Westminster North Action Reports

WESTMINSTER NORTH ACTION REPORT – February 2017

NEWS FROM WESTMINSTER’S LABOUR COUNCILLORS

Lisson Green

We have heard rumours that the Council is currently considering demolishing and replacing 12 blocks on Lisson Green, as part of the Church Street Masterplan. We also hear there are plans for the sports pitches to be either removed or relocated. We have asked why no residents have been consulted about these dramatic proposals.

Karen Buck MP has written to the Council about this and the long-delayed Church Street Regeneration proposals https://labourwestminster.wordpress.com/2017/02/04/karen-buck-mp-calls-on-westminster-council-to-give-answers-on-long-delayed-church-street-regeneration/

Church Street seagulls

We are continuing to urge City West Homes to take action to install ‘pigeon spikes’ across a number of blocks – Cherwell, Wey, Loddon, Wytham, Derry, Isis, Mole, Windrush and Colne Houses. The Council has told us:

“The contractors will be on site in the next couple of weeks and the project is due to run for 27 weeks.  We have negotiated the inclusion of pigeon spikes into the scope of works, at no extra cost. Based on the survey undertaken by the bird specialists, the team have been issued with a report highlighting the problem areas so these can be targeted.  In addition to the spikes, briefings with CWH staff and our cleaning supervisors have been in progress.  This includes design of an educational leaflet and posters on wider pest-control and distribution to all estates.  The briefings will also provide operational staff with an overview of our service, and, most importantly, education on the implications of anti-social behaviour e.g. fly-tipping, feeding, and dumpling rubbish.”

Edbrooke Road are 

We are supporting residents in the Edbrooke Road area who are lobbying the Council to change its planning policies so that they can build a mansard roof on their property. One resident says:

“We are not in a conservation area and in fact there are four existing mansard extensions on our immediate road with 7 more in the street behind and at the end of our road. But now and for the past 12 years the council has just said, ‘no’. The planning document on roofs was last updated in 1995. Surely after 22 years there must be some validity in reconsidering this policy and looking to work with the families who actually live in the area to come up with a policy that enables us to expand our homes appropriately and the council to maintain control on the design of those expansions. We aren’t rich. We can’t afford the stamp duty required for us to move homes and more importantly we love our home. But we do want to have a family and to do so we have to expand our home. After leafletting just a few streets we already have 30 families in the immediate area who are in support of our request to the council to reform this policy. We are not looking for automatic planning approval just the right to work with the council on a loft extension that is subtle and characteristic of the homes in the area as well as providing us with an essential living space to enable us to have the family we have always wanted.”

122-124 Chippenham Road – update 

Following reporting this to the Council we have received the following update from the Planning Department:

“An inspection of the property and an examination of the City Council’s planning records revealed that the property was in use for Class Sui Generis purposes without planning permission from the City Council, and was therefore unauthorised. In addition, an unauthorised canopy structure had also been installed without planning permission to facilitate the unauthorised shisha smoking use. I am pleased to inform you, however, that following action taken by the Planning Enforcement Team, the unauthorised use has now ceased.”

Lydford Road

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue: 

I have an issue on Lydford Road, there is a large Ivy bush that hasn’t been cut back for some time and is now making the pavement virtually unusable, particularly when the parking spaces are being used. 

Fermoy Road 

We have asked the Council to instruct the businesses in Fermoy Road not to place their refuse bins in the disabled parking bay. 

Saltram Crescent 

There is an ongoing issue of dog-fouling bags being left dumped on the road along Saltram Crescent. The animal warden has arranged patrols and will monitor.

Prince of Wales crossroads

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“Can anything be done to have the pavements cleaned every so often. They are really in a pretty disgusting state and nobody seems to care”

Essendine Road

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

Lauderdale Parade 

We have reported this issue to the Council: 

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

The Council say:

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

Carlton Tavern – Update

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

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

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

Paddington Rec

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

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

The Council says: 

“There have been incidents involving a small number of external trainers using the facilities and playing excessive loud music. Where this has occurred it has been immediately challenged and stopped by Duty Managers and/or site Security.  The Duty Managers and Security team will continue to be vigilant during park opening hours and will address any misuse and excessive noise. The site management team are also reviewing the arrangements for external trainers in the park to ensure this is more proactively managed in the future.”

