called on Westminster Council to clean up Randolph Avenue on a regular basis.

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Labour’s three candidates for Maida Vale Ward say that rubbish is regularly dumped by trees and left for far too long before it is cleared away.

Rita Begum said;

“Clearing rubbish dumped on the streets should be a high priority for the Council so that the local environment can be maintained to a high standard. Allowing the rubbish to remain on the streets just encourages people to dump more on a regular basis and blights the environment.”

Maida Vale Olympic athlete Jenny Stoute supports Labour Candidate Rita Begum

Former Olympic sprinter Jenny Stoute is supporting Labour’s Rita Begum. The Maida Vale resident gave her support when Rita knocked on her door this weekend.

jenny stoute

The peak of Jenny Stoute’s career came in 1992, at the Barcelona Olympics, where she ran her lifetime best in the 200 metres of 22.73 secs to reach the semi-finals, before going on to earn a bronze medal in the 4×400 m relay along with Phylis Smith, Sandra Douglas and Sally Gunnell.

Westminster College site, Elgin Avenue – News Update

Westminster College

Some local residents have been asking about this site, which has been closed for refurbishment for some time. We have checked this out with the College, who told us;

“The College’s Governors have just recently given the go ahead to proceed with the comprehensive refurbishment of the Maida Vale Centre. “Over the next three to four months, we will be working up the proposals with a view to a start on site in June / July 2014. The fully refurbished site will open as the College’s Maida Vale Campus in September 2015”. Current thinking is that the refurbished campus will be used primarily to accommodate education and training provision for adults, with the younger 16-18 student cohort being based mainly at Paddington Green.

Until such time as work starts on site, the buildings will be protected by the presence of live-in caretakers, as at present.”

Dibdin House Update

Dibdin House

Karen Buck MP met with representatives from the Dibdin House Residents Association and landlords Grainger PLC to discuss several issues arising from the handover of management of the estate from Genesis Housing Association direct to Grainger. The new managers agreed to give urgent priority to addressing many outstanding repairs issues, as well as promising to clarify their policies on transfers and use of the currently out of action Dibdin Hall.

Introducing Eram Ayub, one of your three Maida Vale Labour Candidates

eram

I have lived in Westminster for 15 years and I am truly proud to call this my home. At 17 I attended Richmond The American International University and did my post-graduate studies in Development Economics from SOAS. Following my education I began work as a Property Investor and Trader and rose to Head Buyer at one of the leading Property Investment firms.

I work closely with citizens to overcome many hurdles and barriers that have restricted them from the goals they deserve. It was these experiences that have led me to a life of service for others. I am passionate about the community and will bring the same resolve to advocating and implementing the desires of our richly diverse needs.

My most important job is as a mother of a two-year old boy who has greatly benefitted from the services and institutions that continue to make our community a thriving and inclusive one.

Introducing Rita Begum, one of your three Maida Vale Labour Candidates

Rita

I have lived in the area all my life. I went to secondary school at St Augustine’s. For many years I have been actively involved in working with the local community. I enjoy the work I currently do as a community information officer based in the Beethoven Centre in Queen’s Park where I meet people from various backgrounds. I was a member of the Queen’s Park Forum, Sure Start, Paddington Farm Trust and was chair of Henna ladies group. I have run many projects with local charity groups such as Carers Network, British Arab resource centre, Westbourne Forum, London Tigers, WECH Community centre, Marylebone Bangladesh Society and Voluntary Action Westminster.

I care a lot about the area and want to improve issues like housing, education, health care, youth and elderly services, as these issues of great importance to me. I spend most of my time engaging in meetings with organisations to help support the social issues in the area. I have always been interested in helping people and know what is required for my area and its people.

Introducing Romena Toki, one of your three Maida Vale Labour Candidates

Romena

I am currently working as a psychological wellbeing practitioner for the NHS. I spend the majority of my time working with people experiencing psychological difficulties. I have lived, studied and worked in Westminster ever since I remember and have been dedicated to working with my local community. I ascribe my interests to my parents, who also live locally and have always been committed to improving people’s lives. My main concerns include; supporting services for young people (Libraries, youth clubs and employment support) and also working hard to keep our streets safe, clean and friendly.

