Vincent Square Ward

VINCENT SQUARE WARD ACTION REPORT – November 2017

News from Justin Maynard, Ananthi Paskaralingam and Henry Tufnell 

Your Labour Action Team in Vincent Square Ward

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Page Street estate

We have taken up a number of individual concerns on behalf of residents. In addition, we have reported the following issues:

Abady House 

We have asked City West Homes and the Council to investigate residents’ concerns that a flat in Abady House is being used for drug dealing.

Bennett House 

We asked City West Homes to repair a defective lift in Bennett House. They say:

“We have asked the contractor to fit door closers to the lift landing doors, as a short-term solution in order to minimise a reoccurrence of this fault. We will continue to work with the new lift contractor (Precision Lifts) to closely monitor the performance of the lift at Bennett House.” 

Edric House

The Major Works team have confirmed that Edric House will receive major works starting 2018 which includes window overhaul, repair and redecoration.

Jessel House 

We have reported crumbling concrete on the main staircase in Jessel House. City West Homes say:

“Our building surveyors inspected this area and found that there were six missing tiles across four door entrances, none of which present a major H&S issue. An Order was raised on the same day to replace the broken tiles and this will be completed as a routine repair within the next 20 working days.” 

Schomberg House 

We have asked the Planning Enforcement Team to investigate a number of flats in Schomberg House which residents believe are being used as unauthorised short-term lets.

We have also asked City West Homes’ letting agency to ensure that leasehold flats are not let out on AirBnB and other holiday letting web sites.

We have asked City West Homes and the Council to investigate residents’ concerns about drug dealing in the basketball court behind Schomberg House. City West Homes say:

“We will be sending a witness appeal letter to Schomberg House advising residents how and who they should be reporting any drug related activities to, requesting they provide as much detail as possible. This will also give us the opportunity to assure residents that we are aware of the issues and are working hard to tackle these problems.” 

Residents’ Association 

Residents have asked if there is a Residents’ Association for the Page Street Estate. There is a residents’ group for Rogers House. If you are interested in helping to form a Residents’ Association for other blocks, please let us know.

Local housing

Following our discussions with local residents, the following concerns were most often repeated:

  • Overcrowding
  • Lack of affordable housing
  • Concerns on the way in which housing is being allocated – local people feel that the Council is not giving them sufficient access to housing when it is available.

Anti-social behaviour

Our local discussions with residents have identified concerns about Anti-Social behaviour, drug dealing and police presence. We spoke to a local Community Support Officer who said that they were going to increase their presence in the Ward over the coming weeks and would investigate the concerns we passed on to him.

Westminster Handyperson Service

The Council operates Handyperson Service with 2 handypersons working across the borough supporting residents across all tenures including City West Homes. It is a FREE service to anyone over 60 or for those under 60, on a disability benefit.

There is a £50 allowance for essential materials and residents are only able to use the service twice in any 12 months. It is not an emergency service but can tackle those little jobs around the home that older people can struggle with from changing a light bulb to putting shelves.

The following works are examples of the kind of jobs the service will carry out:

  • Home safety such as smoke detectors, grab rails, removing trip hazards.
  • Minor electrical work such as replacing broken sockets, switches and pull cords, replacing fuses.
  • Minor plumbing works, replacing tap washers, fitting lever taps, repairing leaks and unblocking sinks
  • Home energy efficiency – draught proofing, fitting low energy light bulbs.
  • General repairs and other minor jobs – moving furniture, small carpentry jobs, easing sticking doors, fixing curtain rails, hanging curtains, lowering shelves, putting up shelves.

What works are not covered?

  • Work involving gas appliances and boilers
  • Electrical works except those indicated above
  • Decorating
  • Gardening

The number to call to arrange the appointment is 0207 641 8959.

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 

London Living Wage

We are delighted that the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has increased the London Living Wage to £10.20p. He says:

“I am delighted to reveal today that the new London Living Wage is increasing to £10.20 – as promised when I ran to be Mayor, breaking the £10 mark for the first time ever. Working people keep my city and our country running. From cleaners and nursing assistants, to childminders and shop assistants. They deserve to live free from poverty. Today is a good step towards my ambition: a city and a country where everyone can share in our prosperity and everyone has a fair shot at succeeding.”

Vauxhall Bridge Road cycle lane – what you say

“I know I’ve moaned before, but, it is the wrong place for a cycle lane. It should be reverted to pavement. Many cyclists ignore crossing and belt past hell for leather! Pedestrians coming from crossing often slow down on road to let cycles pass.”

What you say

“Thank you for all your hard work and effort.”

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

If you know anybody who would like to receive this report please ask them to email me a pdimoldenberg@hotmail.co.uk and we will add them to the list.

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

Regards

 

Justin Maynard, Ananthi Paskaralingam and Henry Tufnell,

Your Labour Action Team in Vincent Square Ward

justin.maynard@me.com

ananthi8@hotmail.com

henrytufnell1@gmail.com

 

 

VINCENT SQUARE WARD ACTION REPORT – October 2017

News from Justin Maynard, Ananthi Paskaralingam and Henry Tufnell and Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, your Labour Action Team in Vincent Square Ward

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vauxhall Bridge Road

We have asked the Road Safety Team to investigate this issue with TfL: 

“The cycle lane outside The Swan Inn pub on Vauxhall Bridge Road. The concrete blocks that were placed in order to slow cyclists down as they go past the pub are at the wrong 90 degree angle. This means that cyclists can simply maintain the same speed as they go past. Apparently there have been an accident or two outside of the pub, as a direct result of this oversight during construction.”

Coburg Close

Following our enquiries about the need for new gates and the drug use at Coburg Close, L&Q have told us the following:

“I can confirm that we are liaising with contractors to attain quotes for the requested gates at Coburg Close, this work is on-going and once these have been received we will determine how best to progress. In the mean time residents need to ensure that they close the gate which is currently in situ, installing new gates would be of little effect if residents do not close them. In regards to the needle that was found, I can confirm that a needle was found by a resident and it was removed within hours by our caretaker, we have not received reports of any repeat incidents.”

Millbank Estate traffic

We are calling on the Council to tackle this long-standing issue affecting pedestrian and driver safety:

“I have observed 2 damage incidents this year and 2 other residents told me about their cars being damaged. We have been asking for the past 15 years to introduce speed limits across Millbank Estate streets, also referring to the Prinary school. Furthermore, there are now noticably more children living on the estate. We did have a time where there were speed humps around the estate. But with ambulance services being put under the development behind Millbank Estate they had to go over a decade ago. We have been complaining ever since. Herrick Street is regularly blocked during normal days by large trucks and buses. They are not following Marsham Street in to John Islip Street because the beginning of Herrick Street, with its wide opening, looks like the natural way to go and drivers very often overlook the sharp and narrow bend in to which Marsham Street continues between two Millbank Estate blocks.”

Parliament Square

Millicent Fawcett, the suffragist, will be the first woman honoured with a statue in Parliament Square. The statue, which is designed by Gillian Wearing, received final approval from Westminster City Council, though the design will have to be changed after Conservative Councillors raised concerns that the statue, which features the feminist leader holding up a placard with the slogan “Courage calls to courage everywhere”, looked from the side like Fawcett was holding up washing to a line.

Labour Planning committee member Jason Williams disagreed with fellow members saying: “It didn’t represent hanging washing to me, it represented the fight for Women suffrage on equal terms with men. This is just the start of more statutes and public art reflecting the integral role of Women in our society and our history.”

Nova development, Victoria – Update

We asked the Council for an update on the proposed new library which was promised as part of the Nova development and we have received the following reply:

“The agreement with Land Securities who are developing Nova is to provide a community facility or cash contribution on completion of Nova2. We have been in contact with them and confirmed that a library is required, however they have not confirmed a start date for Nova2, and the reason they are giving is instability in the London commercial property market at the present time. This will affect the whole of the Nova2 scheme not just the community element. As the library provision is contingent on the whole scheme it is not possible to give a date for provision at this stage.”

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?”

Did you know?

Across the road from the Morpeth Arms pub there is a large stone post. It is an original, and marks the spot where prisoners were taken from the vast 18-acre Millbank Prison, where Tate Britain now stands, to be transported to Australia. It is said that the word “Pom” – as in Prisoner of Millbank – originated here. The prison closed in 1890.

The Morpeth Arms, a carefully restored Grade II listed building purchased by Youngs in 1984, is situated across the road from the post at the western end of the former jail. In its basement you can still see some of the cells and the blocked up entrance to the tunnel that prisoners passed through to reach a waiting boat on the river.

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

If you know anybody who would like to receive this report please ask them to email me a pdimoldenberg@hotmail.co.uk and we will add them to the list.

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

Regards

Justin Maynard, Ananthi Paskaralingam and Henry Tufnell,

Your Labour Action Team in Vincent Square Ward

 

 

 

VINCENT SQUARE WARD ACTION REPORT – September 2017

News from Justin Maynard, Ananthi Paskaralingam and Henry Tufnell and Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, your Labour Action Team in Vincent Square Ward

Greycoat Street and Rochester Row

We have asked the Council to locate bins in the Greycoat Street/Rochester Row area after receiving this message: 

“Just walked home to Greycoat Street from Victoria Street. Sun shining and trees in bloom and dog poo bagged and un-bagged popping up. Please we have asked Westminster Council for increased signage about dog waste and a dog waste bin to be placed somewhere in the vicinity. We understand the security risks and the lack of litter bins but walking dog poo on the shoe into the carpeted common parts of a block of apartments is not welcomed.”

The Council say:

“Bagged dog waste should be cleared by the road sweeper for the area.  To ensure that this does not continue to be missed, we have spoken to the area local manager for Veolia and conducted a joint visit to the area.  It was acknowledged that some of these dog bags have been missed and the area will be kept under special scrutiny for the foreseeable.  we will review this area as part of his daily patrols to ensure that the issue is being dealt with.    

Our Animal Warden is also arranging for some more ‘no dog fouling’ signs for the road to replace any that have gone missing.  The same applies for the “Dog Waste Accepted Here” notices on the bins themselves. We have identified a street litter bin to move to this location and we are awaiting an installation date. I have asked that this be done as soon as possible. Joint patrols will also take place with Animal Warden over the next few weeks to see if any enforcement penalties are necessary.”

Vauxhall Bridge Road 

We have called on Transport for London (TfL) to take strong action against drivers who park illegally on the Vauxhall Bridge Road Red Route and cause increased pollution through traffic congestion and tailbacks along this important traffic artery.

Residents have been calling for action from TfL for some months after reporting the regular misuse of a redundant loading bay outside The Surprise pub on Vauxhall Bridge Road. Residents say:

“I was walking on Vauxhall Bridge Road. The southbound carriageway road was blocked from Victoria to the bridge with stationary traffic. I noticed that a small black car was parked in the delivery bay outside the small Kebab shop next to the ‘Surprise at Pimlico’ pub. This bay interrupts the bus lane and one would imagine that any conscientious driver would try to avoid using it particularly at rush hour. All public transport was being forced to deviate from the bus lane into the single general traffic lane in order to proceed southbound. This deflection of public transport into the general traffic lane was an added cause of blockage in the single general traffic lane. I did not see anyone unloading from the small black car into the kebab shop. Two hours later a small black car was again parked in the small delivery bay. It looked like the car which had been parked there two hours earlier.”

The Red Route rules are “No stopping Mon-Sat except for (un)loading 10am to 4pm and for a maximum stay of 20 minutes.

TfL say:

“We are currently reviewing the bus lane hours on Vauxhall Bridge Road to meet our objective of improving bus journey times along this corridor. The loading bay by ‘The Surprise at Pimlico’ will be included in this review and we will consider whether a change in the hours of operation is required, or if the bay should be removed entirely. We expect to carry out any proposed changes resulting from our findings next spring. In the meantime, we will continue to enforce against unauthorised parking in this loading bay using our cameras and to take appropriate action against anyone who violates the parking rules.

In addition to camera enforcement, we fund Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) from the Metropolitan Police Service Roads and Transport Policing Command. Both PCSO deployments and camera enforcement activity are carried out on an intelligence led basis, and concerns can be reported directly to us for investigation by visiting: https://tfl.gov.uk/help-and-contact/contact-us-about-streets-and-other-road-issues.

We have passed the feedback about Vauxhall Bridge Road to our enforcement team and will ensure the vicinity is monitored on a more frequent basis.”

Grosvenor Estate 

We are in discussion with residents and City West Homes about helping to set up an estate wide residents group in Grosvenor Estate.

Rogers House

We are supporting residents of Rogers House who are pressing City West Homes to work with them to use the CCTV more effectively in the pursuit and prevention of drug dealing and anti-social behavior.

Coburg Close

We have asked the Council to liaise with L&Q on the repeated instances of anti-social behaviour in Coburg Close.

Emanuel House 

Residents have asked us to make enquiries of City West Homes why “without notification, management of Emanuel House was dumped by CityWest Homes/WCC into the incompetent hands of Mainstay. As an ALMO, my understanding is that CWH is controlled by WCC and the final decision of the Council’s”

Lambeth Bridge/Millbank roundabout

We are making enquiries with TfL about this issue: 

We are extremely preoccupied with the TfL plans to abolish the roundabout at the Milbank end of Lambeth Bridge which is working well and helping traffic to access the three opposite directions. No explanation is given for this change, besides requiring to fell a really mature palm tree on the round about. The impact of these changes will be that the traffic will diffuse to the narrow residential streets, including Smith Square and adjacent areas instead of staying on the main roads.”

 “I believe the whole consultation exercise thus far is void, as the consultation document fails at any point to advert to the overwhelmingly negative effect of the proposals on journey times for all classes of road-user (especially cyclists!). In fact, there is no explicit information on the effects on journey times overall in the main document!”

Westminster City Hall, Victoria Street

Residents have asked:

“Do you know what are the plans for Westminster City Hall? This week there seems to be scaffolding being erected around it. Although it is not a building of beauty many residents do feel affection for it particularly in the context of the developments in Victoria!”

The Council is refurbishing City Hall and has relocated to 5 The Strand for the next 18 months while the work is being done.

John Islip Street

We have asked TfL why the bus-stop for the C10 and 88 along John Islip Street on the Millbank Gardens side of the street has been replaced by a temporary stop.

Vincent House, Regency Street

We are making enquiries with City West Homes about the action taken to deal with the issues identified by the Fire Inspection in 2010. We have also asked when the building will be inspected by the Fire Authorities following the Grenfell tragedy.

Sanctuary Buildings, Great Smith Street

We are supporting residents who are opposing the planning application for the refurbishment and extension of the Sanctuary Buildings, Great Smith Street. Residents say:

“We oppose the proposed roof extension which will block what little light Abbey Orchard Street estate has already. We have had enough of our area being destroyed by high rise buildings. We shall also suffer increased noise, loss of the few parking spaces we already have and increased pollution. St Matthews Primary school is adjacent as well as The Abbey Centre and the Archive Centre. The Salvation Army Hostel is one for vulnerable residents and the disruption to all of us will be huge”

New Scotland Yard

Mayor Sadiq Khan has rejected plans which would have lowered the proportion of affordable housing on the former site of New Scotland Yard. The site was sold by the previous Mayor who then allowed planning permission to be granted for a development offering a £10m payment and only 10 affordable homes, just four per cent of all units, in 27 April 2016, days before the Mayoral election.

The developer then sought to increase the total number of homes by 27, from 268 to 295, with no increase in the number of affordable units or payment in lieu, meaning the level of affordable housing fell further still to only three per cent.

The application was referred to the Mayor after Westminster City Council’s draft decision in May.

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.

Nova development, Victoria

According to the ‘Evening Standard’, “A garish office development opposite London’s Victoria station has been crowned the UK’s ugliest building after winning the 2017 Carbuncle Cup. Nova Victoria, a bright red £380m office complex, was among three of the capital’s buildings to make the shortlist for the architecture prize which is awarded annually by Building Design Magazine. The project was granted approval in 2009 and it was the biggest consent Westminster Council had ever awarded.”

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/nova-victoria-wins-carbuncle-cup-as-three-london-buildings-make-shortlist-to-be-named-2017s-worst-a3627846.html

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

What you say

“Thank you so much for these updates and for previous support especially regarding the countdown light next to the Queen Mother Sports Centre on Vauxhall Bridge Road and Francis Street.” 

“Thank you for your regular newsletters, much appreciated”

“Receiving your always informative newsletter prompts this email.”

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

 

Regards

 

Justin Maynard, Ananthi Paskaralingam and Henry Tufnell,  

Your Labour Action Team in Vincent Square Ward

 

 

 

VINCENT SQUARE WARD ACTION REPORT – August 2017

News from Justin Maynard, Ananthi Paskaralingam and Henry Tufnell and Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, your Labour Action Team in Vincent Square Ward

Hide Tower

Following our enquiries about Hide Tower, City West Homes has told us:

“All the tower blocks owned by Westminster (including Hide Tower) will be having fire risk assessments carried out by an independent consultant over the next few months. Any urgent actions arising from the inspections will be dealt with as a matter of priority. 

In addition, sprinklers will be fitted in all existing buildings above 30 metres managed by CityWest Homes. This is typically blocks of over twelve storeys which will include Hide Tower.”

Millbank Estate and smoke detectors

We have taken up this issue with City West Homes:

“Following the devastating fire at Grenfell we thought more about fire prevention (I’m sure we all did) and it came to our notice that in the common areas, i.e. the stairs and hallways, that there are no smoke detectors.  We queried this with MEMO who said they’re not required even though they are required inside each flat.  This seems strange given that there are electric lights and service sockets etc in the common areas which have the potential to catch fire.  We can also confirm that there are no fire extinguishers in the common areas.”

Wilkie House, Millbank Estate

We have asked City West Homes to take emergency action to deal with a serious leak in to a flat below. City West Homes has told us:

“The leak was from a flat opposite that leaked into the communal area.   This leak has now been addressed. The other issue was with the water from the down pipes, which is due to an overflow with a boiler and issues as part of the water tank replacement works. This has also been resolved.”

Greencoat Row

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“I have a concern about the motorcylce park which is located immediately in front of our window. It is the diesel fuel that we often inhale. The problem is the actual parking and the position of the bikes. They park back to front and often leave their engines running, instead of turning them off. If they could park front to back, facing our window, this would help a little. Is there anything we can do to prevent inhalation of diesel fuel from these motorcycles? It is well known that diesel fuel causes serious disease such as cancer.”

The Council say:

“We have instructed our marshals and our Engine Idling team to increase patrols in a bid to mitigate the pollution caused by the motorcycle engines being left running unnecessarily, they will ask the motorcyclists to switch off their engines and issue notices if they refuse.  It is most likely that the engines are petrol rather than diesel, and so in theory cause less pollution, but I appreciate the exhaust fumes are still unpleasant.  The Council has no authority to ask that motorcyclists park facing the kerb, directing their exhaust fumes into the road instead of into the building.  “

Helicopter Noise

We are making enquiries about this issue

“Residents are protesting about helicopter noise on two major counts. One is the number of them that hover above the properties facing the Thames. I am told there can be up to 15 at one time. Their other objection to helicopters are those on night-time tours over London that are being allowed to follow the line of the river.”

Regency Street – Update

We have received this message from the Local Problem Solving Coordinator about cases of antisocial behavior in Regency Street:

“Please note that I have in fact been in communication with your local Vincent Square police team concerning this, who are now aware. Please do keep me updated if any re-occurrence takes place or further concerns come to light.”

