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, here.

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Posted in Mayor of London, Pollution, T-Charge | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Do Westminster Council’s Planning policies apply to Conservative Councillors?

Last week Westminster City Council said it will crack down on “super-sized” properties as it attempts to deal with a shortage of affordable housing.

On Tuesday, the Council’s Planning Committee rejected an application by Ashley Tabor, the owner of the Classic FM, Heart and LBC radio stations, to expand his penthouse flat in Knightsbridge, to prevent the loss of family-sized homes.

Westminster’s Cabinet member for Planning, Councillor Daniel Astaire said it would be “unconscionable” to accept the proposal when the borough faced “a pressing housing shortage”. He said, “Our aim is to ensure fairness and opportunity in housing and we refuse to sell golden postcodes to the highest bidder. ”

So why, in February 2007, was an application to combine two flats in Randolph Avenue, Maida Vale owned by Council Deputy Leader, Councillor Robert Davis, approved by Westminster Council?

Councillor Davis’ application was to “amalgamate the flats as a single family dwelling” by creating “an opening in the wall between [the flats in] Randolph Avenue to allow for the lateral conversion of these two properties”.  The ‘supporting statement’ makes it clear that “it is proposed to amalgamate Flats G and H for continued residential use as a single family dwelling”.

http://committees.westminster.gov.uk/Data/Planning%20Applications%20Sub-Committee/20070222/Agenda/Item-04_50G_and_50H_Randolph_Ave_W9.PDF

Before a change in his portfolio in January 2017, Councillor Davis had 17 years’ continuous service as chairman of the council’s Planning Committee and 15 years as Cabinet member for Planning.

The application papers, including plans are available by going to http://idoxpa.westminster.gov.uk/online-applications/ and searching for 07/00279/LBC. Go to the ‘Documents’ tab to see various floor plans.

Posted in Luxury Housing, Maida Vale, Planning Committee, Planning permission, Westminster City Council, Westminster Conservatives | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Resident anger at Woodfield Road 2 Way scheme

Residents of Woodfield Road and the surrounding streets have been understandably aggravated by the introduction of the new 2-way scheme on the road. During the initial consultation local Labour ward councillors raised the concerns of a number of residents worried about the proposals. The Council argued that such fears were overblown and that their proposals would reduce traffic accidents. Now in place, the new scheme has seen gridlock at peak periods with reports of damage to cars, constant horn honking, potential road rage incidents and general disturbance to the local residents with little evidence that things are being made safer.

Local Labour Councillors are calling on Westminster Council to urgently review the implementation of the scheme.

Cllr Adam Hug said “The Council must urgently examine at the damage being done to local residents by  Woodfield Road 2-way changes and look to scrap these costly changes.”

Posted in Road Safety, Roads | Leave a comment

CityWest Residential under investigation by ……Westminster City Council

CityWest Residential, a subsidiary of Westminster City Council’s ALMO, City West Homes, is being investigated by Westminster City Council’s Trading Standards department for breaches of the Consumer Rights Act.

CityWest Residential trades as an estate agency, lettings agency and property management service for private landlords wishing to sell or sublet their properties.

The Council action follows claims from residents that CityWest Residential has advertised itself as trading from premises that have closed, disputing its charges to landlords and tenants, claiming it has not quoted VAT on fees, and suggesting it has not prominently displayed its membership of The Property Ombudsman redress scheme

The Council has confirmed that it is taking action against CityWest Residential for breaches of the Consumer Rights Act.

Labour has pledged to turn CityWest Residential into an ethical lettings agent that supports long-term stable tenancies, should Labour win the Council elections in May 2018.

Posted in City West Homes, Labour Councillors, Private landlords, Private rented housing | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Westminster Tories sound the last post for resident consultation on planning permissions

For years one of the major sources of local resident complaint to local councillors has been when a controversial development has been given planning permission and they had not been informed it was happening. Too often the reason was because they fell outside the narrowly defined area to which the council sent a notification letter. Westminster Council Conservatives have now come up with an answer to the problem of only some residents getting notification letters about planning applications in their area- not sending letters to anyone!