MAIDA VALE ACTION REPORT – December 2013

From your three Labour Candidates – Eram Ayub, Rita Begum and Romana Toki

Maida Vale

We have reported a very dangerous pothole in the northbound lane of Maida Vale at the junction with Elgin Avenue and asked that repairs are carried out urgently.

Lauderdale Road

We are making enquiries in to this problem;

“I live on Lauderdale Road, which is a very peaceful, residential street that is quite frequently disturbed by dangerously fast drivers racing down the street without regard to the number of families who live here. It is quite scary as a resident with young children. Several of the surrounding streets (e.g. Delaware) do have speed humps. Please don’t let it take an accident or fatality like the recent incident on Elgin to consider installing speed humps on this street.”

North Paddington Food Bank to start and asks for donations

Walterton and Elgin Community Homes (WECH) and other community organisations in and around North Paddington are starting a food bank. The food bank sessions will run from the WECH community Centre, Athens Gardens W9. Over the past 12 months all of the organisations involved in setting up the food bank have seen a notable increase in the need for assistance with food. There are a variety of reasons for the growing need in food assistance such as an unexpected bill or change in circumstances, redundancy, welfare reform, delays in benefit and illness. The food bank organisers aim to help people who are in exceptional need for a short period.

The organisers also aim to provide budgeting, welfare/ debt advice and to refer people to other relevant support services to anyone who needs the food bank. To find out how you can get involved, you are invited to:

WECH Christmas Harvest and Information Day,
Monday 23rd December 2013 from 2pm -5pm,
WECH Community Centre, Athens Gardens W9 3RS.

The food bank would also be really grateful for your help to get started and is asking for food donations. You can contribute an item to the food bank, for example;

Milk (UHT or powdered), Sugar, Fruit Juice, Soup, Pasta, Sponge pudding (tinned), Tomatoes (tinned), Cereals, Rice pudding (tinned), Tea bags/instant coffee, Instant mash potato, Rice/pasta, Tinned meat/fish, Jam, Biscuits or snack bars.

Nicole Kidman and Hugh Bonneville on set as Maida Vale tube dresses up as Portobello market for Paddington Bear movie

The ‘West End Extra’ reports;

MV station

“MAIDA Vale tube station was transformed into the fictional “Westbourne Oak” this week as filming began for the forthcoming Paddington Bear movie.

An all-star cast were spotted in Randolph Avenue on Sunday, including Hugh Bonneville and Sally Hawkins, and market stalls sprang up outside the station which was temporarily masquerading as Portobello Road.

But film bosses snubbed Paddington’s traditional home – thought to be around Westbourne Grove – and instead chose to spend the majority of last week shooting in Primrose Hill.

Westminster resident Michael Bond wrote the tale of a Peruvian bear, who arrived alone at Paddington train station, before being taken in by the kindly Brown family.

In the stories, which are among the most famous in the world of children’s literature, the family lived in a grand townhouse at the fictional Windsor Gardens.

Mr Bond’s daughter, Karen Jankel, told West End Extra that in her father’s mind the Victorian terrace was “…possibly in Westbourne Grove, if I remember correctly, just round the corner from the Portobello Road”.

Marmalade Films, who are shooting the film due out next year, said Primrose Hill was selected after “months of research and looking into what is feasible and what looks like Windsor Gardens”.

They said they were looking for a “beautiful street in keeping with Windsor Gardens as a fictional street”.

Filming will continue in Maida Vale this weekend – in Warrington Crescent, Warwick Avenue and Randolph Avenue on Sunday.

Last weekend shoppers were able to stroll along the side of the set and catch a glimpse of the action.

Alina Kaempf, who was outside Maida Vale station on Sunday said: “They started the actual filming at around 8am but on a Sunday at that time you don’t have a lot of people in that area. There were about five other people watching and standing around the corners but I just stood there where the make-up artist was, because nobody was telling me not to be there, so I just figured I might as well be as close as I can.”

She added: “You can just walk onto the set and I talked to one of the producers there and she said it was meant to look like Portobello Road market, but they couldn’t shoot there so they made up their own market with antiques and things.”

Maida Vale publican urges Westminster Council to join him and pay the London Living Wage

The ‘Wood & Vale’ reports;

Truscott Arms

“A Maida Vale publican has offered to sit down with council chiefs over a pint of beer and explain why paying the London Living Wage is good for business.