Housing Advice for Private Tenants 

Mick Beirne and Robert Newton provide a Housing Advice and Tenancy Relations service for private tenants and licensees living in Westminster. They give free legal advice to occupiers in the private rented sector – that includes security, repair, rent, etc., and can take up their cases depending on the issue. They also enforce the criminal law as it relates to the landlord and tenant relationship – harassment, illegal eviction, etc.

To contact them call 020 7641 1000 and their colleagues will put the call through.

Mick Beirne and Robert Newton
Housing Adviser/Tenancy Relations Officer
T:020 7641 1000
F: 020 7598 1720
E:mbeirne@wcchos.org.uk and rnewton@wcchos.org.uk

Also, Noreen O’Neil of the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) helps with prevention of eviction and debt problems. Appointments can be made via 020 7641 1000.

Westminster Council and City West Homes put residents ‘on hold’

Westminster City Council and its housing organisation CityWest Homes have left residents hanging on the telephone since closing estate offices and replacing them with a new call centre. We campaigned against shutting estate offices and warned that the new call centre plan would face significant problems.

Since the introduction of the ‘new CityWest operating model’ in June, we have been inundated with stories of residents facing long waiting times (up to an hour in some cases) as CityWest underestimated the number of people who had complaints or needed help. Furthermore, residents have not been called back or have been given unsatisfactory holding responses from call centre teams who are struggling with the case load.

The new system has come under further strain due to concerns in the wake of the Grenfell fire, with residents unable to speak to local staff in their offices to get reassurance and being made to join the call centre queues.

After these initial troubles and complaints CWH has brought in more temporary staff but residents are still facing substantial waits. We are calling on the Council and CityWest to get a grip of the situation, to look again at staffing numbers to deal with the higher than expected call volumes and returning CWH staff to the frontline in local offices to help address residents’ concerns.

http://westendextra.com/article/calls-to-bring-staff-back-to-empty-estate-offices-after-call-line-fiasco

What you say

“Many thanks for your Action Reports which are always appreciated.” 

“Thank you again for all your hard work on behalf of Vincent Square Ward residents.” 

“Thank you so much for all your positive pro-activeness! We need more people around like you and your team!”

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

If you know anybody who would like to receive this report please ask them to email me a pdimoldenberg@hotmail.co.uk and we will add them to the list.

Regards

Justin Maynard, Ananthi Paskaralingam and Henry Tufnell,

Your Labour Action Team in Vincent Square Ward

 

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg

Labour Business, Planning and Public Realm Environment spokesperson

Westminster City Council Labour Group

 

 

VINCENT SQUARE WARD ACTION REPORT – July 2017

News from Labour Councillors and the Labour Action Team in Vincent Square Ward

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tower Blocks in Westminster

The horrific events at Grenfell Tower in North Kensington have shocked the country. We have been united in grief and so many have been moved to acts of great generosity and compassion.

Many residents have been asking questions and we, together with Karen Buck MP, have been putting these questions to Westminster Council Officers and CityWest Homes staff. A summary of these questions can be seen here: https://labourwestminster.wordpress.com/2017/06/17/tower-blocks-in-westminster-what-labour-have-been-asking-on-behalf-of-residents/

We have asked specifically about the situation at Hide Tower and the Millbank Estate where residents have been required to remove mats from outside their front doors, but where there have been no fire extinguishers for some years.

In a comment piece for the Guardian, Karen Buck MP writes:

“We already know that councils with substantial numbers of high-rise blocks need financial support to complete all necessary safety checks and remedial works. Yet local government has borne the brunt of central government spending cuts. Kensington, dependent on grant for almost three-quarters of its spending in 2009/10, has seen its budget shrink by 38 per cent from £253m to £156m. Westminster City Council’s has been cut by 48 per cent, Manchester’s by 37 per cent, Hackney’s 35 per cent, and Birmingham’s by 34 per cent (Surrey’s, which has fallen by 6 per cent, is another story): the list goes on. So councils need to know that the new costs imposed on them will be underwritten by Whitehall. And then the government needs to look at the impact of spending cuts on, among other things, environmental health inspectors, who are the front line of defence against many hazards in rented housing. The tragedy of Grenfell Tower exposes the over-stretched state of social housing, especially in London. Survivors must have priority for decent, affordable local homes. But that shouldn’t be at the expense of others who are homeless or in desperate housing need, although I fear it will.”

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/25/bill-protect-tenants-grenfell-housing-government

Petition to stop school cuts in Vincent Square Ward

We have started a petition calling on Westminster City Council to urge the Government to scrap the school funding proposals which will mean that five schools serving families in Vincent Square Ward will lose out, including, Millbank Academy (lose £72,000); Burdett Coutts School (lose £81,000); Greycoat School (lose £630,000); St Vincent de Paul School (lose £90,000) and St Matthews School (£113,000)

According to the schoolcuts website,

  • Millbank Academywill lose £72,000, equivalent to £179 per pupil, and will lose 2
    teachers
  • Burdett Coutts Schoolwill lose £81,000, equivalent to £282 per pupil, and will lose 2 teachers
  • Greycoat School will lose £630,000, equivalent to £816 per pupil, and will lose 16 teachers
  • St Vincent de Paul School will lose £90,000, equivalent to £453 per pupil, and will lose 2 teachers
  • St Matthews Schoolwill lose £113,000, equivalent to £675 per pupil, and will lose 3 teachers.

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

Regency Street 

We have asked the Council to investigate instances of anti-social behaviour reported by residents: 

“Six teenage boys hang out around the steps of Waterspring Court in Regency Street and the environs. They are loud and intimidating and indeed recently have been seen chasing and verbally abusing passers-by. Not in itself too bad, but I myself have hesitated to walk past them”   

Coach Parking 

We have continued to take up residents’ concerns about coach Parking near Westminster Abbey:

“We are still experiencing major problems regarding coach parking in the area around Abbey Orchard Street, Great Smith Street and now the Abbey end of Victoria Street SW1. It is very difficult to alight from a bus in Victoria street at a bus stop as the buses are unable to park near the pavement. Today there were seven coaches parked in Victoria Street all with engines running to add to the pollution already experienced.” 

Regency Apartments

We are continuing to assist residents who are concerned about the noise coming from the garage doors at Regency Apartments. 

Queen Mother Sports Centre

We have reported this concern raised by a local resident to the Council:

“I wish to raise my concerns about the current state and risks posed by the ongoing breaches in the pool hall ceiling at the Queen Mother Sports Centre, Vauxhall Bridge Road. I believe that initially maintenance work was being undertaken, but the ceiling has never been re-sealed and has been open to the pool hall atmosphere for some considerable time now along with air-conditioning equipment. Pool halls have an extremely corrosive atmosphere particularly in relation to metalwork. A sealed ceiling arrangement is key and must be maintained to avoid the risk of corrosion / catastrophic collapse. “

Westminster Boating Base

There is a free Family Activity Summer Festival at Westminster Boating Base from Sunday 6th August to Tuesday 8th August at 136 Grosvenor Road, Pimlico, SW1V 3JY. Activities include:

Kayaking · Sailing · Powerboating · Football, tennis & fencing with QPR coaches · Meet the RNLI Boat Crew and the Fire Brigade. · Safari Pete  · Vauxhall City Farm · Bouncy castle · Indoor rowing · Health & wellbeing

Whether you intend to participate in watersports or just spectate, REGISTER IN ADVANCE on-line where there are also parental consent forms.

For further details please go to www.westminsterboatingbase.co.uk/activities/family-activity-festival

Contact the Elderly

Contact the Elderly is a national charity solely dedicated to tackling loneliness and social isolation among older people.  They are supported by a network of volunteers and organise free monthly Sunday afternoon tea parties for groups of older people who live alone. They currently have 6 groups across the Westminster which have all been very successful.  The Westminster 38 group has been active for 47 years and has been run by the same committed group of volunteers. They very much want this group to continue to run and are therefore looking for new people to join this group, to volunteer as either a volunteer tea party host, volunteer coordinator or volunteer driver.

For further information contact Christina Jackson on 020 3865 3382
Christina.Jackson@contact-the-elderly.org.uk

www.contact-the-elderly.org.uk

Westminster Reporter

A resident has started a petition calling on the Council to cease publication of the Westminster Reporter.

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

What you say

“I would like to congratulate and thank you and your Councillors on the emails that you issue regularly to residents in your Wards actioning concerns and solving all sorts of problems. “

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

If you know anybody who would like to receive this report please ask them to email me a pdimoldenberg@hotmail.co.uk and we will add them to the list.

Regards

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg

Labour Business, Planning and Public Realm Environment spokesperson

Westminster City Council Labour Group

 

 

VINCENT SQUARE WARD ACTION REPORT – June 2017

News from Labour Councillors and the Labour Action Team in Vincent Square Ward

 

 

 

 

 

 

Millbank Estate – street lighting

Residents told us that street lights around the Millbank estate are burning 24/7. We have asked for this be checked and the necessary action taken.

Page Street

We have asked the Council to repair a dangerous area of pavement outside 83 Page Street. The Council say:

“I can confirm that works have been raised for the paving to be repaired. All should be completed within the next 10 days.”

Regency Apartments 

We have again asked the Council to investigate the noisy door on the garage of Regency Apartments which has been causing problems for neighbouring residents for some time. Residents say:

“The noise from the garage door continues to be a nuisance to me and my neighbours. For example, I was woken by it around 20-25 minutes ago (before 5am) – it has been happening continuously and without interruption since then (I am not sure if the door is stuck perhaps but the noise now also appears to be happening for prolonged periods of time non-stop every so often, in addition to when vehicles come and go).  As you will appreciate, having interrupted/disturbed sleep every night and for so many months is really taking its toll on me, so I am very keen to understand when this issue will be resolved.”

Tall Buildings

Westminster Council is currently consulting on potential future changes that would water down enormously the veto on extra height within the Borough.  In particular, they are already laying the ground to build tall in Victoria/ Park Lane, Paddington and around Tottenham Court Road.  This would damage Conservation Areas in Fitzrovia, Mayfair, Belgravia, Westminster, St James, as well as some of London’s most beautiful parks. The Skyline Campaign has started this petition

https://www.change.org/p/councillor-daniel-astaire-save-westminster-from-over-development-say-no-to-changing-policies-on-tall-buildings?recruiter=456279346&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=share_email_responsive

My Westminster Day – Sunday 18th June

The inaugural #MyWestminster Day is taking place on Sunday 18th June at Paddington Recreation Ground, with a programme of free events and family friendly activities. The event will celebrate the diversity of Westminster’s neighbourhoods and people, recognising all that unites everyone as one community in the heart of London. The event is part of a UK wide celebration of everything we have in common in memory of Jo Cox MP who was murdered a year ago.

There will be free food tasters from around the world and live entertainment from Ebony Steel Band, Rosie Holloway, The Blend Choir and the Time Loves quintet amongst others.

Sporting activities include beat the goalie, quick feet challenge and other football taster sessions run by QPR in the Community; there will also be tennis coaching, bowls, a parkour course and bungee trampolines. Additional highlights include face-painting, storytelling, plant potting, free bike checks and repairs, and free dog microchipping.

Sunday 18th June is Father’s Day, so there will be a special Father’s Day card making stand and a Father’s Day race.

All activities will be free. Free transport will be available from across Westminster.

You can register your interest in attending, receive updates or organise free transportation by visiting – www.westminster.gov.uk/mywestminster

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

If you know anybody who would like to receive this report please ask them to email me a pdimoldenberg@hotmail.co.uk and we will add them to the list.

Regards

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg

Labour Built Environment spokesperson

Westminster City Council Labour Group

 

 

 

VINCENT SQUARE WARD ACTION REPORT – May 2017

News from Labour Councillors and the Labour Action Team in Vincent Square Ward

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vauxhall Bridge Road Clean Air Petition

Local residents have been telling us how air pollution from this busy road is affecting their lives on an almost daily basis. Vauxhall Bridge Road has exceptional levels of traffic, as it’s part of the London ring road and a boundary to the congestion charge zone. It is also a high-density residential area where many vulnerable people live – including children and the elderly – and numerous schools are within half a mile of the road. Families live overlooking major areas of traffic congestion, while other local residents cross it regularly throughout the day to access shops, schools and local buses and Tubes.

We are calling on Mayor Sadiq Khan and Westminster City Council to put Vauxhall Bridge Road at the top of their air pollution hit lists. Please join us and sign the petition below.

http://www.westminsterlabour.co.uk/cleanair

“I live in Anchor Court sheltered housing on Vauxhall Bridge Road. There are traffic lights and a bus stop right outside the building and traffic and buses queue up discharging fumes all day long which we breath in especially when we have our windows open.”

“I have lived in Pimlico my entire life. Over the last few years I have noticed that when I sleep with the windows open I always wake up with a soar throat and a headache. I wouldn’t have expected to suffer from pollution as an otherwise healthy 22 year old but it is a big problem. Buckingham Palace Road, Grosvenor Road, Vauxhall Bridge Road are all bad too especially on a bicycle. My eyes get quite sore.”

“As the mother of several children who went to Millbank Primary school and travelled via Vauxhall Bridge Road everyday for many years, I would welcome the air being cleaner for all the residents.”

Crime update

Police were called at approximately on Friday, 12th May to reports of a man stabbed in Rochester Row, near the junction with Vauxhall Bridge Road. Officers and London Ambulance Service attended and found the victim, a 20-year-old man, suffering from a stab wound – he was taken to a south London hospital for treatment; his injury is not life threatening. 

Faulty Pavements

If you have ever fallen on a faulty pavement you can contact the Council via this link: https://www.westminster.gov.uk/accidents-and-insurance-claims-against-council

Rogue Landlords

Rogue landlords will be “named and shamed” by a new online database set up by the Mayor to protect private renters. They will be able to check whether prospective landlords and letting agents have been previously prosecuted for housing offences before they move into a property. They will also be able to report suspected rogue landlords and agents whose accommodation and service falls below acceptable legal standards. The database, to be published on the Mayor’s website, will enable the Council to easily share information on enforcement and investigations and act as a deterrent.

Parliament Square

According to the press:

“A planned bronze statue of Lady Thatcher would portray the former prime minister sternly gazing “slightly rightwards” over the Houses of Parliament that she dominated for more than a decade. The proposed memorial to Britain’s longest-serving post-war premier, which was bitterly opposed by her daughter Carol because it did not feature her trademark handbag, has the Iron Lady standing resolutely in her Order of the Garter regalia. The row is set to be reignited after a planning application for the statue, which would be placed on a stone plinth at the back of Parliament Square, was lodged with Westminster City Council.” 

Tall Buildings

The Skyline campaign has launched a petition against the Council’s proposal to allow more tall buildings in Westminster:

https://www.change.org/p/councillor-daniel-astaire-save-westminster-from-over-development-say-no-to-changing-policies-on-tall-buildings?recruiter=456279346&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=share_email_responsive

Register to Vote

The deadline to register is Monday 22 May and residents can register at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

Anyone who is already registered to vote does not need to re-register. If you have moved home in the last few months and have not registered to vote at your new address you still have time to register at your new location.

The other key dates to note are the postal vote application deadline which is 5pm, Tuesday 23 May and the proxy vote application deadline is 5pm, Wednesday 31 May.

More information can be found by visiting www.westminster.gov.uk/general-election-2017

Ibrahim Dogus is the Labour Candidate in the Cities of London and Westminster on 8th June. For information about him please visit https://labourwestminster.wordpress.com/ibrahim-dogus-for-the-cities-of-london-and-westminster-south/

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

If you know anybody who would like to receive this report please ask them to email me a pdimoldenberg@hotmail.co.uk and we will add them to the list.

Regards

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg

Labour Built Environment spokesperson

Westminster City Council Labour Group

Promoted and published by James Durcan, 48 Andrewes House, Barbican, London, EC2Y 8AX on behalf of Ibrahim Dogus, Flat 80, County Hall North, 5 Chicheley Street. London SE1 7PN

 

 

VINCENT SQUARE WARD ACTION REPORT – April 2017

News from Labour Councillors and the Labour Action Team in Vincent Square Ward

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vauxhall Bridge Road Clean Air Petition

Local residents have been telling us how air pollution from this busy road is affecting their lives on an almost daily basis. Vauxhall Bridge Road has exceptional levels of traffic, as it’s part of the London ring road and a boundary to the congestion charge zone. It is also a high-density residential area where many vulnerable people live – including children and the elderly – and numerous schools are within half a mile of the road. Families live overlooking major areas of traffic congestion, while other local residents cross it regularly throughout the day to access shops, schools and local buses and Tubes.

We are calling on Mayor Sadiq Khan and Westminster City Council to put Vauxhall Bridge Road at the top of their air pollution hit lists. Please join us and sign the petition below.

http://www.westminsterlabour.co.uk/cleanair

 “We regularly cross this road to go shopping, to the gym or out for a meal and the density of traffic and smell of fumes is really unpleasant. I worry about the very young children who also regularly cross this road – just waiting at the pedestrian crossing fills the lungs with fumes.”

“I live on Douglas Street and cross the Vauxhall Bridge Road frequently and cannot believe the constant line of semi stationary vehicles with running engines.”

“The air on Vauxhall Bridge Road is just so smelly, that I often try to avoid breathing. I think far too many lorries going through the center of London instead of using the M25. And the bus and coach engines could be cleaner and better maintained, not to mention the noise they produce.”

“As well as the pollution that you can smell as you walk along, the area has been ruined by the almost constant traffic jams that now build up since the introduction of cycle lanes. They are only used at peak times but the congestion impacts residents, pedestrians, bus passengers and drivers all the time.”

“I regularly walk this route through to Warwick Way and am old enough to remember the smog walking home in the early fifties. The pollution is far worse now than then and I fear for the health of our children”

Abell House, John Islip Street

We are making further investigations about this issue:

“I wrote to you a couple of years ago about how the trees in the pavement on John Islip street had been cut down when the Abell House development started. You kindly investigated and we were assured that the planning consent required the replacement of these trees (which from memory were a line of very fine Sorbus Arias). 

Now that the development has completed, there are no replacement trees anywhere to be seen. The developer has put in a small bank of poor quality bamboo outside their front entrance, but I sincerely hope that these are not their idea of an equal replacement for the trees that they cut down. I would hope that the planning department could ensure that the developer is made to fulfil its obligation and restore some similar quality trees to the pavement, as this is a stark concrete building and needs it’s visual impact softening.”

Causton Street playground – Update

Following our enquiries, we have received the following update from the Council:

“I have now had a site meeting with the police and the estate manager for the Millbank Estate Management Organisation (MEMO).  Both were concerned to hear of this complaint but were able to confirm they have had no reports of any kind of ASB or damage regarding the Causton Street playground/basketball court/toilets. What I can add is that the ‘cut-through’ referred to in the original complaint has been negated as the gate on the estate side, as opposed to the street side access, is now locked preventing its use”

Westminster: A city of skyscrapers?

Westminster Council has announced proposals to increase the number of tall buildings all over Westminster, including the Vincent Square and Victoria area. We are very concerned that these proposals will, if given the go ahead, signal a green light for the construction of more very tall buildings just as we have seen in other parts of London.

We agree with the need to provide more housing to accommodate a growing population and tackle the housing crisis. But we want sensible, well thought through plans which protect the West End’s unique character – not a rush to build more and more luxury housing which does nothing to meet the needs of residents.

We’d like to hear your views about Westminster’s plans for more tall buildings.