Sutherland Avenue/Maida Vale

We are making enquiries about this issue:

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

Sutherland Avenue 

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

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

Sutherland Avenue/Shirland Road

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

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

Blomfield Road

We have asked the Council to fix this problem:

“Can you get the council to fix the street light on Blomfield Road that is never off? A waste of electricity and looks daft.” 

Warwick Avenue 

We have asked the Council to look into these two issues:

  • Rubbish and mess caused by Evening Standard newspapers left overnight or over the weekend at Warwick Avenue tube station
  • Mattresses, pillows and other debris – a health hazard as well as unsightly – on the slope from Harrow Road to Porteus Pedestrian Underpass adjacent to the Canal and also underneath the metal bridge.

Bristol Gardens

We have asked the Council to fix a street light opposite 28 Bristol Gardens which has been lit permanently.

Formosa Street

We have asked the Council to investigate rubbish dumping at the junction of Formosa Street and Castellan Road.

Edgware Road

We have reported this issue to the Council:

“My issue is with the sad condition of the ‘garden’ areas in front of the shops along the Edgware Road, just after Crompton Street.  Food is left in plastic trays on the low walls, rubbish is strewn about and empty drink cans are thrown in the garden outside the restaurant at the end of the small parade.  I actually saw a rat tail disappear into the undergrowth a while back!  There is a small bin, but I don’t think it is much used and the owners of the 2 grocery shops make good fruit displays, but clearly spend no time on the area surrounding their shop fronts. “

Canal Tow Path

A local resident has started a petition calling for lighting along the canal tow path: It can be found a

https://www.change.org/p/royal-borough-of-kensington-and-chelsea-light-the-canal-towpath-at-westbourne-park?recruiter=375323776&utm_source=share_for_starters&utm_medium=copyLink

Circus Road

We asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“Please do something about installing rubbish bins on piece of land adjacent to St John’s Wood Post Office. There are two seats there, in use all day. People take their lunch breaks there and there are NO BINS! it is always unpleasant to see all the rubbish left there every day.”

We were delighted to hear from residents: 

“It was wonderful yesterday to walk past the post office in Circus Road and see that a rubbish bin had been placed next to the benches where people sit to eat their lunches etc. Thank you for your efforts, a result after years of trying to get it resolved.”

St John’s Wood Terrace

We have asked the Council to look into this issue: 

“A few years ago I urged Westminster Council to install a bench to enable the elderly residents of the two almshouses to rest on their way to and from the shops. We got the bench and we use it daily. So too, do the employees of the many estate agents nearby and gentlemen of the road and Saturday night revellers! A bin has been placed on the kerb a good way from the bench so no-one uses it but all debris, bottles, cans and empty sandwich packets clutter up the bench and me and my neighbours frequently are the ones to clear up and place the rubbish in the bin.

Is it not beyond the wit for the bin (it’s a heavy duty one) to be moved beside the bench so that it encourages those using the bench for eating/drinking to dispose of their own rubbish?”

41 Abbey Road – Update

Following our enquiries about the derelict state of this property, the Planning Department has told us the following: 

“We wrote to the proprietors of the property in December 2016 requiring a written confirmation of their plans of how they intend to improve the appearance and condition of the property. Our letter brought the following concerns to their attention:

  • the condition of the render on the front elevation at all levels
  • cracks on the front façade in need of repair with lime-based mortar
  • peeling and flaking paintwork, including window frames, windowsills, walls and parapet, in need of repair and repainting to match the remainder of the building
  • poor state of cornices and all window sills and frames, also in need of repair works with lime-based mortar and repainting to match the building
  • vegetation growing from within the windows and walls of the building.