Andrew Fishwick, owner of The Truscott Arms in Shirland Road, said he would be “delighted” to come face-to-face with Westminster Council paymasters and point out ways they could afford the £8.80-an-hour rate.

He said: “I would happily sit down with one of the bosses and explain how paying the London Living Wage means staff will be less reliant on council support and how they need to stop thinking about the impact of the initial cost. It makes absolute sense and we have benefited massively from that.”

The Wood and Vale revealed last week how Westminster Council had not signed up to be a LLW borough and questioned how it could afford to pay sub-contracted staff the increased rate.

Mr Fishwick said the claim was nonsense and revealed he had actually saved money since adopting the LLW following the pub’s opening earlier this year.

He said: “I absolutely do not sign up to what Westminster have said about not being able to afford it. This is about the fear big business has and people only looking at the bottom line.”

Directly-employed staff at the council are paid the same or higher than the LLW but – unlike Camden Council – Westminster does not ask contractors to pay the rate, meaning some could be on the minimum wage of £6.31-per-hour.

Mr Fishwick said: “I actually think it is shocking that they are not prepared to ensure sub-contracted staff are paid the London Living Wage.

“When we were establishing the company, we wanted to take our corporate responsibility really seriously with things like sourcing produce but also paying staff.

“It is a cliché but it is true that your biggest asset is your staff and you want to ensure they stick around and to look after them so paying the rate was a way of saying ‘you are vital to what we do’.

“It also makes economic sense. To recruit a single person can cost on average £3,000 with advertising the job, training etc.

“If you can keep hold of people longer you save money and one way of doing that is to pay them properly.”

Mr Fishwick bought the Truscott Arms in February and opened a short while later – becoming one of the first 200 businesses in the capital to sign up to the LLW.”

Maida Vale resident in a one bed sheltered housing flat sent £1,200 Bedroom Tax bill by Westminster Council

A Maida Vale resident living in a one bed sheltered housing flat has been wrongly sent a Bedroom Tax bill by Westminster Council who told him that he owed the Council over £1,200.

The resident said;

“I received a letter today from Westminster benefits office stating that I am under occupying my 1 bedroom flat! I live in sheltered accommodation, and as far as I am aware I am exempt from the bedroom tax, I believe this applies to all sheltered accommodation in the country. I receive pension credit and I was born before the 7th of October 1951. I have been informed that I have been overpaid £1,233.28. Will Westminster City Council take me to court? Will the council evict me and all the other sheltered accommodation residents who cannot pay?”

After enquiries by Labour Councillors and Karen Buck MP, the Council has admitted that the letter was sent in error.

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg. Leader of the Labour Group said;

“This is another example of why the Bedroom Tax must be scrapped and Westminster Council’s incompetence. The impact of such a letter can be devastating on someone who is vulnerable and wrongly told they owe over £1,200. I do not think the Council can simply shrug this off as a mistake. Someone needs to take political responsibility for this spectacular incompetence. We have also asked who was responsible for this error? Will any action be taken against the person(s) responsible? Have any similar errors been made?”

Karen Buck MP’s October Letter to the Residents of Dibdin House

Dibdin House

Dear Resident

Further to our meeting in at Dibdin House in May this year, I wanted to write again following a couple of new developments.

As you may already know, Genesis are no longer the Managing Agents for Dibdin House. The owners Grainger have now taken over the day-to-day running of the estate, and I am keen to know how you think they are getting on.

I haven’t received any reports of Anti-Social Behaviour on the Estate at my office, which I hope reflects a real improvement to how things were earlier in the year.

However, the big issue to come out of the meeting was the future of Dibdin Hall and its use as a community venue rather than being converted into more private flats. I have asked Grainger about their plans for Dibdin Hall, but I wonder if residents might also be able to send their feedback to me using the form below. I would like to pass on your comments and strength of feeling to Grainger direct to alert them to how important the community space is to you.

Additionally, if there is anything else you would like me to take up about the management of the estate, please do let me know by returning the form below. I will be meeting Grainger together with the Chair Elect Polly Robinson in the coming weeks, and would like to be able to raise some of your concerns and thoughts about the future of the estate.

In the meantime, please note that following new management, contact details for both tenant and leaseholder issues have also changed.

Key Contacts

If you are a tenant and have a repair issue then please contact Grainger’s contractors Kier on 0345 300 5824.