You can also let the Council know your views https://openforum.westminster.gov.uk/buildingheight 

Airbnb

Hundreds of flats and houses in Westminster are being illegally let out amid the Airbnb revolution, Parliament has been told. MPs warned against a “free-for-all” in short-term lettings causing misery for thousands of Londoners who live next door to these properties and hitting the housing stock for people to rent long term. They are demanding a crackdown on abuses of legislation which allows flats and houses to be rented out short term for up to 90 days a year. Labour MP Karen Buck said renting out properties for short holiday lets can produce up to three times the income of more traditional flat rentals. Growth in the industry is also contributing to a loss of residential accommodation, she told the Commons. Ms Buck wants the 90-day limit for renting out homes each year to be enforced. According to Westminster City Council a two-bed flat can earn £1,800 a week, compared with £620 for a short hold tenancy, she said.

What you say

“I want to thank you for all the work you have put in in finding me a shed. Fifteen years it has taken and they have allocated me one close to my flat. “

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

If you know anybody who would like to receive this report please ask them to email me a pdimoldenberg@hotmail.co.uk and we will add them to the list.

Regards

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg

Labour Built Environment spokesperson

Westminster City Council Labour Group

 

VINCENT SQUARE WARD ACTION REPORT – March 2017

News from Labour Councillors and the Labour Action Team in Vincent Square Ward

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vauxhall Bridge Road Clean Air Petition

Westminster was recently named one of its worst three boroughs for killer pollution. And within Westminster, one of the worst air pollution blackspots is Vauxhall Bridge Road.

Local residents have been telling us how air pollution from this busy road is affecting their lives on an almost daily basis. Vauxhall Bridge Road has exceptional levels of traffic, as it’s part of the London ring road and a boundary to the congestion charge zone. It is also a high-density residential area where many vulnerable people live – including children and the elderly – and numerous schools are within half a mile of the road. Families live overlooking major areas of traffic congestion, while other local residents cross it regularly throughout the day to access shops, schools and local buses and Tubes.

We are calling on Mayor Sadiq Khan and Westminster City Council to put Vauxhall Bridge Road at the top of their air pollution hit lists. Please join us and sign the petition below.

http://www.westminsterlabour.co.uk/cleanair

Residents say:

“I live on Vauxhall Bridge Road. We suffer extreme pollution and noise, not just from traffic but from road works that go on throughout the night. Secondary glazing for flats facing onto Vauxhall Bridge Road at the very least”

“I try wherever possible to avoid the busy routes to avoid the pollution, however I have to cross Vauxhall Bridge Road daily to access the Pimlico tube station and my children’s school. The smell of the pollution has been getting more noticeable and makes me very concerned for my children’s health. Every time one of my children or their friends develop a long standing cough or asthmatic condition I question whether it’s linked to the high air pollution on busy local roads. Please do something to improve this.”

“I walk over Vauxhall Bridge daily and recently the pollution has been so bad I’ve had to take a bus to work instead. Something needs to be done!”

“I cross Vauxhall Bridge Rd when I take my children to school in the morning. The smell of fumes from the traffic is awful and I worry about my children.”

Horseferry Road

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

“I have written before about coaches parked on Horseferry Road outside St George’s Gardens who run their engines and you kindly asked the council to keep an eye on this. I wanted to advise that it is still happening and I have just photographed two coaches running their engines whilst parked. I would be grateful if you could pass this onto the council and I hope that the companies concerned could be written to or fined.”

The Council say:

“We already send our engine idling team here twice a day to enforce any offences they find and to educate the coach drivers. We have also been working closely with Transport for London and the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT), which is the trade association for the bus and coach industry, to help promote our engine idling campaign and to get this important message out to the industry. They are directly contacting their members (and non-members) to make them aware of the issues here, to get the drivers to turn their engines off when stationery.

We will continue to regularly patrol this location with our engine idling team, and I will vary and increase the times of our visits to try and engage with as many companies who use this location as possible.”

Douglas Street

We are continuing to support residents who are opposed to allowing cyclists to travel down Douglas Street, between Chapter Street and Vincent Square, which is currently one-way. Residents say:

“The proposal was to create a cycle route from Chapter Street to Vincent Square and to remove the car parking.  The road is currently a one-way street from Vincent Square to Chapter Street but these rules are ignored by cyclists.  The pavement is narrow and used by many local families as a route to and from school.  A further complication is Westminster Under School which has buildings on either side of the street.  Vehicles from Hyde Place turning into Douglas Street tend to occupy the whole of the road creating a further hazard.  Cyclist going up Douglas Street the wrong way are at risk from being hit by vehicles entering from the one way system around Vincent Square.”

Causton Street playground

We have asked the Council to liaise with the police on this issue:

“Regarding the vandalism of the toilets in Causton Street playground, I would suggest that there should be some liaison on this between WCC and police. It is worrying that such violent vandalism is going on in a children’s playground and it is a matter of personal safety not just locked toilets. I don’t think accompanied adults are supposed to be going into the playground but I frequently saw adults cutting through the playground. Gated passages on nearby estates were also being used in this way right through to Hide Tower which coincided with the recent reports of drug dealing on the estate. A few strategically placed security cameras would seem like a good idea. I know WCC got rid of these for cost saving measures but there should be some monitoring of who is going into the playground inappropriately if such incidents are occurring regularly.”

Page Street

A Page Street resident is very concerned that she is unable to park her car in her disabled parking place as Wates’ vans are parking illegally. We have asked the Parking Department to tell Wates to stop parking in designated disabled parking space.

Queen Mother Sports Centre 

Residents have once again asked us to report the poor state of parts of the Sports Centre swimming pool:

  • The swimming pool lane ropes are very dangerous as they are secured with a spanner.
  • The children’s waiting area drains are blocked and backing up.
  • A safety glass in the public gallery is broken. 

Chadwick Street Jobcentre

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is proposing to relocate the services currently delivered by Westminster Jobcentre in Chadwick Street to St Marylebone Jobcentre in Lisson Grove, over 3 miles away.

You can view the public consultation document at www.gov.uk/government/consultations]www.gov.uk/government/consultations .

DWP is seeking views on this proposal, including the impact on travel times and costs, and on support available to claimants and the wider population.

Millbank Roundabout 

Millbank roundabout has been named as the scene of more cycling casualties than anywhere else in Great Britain, according to research published in The Sunday Times. Moira Gemmill, aged 55, was crushed to death in April 2015 at a roundabout on Millbank at the north end of Lambeth Bridge. According to research, the junction was the scene of 53 incidents that resulted in a cyclist being killed or injured between 2009 and 2015. Transport for London was heavily criticised in December after it unveiled plans for a temporary redesign of the road layout around the roundabout ahead of launching a consultation over permanent changes. Former London Cycling Commissioner Andrew Gilligan said that a better design than the temporary one had been drawn up in 2013. Disagreements between Westminster City Council and TfL meant it was never implemented.

http://road.cc/content/news/217464-britains-worst-blackspots-cycling-casualties-revealed

20 mph zone 

We have asked the Council to include the area around Millbank School and Vincent de Paul School in the 20mph trial zones in order to increase pedestrian safety. 

Small business premises

We have asked the Council what help can be given to small businesses to provide affordable premises:

“I note that several former office buildings in the Millbank area have been turned in to luxury developments. Soon we will have Millbank Tower vacated as it is turned in to an property investment opportunity. Pimlico and Millbank need affordable spaces for its characteristic small businesses. It also makes environmental sense. Daily commuting to work to the periphery of London whilst trying to reduce air pollution is a contradiction. With Westminster’s high business rates it’s already difficult to remain local and leases for business premises are going through the roof as space disappears. What is WCC doing for small businesses and the increasing number of self-employed people working from cramped conditions at home?”

Millbank Estate

You might find these documents about the history of the Millbank Estate of interest

https://municipaldreams.wordpress.com/2013/06/04/the-millbank-estate-westminster-a-memorial-to-the-endeavours-of-local-government-to-improve-londoners-housing/

http://www.socialhousinghistory.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Early_LCC_Housing_Part_3_13-Millbank_Estate.pdf

Erasmus Street – what you say

“Thank you for your intervention. After 3 years of repeated complains about several, increasingly dangerous spots in Erasmus Street pavement areas, the Council finally moved and repaired them after Labour was eventually called in for help. It pays off to have an engaged opposition party.”

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

Regards

 

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg

Labour Business, Planning and Public Realm spokesperson

Westminster City Council Labour Group

 

VINCENT SQUARE WARD ACTION REPORT – February 2017

News from Labour Councillors and the Labour Action Team in Vincent Square Ward

vincent-square-action-team

 

 

 

 

 

 

Morland House, Millbank Estate

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue: 

“I’ve been speaking to a few residents in my block on Milbank Estate – Morland House – and have discovered that there’s a real issue with the recycling bin in the courtyard of Morland House. There used to be recycling bins on a small island in the neighbouring road – where Marsham Street, Erasmus Street & Herrick Street meet. The Council removed the bins from this island some time ago; as a result, residents of Hepburn House on Marsham Street – just across the road from Morland House  – are now coming over and using the one recycling bin that’s in the Morland House courtyard.

This one recycling bin simply isn’t enough for both properties – it is regularly full; and in addition, our courtyard is private property – that recycling bin is for Morland House residents’ use only. Please could Westminster Council look into restoring the recycling bins – at least putting one – where they used to be, on the island? Or if that is not possible, can they please give residents of Hepburn House a recycling bin near their own property (e.g. On the lower end of Vincent Street)?”

The Council say: 

“I have arranged to have recycling bins installed at Hepburn House which should very quickly remove the need for their residents to use the Morland House bins. I am sure you will appreciate that the council cannot manage who enters the Millbank Estate so to tackle capacity problems I have also arranged with the Millbank Estate Manager to install an additional recycling bin at Morland House on a temporary basis. If Hepburn House residents were the primary cause of the overflow problems then this should hopefully become apparent very quickly and we can remove the additional recycling bin.”

Millbank Estate – sheds

We are supporting residents’ concerns at the poor way in which the Millbank Estate shed allocation system is working, with some residents waiting a very long time to get a shed.

Causton Street playground 

We are making enquiries about the following issue raised by residents: 

“Causton Street playground is a very popular playground especially in the summer, with fountains the kids like to splash about in. There are toilets at the playground which are a godsend. Having toilet facilities on site can really turn a short trip to the park into a day-out. Towards the end of the summer it was noticed that the toilets were locked all the time, causing inconvenience to those hoping to find them open.

I called the ‘Park Manager’ number shown on the ‘byelaw’ sign but was connected to the ‘street, rubbish and environmental helpline’ who were unsure how to process the query. I was eventually told the toilets had been locked due to vandalism; the vandalism in question was apparently a damaged lock which had been forced. I did email the council on an email provided, but am yet to receive any acknowledgement. I appreciate that it may not always be possible to leave the toilet unlocked, but the council could display the times that they are open. The sign should be updated with the appropriate contact details.”

The Council says:

“Whilst we seek to ensure that an attendant is on duty at this location during the summer holiday period (when the Splash Play area is operating) and at other peak times, we do not currently have a permanent staff presence at this site as the attendant is also responsible for managing and maintaining a number of other local parks and open spaces.  Unfortunately, when the attendant is not on site we have experienced substantial vandalism of the facilities including sinks and cisterns being smashed and the door being regularly forced open. The facilities have been repeatedly repaired and a steel reinforced door installed however we have now taken the decision to lock the toilets when the attendant is not on site. We are currently reviewing staffing arrangements across our parks and open spaces and Causton Street has been identified as a priority for an increased staff presence during the busier Spring to Autumn period. If it is impractical to have a permanent presence during opening times we will post notices confirming daily times when the toilet facilities will be guaranteed to be open.”

Page Street – Westminster Plumbing Supplies

We were very pleased to help celebrate the opening of the new plumbing supplies business at 83 Page Street with the owner and we were delighted to support a local business to get started in Vincent Square ward.

Westminster Plumbing Supplies is offering 30% off every Friday until the end of March. Open Monday – Saturday. More details from 020 7821 0111 and www.westminstersupplies.co.uk

Neathouse Place – Rough Sleepers

We have asked the Council to liaise with their colleagues in other agencies to tackle this issue:

“I have a concern about rough sleepers in Neathouse Place. I had the misfortune to walk from Vauxhall Bridge Road under the arch of Neathouse Place into Wilton Road this morning. The entire pavement was littered with debris from fast food outlets as

well as food from foil containers. It was hard not to slip on and coupled with urine and strewn rubbish from the two people with their suitcases it became an impossible pavement to walk on.  

Living in Abbey Orchard Street we are surrounded by hostels such as St. Georges who are not managing their drug related problems of their residents at all. Every day there are at least two ambulances outside which stretch resources of a well used service. I cannot go into my local supermarket, Tesco Monck Street, without

being accosted by people begging and once inside find there is always someone that the staff are trying to get rid of.” 

The Council say: 

“We are aware of the escalation of issues at Neathouse Place outside of Argos.  Unfortunately, I think we are seeing some displacement on the back of recent action taken against Victoria Gardens Development Ltd. regarding rough sleeping issues at Stockley House on Wilton Road (just opposite this area).   We issued them with a Community Protection Notice requiring them to clear and secure the areas which were attracting rough sleepers and suffering from associated waste issues.  We are now however working closely with them and they have subsequently cleared the area and plans are afoot to hoard off vulnerable areas which were attracting rough sleepers to that location.

In regards to Neathouse Place there are 2 individuals who frequent this location and we have engaged with them. We are also working with Victoria BID security who are also targeting this location and doing what they can do shift people from this area. Starting on 13th February we have 3 weeks of sustained begging/rough sleeping operations taking place in the Victoria area and this location will be targeted by City Inspectors, Police and outreach in order that a holistic approach is taken to get these individuals off of the street and to clear this location.” 

Defective street lights

We have reported defective street lights in the following locations:

  • Street light not working outside 60 Regency Street (North Side)
  • Street light not working outside Grey Coat School (North Side Regency Street – directly opposite the entrance to Peel House)
  • Street light not working outside the new Pret-a-Manger (Rampayne Street – East Side of Vauxhall Bridge Rd)
  • Sign light (one way) not working outside Millbank Spice (Rampayne Street – East Side of Vauxhall Bridge Rd)

Causton Street/Ponsonby Street

We have asked the Council to fix this problem reported to us by a resident:

“On the corner of Causton Street and Ponsonby Place there is a fire hydrant cover that is leaking water down the steps into the nearest drain. I’m worried that if we have a very cold spell the steps could freeze up and become a hazard. It has been leaking for at least 48 hours.”

Carlisle Place

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

  • Thames Water had done some work in the street and left a “hump” after they had finished their work
  • The basements in the flats had flooded in the autumn and they were still waiting for Thames Water to finish the work

Orleans Court

We are continuing to assist residents in Orleans Court with various repairs issues which, hopefully, are now resolved.

Regency Apartments, Montaigne Close – Update 

Residents tells us: 

“Just to give you a quick update – I have been in touch with the development manager and I went round to show him the source of the noise. The good news is he acknowledged that there is a loud noise coming from the door which shouldn’t be. He advised that the maintenance people were due to attend last week and I am hoping to get an update from him shortly. If that is not successful then I may need your assistance – I will let you know.”

Tackling pollution

New rules are soon to be in place by Westminster City Council in an attempt to tackle pollution and noise. Westminster City Council is running a campaign to raise awareness about the environmental and health dangers of vehicle idling, and from Saturday 4th February repeat offenders run the risk of being slapped with a fixed penalty notice (FPN).

Queen Mother Sports Centre

We raised this issue with the Council: 

“I just came back from swimming at the Queen Mother Sports Centre. The ceiling is broken again after just being repaired. Extremely dirty vent covers show no cleaning, probably for years. Who is checking this contractor?”

The Council says: 

“We’ve had some problems with the ceiling at Queen Mother for some time and it requires a long term repair.  To access the ceiling and the vents above the main pool will require the pool to be closed which will be a challenge given its usage and popularity. I’ve asked the contractor to investigate the feasibility of cleaning the vents around the perimeter of the pool and we’ll consider the long term options over the coming months.”

What you say

“Another useful Ward report”

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

If you know anybody who would like to receive this report please ask them to email me a pdimoldenberg@hotmail.co.uk and we will add them to the list.

Regards

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg

Labour Built Environment spokesperson

Westminster City Council Labour Group

 

VINCENT SQUARE WARD ACTION REPORT – January 2017

News from the Labour Action Team in Vincent Square Ward – Andrea Mann, Dan Hogan and Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg

 

vincent-square-action-team

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wilkie House, Millbank Estate

We have asked City West Homes and the Council to investigate reports of drug use and anti-social behaviour near Wilkie House. We have also asked that special attention is paid to designing out some of areas where those involved in anti-social behavior congregate.

Queen Mother Sports Centre

We have reported this issue to the Council:

“I just came back from swimming at the Queen Mother Sports Centre. The ceiling is broken again after just being repaired. Extremely dirty vent covers show no cleaning, probably for years. Who is checking this contractor?” 

Regency Apartments, Montaigne Close – Update

Following concerns expressed by Gladstone Court residents about the noise being caused by the garage doors at Regency Apartments we contacted the Managing Agents who have told us the following: 

“We went around all the gates, barriers and pedestrian gates. We checked particularly Montaigne Close and the clicking noise is from the sensor on the wall next to Gladstone Court. It’s activating when an individual or the car goes through the gates and it’ also indicates not to close the gates when someone pass through the sensor. Unfortunately, at the present we cannot turn it off. On the next service visit we will try to ask our engineers if they will be able to disconnect the clicking sound.”

Residents say: 

Thank you for the good news. Hopefully, during the next service they will be able to disconnect the clicking sound.”

Grosvenor Estate

We have been contacted by a number of residents on the Grosvenor Estate to discuss issues of concern to them, including space for community meetings.

Causton Street

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

“The rubbish/recycling bins are still overflowing with dumped building stuff old ovens black bags etc. It is a health hazard those of us who live in St. George’s Mansions have to live with foxes, rats, mice outside our front doors. It’s disgusting! Please could you monitor who is actually doing the dumping?”

The Council has now told us that “this site has been prioritised for monitoring by local City Inspector and Veolia management team”.

Vincent Square Health Centre

Following our enquiries, Central London Community Healthcare issued this statement about dental services at Vincent Square Health Centre:

“From April 1st 2017 NHS England will no longer commission CLCH to run General Dental Practitioner services at South Westminster Centre and Violet Melchett. These arrangements started at a time when there was insufficient provision of GDP services in these areas; this is no longer the case due to the increasing numbers of nearby practices offering NHS dentistry. Our provision of special care dentistry at these sites remains unchanged and will be available to those meeting our Community Dental Services acceptance criteria. NHS England have issued us with a letter to give to patients informing them of the changes alongside lists of nearby NHS practices to ensure continuity of care. Patients will be informed of the changes via this letter in due course.” 

Please let us know if this loss of general dental services will cause problems for you.

Millbank

TfL has announced it will narrow motor traffic lanes on Lambeth North Roundabout as a temporary measure before looking into substantial changes. In April 2015 Moira Gemmill died cycling at the roundabout, after which Westminster City Council came under pressure to improve safety at the junction, which is under its control. TfL says it will investigate long-term improvements which would “substantially change” the junction.

See http://road.cc/content/news/214248-transport-london-slammed-roundabout-plan-would-“make-it-worse”-cyclists-spot

Rampayne Street

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“The pavement surface on the section of Rampayne Street outside Pret and Millbank Spice restaurant is quite uneven in parts and should be replaced with proper paving. It is a well-used shortcut from the Pimlico tube station to Regency Street and I have often witnessed pedestrians losing their footing whilst avoiding oncoming people traffic. After having observed re-paving in other parts of the ward, could this section be included in that exercise?”