They sent an email informing the City Council that they are currently obtaining quotations from contractors to carry out works as per our letter. However, due to the Christmas break, obtaining quotations was taking longer than anticipated. They hope to begin works shortly.” 

Grove End Road

We reported a water leak at the end of Grove End Road in the hope that it could be fixed before it caused serious damage.

Carlton Hill

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

May I draw your attention to the increased level of traffic now using Carlton Hill west of Abbey Rd. it is a residential street but in the morning, early evening and now most of the day it is taking much more heavy traffic than it was designed for. There are speed bumps but these are not doing the trick, in fact heavy vehicles taking them at speed are causing shock-waves to affect the houses. Additionally, residents’ Vehicles leaving their off street parking take their lives in their hands as they try to reverse out onto the road. The speed and volume of traffic, associated noise and pollution really does need to be addressed.”

Acacia Road/St John’s Wood Tube Station 

We arranged for a number of dumped Christmas Trees to be removed.

Park Road/Baker Street

We have asked the Road Safety Team to look into this issue:

“At the junction of Park Road with Baker Street there is a traffic light which pretty much gets ignored by the motorists. We have to cross there every day on our way to school and back – and have nearly got run over several times or at least gotten some nasty looks as we make our way through the cars during green light for the pedestrians. It is very dangerous with my 3 kids and very frustrating because drivers just don’t care or maybe they don’t notice that they have to stop?

Empty Property

We have asked the Council to tell us what can be done to get these two properties repaired and back in to occupation:

  • 19 Cavendish Avenue NW8 – a very large beautiful old house falling into disrepair.  A rusty sat dish on the side, no tv aerial on roof that I can see.  Always a light on in lobby behind front door and a light at the side.
  • 112 Hamilton Terrace NW8 – another large house in disrepair.  I noted tv aerial on the house and lower windows one had shutters closed the other a grill so some security.  Other windows blinds or a partial curtain.  No lights.  The front portico over the door is padded over to secure crumbling decoration over the portal

Tavistock Road/Aldridge Road Villas

We have asked the Council to investigate this problem:

“I am writing to catch up on the overloading of the black and recycle bins at the corner of Tavistock Road and Aldridge Road Villas. Unfortunately, the issue has not gone away in recent months. We are still regularly finding rubbish on the pavement. I am not sure whether the council has already taken actions but extra bins and/or further surveillance would be welcomed.”

Westbourne Park Station

We have asked the Council to investigate reports of begging outside the station.

Notting Hill Carnival

The London Assembly Police & Crime Committee examined the issue of policing and safety at Carnival. It looked at aspects such as the crime levels at Carnival; what safety planning takes place; how it is policed; and what the Mayor can do to support those responsible for keeping Carnival safe. The report highlights that London Notting Hill Carnival Enterprises Trust (LNHCET), needs more help and guidance from the Mayor and the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) to get a grip on public safety at the event. It recommends that the Mayor should:

  • help the LNHCET to put it on a more formal and financially sustainable footing, giving it greater responsibility and ownership of Carnival.
  • in partnership with the LNHCET, examine the evidence base for change and consider the range of options to improve crowd management and safety.

https://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/pcc_report_-_notting_hill_carnival_safer_and_better.pdf

Pavement cycling – what you say

I am now aged 77 and find that the use of the pavement by cyclists not only intimidating but frightening in that the abuse one gets from cyclists is in most cases highly offensive. There are NO policemen in the Harrow Road area to be seen. How can this situation be resolved so that going to the shops, etc can be made safe for pedestrians, especially older ones who may not be as nimble in getting out of the way. Skate boarders are also a hazard!”

What you say

Thank you for including us in the “update”. Very helpful and informative.”

“Many thanks again for your comprehensive report. With appreciation for all you do for our community. “ 

“Thank you for the update, always a great read”

“Thank you very much for your continuing help in addressing local problems.   Thanks also to Karen Buck for her Christmas card to local residents – much appreciated.”

“We really appreciate all the good work you are doing in our neighbourhood”

“Many thanks for your update on local issues.” 

“Thank you for the useful report” 

“Thank you so much for making our area better place to live.”