If you are a tenant and have any other query about your home or common areas then please contact your Property Manager Darin Solomon at email address dsolomon@graingerplc.co.uk or direct number 0208 877 6904. Darin also remains the first point of contact for any ASB issues.

If you are a leaseholder with concerns about common areas or your own home, please contact Laura McGill at email address lmcgill@graingerplc.co.uk or direct number 0207 795 4737.

I look forward to hearing from you about Dibdin Hall and any other issues you would like me to raise at the forthcoming meeting. As always, if you would like to let me know about any other matter, please contact my office either by telephone on 020 8968 7999 (phone answered between 9:30 am-12pm), or by email, fax or post.

Yours sincerely,

Karen Buck

Maida Vale landlord warning over lettings scam which cost the taxpayer thousands

The ‘Wood & Vale’ reports;

“A Maida Vale homeowner is warning people to be careful after discovering how unscrupulous letting agents were cheating her – and the taxpayer – out of thousands of pounds each month.

Omotunde Lawal believed she had let out her Abinger Mews home to a Swiss businessman and his family, who paid £560 a week.

Miss Lawal had been told by the agents that her tenant was renting the property through his employer, a company called Kingsman & Kingsman Ltd.

But she became suspicious of what was really going on at the house and arranged a meeting with the tenant in January 2012 – two years after he had moved in.

He revealed not only had he never been employed by Kingsman & Kingsman, but that he had been claiming housing benefit since he arrived in the UK in 2004.

What’s more, Westminster Council was paying a monthly rent of £4,550 for the property – more than £2,000 a month more than Miss Lawal believed the house was being let for.

When Miss Lawal looked into the matter further, she discovered Kingsman & Kingsman’s office address was actually the home of one of the letting agents.

The deception was all the more shocking because the company – run by Karen Bain, her husband Adrian Nyack and his sister Nicola Nyack – had been recommended to her by her family’s personal banker.

Miss Lawal pursued the company through the courts, and in March this year Judge Seymour – sitting in the Queen’s Bench at the High Court – ordered the letting agents to repay her £67,559.56 in lost rent, as well as £25,000 in legal costs.

Miss Lawal has not yet received a penny of the money, and the lettings agent has since been sold to a new owner. “I saw the state of the house, I saw all the kids, and I knew this was not a corporate letting,” she said.

“If you have a letting agent managing a property on your behalf, you need to know who is living there. There is a safety aspect to this – you need to know who your neighbours are. My neighbours had quite a rough time of it as well. I felt really horrible.”

Miss Lawal added that “no one at Westminster seemed bothered” when she raised her concerns about the deception.

A council spokesman said: “This property is one which we understand was occupied by a private tenant who then came to claim housing benefit in Westminster. Residents who find themselves in need of consumer or housing advice, having fallen into a dispute with an estate agent, can contact the Citizens Advice Bureau.”

St Augustine’s High School rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted

St Augustine’s CofE High School has been given a glowing report by Ofsted inspectors, who visited the 870-pupil Oxford Road secondary in September and noted not only the excellent teaching standards, but also the students’ desire to learn.

They also commented on the pride students show in the school as well as the governing body’s “excellent understanding of the school’s strengths and aspects for further development and improvement”.

The report is an improvement on the “good” level achieved in 2009, which itself was an upgrade on the “satisfactory” rating of 2006.

And as the news comes hot on the heels of St Augustine’s best-ever A-level results, it is no surprise headteacher Eugene Moriarty is delighted.

“It is very much a team effort,” he said. “It has come about from years of hard work.”

Mr Moriarty added: “We have really high expectations – our school motto is ‘Be the best you can be’’.”

Should a student ever forget this basic principle, a picture of former pupil and Tour de France winner Sir Bradley Wiggins now sits in the school alongside the wise words.

The high aspirations for all pupils are commented on in the report.

“When students join the school in Year 7 their standards are generally well below their peers nationally,” it notes, before pointing out that 68 per cent of students achieved five or more GCSE passes at grades A* to C, including English and mathematics, in 2012 – “significantly above the national level” – with “above average” proportions getting A or A* grades at GCSE.

“I would say whatever your starting point, if you come to St Augustine’s you can make exceptional progress,” said Mr Moriarty.