The Tories are proposing saving £100,000 by scrapping the delivery of local letters about new planning applications, moving the notification system online. Labour would welcome the development of a digital system that all residents can access to be updated about planning issues of interest anywhere in the borough. However with a third of Westminster properties changing hands each year many residents might not be aware of the need to access such information and with many older residents not fully able to access online resources cutting out all postal deliveries will mean many residents will not know what is happening in their area until it is too late to have their say.

Conservative Westminster Council is one of the only councils in the country not to allow residents to speak at planning committee meetings and it continues to prioritise the needs of big developers by letting them slide out of their obligations to build affordable housing. Labour would put residents first, allowing them to have their say at meetings and not only retaining the council’s delivery of planning notification letters but expanding it. Labour would widen the circle of residents in the immediate neighbourhood eligible to be informed about planning applications and find new ways to engage the wider community around major developments.

Labour Group Leader Adam Hug said “For years the Conservative Council have been putting the needs of big developers before local residents in the planning process. Now they want to make it even harder for residents to have their say on changes that could dramatically impact their lives. Labour would stop this short-sighted proposal and give residents a real say over how planning decisions are taken in Westminster.”

Posted in Planning Committee, Planning permission, Public consultation | 2 Comments

Labour Action Team battles to save Covent Garden supermarkets

The St James’s Ward Labour Action Team is battling hard against the recently-announced closure of M&S in Long Acre and now potentially the Tesco store in King Street.

Colin Appleby, one of the St James’s Ward Labour Action Team, is writing to The Mercers Company, M&S’s landlord to ask them to reconsider their £1.25m a year rent increase. Colin is also writing to the landlord of the Tesco site and will be asking them to reconsider their rent increases, too.

And Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Labour’s Business spokesperson, will also be lobbying the Government for a reduction in the absurd increase in business rates that both stores are facing..

Colin Appleby said:

“The only two reasonably priced supermarkets in Covent Garden are being driven out by impending massive rises in both business rates and rents.

M&S has announced the closure of their Long Acre store in 2018 and Tesco are believed to be planning on closing their Covent Garden store

M&S faces an increase in rent of £1.25m per year and a £0.5m increase in rates.

The loss of the only two supermarkets in Covent Garden will be a devastating blow to the people that live, work and visit here.

We ask the landlords to reconsider the rent rises and we ask the government to reverse the crippling rises in business rates.

We encourage communities to shop locally, but with the closure of Tesco and M&S there will be no supermarket left to serve Covent Garden.

We need these supermarkets in the area. To see them both vanish only to be replaced by high priced fashion retailers or chain coffee shops would be a disservice to residents and tourists. “

Posted in Covent Garden, Labour Councillors, Rates, Supermarkets | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Labour Councillors call for CityWest Homes action on Churchill Gardens parking

Churchill Labour Councillors Shamim Talukder and Jason Williams have written to CityWest Homes Chief Executive Jonathan Cowie to ask him to undertake a review of parking regulations on the Churchill Gardens Estate.

Councillor Jason Williams said:

“We have seen increasing complaints from residents about parking on the estate. There are concerns that permits are not being checked, leading to congestion on the roads and vehicles parking without a permit.”

“We understand there will be a Traffic Management Order for the estate to regulate parking and enable Westminster’s Traffic Marshalls to patrol the estate, as well as issuing penalty notices. We want timescales for these measures to be implemented – and residents reassured that parking on the estate is fair and enables full access by the emergency services.”

Councillor Shamim Talukder said:

“Parking on the estate continues to be a cause of concern for residents and we hope CityWest Homes can reassure residents that these concerns are being taken seriously and measures taken to ensure fair parking for all.”

Letter

Dear Jonathan,

We are writing to raise residents’ concerns about parking on Churchill Gardens Estate.

We understand that CityWest Homes will shortly apply for a Traffic Management Order to enable Westminster’s Traffic Marshalls to patrol the estate and issue penalty notices. Can you please outline the timescales for these measures and what changes this will bring for residents?

We seek assurances that CWH will work with the community to develop a fair parking policy which deals effectively with the recurring parking issues on Churchill Gardens Road – where we have witnessed vehicles without permits parking and the road being blocked for emergency vehicle access.

Yours sincerely

Churchill Labour Councillors Shamim Talukder and Jason Williams

Posted in Churchill Gardens, Churchill Ward, Labour Councillors, Parking | Tagged , , | Leave a comment