Pavement cycling

The Mayor has issued this statement:

“No injury on London’s roads or pavements is acceptable, and the Mayor is working to make our city safer for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists. Cycling on pavements is illegal and we expect police officers to enforce the law and deal with these offences in an appropriate way. You may also find it beneficial to visit the latest press release on the Greater London Authority website regarding the Mayor’s upcoming plans for cyclists in London – not only will it make cycling in London safer for cyclists, but also for pedestrians.  You can see all the information here: https://www.london.gov.uk/press-releases/mayoral/mayor-secures-record-investment-in-cycling

Victoria Coach Station

We are making enquiries about the future plans for the Coach Station from the Grosvenor Estate who have told us:

“At the moment we are not progressing with any plans for the long term project as we want to wait for decisions on Crossrail 2 and also the relocation of the Victoria Coach Station. We recently got planning for an interim development that we expect will have a 10-year life at Eccleston Place. We hope to have it open in the first half of 2018. It will include a co-working hub, retail and a fitness element.” 

Superfast broadband

In the Cities of London and Westminster only 31% of premises have access to super-fast broadband connections, defined as those with speeds above 24 megabits a second, as of August 2014. See this article

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/feb/09/london-has-the-worst-broadband-in-britain-government-statistics-show

Please let us know if you have a problem getting super-fast broadband

Vauxhall Bridge Road – what you say

“Vauxhall Bridge Rd air pollution as result of cycle lane means the road is full all day, evenings, with buses stationary giving out diesel fumes as well as car motors idling. The yellow boxes have gone so lorries buses frustrated just cause more congestion by jumping lights! Perhaps you could also somehow stop the insane re modelling of Lambeth Bridge Roundabout as it’s the only roundabout that actually works!”

What you say

“Thank you for getting the missing Regency Street tree replaced after such a long time.  It was in the ground “in a flash”, so quickly that they forgot to replace the protecting wire cage around the trunk. Anyway thanks to all who have worked to get the tree replaced.  I was promised a tree before Christmas last year and now there is one.”

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

If you do not want to receive this report please let us know and we will remove your details from our list.

If you know anybody who would like to receive this report please ask them to email me a pdimoldenberg@hotmail.co.uk and we will add them to the list.

Regards

Andrea Mann and Dan Hogan

Labour Action Team in Vincent Square Ward

info@andreamann.com

danieljameshogan@gmail.com

 

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg

Labour Built Environment spokesperson

Westminster City Council Labour Group

 

 

VINCENT SQUARE WARD ACTION REPORT – December 2016

News from the Labour Action Team in Vincent Square Ward – Andrea Mann, Dan Hogan and Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg

vincent-square-action-team

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vauxhall Bridge Road/Cycle Lane  

We have repeated our request to TfL and Westminster Council to make this area safe for both pedestrians and cyclists. TfL say:

“Since the launch of the cycle lane last year, we have made design changes previously agreed with Westminster City Council, including installing additional ‘slow’ carriageway markings, ‘give way’ markings and cycle symbols inset in the paving. Some of the changes were implemented recently and we are due to undertake video monitoring and a review to determine how the crossing is now performing. We will make further alterations if they are required.”

Hide Tower – update 

Following our enquiries about anti-social behavior around Hide Tower we have received the following update from the Council:

“I have contacted the Hide Tower Resident Management Board to explore further the drug dealing activity there and they say that, in terms of activity in Hide Tower, the problems have ceased. After reporting to the police, some arrests were made which appears to have had the desired effect. Problems remain ‘around the area’ and I have offered to meet to discuss further. “ 

Peabody flats, Vauxhall Bridge Road

We have contacted Peabody about a flat that was recently flooded. A number of rooms were flooded from above and there was damage to property.

Vincent Square Health Centre 

We are making enquiries about services at the Health Centre after rumours that services are under threat.

Regency Street

We are chasing the Council to replant a tree where one was removed a long time ago. The Council say “the tree was scheduled to be replaced last winter as it had not really thrived during the summer months but when I checked it clearly wasn’t dead and I though it worth giving it another year to establish. It didn’t so it was allocated to be replaced this season”.

Wilkie House, Millbank Estate

Residents tell us that there is evidence of drug use and used needles at the rear of Wilkie House which we have reported to City West Homes and the Council. 

Orleans Court, Douglas Street

We are continuing to support residents of Orleans Court in their long-standing attempts to get Network Housing to resolve a number of repair issues.

Regency Apartments, Montaigne Close

We are continuing to try to resolve the long-running problem with the noisy car park doors and have contacted the managing agents to ask that they arrange for the doors to be fixed as soon as possible. 

Queen Mother Sports Centre

Plans to build a 50 metre Olympic-size swimming pool and diving area in the redeveloped Queen Mother Sports Centre would send the cost of rebuilding the new Sports Centre soaring to £35 million and lead to the development of a huge towering building on the site, in order to pay for the costs of the new facilities, Labour Councillors have warned.

We have also warned that if the development above the Sports Centre is residential then there would likely be no affordable homes as all the ‘community benefit’ would go towards paying for the new Olympic size pool and sports centre. It is very likely that the Council would want the new £35 million sports centre to be built at no cost to the Council, as in the case of the new Moberly Sports Centre in Queen’s Park where two large luxury residential developments are being built to pay for the new Sports Centre.

In a letter to the Council, Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg says:

“Why is a 50m pool needed and will it be accompanied by spectator facilities? Such extensive facilities would take it from being a local facility to being a major London water sports location with local residents competing with users and clubs from all over London and the South East. While this will be welcomed by the enthusiasts from far and wide and will make more money, it could well ‘crowd out’ the local community.”

“I am also concerned that such an extensive facility costing in excess of £35m will also require a very large commercial component to pay for it, creating an oversized building which dominates the area. The Victoria area is already full of very large commercial buildings which are unpopular locally and this could add another. We can already see the new Willmott Dixon building at the back of the Jubilee Centre towering over everything else in the area as the price the Queen’s Park community has to pay for the new Moberly development. If this is the way forward for how the new Queen Mother Sports Centre will paid for I can envisage another big local campaign to oppose it and am disappointed that the Council has learnt nothing from the Jubilee/Moberly fiasco. The Planning system offers few safeguards with the Council responsible for giving itself planning permission for a development that it is promoting.”

Finally, a 50 metre Olympic size swimming pool with diving facilities is not mentioned in the consultation documents.

Over 300 people signed the petition calling on the Council to protect the existing sports and health facilities at the Queen Mother Sports Centre.

Vauxhall Bridge Road/Cycle Lane – what you say

“Thank you for taking up this cause. Just imagine, a person has walked from Pimlico Tube, crossed Vauxhall Bridge Road pedestrian crossing as the crossing numbers have nearly counted down to zero. The lights for traffic turn to green – buses, cars and vans set off behind them. Unfortunately, cycles are whizzing past on the cycle lane in front of them. They are squashed front and back. Outcome serious litigation/serious haunting. Also, the pavement space is inadequate and if the White Swan put tables outside in warmer weather there could be even less room for the mingling of pedestrians, cyclists and motorists”

Queen Mother Sports Centre – what you say

“You have reminded me about the Queen Mother Sports Centre redevelopment and the vital need to ensure we have health and leisure facilities in the future. I have forwarded an email to other residents in Morpeth Terrace in the hope that they will also sign the petition. I have benefitted hugely from the centre.  I am a regular swimmer and gym member. I will do my best to encourage people to sign the petition.”

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

If you do not want to receive this report please let us know and we will remove your details from our list.

If you know anybody who would like to receive this report please ask them to email me a pdimoldenberg@hotmail.co.uk and we will add them to the list.

Regards

Andrea Mann and Dan Hogan

Labour Action Team in Vincent Square Ward

info@andreamann.com

danieljameshogan@gmail.com

 

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg

Labour Built Environment spokesperson

Westminster City Council Labour Group

 

 

VINCENT SQUARE WARD ACTION REPORT – November 2016

News from the Labour Action Team in Vincent Square Ward – Andrea Mann, Dan Hogan and Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg

 

vincent-square-action-team

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vauxhall Bridge Road cycle Lane

We have again written to Transport for London to make the following points:

  • there are no pavement markings or signs so there is nothing to indicate to pedestrians that they are stepping into an area where cyclists are travelling in both directions
  • there is a ‘slow’ sign a few inches from the pavement on the south bound lane, but no markings further up Vauxhall Bridge Road to indicate to cyclists that they should slow down because pedestrians are crossing
  • there are no ‘slow’ markings on the north bound lane

Everybody we talk to about this expresses surprise that such a situation exists which puts both cyclists and pedestrians in constant danger. TfL say they are keeping this under review but it looks to us as if it will take a serious accident for this situation to be given a proper investigation. We do not think that we should have to wait for an accident to get this junction/crossing made safer for all concerned. This is a busy route linking Pimlico Station and the residential area around the Tate Gallery, used by residents, workers and tourists.

Hide Tower

Residents have asked us to take up the following issues: 

  • People parking motorbikes by the fence by one side of the building. It’s an area for push bikes, not motorbikes – and the noise of them revving up their engines or leaving them running is disturbing for residents
  • Drug dealers – they deal in the area around the base of the tower, often in broad daylight and for hours. Residents have reported them to the police a number of times, and there have been a few arrests, but it is a big, recurring problem for Hide Tower residents

Regency Street

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

“I hope the Vincent Square/Millbank Action Group can help me get a tree replaced in Regency Street.  A row of matching trees has been planted along the pavement in front of Norfolk House since the 1900’s – as shown in various archive photos.  Sadly, the old trees had to be replaced in 2014 as they had started to struggle over the years.  Happily, new saplings were planted to replace them.  Unhappily, one of the sapling trees planted at the end of the row opposite Fynes Street has never prospered.    Despite repeated requests to the Council since May 2015 and, repeated promises that it would be replaced, the tree has not been replaced.  In fact, it has been pulled up some six weeks ago but not replaced. I despair that it might not ever be replaced thus leaving a gap in a row of trees which have been part of the landscape for so long.”

The Tree Officer says:

“The tree will be replaced shortly and I’ve also instructed the contractor to change the soil as the previous tree did not thrive.” 

Francis Street

We have asked the Council to remove white paint from the road and pavement near the junction with Vauxhall Bridge Road. The Council say:

“We are talking to colleagues in cleansing as well as our contractors to see how we can best remove this paint.”

Ponsonby Place

We have asked Peabody when the outsides of their properties in Ponsonby Place will be redecorated and the unsightly peeling paintwork removed and repainted. Peabody say:

“As part of our cyclical program we are currently pricing 20 estates for a budget submission during November. Millbank is one of those estates. We envisage starting the work this estate during the next financial year but we are unable to state exactly when at this stage until the budget is confirmed. However, a draft programme has been put together and the estate is currently down for this time next year. Please note that this is all subject to budget approval and any emergency work becoming known during the year. We will notify the residents once we have the funds and the programmed is confirmed.”

Schomberg House 

We have asked City West Homes to take action to stop a water leak which is affecting a number of flats in the block. We have also reported to City West Homes that the entry gate still isn’t working and is now permanently open. CWH say:

“Our contractors are currently waiting on a part to be delivered so the necessary repairs can be carried out to the gates at Schomberg House. Once this is in place, we will issue a block notice to updated all residents of the block.” 

Page Street 

We have asked the Council to repair a loose paving stone in Page Street outside Schomberg House.

Rogers House

We have general complaints from residents. about noise and drug use around Rogers House. City West Homes say: 

“Residents are working closely with CWH to set up Rogers House Group, and we are meeting with them on a regular basis to address any concerns they may have and improve the block and the estate as a whole.  Our last meeting was on 27 October 2016, and CWH ASB team also attended to discuss such issues with the residents, and update on current action being taken to tackle ASB across the estate. This is an open meeting and we issue invites to every property at Rogers House giving residents notice, and all residents are welcome. Therefore, please encourage anyone who you may come across to attend these meetings. The next meeting is due to be held early in December, and the police will also be invited to attend. Once the date has been confirmed, we will inform all residents accordingly.”

Dean Ryle Street

We have asked the Council to contact Burberry who leave all the lights in their building on at night. The Council say:

“We have spoken to the site manager regarding the complaints from local residents of lights being left on in the building over-night.  He advised that this should not be the case and that the lights are on a timer/intensity control.   They were a little alarmed and surprised that residents have been complaining and would like to resolve any issues that may be being caused.  Consequently, they have agreed to conduct tests on the external lights in order to determine whether or not there is an issue with the automatic system. If indeed there is a statutory nuisance being caused by lights, this is something that our Noise Team can look further into.  However, I am hopeful that this is simply a timer issue and will be resolved imminently.”

Montaigne Close 

We are continuing to support residents of Gladstone Court who are concerned about the noisy gates at Montaigne Close and have written to the managing agents about this:

“The gate of the development next us, Montaigne Close, does make a lot of noise and is a nuisance during the night, especially during the summer months when our windows are open. I am not sure if it is the gate which opens and closes for the passage of cars or if it is the pedestrian gate. Periodically, it seems as if the gate may not shut itself properly and as a result the gate will click/unclick itself repeatedly for long periods of time until its cycle sorts itself out or a car or pedestrian uses it for access. The noise is loud and does wake us up or keep us awake at night. The problem seems to occur throughout the day. I have spoken to the porters of Montaigne Close about fixing this problem but to no avail. It would be great if something could be done about this nuisance.”

Millbank Estate

We are supporting residents who want action to be taken to stop the increase in the number of flats being used for short term holiday lets through AirBnb, including a halt to the installation of key safes outside flats.

Ponsonby Terrace 

We have reported dumped rubbish at the bottom of Ponsonby Terrace and asked the Council to arrange its removal.

Queen Mother Sports Centre

The Council has started consultation on the redevelopment of the Queen Mother Sports Centre and surrounding area and is asking for residents’ views. You can get details here https://openforum.westminster.gov.uk/development-op-framework-UVBR

A number of residents have already expressed concerns about what this might involve:

“I live on Vauxhall Bridge Road and have done so for many years.  The site of the proposed development is a low rise part of old Victoria and retains a village-like ambience with thriving independent shops. Having watched Victoria suffer from developments of banal architecture, none of which have involved building social housing, I am dismayed at yet another corporate interest moving in to my area.”

“There are enough grotesque, huge, ugly new office buildings in nearby Victoria Street without ruining pretty, historic Pimlico with this proposed development. Also the Queen Mother Sports Centre is a fantastic community hub, a space that keeps adults and school kids fit and interacting with their neighbours. I have been swimming at the Queen Mother Sports Centre for 30 years – I have a bad back and keeping fit keeps me out of the NHS! Its loss, even whilst any building work is being taking place, would have drastic repercussions for those who use the centre. I know the character of an area means nothing to Westminster Council – just look at the ruination of Art Deco Marsham Street and the proposed ruination of lower Horseferry Road – but Pimlico is a gem that attracts people from all over the world because of its uniqueness. The area does not need another office block or luxury flats which will do nothing to enhance or improve the area. It will only benefit the pocket s of the property developers. Please help keep Pimlico Pimlico!” 

Please let us know what you think.

We have started a petition:

“We, the undersigned, call upon Westminster Council to protect the leisure and health services currently offered by the Queen Mother Sports Centre on Vauxhall Bridge Road, and raise concerns about the current Council consultation for the site and surrounding areas. 

We want a sports centre to remain on the site with the same square footage and space with no reduction in size for the gym, pool, health clinic and other facilities presently offered. 

The Queen Mother Sports Centre is an important community asset which is much used and valued by local residents and workers. Any changes should only seek to improve facilities rather than reduce them, and ensure that charges remain affordable for the majority of current users.”

You can sign the petition here

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

and here https://www.facebook.com/WestminsterLabour/posts/1435796069781554

Westminster Almshouses, Rochester Row

The Westminster Almshouses Foundation has told us:

“From time to time we have vacancies in our sheltered housing scheme in Rochester Row. We offer self-contained accommodation with the services of an on site scheme manager. In order to qualify, applicants must be currently residing in Westminster, be over 60 years of age and have less than £100,000 in cash or assets. Flats are for single occupancy only and applicants must be able to live independently. Priority is given to applicants not currently in sheltered housing accommodation.”

For more information contact the Foundation on 020 7828 3131 or email cristina@westminsteralmshouses.com

Power Cuts 

We have received this message about power cuts:

“UK Power Networks delivers the electricity to homes and businesses in Westminster, and it’s our job to make sure that the lights stay on. Since 2010 we have reduced the frequency of power cuts by 42%, however we recognise that while power cuts are less frequent, when they do still occur they can be very worrying, especially to older people, people with chronic medical conditions or parents of very young children.  That’s why we have set up a ‘Priority Services Register’ to enable us to identify vulnerable people quickly in the event of a power cut and get them the help they need.

Do you or someone you know need extra support during a power cut? Although power cuts don’t happen very often when they do they can be worrying.  UK Power Networks provides a ‘Priority Services Register’ for people who might need extra help in a power cut.  Older people, families with very young children, and people with specific medical conditions are among the many people who are eligible to register for free support.  You can find more details and register by visiting ukpowernetworks.co.uk/prioritysupport or calling 0800 169 9970.” 

What you say

“I would like to support the resident objections to the Quietway 2 way motor traffic on Douglas Street.” 

“Thanks. All great stuff”

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

If you do not want to receive this report please let us know and we will remove your details from our list.

If you know anybody who would like to receive this report please ask them to email me a pdimoldenberg@hotmail.co.uk and we will add them to the list.

Regards

Andrea Mann and Dan Hogan

Labour Action Team in Vincent Square Ward

info@andreamann.com

danieljameshogan@gmail.com

 

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg

Labour Built Environment spokesperson

Westminster City Council Labour Group

 

VINCENT SQUARE WARD ACTION REPORT – October 2016

News from Labour Councillors and the Labour Action Team

Douglas Street

We have asked the Council to review the proposal to introduce two-way working along Douglas Street as part of the Quietway proposal. Residents say:

“We are outraged at the intention of the Quietway plan to override the Council’s declared policy of eliminating ‘rat runs’. Turning Douglas Street into a 2way for motor traffic will do exactly that and I do hope you will support the objections we have made to the plan in this regard.”

“The proposal to remove the Douglas St. vehicular one way restriction between Chapter St. and Vincent Sq. would create a north-south ‘rat run’. It would enable any northbound driver on Vauxhall bridge who encounters a traffic jam to turn right off the bridge onto the Embankment and then left at Atterbury St. and then to thread through to Regency St. and hence to Douglas St where he/she would have a clear northbound run through all Douglas St. and through the square to then cross over Rochester Row and next into Willow Place or Stillington St. to arrive at Victoria Station or Victoria St., having avoided the entire length of VBR. The pioneers to exploit this route would be the professional drivers i.e. black cabs/Ubers/delivery men/emergency vehicles, all of whom immediately perceive new opportunities to improve their timing. They would later be joined by regular commuters.”

St John’s Gardens

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“May I draw your attention to a problem in St John’s Garden off Page Street. Drug dealers are operating quite openly and while I appreciate that these are just the small fry, and dealing with it in one part of the area only pushes it into someone else’s backyard, I and a number of others would be really grateful if you would kindly look into this.”

The Council say:

“We have been working with our Parks colleagues and Police in targeting this area as part of our regular and ad hoc deployments. “

Ponsonby Terrace

We have asked the Council to take action to require a resident to clear the basement area of their property as residents say they have “left rubbish in the basement floor for years now and rats have been seen”.