However, this new rating does not mean either teachers or students will be allowed to let standards slip.

Mr Moriarty said: “I told the students during assembly last week that there is not any point for you, as individuals, going to an outstanding school unless you absolutely make the best of your gifts and talents during your time here.”

He added: “I don’t think anything changes [in how we do things].

“The reason we have got to outstanding is because we are constantly looking at what we can do to further improve. We are not perfect – no school is.”

As St Augustine’s sees itself very much as “a community school”, this determination can only be a good thing for those who live and work in the surrounding area.

“This is good news for Kilburn. It doesn’t always have wonderful news, but it’s a fantastic place to work and learn,” Mr Moriarty concluded.

MAIDA VALE WARD ACTION REPORT – September 2013

Starbucks, Randolph Avenue

We have urged the Council to take action to resolve this problem;

“Whilst I appreciate that Starbucks have now placed bins outside their shop in Randolph Avenue, we are still getting a lot of full cups, sandwiches, white, blue plastic bags etc thrown into our wheelie bins. I can’t see that a lot can be done about this but there is something that would help me as chief wheelie bin cleaner! The Council’s bin men seem to have a policy of only removing rubbish if it’s in a black rubbish bag and if there are many bags putting these into one bin and only lifting up that one into the cart. I would like them to empty EACH bin no matter what is in it. For the past few months I have been using large black wheelie bin bags to limit the time I have to bleach and clean the bins yet despite using tape to secure them the bin men then take these big bags instead. I got annoyed last time and left them for 3 weeks only to then clean one yesterday that had maggots at the bottom. Not pleasant! Would you be able to ask the bin men to do this for me and if possible encourage them to replace the bins where they found them back along the side of the wall rather than just dumping them in the walkway? I really would appreciate some help with this and I thank you for your time”

The Council has responded as follows;

“Thank you for your email regarding litter from Starbucks on Randolph Avenue which is left in your domestic wheeliebins and is not properly collected by the dustmen. I’d like to apologise for the inconvenience that any litter remaining in your dustbins must cause to you as well as the bins being left in the wrong location after collection. We have reminded our collection team that works on Randolph Avenue to tip out your 3 wheeliebins fully so any litter deposited in the bins is collected and to place them back exactly where they found them.”

Lanark Road

We have called on the Council to deal with this issue:

“I am having problems in Lanark Road with street drinking. Between my block of flats and the next there is a Westminster car park with allocated spaces. There are some bushes and it is partially hidden from the street. On odd occasions one or more adult males are congregating there and consuming alcohol from bottles. I have seen them there at various times from 6pm – midnight. They always leave the area strewn with their empty beer bottles and other assorted rubbish dumped on the ground or in the bushes. It doesn’t happen every night but it is increasing in frequency. On occasions I have called the police and they have responded reasonably quickly and moved the persons on. They also suggested I notify the council. I did this this morning and was told it is a matter for the police, not for the council. I am contacting you in the hope you may be able to either get the council or the police or both to make a more determined effort to stop these street drinkers. Rather than me or neighbours contacting police perhaps patrols could keep a more vigilant look out as they pass by.”

Bus service between Maida Vale Library and Clifton Gardens

We have asked TfL to look in to this matter;

“Could you please investigate the unsatisfactory bus service that does not have a temporary bus stop when members of that library want to return to Clifton Gardens? The service from Warwick Avenue to the Maida Vale library is all right, only the return service lacks a temporary stop opposite or near to the Maida Vale Library.”

Lauderdale Mansions

We are making enquiries with the Council about this long-standing problem;

“The estate manager at Lauderdale Mansions South has been trying for almost a year to get someone’s attention on this matter. It would seem that Westminster council is still not aware after at least 10 years that we now have chevron style parking and not curbside parking; that suspending 3 parking bays now is not that same as suspending 3 bays 10 years ago and that someone must be laughing over getting Westminster to pay every 6 months for drain clearing that is not being done!

If and when heavy autumn rains come and the water raises 6 inches, floods the pavement and flows into our basements (this has very nearly happened on several occasions) we will have no choice but to seek damages from Westminster. There is also much inconvenience caused when the water does raise with many parking bays unusable because no one can enter or exit a vehicle without fisherman wading gear!”

