Mayfair elects its first ever Labour Councillor

For the first time in history, Mayfair has elected a Labour Councillor to Westminster City
Council.

Pancho Lewis came second place in the ballot with 984 votes, only 6 votes behind the top Conservative Candidate and 11 votes ahead of the incumbent Tory Councillor Jonathan Glanz – both were also elected.

The result will send shockwaves across the country. Mayfair is part of West End electoral ward, which also includes Fitzrovia and Soho. The Ward has until now been seen as a Conservative safe seat, with Tory activists regarding it commonsense Labour would never be able to make gains there.

Labour more than doubled its vote share in the ward. In 2014, the party received an accumulated total of 1,281 votes and this year the figure stood at 2,858 – more than the 2,831 votes for the three Conservatives.

Councillor Pancho Lewis said:

“Residents of West End Ward have sent a clear message to Conservative-run Westminster Council.

It’s time for the Council to show they mean business and are ready to take action to address the community’s concerns. 

“The West End is being overdeveloped and over commercialised because the Conservative leadership has chosen to side with the property developers, allowing them to run riot in the ward. As a result they’ve put the area’s character and heritage at risk. We need to protect the West End’s unique character – that’s what people want and that’s what the Council needs to be doing.

“As the first Labour councillor for the area, I will work day in day out to represent residents’ concerns and work to hold the Conservative Leadership in the Council to account for the decisions it makes. I will work alongside my fellow Conservative Councillors for the West End wherever they are committed to addressing residents’ concerns.”

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Posted in Labour Councillors, Mayfair, West End, Westminster City Council | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Four more Labour Councillors elected to Westminster Council

Four more Labour Councillors were elected on to Westminster City Council on 3rd May, bringing the total of Labour Councillors to 19.

The 4 Labour gains are:

  • Geoff Barraclough and Nafsika Butler-Thalassis in Maida Vale Ward, joining existing Labour Councillor Rita Begum
  • Maggie Carman in Bayswater Ward, the first Labour Councillor in Bayswater since 1986
  • Pancho Lewis in West End Ward, the first ever Labour Councillor to represent Soho, Fitzrovia and Mayfair

Overall, these are very good results for Labour and follow many years of regular community campaigning right across Westminster

For a full breakdown of the results please go to

https://www.westminster.gov.uk/election-2018

Thank you to everyone who voted Labour on 3rd May – we will continue to take up local issues, speak out for local residents and represent your interests

Posted in Bayswater, Council elections, Labour Councillors, Mayfair, Soho, West End, Westminster City Council | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Westminster Labour’s plan for the first 100 days of a Labour Council 

Labour has set out an ambitious but deliverable manifesto that can help positively transform Westminster for the future to make it a city for the many not the few.

So, if elected on May 3rd we will take urgent action to deliver on our manifesto objectives upon taking office on May 16th. In our first 100 days in office a Labour Westminster Council will:

Urgently reform the planning system

Deliver housing for local people

Make a start reforming the finances

  • Labour will urgently begin a ‘zero based’ budget review of the Council’s finances. We will introduce rigorous checks on temporary and agency working hiring, scrap payments to Deputy Cabinet Members, get rid of the Westminster Reporter and streamline the Lord Mayor’s office to cut out unnecessary ‘frills’.
  • We will do this so that despite Conservative Government austerity we can redirect funding to our identified key priorities while meeting our commitment to keep Council Tax low, not raising it any more than the Tories have.

Investing in Young People and the vulnerable 

London Living Wage

More support for our EU national residents

Protecting small business

Cleaner streets

  • While protecting our twice weekly bin collections, Labour will take immediate action to tackle fly-tipping by raising fines and move to deliver a reformed fee structure for bulky waste collections, including a first time free option.

 

Posted in Council cuts, Council elections, Council finances, Council housing, Labour Councillors, Labour Manifesto 2018, Westminster City Council | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Help Labour in Westminster North on polling day

We can make history in Westminster on Thursday 3rd May 2018! But we need your help to do this. We need to speak to residents across Westminster to make sure they go out and vote.