“Thank you as always for your summary reminder of the great work you and your colleagues do for the community.”

“Thank you for your email update which I found very helpful”

“Thank you for your updates which are much appreciated”

“Thank you for your ongoing reports. They are most helpful and one gets the feeling that we the public are not being ignored.”

“As ever, thank you for all your efforts for the community.”

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

 

 

WESTMINSTER NORTH ACTION REPORT – January 2017

NEWS FROM WESTMINSTER’S LABOUR COUNCILLORS

Great Western Road

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

For at least a year a massive puddle accumulates opposite the bus station every time it rains. It covers almost have the road. Inevitably this means that unless cars swerve onto the other side of the road, pedestrians are soaked by the water thrown up by cars. There is a similar problem in front of the depot on the other side of the road. It is not only dangerous, but invariably leaves pedestrians drenched. Why have the council done nothing to fix this problem? “ 

The Council says:

“I have raised this with my colleagues who oversee gully works and drainage. This is an issue they have known about for some time but due to technical reasons there have been delays in this work being started. I am pleased to say though that it is scheduled to start on the 14th November.”

Tavistock Road/Great Western Road

We have reported this issue to the Council for action:

“Although the 100 metres of paving slabs from the junction between Tavistock Road and Great Western Road and the bus stop on Great Western Avenue across from the bus terminal have never been fully fixed to the underlying surface, recently so many have got loose that whenever it rains, you have a very high probability of stepping on one of the loose slabs which shoots dirty water two feet in the air, soaking your shoes, socks and trousers. Can you look into getting these paving slabs properly affixed again to stop this happening?”

Carnival – Update 

We asked the Council for an update on the review of this year’s Carnival and have been told the following:

“The multi-agency officer level review was due to take place a week ago, however I have been informed that it was cancelled following a request from the GLA for evidence in relation to its own review, which is specifically focused on security. The multi-agency review has yet to be rescheduled, however we are pushing for this to take place sooner rather than later. 

Without the outcomes from the multi-agency review, it is difficult to say what changes are planned, however there does appear to be a focus on stewarding and policing arrangements, which is to be expected.  Consideration is also being given to how best to manage the sound systems and their impact.  There are three licenced sound systems in the Westminster footprint of Carnival and we are working with the police on how best to manage these and the other sound systems in both WCC and RBKC. 

There is an expectation that the Council will work with the two sound systems at either end of Leamington Road Villas to see whether or not fencing can be introduced to try and mitigate the impact of the number of people Leamington Road Villas on residents of the road and this is something that we are currently looking into.”

Canal Path

We have written again to the Canal & River Trust about this issue:

“Can we address the issue of the lighting on the Canal towpath below Warwick Crescent again? The present situation is really unacceptable, and shows no sign of improving while use of that path has increased hugely over the last few years. The existing system of uplighters in the pavement is almost never working properly; some section (if not all of it) is usually dark, which makes the path both frightening and unsafe. The main point, though, is that the existing system is simply unfit for purpose, because the path is not being illuminated by the lamps when they are working. They provide upward shafts of light, which blind you as you pass through them and can be obscured completely by a standing pedestrian. Neither the edge of the canal, nor obstacles, nor other towpath users are adequately illuminated. This is really dangerous for both cyclists and pedestrians, and leaves dark places for people to lurk in.”

We have also asked the Council to investigate this problem: 

“Late tonight I made my way home from the service at St Mary Magdalene along the pedestrian/cycle path in Westbourne up to Harrow Road.  There were 2 adjacent street lamps which were not working.  Counting from the Harrow Road end lights 5 & 6 were both out of action.” 

Church Street begging Update

Following our request to the Council for action against begging in the market we have received this update: 

“Following further complaints regarding rough sleeping by Roma in the parks as well as the begging aspect, we now understand that we have a main group of 15 males and a number of females, as well as a rough sleeping group of 10-15 across 2 rough sleeping hotspots. We spent December conducting rough sleeper sweeps to obtain identities and ensure that any social care needs are met. The Market City Inspectors started daily enforcement against the beggars and the local Police will be assisting the local City Inspector in the disruption and identification of individuals committing ASB in both Lisson Street Gardens and Broadley Park.