Living near Maida Vale station rather than Kilburn Park on the Bakerloo line is only one-and-a-half minutes nearer Oxford Circus but average two-bed rents are nearly £114 a week more

MV station

Rentonomy reports;

“Following our popular articles that show how rents change along various tube lines, we decided to take the analysis one step further. If you jump on the tube and make your way to the centre of town, the rents of properties around each station you pass through will generally go up. We wanted to see how fast weekly two-bed rents changed per minute travelled along the tube into the centre of London.

Across the whole tube network (excluding Zone 1), a shorter tube commute will cost you an extra £5.60 per week on average, for every minute saved. For example if you live near a station 20 minutes away from the centre and pay £200 per week, rents around the next station 1 minute closer will be £205.60 per week.

The average increase per minute increases exponentially as you get closer to the centre. For example the average rise per minute is only 28p outside zone 5 but is £11.15 per minute by the time you get to zone 2.

The sharpest increases are seen along the Victoria line where the average rise per minute is £11.20 as you get closer to Oxford Circus.

The biggest single jump is Kilburn Park to Maida Vale on the Bakerloo line where rents jump by a massive £76 per minute. As such, if you’re a tenant looking to live as centrally as possible it really pays to consider which tube station you live near. For example by living near Kilburn Park rather than Maida Vale on the Bakerloo line is only one-and-a-half minutes further from Oxford Circus but average two-bed rents are nearly 25% lower.”

http://www.rentonomy.com/posts/122

Maida Vale Library – nearly there!

The internal scaffolding and plastic sheeting at Maida Vale Library has now come down and the beautifully restored ceiling can be seen in its full glory.

Work continues on getting the library ready to be handed over to staff, with a deep clean planned once the builders have left. This should get it in ship shape condition to receive the shelves and books.

The temporary basement library closes Saturday 3 to Saturday 10 August inclusive to enable everything to be packed up and moved. The library re-opens on the ground floor on Monday 12 August 2013.

Planning Application to Install Telecommunications Masts at St Augustine’s Church

st augustine's

Below is an Update from Karen Buck MP

I am writing to you to let you know the actions I have taken – and for a general update – on the proposed installation of nine mobile telecoms masts within the bell tower of St Augustine’s. I have been corresponding with Ms Sylvia Dibble of the Randolph Gardens Residents Association about the issue, but in order to address differing information being circulated I thought I would write directly to those in the nearby area.

The council’s current position is that they require the Church to apply for planning permission before installing the masts. This is because the installation of the masts would require the original lead louvres to be replaced in fibreglass, as lead cannot any longer be used in this way due to health and safety concerns. As the fibreglass louvers would weather differently from the other external decoration and would make a difference to the appearance of the church as a whole, planning permission is required.

As a result, the agents GVA (contracted by the Diocese and who act for New Edge Telecommunications and Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Limited [O2 and Vodaphone]) informed Westminster Council that the installation has been put on hold and will not progress further at this stage.

As you may know, this was not always the case. The council’s original position was that the masts would be contained within the church structure and therefore ‘[would not] materially affect the appearance of the building when viewed as a whole’ [correspondence with the Planning Department, 6th December 2012]. Therefore, the council raised no initial objection to the Diocese’s plan.

However, in January this year, the council decided to take a more cautious approach and asked the Diocese to apply for planning permission. In a letter to Father Amos dated 2nd May, the council stated that if it is the case that the Church proposes to go ahead with an installation that requires replacement of the louvres with GRP replicas or the like, an application for planning permission should be submitted for consideration and no work undertaken until such permission has been gained.

You may have noted that recent press reports have been slightly misleading (‘Judge gives church in Kilburn the green light to install nine mobile phone antennae’ Brent and Kilburn Times, 9th May). However, in light of the material changes to the building required under the current plans, the council have effectively blocked this from taking place.

I wrote to Nigel Seed QC in December last year to raise my concerns of behalf of constituents over what was seen as a bypassing of due procedure in applying for the installation (relating to, amongst other factors, the short amount of time that the notice was displayed in the church itself). I received a fairly curt response in which I was told that ‘it is entirely inappropriate, if not a contempt, for even an MP to write to him about a matter which is sub judice’. I also received a copy of the Judgement which I understand was also distributed to anyone who made informal objections to the proposal. It can also be accessed online at;
http://www.ecclesiasticallawassociation.org.uk/judgments/telecomms/kilburnstaugustine2013.pdf.