In Westminster North we are running 5 campaign centres. If you are able to come along, any time between 10am and 10pm on the 3rd May, please do!

If you’ve never campaigned before we will pair you up with somebody who has, so please don’t worry about that.

BAYSWATER: 1 St Stephen’s Mews, London W2 5QZ

LANCASTER GATE: Flat A Devonshire Court, 101-103 Gloucester Terrace, London W2 3HB

LITTLE VENICE: 16 Hall Tower, Hall Place, London W2 1LN

MAIDA VALE: 44 Delaware Mansions, Delaware Road, London W9 2LH

REGENT’S PARK: 25 Hamilton Gardens, London NW8 9PT, UK

 

Promoted by Andrew Whitley on behalf of Labour’s Candidates, all at 4g Shirland Mews, W9 3DY

Posted in Council elections, Westminster City Council, Westminster North | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Tachbrook Conservatives abandon Dolphin Square residents and cave in to Westbrook

A leaflet circulated by Tachbrook Conservatives this week shows they have abandoned Dolphin Square residents and have caved in to Westbrook’s plans for a massive redevelopment.

The Conservative leaflet claims that Westbrook are “almost certain” to get permission for their plans to demolish Rodney House and build a massive 9 storey block at the back of Dolphin Square. This is long before the Council’s planning officers have even completed their analysis.

The Conservatives also wrongly claim that “any attempt to block the plans will make the situation worse for residents”

Only Labour’s candidates, Gillian Arrindell, Terry Harper and Will Thomson, are pledged to support residents and to oppose the Westbrook plans

Gillian Arrindell said:

“The Conservatives would have you believe the fight is already over, and residents have lost. The reality is that they are refusing to fight for Dolphin Square and misleading residents by suggesting Westbrook already have permission when they do not.

Terry Harper said

“If Labour is elected as the majority party on the Council we will work on the side of residents, in contrast to the current administration’s practice of serving the interests of the developers.”

Will Thomson said:

“After consulting with residents, we wrote to the Director of Planning expressing our concerns and raising questions about Dolphin Square. We will do everything in our power to support residents”

We have objected to Westbrook’s planning application for Dolphin Square on the following grounds:

  • Dolphin Square is a ‘building of special interest’. How can the demolition of the whole of the north side be allowed to go ahead? The unique character of Dolphin Square will be lost for ever.
  • The proposed new 9 storey building to replace Rodney House will be totally out of scale with its surroundings
  • The plans will destroy the unique Dolphin Square shopping arcade
  • The Spanish Garden will be swept away with a loss of light and sun and will be overshadowed by adding yet another floor to the building
  • How can residents be expected to live in a building site for five years? The noise from the building work would be unbearable.
  • Dolphin Square used to offer flats at moderate rents for those working unsocial hours in central London. The new plans include just 8 small houses at affordable rent and all the rest at market rent.
  • The plans are contrary to Westminster’s Unitary Plan policy which opposes the development of short-term let residential property.

Promoted by Robin McGhee on behalf of Gillian Arrindell, Terry Harper and Will Thomson, all at 4g Shirland Mews, W9 3DY

Posted in Dolphin Square, Labour Councillors, Pimlico, Planning Committee, Planning permission, Tachbrook Ward | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Even more ‘Nightmare Stories from City West Homes – another 20 more stories and only a change of control at Westminster Council will make a difference

When we launched our first set of 20 ‘Nightmare Stories from City West Homes’ in January 2018 we thought that this would spur Conservative Councillors and City West staff in to action. But all we heard was first, a denial that there was a problem and then, ‘warm words’ that action would be taken.

Two months later, in March 2018, we published 25 more ‘Nightmare Stories from City West Homes, in the hope that Westminster Conservatives would sit up and notice the chaos around them. This time they blamed tenants and leaseholders for exaggerating the problems and blamed Labour Councillors for ‘making them up”.