Esterbrooke Street

We are helping a family in Esterbrooke Street who are living in very overcrowded conditions.

Regency Apartments, Montaigne Close

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“They have an automatic garage door which earlier this year started making an intrusive noise whenever it opened and closed. As it’s a large complex, there are people coming and going 24 hours a day, and I was first affected by the noise when it started to wake me up at night. Once I established what the source of the noise was, I first tried to resolve the issue with the building manager directly. When that was not successful, I involved the council. The council have now confirmed that they are unwilling to take any action. While I appreciate that the council need to satisfy themselves that the statutory conditions for exercising their legal powers are met in order to take action, I have concerns about both the way in which their decision was reached and their handling of the matter.”

Parliament Square

We have asked TfL to investigate this issue:

“I am sure the council are well aware of the chaos that has been caused all around Westminster by the new cycle lanes. However. the situation in and around Parliament Square is a nightmare. Traffic is gridlocked even at 10pm and backs up all the way along the Embankment in both directions and now even causes Horseferry Road to snarl up. As a pedestrian crossing Parliament Square I am in constant fear of getting knocked over as the time at the crossings has been reduced to accommodate cyclists who now come from all directions. I have seen numerous near misses and it is only a matter of time before someone is killed. Most residents probably welcome improved conditions for cyclists, but not at the expense of traffic grinding to a halt. When taking buses or taxis, we now have to allow double the normal travel time. It would be great if some amendments could be made by TFL to rethink the program and improve the flow of traffic.”

Flooding

We have taken up this issue with Thames Water and the Council:

“Three months ago Guildhouse Street and Longmore Street flooded, this was due to huge rainfall in the space of an hour or so. Thames Water pumps broke down and could not deal with the rain fall. Our homes filled with sewage which has been extremely costly and inconvenient. As I walk round the Pimlico and Westminster area I find all the gullies in the road which are meant to take the rain water away to be full, the streets smell terrible and I am very concerned that when the rain returns we will run into trouble once again. Prevention is always better than cure and we all pay our taxes to the Council to help keep the streets clean”

Thames Water say:

“Following an investigation by our Operations team, we found that the recent sewer flooding was caused by Hydraulic Overload. This is caused by short intense periods of heavy rain or prolonged persistent rainfall which exceeds the design limits of our sewer network.

In addition to the sewer network, we also operate a pumping station (SPS) on Longmore Street, which is designed to lift low level flows from Wilton Road into the sewer on Longmore Street during storm events. We are aware that on the 23 June the intensity of the storm was such that the primary pump failed, which caused the entire station to become submerged and ultimately shut down. This would have exacerbated the flooding which occurred on Longmore Street, Wilton Road and Guildhouse Street. We have since arranged and completed urgent repair work on our SPS to rectify the fault and the SPS is now once again fully operational.”

Residents say:

“Thank you so much for your quick response, you have managed to get more out of Thames Water than i did, thank you. I really appreciate all you have done to get to the bottom of this matter, Longmore Street has flooded 4 times in the last 12 years.”

Guildhouse Street

We have asked the Council to investigate a van parked on Guildhouse Street in the same place for a year without a permit. The Council say:

“Just to confirm that this vehicle has now been removed.  This was reported some time ago to our contractors for removal but they required a nudge to get this shifted.”

A satisfied resident told us:

“Again thank you, I have been in constant contact with the car removal division but this has taken so long, thank goodness it is finally gone.”

Vincent Square

We have asked the Noise Team to investigate this issue:

“I am having trouble with Westminster Council and noise caused by late night parties held at the Royal Horticultural Hall. They are, I believe unjustifiably, licensed up to ten times a year for 2am events, with noise limits set at 95 decibels. If you are unfamiliar with the area, it is totally residential. At this level it is impossible to sleep.”

Victoria Street/Artillery Row

The Council has agreed to carry out safety improvements at the junction of Victoria Street/Artillery Row. The aim of the proposals is to improve safety for pedestrians, cyclists and other vulnerable road users using the junction. The highway improvements include:

  • New diagonal crossings through the junction
  • Modifications to the alignment of the existing straight across crossings
  • Upgrade of existing traffic signals at the junction to accommodate the new diagonal crossings and the modified straight across crossings
  • New Advanced Stop Lines cycle reservoirs on all approach arms of the junction
  • New carriageway surfacing and skid resistant treatments on three of the approaches
  • Improved public lighting

Environmental Issues – Update

We have repeated our request to the Council to improve the local environment:

“Walked around Greycoat Street/Vincent Square and Rochester Row looking for general rubbish bins – obviously a rare breed. Does Westminster Council have a policy on Street Rubbish Bins and a location map for them? This morning did see a Street Cleaning Operative in Rochester Row. With parked cars not the easiest of tasks.”

Fraud Alert

Please be aware of this growing concern:

My friend’s elderly father was scammed recently.  A company telephoned and told him they could help him get a Council Tax rebate because he was being overcharged.  He gave his card details but fortunately my friend managed to stop the payment and card.  

There is a website where you can report any dodgy calls etc. It’s an official website which collates frauds and gets local police forces to take action – http://www.actionfraud.police.uk”

Library service cuts

We are calling on Westminster City Council to halt its plans to take the axe to our much loved local library services.

https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/protect-our-library-services

Libraries are a vital source of learning and education in our communities. They are a cherished public good we cannot do without.

It is deeply concerning that the Council plans to cut £750,000 per year from the Westminster Libraries budget. This is the equivalent of more than 17 full-time members of staff. In effect this would mean losing qualified librarians who have a passion for helping our communities access life-long learning and education.

There are alternatives. The Council should be looking at ways of generating revenues, not relentlessly cutting. It could look at raising money through digital access to the council’s treasure trove of books and maps in the City Archives.
On top of that, Westminster City Council doesn’t seem to think it necessary to consult the community. That only adds insult to injury.

We call for the Council to halt its plans. Local and national government can’t continue with this relentless attack on public services. This must be stopped

What you say

“Thank you! This newsletter is very helpful for anyone in the local area!”

“Thanks for your update and all the hard work you undertake on behalf of the residents.”

“Very many thanks as usual for a thorough and proactive report.”

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

If you know anybody who would like to receive this report please ask them to email me a pdimoldenberg@hotmail.co.uk and we will add them to the list.

Regards

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg
Labour Built Environment spokesperson
Westminster City Council Labour Group

 

VINCENT SQUARE WARD ACTION REPORT – September 2016

News from Labour Councillors and the Labour Action Team

Greycoat Gardens

We have asked the City Inspector to investigate this issue:

“I am a resident in Greycoat Gardens a block of flats in tree lined Greycoat Street.  It appears that the street is ideal for dog walkers allowing the dog to cock their leg but the owners are also leaving behind dog poo bags. There are no rubbish bins in the area nor are there signs about dog poo disposal. The caretaker in the block has been removing the bags but this is not part of his remit plus some residents are now getting quite irritated. Possibly some signage as a start.”

The City Inspector says: 

“I have had both the road and pavements washed and swept to remove all and any stains. When the road was swept, all waste and litter was also removed. 

I have arranged a high visibility patrol with our animal warden as well as close monitoring by both of us. I will then be able to make a judgment as to whether the problem here is resolved or I can make the appropriate changes to the monitoring times. I will be seeking to issues fines as well as educate dog owners.

In parallel, I have requested our team explore the best place for an additional bin in this road as it is some walk to the nearest. I have asked that that is addressed as soon as possible and I will ensure that this is the case. In addition, four signs have been erected in the street. Once the bin is in place, I can ensure it is marked appropriately to remind dog walkers to make use of it. 

I have ensured that our cleaning contractor knows that this area is receiving close monitoring and that I expect the standards of cleanliness to be high.”

Residents say:

“A BIG thank you. Hopefully all these actions will help and please the dog owners, residents and pedestrians.”

Erasmus Street

We have asked the Council to investigate this long-standing issue:

“The whole street junction looks just like a dump. It’s been like this for the whole of the week and the space provides for an ongoing saga since it was dumped on Millbank Estate 10 years ago without consultation. The complains are piling up ever since and the Council is responding with monitoring promises. But it’s not working. It’s just to exposed a space attracting opportunists from everywhere and lazy residents. I have proposed some building measures but there is obviously no appetite to spend money for example.”

69 Ponsonby Place

We have asked Peabody to make urgent repairs to the railings which were badly damaged by a car accident recently. Residents say:

“The police cordon is only a thin piece of tape.  Anyone could slip and fall into the basement which is quite a drop below pavement level. Also the step is broken and chunks of concrete lie on the pavement. Hundreds of children and adults walk along there every day and night and a serious accident could occur if these railings are not re-construced very soon.”

The repairs have been done and the Residents’ Association told us:

“A quick note to thank you so much for seeing to the missing section of railings. We are very pleased that the danger of someone falling into the basement area has been averted by your speedy action, getting Peabody to erect a wooden structure across the gap. This occurred this afternoon, much to the residents’ relief. With many thanks and kind regards”

Bessborough Place

We have also asked Peabody to remove a dumped bath and white goods outside 64 Besborough Place. A few days’ later residents told us

“The furniture and white goods dumped by Peabody were also removed yesterday, tenants have reported to me. Thanks so much for your interventions”

Vincent House

We have asked the Council to update us on the various long-standing unresolved issues raised by residents.

Herrick Street

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“Right under the street-lamp that had been on for so long (and only dealt with following your intervention) are a number of barriers that following letters coming through our letter-boxes, we thought were part of what was needed to protect pedestrians. However, these barriers have stood unused for some two months. Also the intended re-paving has followed what seems to be an odd and piecemeal fashion and it is still uncertain whether the work is finished or otherwise.” 

The Council says:

“I am pleased to report that the barriers have been removed by the relevant utility- in this case, Morrisons on behalf of Thames Water. We are not sure why they were present in Herrick Street as there was no work taking place there. It seems most likely that they are a hangover from a recent job in Bulinga Street around the corner. As you may know the City Council checks all utility jobs for completion at the end of their agreed dates as part of our process for investigating charges under S74 of the New Roads and Streetworks Act. We believe that these were missed as they were not in the location where the works took place. We are now opening discussions with TW to charge them £250 per working day from the completion of the works until yesterday (when they were removed) as punishment for leaving these on street.”

King’s Scholars Passage

We are continuing to urge the Council and the Police to remove the tent from the pavement on King’s Scholars Passage. Residents say:

“May I take this opportunity to thank you for your part in finally getting rid of the rough sleepers from King’s Scholar’s Passage. What a relief it was today when we saw the back of them after one whole month.”

Orleans Court, Douglas Street

We are continuing to assist residents in their efforts to get Network Stadium to resolve a number of long standing issues.

Queen Mother Sports Centre

We have asked the Council to investigate this worrying report from a local resident:

“Since the takeover by Everyone Active the state of the Queen Mother Leisure Centre has really gone down hill.  Here is a list of the problems I have noticed recently, none of which have been fixed since Everyone Active took over the centre some months ago now.

  • For the whole of the summer the air conditioning in the men’s changing room was faulty and was actually heating the air instead of cooling it – during the heatwave this led to the facilities being almost unbearable to use – it was like a sauna.  It still has not been fixed even after I and others have asked about this many times and been told that they are still “waiting for parts to arrive”.
  • In the men’s changing rooms there are electric sockets near the showers with their watertight covers broken off
  • There is never any soap in the men’s changing room hand basins
  • The floor of the showers is not cleaned properly and as a result is slippery which is dangerous given that it is a hard tiled floor.
  • There are many lockers with their doors missing or broken.
  • In the gym the covers of a number of machines are split with the padding coming out.
  • There are a number of machines in the gym which are broken and have not been fixed since the beginning of July.
  • In the gym the weights are left lying around causing trip hazards and the risk of heavy weights falling and causing injury, there is no attempt to instruct users to return the weights to their holders, or for the gym attendants to do this during the day.
  • The centre is dirty and dishevelled

Generally, the management seem to concentrate the staff on approaching customers to sell memberships rather than maintaining the centre and making sure the users are having a good experience.  This is a pity because the Queen Mother Sports Centre is a valuable community resource and when it is well maintained it is an excellent leisure centre.

However, now users are expected to pay prices which are higher than at local gyms such as The Gym or PureGym and it can be seen that obviously previous users have left the centre because even during peak times the gym is nowhere near as busy as it used to be; if we are being asked to pay a premium price for the leisure centre then we should be given a premium service and this is not the case currently.”

Wilton Road – Update

Following our enquiries, TfL have updated us on the action has been taken, as follows:

“An inspection of the Wilton Road footway, from Victoria Street to the junction of Bridge Place/ Neathouse Place, has been carried out. We acknowledge there were a few loose slabs and blocks and have subsequently carried out maintenance works to improve the area. “

The resident who reported this commented:

“Most gracious of you to keep me in the loop and very pleased you managed to obtain action from TfL. That pavement has little impact on my life but is a disgrace for the millions of tourists who disgorge from that rear entrance/exit of Victoria Station to the tourist hotels of Pimlico and Victoria (not to mention commuters and theatre-goers).”

What you say

“Thanks as always for the update and for the great work you’re doing! “

“We owe you thanks for getting the shrubbery round Millbank Gardens. plus the Causton Street playground trimmed back.”

“Thank you for the latest Vincent Square Newsletter. Good work.”

“I have no idea if what follows immediately has reached you already but in addition to the extensive pruning of the shrubbery around Millbank Gardens that around the WCC-run play area adjacent to Gainsborough House where Erasmus and Causton Streets meet has also undergone the same treatment.”

“Thank you so much for taking up our issues and in many cases helping to get them resolved quickly.” 

“Thanks for keeping us up to date and taking up issues of genuine concern to residents.” 

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

Regards

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg

Labour Built Environment spokesperson

Westminster City Council Labour Group

 

VINCENT SQUARE WARD ACTION REPORT – August 2016

News from Labour Councillors and the Labour Action Team

Regency Street

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“I should like to bring to your attention that there are at least three street lamps in Regency Street which are permanently lit.  In the Newsletter a resident mentioned a lamp permanently lit in Hendricks Street.  These further examples should help to raise the issue with Westminster City Council which demonstrates not only wastage but all adds to light pollution.”

The Council say:

“The team have identified a communications issue and will try to resolve this matter within the next 48 hours.”

Residents say:

“Thanks for your help in getting the street lamp (number 4) in Regency Street operating properly.   It really is a relief after all our unsuccessful attempts, which started back in February at the beginning of this year.   Anyway the light now lights, goes out and relights at the same time as the others in the street. 

My wife is in contact with an official in the Street Trees section about the trees newly planted a couple of years ago along the eastern side of the street.   It was a praiseworthy effort both in environmental and ornamental terms to replace mature trees which had died.   The replacement trees are suffering a little but we are hoping the problems can be resolved without our coming back to you. Thanks again for all your help.”

Carey Place

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“There is continuous dumping of household items by the bins in Carey Place. I also note the same problem in Rampayne Street and by Tachbrook market. Many of the items dumped in Carey Place are commercial property refuse occurring when refurbishment etc. is taking place in Edenred and when local flats are being refurbished; we have had baths and toilets dumped by the bins in Carey Place. I have heard and seen this taking place in the middle of the night. I have seen vans pull up and dump/flytip.”

The Council say: 

“We carry out a large amount of surveillance of these and the other bins in the area, as these sites are known to attract people who think they can illegally flytip around them. We also carry out a large amount of waste enforcement, for example around the bins in Tachbrook Street and other hot-spots and numerous residents from surrounding streets have been fined for dumping waste here despite the education, letter-drops, signs put up and other activities we employ to help people dispose of their waste correctly. Unfortunately, with dumped goods such as those you mention, it is much more difficult to catch the guilty party, especially when people realise they are illegally dumping and do so under cover of darkness.

We do work very closely with Veolia crews and residents to find out as much as possible, but if we not we do try to ensure that dumped items are removed as soon as we see them. Illegal dumping may also be more noticeable on weekends when there are less staff available. These bin-sites are not a perfect solution to waste removal, however many people in the area do not have sufficient storage space within their properties and are unable to have their own litter bins or wheelie bins on their doorstep, so removal of the bins is not a solution in this instance as we do want waste contained rather than piles of black bags on the streets.”

Orleans Court, Douglas Street

We are supporting residents in Orleans Court, Douglas Street and have written to Network Homes asking for action to be taken about a number of problems being faced by residents.

Network Homes tell us:

“We are eager to recommence the essential noise reduction works as recommended by Westminster Councils’ Environmental Health Department. However, the work has been halted pending the outcome of a dispute between the leaseholders of two flats. Both parties have instructed Solicitors and the matter is still ongoing. Until the dispute is resolved our contractors are being denied access which is preventing us from completing the essential works. I can assure you that this matter is a concern for the organisation and we are hopeful that a resolution can be found as quickly as possible.”

Vincent Square area – idling engines

We have asked the Council Parking wardens to look out for this issue:

“Minicabs are using the side streets and parking in Vincent Square and surrounding streets with their engines running while they wait for a call with a job. I have asked them to turn off their engines, I thought this was a measure that Westminster Council announced but it is not being enforced.”

King’s College Passage

We have asked the Police and the Council to investigate this issue: 

“It is with some desperation that we write to you for salvation having abysmally failed to get any response from the Westminster City Council anti-social behaviour team or from the Police. It concerns rough sleepers in King’s Scholars Passage which runs parallel to Vauxhall Bridge Road and where our flat backs on to. It started with overnight sleepers some time ago but for the last two weeks there are two “permanent” tents which nobody seems able to do anything about. The Police tell us to contact the Council and the Council tell us to contact the Police. We do not get any feedback from the Council. We don’t why the Council send their Noise Team when we tell them that these people are not shouting all the time, only from time to time. We quite often hear obscene language being shouted and last Friday night there was yet another huge commotion, the Police arrived by the van-load but left without moving the tents. We are unable to open our windows or shutters because it is happening right by our back window.”

The Council say:

“I have looked into this and can confirm that the Council and the Police have been working together on addressing this issue and that this included a joint operation in the area which took place last week.  I understand that we have served a notice under the highways act on the individuals using tents.  Unfortunately this does allow up to thirty days for the individuals to move on.  In the meantime we are working with The Passage to try and get the rough sleepers off the street through engagement with The Passage.” 

Residents say:

“We are really grateful to you for your very prompt action with positive outcome. This is the second favour you’ve done for us in the past few weeks; you very kindly arranged for graffiti to be removed from the very wall where the tents are. Thank you once again.”

Junction of Causton Street with Vauxhall Bridge Road outside The White Swan pub – update

Following our enquiries, TfL officers say they are aware of the Council’s and residents’ concerns at the crossing adjacent to The White Swan pub. They say: 

“The Road Safety Audit made recommendations for a number of improvements along Cycle Superhighway 5 and these will be implemented over the summer, including this section. The changes include additional signage and road markings in order to reduce the potential for conflict between cyclists and pedestrians. We will be undertaking video monitoring both before and after the measures are implemented to assess whether any further measures are required. “

Vauxhall Bridge Road cycle superhighway – update

Following our enquiries, TfL tell us:

“Journey times in the Vauxhall area have improved based on our initial findings. We have recently conducted “before and after” journey time monitoring in Vauxhall. On five of the six main road approaches to Vauxhall, journey times in the morning peak are now back to what they were before the Cycle Superhighway (CS) works started – or are quicker than before. We will keep signal timings under review and will look to further reduce journey times in the future where possible.