I was told in their letter to me that they did follow procedure in that the notices were displayed for a full 28 days, not just a week during the Olympics. I am unsure if the Diocese would be required to go through this process again should the plans be modified so as not to require replacement of the louvres which have proved so pivotal in this ongoing matter.

Similarly if the Diocese do decide to go ahead under the present terms and submit a planning application taking account of the replacement of the lead louvres with fibreglass, this would be the opportunity for residents to raise their formal objections through the standard planning procedure.

I will monitor the situation and let you know by follow up letter if I hear this is the case. However I would urge you to be aware of any forthcoming planning applications involving St Augustine’s to ensure that you are able to make your views – even if in favour – heard.

Maida Vale Conservative Councillor settling in well in his ‘double life’ as a City of London Councillor

Maida Vale residents will no doubt be reassured that one of their Conservative Councillors, Alastair Moss is settling in well in his ‘double life’ as a City of London Councillor for the Cheap Ward since his election in April 2013.

According to the last Cheap Ward Newsletter;

“The enthusiastic welcome to our newly-elected third Councilman, Alastair Moss, who enhances the Ward of Cheap team with his years of local government experience gained at Westminster City Council and his legal knowledge. Alastair has already immersed himself into the life of the City Corporation. Alastair is also a long-standing member of the Ward of Cheap Club.”

In addition to his many duties as a Maida Vale Councillor in Westminster, Alastair Moss also serves on the following City of London Corporation Committees;

• Community & Children’s Services Committee
• Court of Common Council
• Investment Committee
• Member Development Steering Group
• Port Health & Environmental Services Committee
• Property Investment Board

Maida Vale residents might care to ask how Councillor Moss finds the time to serve on both Westminster and City of London Councils and represent their interests fully at Westminster.

http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/about-the-city/how-we-work/elections-and-wards/Documents/ward%20newsletters/ward-news-june-2013-cheap.pdf

Working closely with Dibdin House residents to combat anti-social behaviour

Dibdin House

Karen Buck MP is working closely with Dibdin House residents to combat anti-social behaviour and to get the currently closed Dibdin Community Hall back into use.

She says;

“Disappointingly, Genesis have now confirmed that it is not Health and Safety considerations that have impeded access to Dibdin Hall by residents and that Grainger are now seeking to make other uses of the space. I have been forwarded the following statement by Grainger;

‘Grainger is keen to find a suitable and economically sustainable use for the space in the near future and is currently considering what options are available for the space. They are therefore unable to allow the unit to be used at present, as it could impede these considerations and negatively impact on the options available.’

Whilst Genesis are keen to provide assistance in finding other venues for community events, I am saddened at what would prove to be a great loss for the estate should the space be sold or, indeed, turned into another flat. Dibdin Hall was intended as a community space and it should stay that way. I am committed to working on this issue and applying pressure to both Genesis and Grainger and it would be good to work with residents on this.”

See her letter to residents hereDibdin House Follow up letter

BBC plans £40m Maida Vale studios redevelopment

MV studios

According to ‘Construction Enquirer’;

“The BBC is planning to redevelop its historic Maida Vale recording studios in West London.

The BBC hopes to sell the site using proceeds from its mixed-use development to build new studios, either at the existing location or a new site.

It is costing the project at £15-£40m, depending on developers’ proposals.

The BBC will fit out the interior of the building including the studios and ancillary office areas including the provision of studio facilities on a new site.

Built in 1909, the building was acquired by the BBC in the early 1930s to meet public demand for broadcasting.

It is now home to the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Singers, the Radio 1 Live Lounge and “In Session” recordings. The BBC’s preference is to continue to use the site and is looking for the right organisation to help realise its ambitions.

The BBC is working with commercial property consultants Lambert Smith Hampton to seek innovative outline proposals for the 1.33 acre freehold site.

Further queries for the project should be directed to Lambert Smith Hampton: David Bianco and Peter Day – Lambert Smith Hampton United Kingdom House 180 Oxford Street London W1D 1NN – 020 7198 2290.”