But, the situation had not improved. So, a month later in April 2018, we launched a further 25 ‘Nightmare Stories from City West Homes’ to give a voice to many of CWH’s 22,000 tenants and leaseholders who are simply fed up with the incompetence, lack of care and ineffectiveness of City West Homes.

Now, a few days before the Council elections, we have published our latest batch of ‘Even More Nightmare Stories’. Predictably, the stories all echo those we have already published – unanswered calls, failure to respond to emails, promised repairs not completed, botched repairs, complaints about unbelievably sky-high major works bills and more.

Only a change in control of the Council will make the necessary difference.

We will immediately put CityWest on notice that if its performance does not rapidly improve it will be stopped from managing the council’s properties. We have set out our plans for change if we are elected to run the council on May 3rd.

Labour’s Five Point Plan for CityWest Homes

  • From day one, Labour will take action to end the repairs crisis and improve the way CityWest treats residents. If it doesn’t urgently improve Labour will scrap it.
  • We will re-establish local estate offices.
  • We will urgently look at further ways to improve the failing call centre system.
  • We will give residents a greater say over how their homes are managed.
  • We will introduce a new leaseholders’ charter to improve support to resident leaseholders and look to limit huge major works bills

You can read the report here

Even more Nightmare Stories

Posted in City West Homes, Council elections, Council housing, Council leaseholders, Council tenants, Housing, Westminster City Council, Westminster Conservatives | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Westminster Labour will keep the Council tax low

Council Tax is always an emotive issue in Westminster politics but residents can be confident that Labour will keep Council Tax low.

Westminster Council receives the highest levels of parking revenue (£73.2m) in the country as well as substantial commercial income from its large Central London property portfolio (£42.8m) that help prop up its finances far more than in other boroughs. Westminster’s current total council tax collection brings in around £52m per year- only around 6% of the Council’s income.

Despite this due to the impact of crippling Conservative Government cuts to local council funding Westminster Conservatives have raised the Council Tax (the general rate and the adult social care precept) every year since 2016. The Conservatives raised Council Tax by 4% in 2016/17, 4% in 2017/18 and now by 2% in 2018/19.

This is set against cuts forced by the Conservative Government of £38 million in 2018/19 that saw a further £3 million from services for children and young people and £2 million from rough sleeping and supported housing.

If elected in May Westminster Labour pledges to keep Council Tax low. Labour is making a clear commitment that if elected we will not raise the council tax and adult social care precept by any more than the Tories have over recent years. Not only is Council Tax not the main way the Council raises money, a 2% rise brings in less than £1m per year, it is an unfair tax that hits those on low incomes hardest. Councils are also prevented in law from raising the general Council Tax rate or the Adult Social Care precept by more than 3% each (6% total) without holding a referendum of residents- something that has never happened.

Labour will continue to push the Government for fairer funding for local government but will also work to find new ways to support local services, including new ways to earn commercial income. A central part of Labour’s approach will be a ‘zero-based’ review of all existing council expenditure, assessing every pound the council spends to ensure the spend is justified and think how it might be reduced. The review will be backed up by an external ‘critical friends’ board in order to find further efficiencies, including big cuts to spending on temporary and agency worker costs, scrapping the Westminster Reporter, making savings in the Lord Mayor’s Office and cutting payments to Deputy Cabinet Members.

Labour’s recent budget plans were fully costed and approved by Council Officers and would enable money to be invested to met our ambitious but deliverable manifesto commitments. We will also protect current services residents value such as twice weekly bin collections.

Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Member for Finance David Boothroyd said “Westminster Conservatives keep claiming their council tax levels are because they’re efficient – but people who have actually seen inside the council know the truth. Under Conservative management the council has managed to suppress the full story coming about some of their capers, such as the Managed Services Programme contract, which have led to massive waste of taxpayer’s money. Labour will make sure the council spends efficiently and on the priorities of residents.”

Labour’s promise to Westminster residents is that if we win the Council on May 3rd we will keep Council Tax low. We will not raise it by any more than the Conservatives have.

Posted in Council Budget, Council finances, Council Tax, Uncategorized | Leave a comment