Early usage results from CS5 are very positive with a 73% increase in cyclists during the peak morning and afternoon/evening periods.  In the Vauxhall Bridge area the cycle track has replaced the previous westbound bus lane. Where there are increases in journey times for bus routes impacted by schemes, a programme of work is being developed to save time elsewhere along affected routes by addressing delays and giving priority to buses at certain pinch-points.”

Millbank Gardens – update

Following our enquiries, residents tell us:

“The overhanging bushes of Millbank Gardens have been trimmed. Not just the overhanging ones at the Bulinga Street end but have been the subject of extensive pruning all the way round. The overhang from the Play-area side where Causton Street and Erasmus Street meet adjacent to Gainsborogh House remains untouched but then it never has as much attention as that of the Gardens.”

Herrick Street update

Following our enquiry about a street light that was on 24/7, the Council told us that “the faulty component has now been replaced and the defect resolved.”

Westminster Fire Station – update

Property developers Alchemi Group have revealed plans to turn Westminster Fire Station into 17 luxury flats and a ground-floor restaurant. The plans also include a single-storey basement that will be excavated underneath the entire site. There will be no affordable flats offered on-site. The sale price of £9.6m, in Greycoat Place, Victoria, was revealed in a question to London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

Artemis Kassi, chair of the Friends of Westminster Fire Station group, who led the campaign to keep the station in use, said the building’s £9.6m price tag was “ridiculous”.

 “To say that the land itself is only worth £9.6m is ridiculous when flats around the corner on Victoria Street are going for in excess of £1m. It’s absurdly insulting to all Londoners.”

According to the ‘West End Extra’, neighbouring residents living in Artillery Mansions, adjacent to the former fire station’s courtyard, have complained about the “monolithic scale” of the new-build flats and lack of community use. Local campaign group the Thorney Island Society have also raised concerns over the lack of affordable housing and the overshadowing of neighbouring properties.

http://www.westendextra.com/fire-station-sale

Victoria Station area – what you say

“The filth of rough sleepers and beggars around Victoria Station, in particular along Wilton Street.  is a most unwelcome sight for visitors arriving in London.  Our grandson visiting from California, age 11, commented on how dirty London is!”

What you say

“I would like to thank you for attempting to get something done about the pollution on Vauxhall Bridge Road. It is possible to taste it and feel it in the throat, there needs to be a monitoring of the levels.”

“Complaining to local Conservative councillors is a complete waste of time nothing comes of the complaint and they have reported back with incorrect information. We rely on you and your fellow members to act on local issues”

Always interesting, thank you.  I have talked with the Romanian girls who beg around Horseferry Road.  They seem a bit young to be married.  I had a conversation with the dry cleaners nearby who are Romanian and they said that they have tried to help, but in vain.”

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

Regards

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg

Labour Built Environment spokesperson

Westminster City Council Labour Group

 

VINCENT SQUARE WARD ACTION REPORT – July 2016

News from Labour Councillors and the Labour Action Team

Vauxhall Bridge Road – update

We have again written to TfL about the congestion in Vauxhall Bridge Road. Residents tell us: 

“I crossed VBR at 5pm and traffic was stationary all the way from Victoria to the bridge. I estimate many more than 100 vehicles are involved in that traffic jam on an almost daily basis. At times I have counted as many as 20 buses caught up in the jam despite bus lanes being empty of other traffic. 

The situation on VBR has worsened a great deal since the arbitrary imposition of bicycle lanes near to the bridge. I am sure there are many different and competing arguments. However, the main rationale for the cycle lanes is to allow cyclists to ride in safety and to prioritise cyclists. The main reason for this is to reduce vehicular transport and thus reduce pollution. Unfortunately, the main result of Boris Johnson’s dedicated cycle lanes on this particular route is to narrow the throat of the road, reduce throughput and have stationary traffic on the road for some 4 hours each evening and for a shorter period in the morning. This in turn causes tributary roads to become blocked (last night 15 taxis queueing in Warwick Way). This means that there is no reduction in pollution and more likely that there is an increase. Why should that increase be imposed on the local population and generally on London for the pursuit of one imposed and poorly conceived solution?”

Rough sleeping/begging issues on Marsham Street/Horseferry Road – update

Following our enquiries, the Council has given us the following update:

“We continue to focus on this area as a hotspot and are deploying resources to the area regularly.  Community Protection Notices have been issued on the individuals operating at this location. 

We are liaising with Sainsbury’s, Pret a Manger and Nat West in order to gather impact statements which are required to support further enforcement action.   

Initially that there were concerns that the females were being controlled by the males, so our Rough Sleeping Team arranged for a specialist trafficking team to engage with them. This has since happened and they have fed back the females maintain that they are married to the men and they have come here to look for work. They maintain that they have not had success with work which has resulted in them begging. Support teams have offered them an opportunity to come into our night centre for further assessment and also to reconnect to Romania, both of which have been refused up to now.

Teams from The Connection at St. Martin’s and St Mungo’s are continuing to meet with them and encourage the take up of support. Outreach teams have looked for them at night with no success so it is currently assumed that they are accommodated somewhere and travelling in, one of the females has talked of Lewisham so we believe they may be based there. Future Home Office Immigration Enforcement operations will be targeted to this area.”

Herrick Street

We have reported this issue to the Council for investigation:

“There is a street lamp that has been on for 24 hours for several months opposite the Herrick St. side of Ruskin House. This has been reported to a Council officer but nothing has happened so far. It will of course have accumulated a tidy sum in expense for the Council taxpayers of Westminster by now.”

Millbank Estate

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

“On the Bulinga Street side of Millbank Gardens there is a shrub growing within the Garden side with a considerable overhang that has needed pruning for some time. There is also a number such overhangs just inside the fence surrounding the playground at the top end of Erasmus Street adjacent to Gainsborough House on the Millbank estate.”

The Council say:

“The Parks Team manage both Millbank Gardens and the Erasmus Street Playground. I have instructed our parks contractor to inspect and clear any overhanging foliage at both locations by the end of this week.”

Victoria Station area

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

“I notice that the state of the above pavement near to Victoria Station and the incoming bus stops of 24/185 and 36/2/436 are in a deplorable state with many loose paving slabs. The pavement is used by thousands of pedestrian travellers every day. “

Millbank Tower

After a violent incident at the venue Altitude 360 on the 28th floor of Millbank Tower, Met Police asked for the venue’s licence to be revoked in the interests of public safety. The decision was agreed by councillors at a licensing hearing at Westminster City Council, and as a result the club will now close, although corporate hospitality events will continue to be held at the venue.

Parliament Square – update

Following our enquiries, the Council has told us:

“I have requested TfL review the traffic signal timings and asked the Council’s traffic marshals look into the kerbside activity in Great Smith Street. When I have any news I’ll let you know but hopefully there will be an improvement in on-street conditions shortly.”

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

 

Regards

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg

Labour Built Environment spokesperson

Westminster City Council Labour Group

 

VINCENT SQUARE WARD ACTION REPORT – June 2016

News from Labour Councillors and the Labour Action Team

Vauxhall Bridge Road cycle lane – Update

Following our enquiries, TfL tells us:

“TfL are aware of the concerns of local residents at this location. We have identified a package of measures designed to address the potential for conflict between cyclists and pedestrians at this location. These measures include ‘Slow’ and ‘Give Way’ markings on the approach to the shared area for cyclists, and cycle logo paving slabs to be inserted to advise pedestrians of cyclists’ presence. In order to reduce disruption to all road users, only some of these measures have been implemented in anticipation of further changes being recommended by the upcoming stage three Road Safety Audit.

We have informed the Metropolitan Police of this location to be included in their cycle patrols in order to continue effective enforcement of the highway code until the changes can be realised. TfL is also committed to continuing to monitor the performance of the junction once these remedial measures have been implemented.”

Residents say:

“Thank you for your further action on this problem, much appreciated, and I am forwarding copy of the response from TfL to other concerned residents. One of the most effective measures TfL could take would be a few ‘rumble’ strips on the approach to the intersection which would both force speeding cyclists to slow down and provide an effective warning of the potential hazard.”

Ponsonby Place

We have asked the Council to investigate a building site in Ponsonby Place where local residents have reported builders working until 11pm and making loud noises, as well as occupying parking spaces with building materials. They are also concerned that the scaffolding is not properly protected which children can easily climb into.

Page Street/Regency Street

We have asked the Council to remove an advertising board on the pavement on the corner of Page Street and Regency Street. Residents say “this potentially can be dangerous to the public safety and specially children running.”

The Council has told us “the managing agents were spoken to and this sign has been removed.”

King’s Scholars Passage

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

“We live in a flat backing on to the above passage, it is generally on the whole quiet but sometimes there can be a bit of disturbance.  However, I write to say that someone has chalked or painted on the wall adjacent to our flat large letters and words, saying someone killed someone! I am wondering if through Westminster Council it is possible the offending words could be removed.

The Council said: “I will send someone down there now to arrange an expedited removal” and a satisfied resident told us: “The graffiti was removed from the wall this morning, thank you for your prompt response to this matter.”

Coburg Close, Greencoat Place

We asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“We are seeing an increased number of suspected drug use here in the Close. Mostly from non residents. ASB is very intimidating This is an area which could be a haven for residents but sadly the garden and courtyard is being used as a safe area for ASB I have reported this to police who were very responsive, however L&Q Housing Association seem not to be bothered”

The Council has told us:

“I have raised this issue at a meeting with the local police team.  As mentioned below they are aware and are diverting resources to address the problem.  In the meantime, I will liaise between the police and L&Q to ensure that housing also take all appropriate action. The police have also asked us to remind all complainants to call their non-urgent number of 101 to further assist in making their patrols as specific as possible to the most problematic times.”

Lawrence House, Millbank Estate

We are helping a resident in Lawrence House who has been affected by water penetration from the flat above and have asked City West Homes to undertake the repairs as quickly as possible.

87 bus stop on Millbank

We have written to TfL about this issue:

“The 87 bus stop on Millbank was relocated back away from Vauxhall Bridge Road so that it is now across the street from the other stop in front of 53 Milbank. Home owners in the entire block of 48 to 59 are subject to these toxic fumes and can no longer open their windows! These are listed buildings that are not allowed to install air-conditioning. Two families have had to sell their flats and move away because they had young children! Riverwalk’s flats are air-conditioned and windows do not have to be opened in the warm weather. 

Visually the two bus stops make the once lovely road now look like Victoria station. The relocated bus stop now blocks the park and the sculpture. If had been moved further east, closer to the Tate Museum, it would have stopped in front of a brick wall and not obstructed anything or caused a visual glut of busses, nor caused so much toxic air concentrated in a small area.  It is a proven fact that bus emissions are poison and cause lung disease and premature deaths.”

Sainsbury’s Marsham Street

We have asked again for the Council to work closely with the police and the store manager to deal the beggars outside Sainsbury’s in Marsham Street and in Horseferry Road.

Parliament Square

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

“Since the bike lanes appeared, the traffic on to the Square from Great Smith Street has been impossible. it is taking buses more than 20 minutes to go from Marsham Street to Westminster tube. it seems to be a combination of problems, including the sequencing of the lights from Great Smith Street to Victoria Street, which allow only a couple of cars across at once; blockages on Victoria Street – there is no yellow box, so traffic doesn’t leave room for the traffic coming in from great smith street in the short time that the lights are green, and the blind eye turned to coaches (as many as 6) parked at the top of Gt Smith Street, which mean there is only one lane at the lights, so even traffic that wants to go left on to Victoria Street gets blocked.”

75 Page Street

We have asked the Planning Enforcement Team to reinvestigate this issue:

“This s clearly being used as an unofficial ‘apartment hotel’. there was a group of French students one week. I have put a complaint on the council planning website, as have others. it seems quite wrong that a building that got planning permission as flats – presumably for sale or rent – is actually being run as a quasi-hotel. if they wanted a hotel, why didn’t they apply for one?”

The Council says:

“We currently have an investigation open on this property pertaining to its use for short-term let purposes. As you will be aware, the government has elected to make short-term letting lawful provided an individual property is not used in excess of 90 nights (cumulative total for all short-term lets). The Officers are monitoring the use of the property to ensure the 90 night limit is not exceeded. Should evidence be obtained that a prima facie breach of planning control has occurred then the relevant action will be taken.”

Idling Engines

We have asked the police to look into this issue:

I live close to Gordon Hospital where the police are often in attendance at incidents with patients. I note that they always leave their car engines idling. Sometimes their stay can last for hours and the engine continues to turn over. Sometimes there can be as many as 5 police cars. It always reminds me that when I see any police car in Pimlico, attending any domestic incident, the engines are always left idling. Surely this would be one of the easiest improvements to achieve against unnecessary air pollution. I am absolutely certain that the police have no need whatsoever to leave the engine turned on.” 

Seven Reasons why we oppose the proposed Nine Elms to Pimlico bridge

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

Vauxhall Bridge Road cycle lane – what you say

“The cycle/pedestrian issue is of great concern and was an obvious accident problem waiting to happen from its inception. We notice very little cycle traffic on the cycle paths compared with the bike racers on the roads who also ignore one way signs etc.”

Sainsbury’s – what you say

“Both the vagrants and cash machine issues were highlighted as well as the noise from deliveries which were expected early morning through to late evening (it closes at 11pm so deliveries are likely to be schedule between then and 7am when it opens).  All obvious to anyone living in the area but, unfortunately, the decision-makers, who don’t live in the area, deemed it to be fine because, I imagine, they view all London, and all London streets, to be equal in terms of peace, traffic, commercial and residential.”

What you say

“Thank you again for your newsletter.”

“Keep up the good work, please”

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

Regards

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg

Labour Built Environment spokesperson

Westminster City Council Labour Group

 

VINCENT SQUARE WARD ACTION REPORT – May 2016

News from Labour Councillors and the Labour Action Team

The intersection of Vauxhall Bridge Road and Causten Street, adjacent to the White Swan

We have again called on TfL to take action about the continuing concerns local residents have about the dangerous intersection. Residents say:

“The measures taken by TfL are woefully inadequate, the slow sign painted on the pavement applies only in one direction and is far too close to the intersection. This afternoon, a preventable accident took place when a cyclist evidently presuming a right of way collided with a pedestrian.  They were both injured and a motorcycle policeman attended the scene.  The pedestrian was assisted by the White Swan pub staff and although shaken and in pain was reluctant to make a statement.  The cyclist was also in considerable pain. The White Swan staff had witnessed a number of similar problems at the location and they pointed out that a record of such incidents was available should it be required from the pub’s CCTV. It is essential that TfL address this problem before someone suffers really serious injury or is killed.” 

Another resident raised this issue, too:

“The junction with John Islip Street has created major traffic and safety problems. Traffic joining Vauxhall Bridge Road from Drummond Gate and the synchronisation of the traffic lights creates traffic blockages at busy times. This leads to the diagonal cycle lane and pedestrians having to weave between traffic and around each other. Apart from rush hours I see very few cyclists using the lanes – and even fewer at weekends. Are there any plans in place to review the success of the cycle lanes whether from cyclist perspective, traffic flow or pedestrian safety? I hear much anecdotal evidence that cyclists don’t use the lanes as they are “full of slower cyclists” and thus faster riders still weave in and out of traffic lanes.”

Sainsbury’s on the Marsham Street/Horseferry Road corner‏

Residents tell us that there a number of issues relating to this Sainsbury’s store:

  • there are very aggressive beggars who appear to be on some sort of rota system by the cash machine outside Sainsburys and 
  • the noise of the delivery vans is terrible from early morning deliveries

We have asked the local City Inspector investigate these issues.

The Council says:“We are already talking to Sainsbury about the deliveries issue and I will get the team onto the aggressive begging, too.”

“The local city inspector for Vincent Square visited Sainsbury and spoke to the store manager at length regarding the begging issues as reported.   The manager outlined that a variety of people have recently started to sit beside the cash machines and in their fire escape (on inclement weather-days). He stated that his staff do frequently move them on and call the police when necessary.

The local city inspector issued a Community Protection Warning Notice to one foreign national beggar who set up whilst he was there.  It was made clear to her that this behaviour would not be tolerated and to immediately cease what she was doing and leave the area.  She was also informed that any further instances may lead to a formal Community Protection Notice (CPN), which would effectively ban her from the area and could potentially also lead to her arrest.   

The City Inspector has added this location to his hot-spot daily patrol and will continue to enforce where necessary.  The Sainsbury’s manager has been provided with the City Inspector’s number and has been urged to call him directly as soon as anyone sets up to beg nearby so that any future instances can be nipped in the bud as they arise. “

Ponsonby Place

We have reported this serious matter to the local police:

“We been bombarded with air rifles guns and marbles throughout Ponsonby Place, smashing windows and damaging cars and police are unable to find out who is doing this. My wife and my children have been experience a nightmare and too frightened to do school runs. Will you please advise me what should I do next this is very important. Today an air rifle and tomorrow could be a real one.”

The police say:

“The police are fully aware of this situation and are working hard to identify a suspect. We have increased our patrols in the area and these will continue for the immediate future. Officers have recovered a number of exhibits from the location and these have been submitted for fast track DNA analysis. Additionally, we are currently in the process of identifying whether one of our ballistic experts can ascertain the trajectory of the fired items in the hope of discovering where the suspect(s) is positioning themselves. A request has been made to the National Police Air Service for a fast deployment to any future calls from members of the public regarding any further discharges. Finally, the Technical Surveillance Unit will be deployed to the area.”

Millbank Academy

We have asked the Council to investigate the situation at the school after receiving this message from a resident:

I was approached by a number of Millbank Academy parents. They are trying to find an alternative Primary School. Apparently the Head has resigned and the Deputy of Pimlico Academy too. Since the Academy system was introduced we seem to experience one crisis after the other and today’s situation is a repetition of previous episodes. My neighbour has 2 children at Millbank and asked me today to help her to find a different school. She tells me that the parents have been exposed to s roller coaster of changes on teaching focus. Stressed out teachers have been leaving. The Head told me earlier this year that she is struggling to replace the good teachers she is loosing. Housing and commuting difficulties play a part in this too.”

The Council say:

“We have been informed that that the Head has not resigned but is retiring after 22 successful years as headteacher of the school, and we understand that she may return in some advisory capacity to support the school once she has had a good break. The deputy head at Pimlico Academy meanwhile has resigned as he has been successful in securing his first Headship. In both instances these leaders are leaving for normal and acceptable reasons and appropriate steps are being taken to replace these school leaders. A senior leader from Quintin Kynaston has been appointed to be the new Head at Millbank. The school recognises that staff turnover is an issue but they are looking at lots of ways of reducing this, including becoming a centre for school led teacher training. Children’s services has confidence in the leadership provided for Millbank and Pimlico primaries by Future Academies. Both schools at their most recent Ofsted school inspections were judged to be providing an outstanding quality of education.

We are voting to REMAIN in the EU on 23rd June

Britain is better off in Europe. It is clear that being in the European Union brings us jobs, growth and investment. The EU has helped to secure workers’ rights and make consumers better off too.

Jobs

  • Millions of British jobs are linked to our EU membership.
  • £26.5 billion is invested in Britain by EU countries every year.
  • British workers benefit from EU agreements on workers’ rights, including the right to holiday pay, paid maternity and paternity leave, anti-discrimination laws, equal pay and protection for agency workers.

Exports

  • Exports to the EU are worth £227 billion a year to the British economy.
  • The EU is Britain’s biggest export market: almost half of all of Britain’s exports go to the EU.