John Walker – Operational Director Development Planning

 

 

Your ref:

Please reply to: Planning Appeals

My ref: 14/05526/FULL and 15/58789/M

Direct Tel. No: 020 7641 8542

 

Email: PlanningAppeals@westminster.gov.uk

Councillor Dimoldenberg

Email

Development Planning

Westminster City Hall

64 Victoria Street

London SW1E 6QP

 

Date: 3rd September 2015

Dear Sir/Madam

TOWN AND COUNTRY PLANNING ACT 1990

Site at: Carlton Tavern, 33A Carton Vale, London, NW6 5EU

Appellant’s Name:

CLTX Limited

Appeal Reference No:

APP/X5990/C/15/3130605 (Enforcement Appeal)

APP/X5990/W/15/3025122 (Planning Refusal Appeal)

I am writing to let you know that 2 appeals have been made to the Secretary of State in respect of this site, which lies within the area for which Westminster City Council is the local planning authority.

The appeals have been made following:

·         the refusal by Westminster City Council on 13th January 2015 to grant planning permission to demolish The Carlton Tavern and to erect a new building consisting of a public house at ground floor level with residential flats above it, and

·         the decision by Westminster City Council to issue an Enforcement Notice dated 19th June 2015. The Enforcement Notice alleges that the demolition of The Carlton Tavern, which occurred on 8th April 2015, was unauthorised – and it requires the public house to be re-built in materials matching those used in the original building, both inside and out.

Both appeals will be determined together on the basis of a Public Inquiry which is expected to last for five days.  I shall write again once the date has been confirmed.

Please could you kindly email planningappeals@westminster.gov.uk no later than 1st October 2015 if you will be attending the Public Inquiry.

Appeal 1 follows the service of an Enforcement Notice by the City Council. The reasons given by Westminster City Council for issuing the Notice are as follows:

The unauthorised demolition of the building resulted in the loss of a building of architectural and historic significance and interest. At the time of demolition the building was the subject of assessment by Historic England who have subsequently confirmed that the building would very likely have been recommended for listing had it not been unlawfully demolished. The demolition of the building has resulted in the loss of a community facility capable of designation under the Localism Act 2011 as an Asset of Community Value.

The decision of Westminster City Council, as local planning authority, that it is reasonable, proportionate and in all respects expedient to issue the Notice is made having regard to the Statement made to the House of Commons on 26th January 2015 by Kris Hopkins MP (who was at the time Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department of Communities and Local Government) in relation to the protection of public houses from changes of use and from demolition, and to the amendments subsequently introduced to the Town & Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 by virtue of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Amendment) (England) Order 2015.

Regard has also been had to the National Planning Policy Framework, to the Planning Practice Guidance, to the London Plan (Policy 7.8 Heritage Assets and Archaeology), to Westminster City Council’s Strategic Policies ‘S25 Heritage’ and ‘S34 Social and Community Infrastructure’ and to Westminster City Council’s Unitary Development Plan (Design Policy DES 10 ‘Listed Buildings’),

Appeal 2 follows the refusal of planning permission on 13th January 2015 for the following proposal:

Demolition of existing public house and redevelopment to provide a building comprising of basement, ground and four upper floors to provide a public house (Class A4) at ground floor and basement level and 10 residential units from basement to fourth floor levels; associated landscaping works and cycle parking.

The appeal forms submitted by the appellant, containing their grounds of appeal are already available for inspection via the following links:

Enforcement Appeal:

http://idoxpa.westminster.gov.uk/online-applications/enforcementDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=NMSEKRRP04Y00

Planning Appeal:

http://idoxpa.westminster.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=N6Z14TRPGLH00

If you wish to make representations on these appeals, they should be received by the Planning Inspectorate by 1st October 2015 at the latest, otherwise there is a risk that your representations will not be considered. Write to: Planning Inspectorate, Room 3/23, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Temple Quay, BRISTOL. BS1 6PN.   The Planning Inspectorate will not acknowledge your letter unless you specifically ask them to do so.  They will, however, ensure that your letter is passed on to the Inspector dealing with the appeal.

The Planning Inspectorate has introduced an online appeals service which you can use to comment on these appeals.  You can find the service through the Appeals area of the Planning Portal – see www.planningportal.gov.uk/pcs. The Inspectorate may publish details of your comments, on the internet (on the Appeals area of the Planning Portal).  Your comments may include your name, address, e-mail address or phone number. Please ensure that you only provide information, including personal information belonging to you that you are happy will be made available to others in this way.

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