Security

  • Thousands of criminals, including terrorists, have been arrested under the European Arrest Warrant.
  • Being in the EU enhances Britain’s global influence and allows us to take our place at the top table.

If you’re not already registered to vote, you need to do so to vote in the EU Referendum. Deadline is 7 June. Register at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

Find out if you’re eligible to vote in the EU Referendum at www.aboutmyvote.co.uk

If you’re travelling, or unable to get to your polling station on 23 June you can apply for a postal vote by post until 5pm on Wednesday 8 June. Download an application form from aboutmyvote.co.uk

What you say

“Thank you. Keep up the good work!”

“Your newsletter/report is great by the way”

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

If you do not want to receive this report please let us know and we will remove your details from our list.

If you know anybody who would like to receive this report please ask them to email me a pdimoldenberg@hotmail.co.uk and we will add them to the list.

Regards

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg

Labour Built Environment spokesperson

Westminster City Council Labour Group

 

VINCENT SQUARE WARD ACTION REPORT – April 2016

News from Labour Councillors and the Labour Action Team

48 Millbank – Abandoned car

We asked the Council to take action on this issue:

“This is an appeal to do something about an abandoned car that has been dumped in one of our precious 4 residents’ parking spaces outside 48 Millbank. The powder blue Peugeot 206 has been there since last October. It has no residents’ parking permit and the windscreen is plastered with penalty charges. The tyres are flat and it has been partially vandalised. Regular telephone calls to the police and Westminster Council have produced a number of inspectors but no action. Even an ever suspicious MI6 sent an investigator but still no result. It was first reported to Westminster Council on 4 February. What can we do next? I know this is a minuscule problem in the context of the great issues of the day, but it is on our doorstep and affects us every day. You are one of the few voices raised in support of residents, and we rely on you.”

A few days’ later residents told us:

“After months of appealing in vain to Westminster Council, we appealed directly to you to do something about the abandoned car in one of our parking spaces at no 48 Millbank and today it has gone! Many thanks to you and the Labour Group.”

Abell House and Cleland House Highway and Public Realm Improvements

The Council has agreed the following highway and public realm improvements which will be paid for by the developer:

Highway Improvements

  • New Yorkstone footway paving and granite kerbs in John Islip Street, Page Street and Thorney Street adjacent to the developments
  • Realignment of the kerbs on John Islip Street and Thorney Street
  • New loading lay-bys on John Islip Street
  • A granite clad planter in Page Street to provide additional trees and public seating. The planter will include measures to deter skateboarding
  • New hot rolled asphalt carriageway surfaces
  • A revised parking layout on John Islip Street providing additional parking
  • Improved public lighting and drainage, and

Public Realm Improvements

  • New Yorkstone footway paving and granite kerbs in John Islip Street and Page Street at the junction of Page Street, John Islip Street and Dean Ryle Street
  • A raised ‘Silver Grey’ granite sett table at the junction of John Islip Street and Page Street to create a flush footway and carriageway surface
  • New trees on John Islip Street and Page Street
  • Improved drainage, and
  • Additional cycle stands.

The works are programmed to start in February 2017 and take nine months to complete.

Millbank Tower

According to the ‘Architects Journal’, “Westminster City Council is set to impose conditions on John McAslan’s conversion of Millbank Tower into flats to ensure the cladding closely resembles the original. Planning officers are recommending approval of revised plans to turn the three buildings on the site into 207 flats and a 150-bedroom hotel as well as a cultural facility. Westminster City Council admitted that modern requirements such as double or triple glazing and the need to reduce solar gain might lead to some differences.


Regards

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg

Labour Built Environment spokesperson

Westminster City Council Labour Group

 

VINCENT SQUARE WARD ACTION REPORT – March 2016

News from Labour Councillors and the Labour Action Team

Grosvenor Estate

We are making enquiries with City West Homes about this issue:

“I need to ask you for your support in one thing that is currently threatening residents of Grosvenor Estate.  There are at nearly 900 households in the estate. City West Homes have decided to close the estate office and move it across the busy Vauxhall Bridge Road to Charlwood Street.  It is being sold as part of an efficiency drive but it will greatly impact on the ability of residents to seek instant support when in need. 

Obviously 600 yards is not much when you are healthy, but with the aging population and reduced mobility many of our residents will find it difficult to get basic things attended to because of the distance.  This will lead eventually to a total breakdown in communication between CWH and residents.  It should not be allowed to happen. We want your help to keep it as a community resource ran by community group for the benefit of the community. Once the space is turned into a flat, it will be gone and it will be another amenity lost in the area.  Surely an estate of nearly 900 households should not be deprived of an essential service and resource?”

City West Homes say:

“The number of visitors to the Grosvenor office is one of the lowest recorded across the borough. In the 6-month period 1 April 2015 to 1 September 2015, a total of 895 visitors were recorded – an average of 7 visitors per day. The small number of individuals within an office makes it difficult for home visits and site inspections to take place, as officers are tied to the office to see visitors to reception and answer telephones. The Lillington & Longmoore Estate Office is situated approximately half a mile away, a 6-minute walk and a few minutes away from the nearest post office and supermarkets for Grosvenor residents. This will create a further opportunity to redevelop the Grosvenor Estate Office into a much needed two-bedroom ground floor property.

We met with residents that play an active role in the local community a fortnight before we wrote to all residents. Feedback was generally positive, with concerns around how elderly or vulnerable residents would access the service. In cases where residents cannot get to us, home visits will take place or meetings held in local community spaces such as Grosvenor Hall. Following this, we wrote to all residents with details of the proposal, giving them 10 days to come back with any queries or concerns. We have received three responses, all about anti-social behaviour potentially increasing if the local estate office does not retain a presence. We will work closely with the three residents that have raised these issues to ensure we are addressing their concerns.”

Warwick Way

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“Black cabs are queuing for Victoria station down to Warwick Way, leaving their engines running constantly, also in front of the GP surgery. The smells and the fumes are bad and there is no reason for such waste. Is there no way of stopping them? Was I misguided by thinking that Westminster City Council had acted upon idling engines in our area? “

Vauxhall Bridge Road crossing – what you say

“I must also thank you for intervening on the traffic crossing on Vauxhall Bridge Road from Francis Street to the Pimlico side of the very busy street.  Crossing that road had been a dangerous maneouvre for those who have reason to cross that road including many going and returning from schools in the area as well as residents.  We have now had the light to count down which means that flicking amber light is no longer permission for cars to try to moo people down. It now seems cleaner, calmer and people crossing with confidence.  Thank you so much.”

Traffic pollution – what you say

“My observation concerning the pollution is caused by TfL who keep on installing traffic lights on a number of area such as Hyde Park Corner, Bayswater Road, Vauxhall Bridge Road and many more zones. This is slowing down cars, taxis, lorries, buses, vans, thus slowing and stalling all drivers on the road. On Vauxhall Bridge Road all drivers have to pass 6 traffic light before they crossing over to Vauxhall, and the distance is about 40 to 50 meters. This is becoming a joke particular in the morning and in the evening. Vauxhall Bridge Road is a major route from the continent and all heading into central London.”

What you say

“Thank you so much for the excellent work you and your Team are doing for those of us who live in South Westminster.”

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

 

Regards

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg

Labour Built Environment spokesperson

Westminster City Council Labour Group

 

VINCENT SQUARE WARD ACTION REPORT – February 2016

News from Labour Councillors and the Labour Action Team

Erasmus Street pavement issues

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“A number of areas were marked for repair over 3 years ago. Nothing has happened since and the markings have now faded. There was an improvement with the asphalt surface for the cars renewed. However, the flagstone pavements were not and apart from broken slap stones along a busy pedestrian walk (Primary School and commuting government staff) on the opposite side, along Turner and Rossetti House, there are some potential more serious liabilities emerging. Some of these is in shadowy areas with no light at night or blocked by parking cars. We don’t understand why this can develop this far without being monitored and repaired at an earlier stage. Is the Council’s cheapest contractor policy, sold to us as value for money, starting to backfire? Does the Council still have the capacity to monitor properly?”

Rossetti House, Millbank Estate

We have asked City West Homes to look into this issue:

“For months now, there is wet and brittle brickwork on Millbank Estate’s Rossetti House covered with a loose plastic sheet. It’s a Grade II listed building and in any case it gives the whole street a neglected look. The spot is known for at least 6 years as problematic and has been subject to previous intervention by specialists. Obviously with no success. We local residents are now turning to you in the hope that your intervention may get things going.“

City West Homes have told us:

“Due to the expense of hiring a platform lift to get access to the gutter, MEMO are waiting for other jobs to come forward so the expense of hiring is shared across a number of blocks. I have asked MEMO to tidy up the area and at the very least put a sign up so residents can see why the sheeting is in place. I have been told that the sheeting will be removed and the gutter repaired by the end of this month.”

John Islip Street

We are making enquiries about this issue:

“May I raise one concern about the developments of Abell and Cleland in John Islip Street. Previously there were some very attractive plane trees growing from beds in the pavement outside the offices. These were removed as part of the development but I am dismayed to see that the replacement pavement does not contain any provision for any planting to soften the monolithic nature of these residences. As they are starker and much taller than the previous government office buildings, the lack of greenery is a real shame. Please could you ask the council to either ensure the developers replace these trees or make provision to replant them.”

The Council say:

Six whitebeams were removed in order to accommodate the development. The s 106 contained a public realm contribution of up to £1million. 12 new trees are shown on a plan attached to the s106. “

Horseferry Road

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

“My concern is the parking of buses/coaches on Horseferry Road outside St Johns Gardens. The drivers often leave the engines on. However, this is generating lots of carbon monoxide pollution right outside the park with is used by local residents and office workers. If buses are allowed to park there, then it should be on a strictly engines off basis.”

75 Page Street

We have been following up the situation at this new development, particularly the failure to provide a restaurant. The Council told us:

“Whilst the permission granted on appeal allowed for a restaurant in the ground floor and basement, and conditioned the hours of use of the restaurant, the permission does not require a restaurant actually to open up and trade.”

As one resident told us:

“The whole point, as I and others understood it, was to replace an amenity lost because the pub was being demolished. now it seems clear that this provision was a formality with no intention behind it, which is pretty outrageous. The provision for a restaurant was there right through the planning process and change of use was only requested after perhaps I and someone else, drew the lack of this restaurant to the attention of the planners. It sounds as though the council is just going to roll over. there seems to me to be a big difference between a facility for community use and facilities for the exclusive use of residents – not least because it changes the cost/benefit to the developer. it must also be doubtful whether planning permission would have been given for the block in the first place without the restaurant provision. “

What you say

“Thank you once again for an extremely useful and informative service.”

“Thanks for the latest news. I do read it with interest and have followed the news about The White Swan area especially as I walk that way to the bus stop each day and was startled by a cyclist. Luckily she seemed aware it could be risky! I live in Erasmus Street so it’s good to know what’s happening. I am also interested in what’s been said about Vincent Square Health Centre as I use it quite frequently. Anyway keep up the good work”

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

If you do not want to receive this update please let us know and we will remove your details from our list.

If you know anybody who would like to receive this update please ask them to email me a pdimoldenberg@hotmail.co.uk and we will add them to the list.

Regards

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg

Labour Built Environment spokesperson

Westminster City Council Labour Group

 

VINCENT SQUARE WARD ACTION REPORT – January 2016

News from Labour Councillors and the Labour Action Team

Vauxhall Bridge Road/Causten Street, adjacent to the White Swan – Update

We have received the following response from Transport for London to this issue:

“This location has recently been reconstructed as part of Cycle Superhighway 5, a new segregated cycle route from Oval to Pimlico. Owing to space constraints adjacent to the White Swan public house, a shared area has been provided which means cyclists and pedestrians share the footway space and are required to give way to each other. Following the launch of the route in November we have arranged police presence at this location to educate both pedestrians and cyclists on how to use this new layout.

A meeting took place between TfL officers, safety auditors and Westminster City Council officers to address similar concerns. While it is acknowledged there needs to be a bedding-in period and the area needs to be monitored over time, additional measures were agreed and are expected to be implemented in the early months of 2016. These measures will aim to raise awareness of both cyclists and pedestrians, including:

  • ‘Slow’ markings on the approach to the shared area to warn cyclists
  • ‘Give way’ symbols on the approach to the shared area to warn cyclists
  • Cycle logo paving slabs to be inset to advise pedestrians of cyclists’ presence

I anticipate these measures will provide further clarity of use in the area and reduce conflict.”

Residents say:

“Thank you for your follow-up on this issue and I am grateful for the response you have obtained.  It seems to be a fudge by the TfL planners by which in a very British way pedestrians and cyclists are being left to work out their own modus vivendi.  All would be well were it not for an increase in single-minded and aggressive cyclists who, no doubt enthused by the novelty of the “Cycle Superhighway 5” see no reason to give way to mere pedestrians, but let us hope that they learn better manners during the “bedding-in” period, without any nasty consequences for either.

I might add that neither I who use the crossing several times daily, nor any of my local friends who also use it, have yet seen any “police presence at this location” and expect that the police will have other priorities than to act as nannies to TfL’s rather inconsiderate scheme.  However, the measures promised for 2016 should help and one wonders why they were not included at the outset. If I were to come a cropper before then, I would be sorely tempted to sue TfL for negligently failing to provide adequate safety measures.”

Erasmus Street

We asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“I have been monitoring the traffic island we cleared some month ago in Erasmus Street. This pile of rubbish has been building up over the past 2 weekends with white goods now added. Do we have to look at this over Christmas? The Council’s monitoring is not working as there are other street corners around Millbank Estate where blue bags are starting to build up again.”

The Council said:

“I have arranged for all dumped waste at this site to be cleared as a matter of urgency. I have also tasked the local City Inspector with monitoring this location as a matter of priority to identify residents or businesses who are fly-tipping at this location and to take enforcement action against them as appropriate.:

A satisfied resident told us:

“Thank you. Excellent result, all cleared up”

Proposed Nine Elms to Pimlico Bridge

We have reaffirmed our opposition to the proposed Nine Elms to Pimlico bridge. At the Environment Scrutiny Committee on 18th January, Labour Councillor Murad Gassanly, said:

“We have raised strong objections to the proposed bridge and ensured local residents views have been made clear to Westminster and Wandsworth Councils. We need the Council to be the voice of local residents – we need the council to reject the bridge at any landing point in Pimlico. The campaign against the bridge has been led by the Pimlico Alliance, a resident led campaign who have done sterling work in raising public awareness of the impact of the bridge. It is residents who have led this campaign and they who have said time and time again – no to the bridge.”

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

Vauxhall Bridge Road cycleway – what you say

“The cycleway from Regency Street to John Islip Street Junction, or at least after White Swan, should be changed back to pavement. It should not be cycleway, it is too dangerous.”

What you say

“Much enjoyed reading the Newsletter.   Keep up the good work.”

“Thanks for the update on ward issues. I value and appreciate what you do on behalf of the community.”

“Thank you for everything you are doing on behalf of your constituents and for the very informative newsletter.”

“Thank you for your help and for all that you do on our behalf in improving daily life in and around Westminster.”

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

 

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg

Labour Built Environment spokesperson

Westminster City Council Labour Group

 

VINCENT SQUARE WARD ACTION REPORT – December 2015

News from Labour Councillors and the Labour Action Team

Vauxhall Bridge Road/Causten Street, adjacent to the White Swan.

We have again asked Transport for London to investigate this very serious issue:

“There is a concern about the potential clash between cyclists and pedestrians at the intersection of VBR and Causten Street, adjacent to the White Swan.  This is a heavy footfall pedestrian crossing used by people going to and from Pimlico tube station.   Although the pavement colouring and texture clearly indicate this is a pedestrian right of way, cyclists are habitually claiming it as their own, continuing without breaking their speed through the pedestrians. There needs to be a sign well in advance of the intersection advising cyclists that they do not have right of way and may even have to dismount.”

“We are getting seriously concerned about the pedestrian crossing created at Vauxhall Bridge Road/White Swan by the reckless layout of the new bicycle lanes. Unaware Tate tourists and foreign students from Chelsea Arts walk on it with their backs to the speeding bicycles. Several incidents involving locals and commuters within days of opening should trigger swift action.”

“The Vauxhall Bridge Rd/White Swan bicycle pedestrian situation is very concerning. I get reports almost daily and can obviously observe incidents personally. One with a group of Chelsea Arts Students just last Saturday. It is really careless planning.”

Great Minster House, Marsham Street

We are making further enquiries on behalf of residents on the latest up-to-date situation on the Sainsbury’s planning application following the Planning appeal submitted by Sainsbury’s.

The Council says:

“We have just recently received the appeal decision and the Inspectorate has resolved to allow the appeal and grant planning permission. The owners also applied for costs but this was turned down. The application was recommended for approval and the Planning Committee decided to refuse consent so the appeal was fought on the basis the application was unacceptable.”

Douglas Street

We have asked the Council to again investigate this issue:

“We are still experiencing bins being used as an area for dumping unwanted household items. The bins were not there when we bought our flats do why are we now expected to overlook a rubbish dump in the middle of Westminster? There are at least four such sites within walking distance of Douglas Street. The bins need to be removed or re-sited where somebody is responsible for monitoring them.”

Nine Elms to Pimlico Bridge

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

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

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

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

Water Tanks

City West Homes tell us that stock condition surveys have identified that some of the water tanks are now aged and have reached the end of their useful life expectancy in a number of blocks. It has therefore become necessary to replace the water tanks to prevent further deterioration, and to comply with current water regulations.  The works are scheduled to start in August 2016.

Blocks involved include:

Millbank Estate – Gainsborough, Hogarth, Landseer, Lawrence, Leighton, Maclise, Millais, Morland, Mulready, Reynolds, Rossetti, Ruskin, Stubbs, Wilkie and Turner Houses  

Grosvenor Estate – Rogers House

City West Homes say:

Shortly before work starts individual notices will be put into each block receiving work. These will have clear contact details. We will provide 7 days’ written notice to residents before any disruption to service.”

South Westminster Centre for Health, Vincent Square

We are making enquiries about this issue

“Worrying news is that 82 Vincent Square, housing South Westminster Centre for Health is being decamped to be sold.  It is vital that this building continues to be used for the community.  It is sad that many buildings serving the local community are being sold to private developers.  More properties are being developed which would be great if it helps even a single family living in overcrowded accommodation, a huge issue in the area but they are usually beyond anything that many family can afford to buy.

We understand that there is a feasibility study about selling it off.  This should be resisted at all cost.  There are not many buildings that can be used for community activities in the area.  This will then make it impossible to do anything that will help to boost community spirit in the area as everything will be sold to the highest bidder without taking into account the damage to community spirit.  Sadly by the time people fully appreciate the situation, it will be too late.”

We were pleased to get this response from the NHS:

“We do not own South Westminster Health centre, it is owned by NHS Property Services Ltd. We are one of a number of health providers who run services from the site as tenants. As far as we are awareNHS Property Services have no plans to dispose of this building. CLCH have no plans to withdraw from this facility, which we see as a key part of our estate serving South Westminster. We continually review the provision of our services however and the specific mix of services provided from any particular facility is subject to change from time to time.

We are aware, from recent comments made by the Central London CCG as part of a strategic estates workshop, that South Westminster Health centre is seen by the CCG as a key strategic asset for the provision of primary and community healthcare in Westminster. “

What you say

“Thank you so much for another wonderful report”

“Many of us in the area appreciate the exceptional work you do in chasing up these local issues on our behalf.”

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

 

Regards

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg

Labour Built Environment spokesperson

Westminster City Council Labour Group

 

VINCENT SQUARE WARD ACTION REPORT – October 2015

News from Labour Councillors and the Labour Action Team

Vauxhall Bridge Road

We have taken up this issue with the Council:

“I am a bit worried by the pavement part of the new cycle lane by White Swan Pub on Vauxhall Bridge Road. I think there is the possibility for great danger to pedestrians and cyclists alike there. Hope I am wrong.”

“From what I’ve seen cyclists don’t understand that outside White Swan pub is pavement not cycleway. Pedestrians are also wandering along cycleway – it is at same level – a bit of a mess pavement. I hope I am wrong but crashes, destruction, verbal abuse and litigation could well follow.”

Vincent House, Regency Street

We have taken up a series of issues with City West Homes raised by residents regarding repairs, leaseholder charges and the general maintenance of the block.

Millbank Estate – Broadband

We are making enquiries with the Council about the long awaited arrival of high speed broadband to the Millbank Estate. Residents say;

“Millbank residents have been waiting for 3 years for news on broadband progress. Millbank residents experienced a previous 5 years saga on the CWH Digital Switchover programme.”

Chapter Street – Update

We are continuing to press the Council to improve refuse collection at various properties in the street. Residents say they are concerned about:

“the unacceptable level of rubbish management carried out by Westminster City Council. We have rough sleepers in the vicinity and this packaging kindly provided by occupiers of 16-18 Douglas Street is an unexpected bonus of an insulating mattress. 16-18 Douglas Street have their own provisions for recycling as well as rubbish collection. In my experience anybody and everybody contribute to the bins in Chapter Street as the bins are always available to the world and his wife.”

Westminster College, Vincent Square

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

“Is there anything that can be done to expedite the work on this building which is taking an unconscionable time?”

Westminster Fire Station

A local group has just received the sad news that Westminster City Council will not be listing Westminster Fire Station as an Asset of Community Value. This means that the fire station will pass from being a public building into private hands, ending a history of more than 100 years of public service.

http://www.westendextra.com/news/2014/jul/%E2%80%98save-it%E2%80%99-bid-claims-westminster-fire-station-community-asset

What you say

“I do appreciate your Action Report”

“Thank you for your engagement”

“Thank you for your efforts with regard to the problem of re-cycling bins causing dumping of rubbish and fly tipping.”

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

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg
Labour Built Environment spokesperson
Westminster City Council Labour Group

VINCENT SQUARE WARD ACTION REPORT – September 2015

News from Labour Councillors and the Labour Action Team

Chapter Street/Douglas Street

We have raised these issues with the Council:

“The recycling bins serving our building – 17 Chapter Street – are located in Douglas Street in the entrance to the shared car park entrance with Baltimore Court, Vauxhall Bridge Road. I recently complained to Westminster about the mess in this area. Not only were a variety of nearby property occupiers dumping stuff in this area as well as the bins, the presence of the bins means it is generally used as a toilet. As a result of further consultation between Westminster, Notting Hill and Peabody Trust the area is much cleaner and the soiling has reduced significantly. The entrance to the garage ramp is also private property supervised by Peabody Trust. Much as I would prefer an alternative location I doubt this can be achieved. Baltimore Court have a bin store in Chapter Street but the installation of the recycling bin in front of the bin store doors they obliged to have the other bins on the pavement which regularly overflow on to the pavement.”

Orleans Court, Douglas Street

We have written to Network Stadium Housing Association about this issue:

“We have had an issue for the last two years (2013 to 2015) with Network Housing Association about increased costs for cleaning. They took out a contract and increased the cost by 60% we went to the Leaseholders Tribunal who ruled in our favour but it is only just now that they are returning the overpayment and have shown our service charge accounts in debit for this time. The Leaseholders Act states that if they are going to overspend by £250 they have to tell us at the time and inform us where the money has been taken from but this never happens and we are expected to pay at the end of each year without any explanation.”

Causton Street

We are continuing to press the Council to take action against those responsible for the rubbish dumping by the big black bins in Causton Street.

Anti-social behaviour

We have asked the Council to investigate these reports from residents:

“I am concerned about increasing levels of antisocial behaviour in the area. It is not unusual to be woken up late at night or early in the morning by disturbances in Page Street, as indeed was the case last night where one party was heard to proclaim loudly an intention to “stab the f***ing eyes out” of one or more other parties. In addition there are an increasing number of vagrants, drunks and beggars, particularly outside the cash machines on Horseferry Road and in St Johns public garden”

Police Update

The police report the following;

“Great work from South Cluster SNT who have secured closure orders on two addresses on the Peabody estate. This will no doubt impact on the number of complaints around drug dealing and the associated ASB linked to these properties. The success was largely possible due to the work completed by the Vincent Square SNT regarding intelligence gathering, warrant applications and additional evidential actions. This tremendous result was the culmination of a real team effort involving SNT PC’s and PCSO’s in conjunction with the housing association.”

75 Page Street

We are making enquiries about this issue:

“I have been trying without success to get a response from the Council Planning Enforcement Department concerning the recently constructed new block at 75 Page Street, on the corner of Marsham Court/Page Street. The windows of this building look very odd and completely out of kilter with Marsham Court which surrounds it. So far as I can tell they do not compare well with the designs of the building that were submitted in the planning application. Similarly, large air-conditioning units have lately been fitted which were not part of the planning application.”

The Council has told us they have now started an investigation.

Carey Place – rubbish dumping update

The Council tells us:

“I have asked the local City Inspector to monitor this location and take enforcement action as appropriate against any residents or businesses found to be fly-tipping waste. As I’m sure you will appreciate, proposals to remove or relocate bins can tend to divide opinion amongst local residents. Such proposals are therefore normally only considered where there is evidence of considerable local feeling on the matter.”

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

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg
Labour Built Environment spokesperson
Westminster City Council Labour Group

 

VINCENT SQUARE WARD ACTION REPORT – August 2015

News from Labour Councillors and the Labour Action Team

Causton street dumpingCauston dumping 2Causton Street

We have again asked the Council to tackle the growing problem of rubbish dumping by the bins in Causton Street. This is becoming a real issue for local residents and we have called on the Council to take action against those responsible.

It is clear to us that some of the dumping is of commercial waste and those responsible should be fined for their anti-social behaviour.

Millbank Estate – rubbish

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

Residents are particularly upset about both Recycling Centres being placed at exposed, uncovered spots right at both opposite entrances to Millbank Estate. What estate visitors see first is very often a disgusting heap of discarded furniture, packaging and other rubbish. Residents leaving and arriving home have to pass these daily. Clearing up may often be well within the day but is very often almost immediately replaced by more of the same rubbish. And bins are placed in disorderly fashion across the space inviting fly-tipping and making it look messy even when no rubbish is dumped. A further consideration is also the bad example the area gives daily to the pupils and parents of the 2 local primary schools. Both have a wide catchment area.

I regularly speak also with tourists heading for Tate Britain, visiting students and academics to Chelsea College of Arts who are dismayed about the “dumps in the middle of such residential beauty and solitude in the heart of Westminster”. The Council’s responses so far are just not good enough and, understandably, somehow fly in the face of residents’ long-term hard work to make Millbank Estate and neighbourhood a great place to live. It is hoped the Council will now support residents by sorting out the missing fundamentals.”

The Council say:

“Following your request, I have visited the site along with estate management and realised that the recycling bins that were left in the traffic island of Erasmus Street belongs to Millbank estate’s Maclise House and Mulready House, which are now returned to their original agreed locations. All reports of fly-tipping of general waste at this or any other location are actively investigated with a view to taking enforcement action as appropriate. I have highlighted this issue to the local City Inspector to ensure he undertakes regular monitoring to ensure waste is not dumped at this traffic island. “

Carey Place

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“I have twice had the environmental team down to look at the re-cycling bins in Carey Place. They were not there when we bought our flats and are a continuous problem with furniture, electrical items, builders’ waste and even a toilet and sink having been left there in the past. They are frequently opened and the contents dumped all over the Place during the night by rough sleepers who wake us up.”

Herrick Street Update

We asked the Council for an update on this issue:

“Over the years a number of complaints were made to the Council about trucks and coaches trying to use the narrow Herrick Street and getting stuck at the end of it. They need to reverse and regularly damage parked cars on their journey back that can take up to 20 minutes along residents’ windows. We have asked repeatedly that the street should be marked “for local traffic use only”.”

The Council says:

“This matter needs to be investigated further in order to gain an understanding of the extent of this issue and the potential implications of introducing measures to protect Herrick Street from being used by large vehicles. It is therefore proposed to carry out a traffic survey after the schools have gone back in September. With that information to hand it will be possible to identify the options that might be appropriate to address the scale of the issue. Just as importantly it will also enable an assessment to be made of the potential impacts of the options, particularly in regard to the transfer of traffic onto other roads in the area. I would add that a review of the safety record of Herrick Street for the 3 years up to the end of 2014 revealed that there were no accidents in that period. I will contact you again once the traffic survey and study have been completed.”

Herrick Street rubbish dumping

We have reported this issue to the Council:

“For years now we have been told about monitoring of the rubbish collection developments and we have not seen much real improvement. For the past 2 weeks, there are 2 heaps of blue rubbish bags building up along Herrick Street. One is direct opposite the Recycling Centre. Nobody seems to be monitoring this development.”

Peabody rent increases – what you say

“I have been a Peabody tenant since 1979 (and my family since 1958). Just after your newsletter arrived, I received confirmation of my new rent. It has increased by over £10 per week and the amount was more than Peabody had asked to claim. I am also very worried about the prospect of having to suddenly pay the commercial/asking price for my home which according to the Rent Assessor’s form would be £315 per week. I literally couldn’t sleep last night after getting this notification. Please continue to make this an issue.”

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

VINCENT SQUARE WARD ACTION REPORT – July 2015

News from Labour Councillors and the Labour Action Team

Vauxhall Bridge Road

We are taking this issue up with Transport for London and the Council:

“For some two to three weeks, in normal travelling hours (including Sunday when it has sometimes been at its worst occurrence), there have been solid traffic jams on the southbound carriageway of Vauxhall Bridge Road. On Thursday at about 5pm I counted 18 buses stationary between Rochester Row and Chapter Street. in addition to normal vehicular traffic. I do not possess a gas monitoring device but am absolutely sure that pollution levels were increased in a noticeable degree during all of these many periods of acute congestion. The cost in wasted fuel must be hundreds and more likely thousands of litres. This takes no account of the wasted time and frustration of drivers and their passengers. I have become used to the screaming sirens of emergency vehicles bypassing the blocked carriageway by driving in the opposing lanes.”

Turner House

We are continuing to help local residents with a number of housing issues which are now being dealt with.

Millbank Tower

The owners of Millbank Tower have announced plans to turn the building into flats and increase the height by 4 floors. Please let us know what you think of these proposals.

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/new-plans-to-convert-iconic-millbank-tower-into-luxury-flats-10418042.html

Causton Street bins

In response to the concerns raised by residents, the Council has told us the following:

“This is the first time we have received a request for the removal of the Causton Street recycling bins. These recycling bins have been in the same location for more than ten years and are very well used by local residents who find it more convenient to recycle here than use their doorstep collection services. Vermin are generally attracted to food waste rather than the bottles/cans and paper that are deposited in the bin. All reports of fly-tipping of general waste at this or any other location are actively investigated with a view to taking enforcement action as appropriate. I have highlighted this issue to the local City Inspector to ensure he undertakes regular monitoring to ensure waste is not dumped at this popular local amenity.”

Police Update

The local police tell us:

“Over the next 3 months, our summer drive on ASB and criminal damage (Operation Tranquil Wind) will focus primarily on Vincent Square ward but with wider activity across the south Westminster neighbourhood. We will again be visiting every residency and business on a number of streets throughout south Westminster to canvas concerns and to enable us to set our local “You said, we did” priorities. If you wish to comment on this message or any local issue please contact your local safer neighbourhood team at Belgravia Police Station.”

Contact 101 to report a crime. Dial 999 if you need police in an emergency.

Vincent Square Neighbourhood Area proposal – Update

The Council has given us this update:

“The Vincent Square Neighbourhood Area application was made in 2014 by ‘Kazuri’ Community Interest Company, a charitable lettings agency who provide training, mentoring, and residential tenancies to ex-offenders and women fleeing domestic violence. The application process triggered an element of disharmony and community tension within the area. In order to ensure that the widest possible members of the local community and local interest groups were able to be consulted and submit their views on the suitability of the proposed neighbourhood area, the representations period in relation to the application was twice extended by the City Council (Autumn 2014 into early 2015).

Unfortunately, the majority of representations were firm objections to the proposed neighbourhood area and a number of objections were made specifically against the applicants themselves. To understand local feelings and aspirations in more detail, officers have liaised with local ward Councillors and met with them in April 2015.

As a result of the consultation responses, the nature of the objections received and the sensitivity of feelings in the local area, officers have undertaken careful analysis of potential designation options within the area, taking account of the representations made but also an analysis of the built fabric and pattern of land use across the proposed area. Officers are now finalising a Cabinet Member Report to enable a decision to be made.”

Did you know? – The 1928 Thames Flood

On the 6th January 1928 the overflow of the River Thames burst the river wall near Lambeth Bridge. What is now Millbank was then Grosvenor Rd and the water rushed through the narrow streets that led from the river, though the old tenements. Such was the force of the flood that large areas of London were affected making up to 5,000 people homeless. A total of 14 people lost their life, many of whom lived in the immediate vicinity of Lambeth Bridge.

The area between Grosvenor Road, Horseferry Road, Marsham Street, Page Street and Vincent Street was severely affected and after the flood over 500 families needed to be rehoused. The Mayor of the City of Westminster contacted the landowner, the Duke of Westminster, to find a solution to the plight of hundreds of families who used to live in the area.

The Duke of Westminster agreed to lease the land in Page Street and Vincent Street to the Council for 995 years for the sum of just one shilling per year to provide housing for the “working classes”. He also contributed over £150,000 towards the cost of building the Grosvenor Housing Estate’s 600 new flats in seven blocks on Page and Vincent Streets, designed by Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens.

In addition to building the Grosvenor Estate, a major slum clearance and re-building plan was undertaken over the next few years to create Thames House (now MI5), ICI and the Westminster Hospital and Nurses Home in Horseferry Road (which closed in 1994).

Causton Street bins – what you say

“One of the worst things the council did was to take away the community skip.”

VINCENT SQUARE WARD ACTION REPORT – June 2015

News from Labour Councillors and the Labour Action Team

Causton Street

We are taking up this issue with the Council:

“Can you please help us? We have had endless trouble with the re-siting of recycling bins in Causton Street. The recycling lorries collect what is in the bin, but not the rubbish which is dumped alongside them. We are obliged to call the council when we can see piles of plastic bags, pizza boxes, general rubbish bags etc piled around the bins. We now have once again to spend huge amounts of money in getting a Pest Control Company over and above the normal visits. In Cureton Street there are Recycling bins for absolutely everything and we always used to take our stuff there. We never had a problem with vermin until these bins were sited in Causton Street. We have tried to get them removed but it`s now become a serious problem for the residents of St Georges Mansions.”

Erasmus Street

We are making enquiries about this problem:

“The pavement in Erasmus Street had a large number of flagstones marked for replacement or repair. This was over 2 years ago. The markings by now have gone but the pavement leading to Millbank Primary School, and used by large numbers of commuters working at nearby ministries, has further deteriorated and parts are becoming dangerous.”

Herrick Street

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

“Over the years a number of complaints were made to the Council about trucks and coaches trying to use the narrow Herrick Street and getting stuck at the end of it. They need to reverse and regularly damage parked cars on their journey back that can take up to 20 minutes along residents’ windows. We have asked repeatedly that the street should be marked “for local traffic use only”.”

Turner House, Millbank Estate‏

We are making enquiries with City West Homes on behalf of a number of residents of Turner House who have long-standing problems.

Peabody rent increases

We have written to the Chief Executive of Peabody to try to arrange a meeting about rent increases. We have said:

“A number of Peabody tenants in the Pimlico area have contacted me about the rent increases over recent years and the concerns they have for their own situation and for the future of the area as a place where people on moderate incomes can afford to live. I am sure that these concerns will not be a surprise to you as residents tell me that this issue has been raised with housing managers over the years. Would it be possible for me to meet those responsible for managing your Pimlico properties so that I can understand your rental policies and the steps you are taking to ensure that people on moderate incomes can afford to live in Pimlico?”

Vincent Square Neighbourhood proposal

Residents say the Council promised that they would hear about the Vincent Square Neighbourhood proposal by April/May. It’s now the end of June. We have asked the Council what is the latest situation?

Vincent Square Ward Labour Action Team Report – July 2014

Rochester Row

We have made enquiries about this issue;

“I live in Artillery Mansions. The pavement outside the rear entrance to Artillery Mansions and outside the former Westminster Fire Station has recently been re-laid. While tarmac has been used in a number of places to reduce the drop from the kerb level to the road level it has not been done as shown in the attached photos. This is a potential accident site where one of the many passing pedestrians could roll their ankle and possibly seek redress from Westminster Council for the injury caused. I should be grateful if you could bring this to the attention of the relevant department.”

The Council says;

“The reason the kerbs were raised was to ensure that there was a fall on the footway for drainage purposes as the back line of the footway has to be even with the highway. Whilst this is not usually a problem, in this case, as it crosses private property it is a potential hazard and some form of finishing needs to be put in place. Instructions have now been issued to the contractor to put in place an interim asphalt fix. In the medium term we are looking into why this was not thought through at the time, and the private land owners are to be contacted about some form of small paving area on their land that will resolve the trip. Once that is all sorted this will be put in place.”

Pimlico – Cycle Hire Scheme

We are making enquiries with TfL about this issue;

“I am writing to ask if once again you can pass on complaints about the Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme. The distribution of the bikes is becoming unbelievable. Every day in Pimlico the stations are empty by 8.30, and full by 6.30. Equally Soho stations are all empty within the evening making this mode of transport unusable after about 8pm. I understand that it is popular but better organisation must be carried out. Last week they were loading up the docking stations at 4.30pm with bikes in Pimlico – absolutely maddening as they were full by 6.30 and the bikes they loaded up weren’t used – how can this happen?”

Moreton Street

We have asked the Council to investigate this problem;

“How I can go about getting the bin situation reviewed in Moreton Street, Pimlico. We have three bins on wheels sitting on the corner of the street and it is not only unsightly but often people leave stuff by the bins as the recycling bins are locked and you can’t put large boxes in them. They have put permanent bins by Pimlico station and it would be nice to have a more permanent solution on Moreton Street that doesn’t blight the area. Please can you advise how we go about getting this done?”

New Sainsbury’s proposal on Marsham Street‏

We are making enquiries about this proposal following a resident’s enquiry;

“Please can you make enquiries about the following new planning application for a Sainsbury’s to be located on the lower floor of the redevelopment of Great Minster House 78-98 Marsham Street, SW1P 4PU. I am particularly concerned about the impact on traffic congestion and road safety at this particular site which will mean delivery trucks will, because of the one way system, increase traffic flows at the Marsham Street/ Page Street corner to access the planned loading bay at the rear of the building which flows out onto Page Street. As you are aware Page Street is a well-populated residential street with estate blocks, large numbers of children and elderly people. There are currently no traffic lights or pedestrian crossings on this corner and there are two heavily used bus stops on either side. Please can you investigate the traffic management and road safety impact plans for this proposal?”

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