Since mid-December, there has been a dramatic reduction in the number of beggars operating in the Church Street and Edgware Road locality. The rough sleeping hotspots are currently in the process of obtaining planning permission to secure, and I am awaiting updates from British Telecom as to a start date for the works. Both Peabody Housing Trust and BT have the monies dedicated for the design work set aside.”

Church Street Antique Dealers

We have raised further concerns with the Council about the loss of antique dealers from Church Street. 

Turville House 

We have asked City West Homes to clear and repair a vandalized garage. CWH say:

“The garage is retained by the estate office for emergency storage. It was however vandalised and items were left in there. An order was raised to repair and secure the door which unfortunately was not followed through and the job was cancelled. This is disappointing, as is the quality of the notice left on the door. We have had the job re-opened today and we anticipate that this will be completed next week. This will be monitored.” 

Cosway Street site

Following our enquiries about the state of this site the Council say:

“Colleagues brought the issues at Cosway to our attention some weeks ago. They have seen an increase in littering and anti social behaviour around the site in the past few months. We have been down to site to consider options for securing it – it’s made more complicated by the fact that there are services still operating on the site as that means we can’t hoard it off completely. However, the contractors have been instructed to carry out more regular site clean ups and we are liaising with the Safer Neighbourhood Team about patrols in the area. We’re also going to speak to colleagues about getting the trees pruned.”

Oakington Road area

We have again asked the Council to designate the Oakington Road area a 20mph area in order to make it safer for residents and pupils at Paddington Academy. Residents say:

“Like all the Oakington residents I have spoken to, I have nearly been mown down by speeding cars. I have two toddlers and getting them in and out of the car safely is a dicey business.” 

“As a resident of over two decades living in close vicinity of the no-entry sign and working from home, I can see and sense cars AND vans speeding down Oakington Road irresponsibly as well as those who drive in against the one-way instruction without hesitation using the road as a convenient short cut. Some others drive in to park. There are many young families with toddler to teen age children living in this road. Students from the Paddington Academy arriving and departing often spilling into the road on a daily basis.”

“As the parents of two small children we also know from experience the real danger of speeding cars on Oakington Road.  Getting children in and out of car seats is made hazardous by significant numbers of drivers who come round the corner from Marylands at speed and shoot along Oakington Road. Children going to and from Paddington Academy often cross the road on Oakington Road, and that it is in my view only a matter of time before one is hit by a driver rounding the blind corner from Marylands Road at speed.” 

The Council has told us: 

“I can advise that the roads adjacent to the Academy, Elgin Avenue and Oakington Road, are under consideration for inclusion in the 20mph trial. It is expected that the sites selected for the trial will be confirmed in January. Implementation on the selected sites for the 20mph trial will then follow after that but owing to the numerous processes and procedures that have to carried out will take a few months. 

I would add that Oakington Road has been reported as a speeding location to Community Roadwatch. Community Roadwatch is a road safety initiative which aims to reduce speeding in residential areas. WCC is currently working in partnership with the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) to run Community Roadwatch. The scheme gives local residents the opportunity to work side by side with their local police teams, and use speed detection equipment to identify speeding vehicles. Any information captured through Community Roadwatch will help to identify whether further interventions are required.” 

Fermoy Road 

We have asked the Council to investigate these issues: 

“BT have put a new signal box in near the fire gate on Fermoy Road. As you know, this is a local hotspot for scooters and motorbikes driving along the pavement and a group of local residents have been trying to get the Council to look at measures to dissuade this behaviour, or at least punish those who continue to flout the law. The positioning of the new signal box now prevents the fire gate from opening at all! This makes it even more difficult for us to have conversations about what measures can be put in place. Is it possible to find out why this has happened and if it can be rectified? 

I would also agree about the shop on Fermoy Road near Harrow Road. Combined with people using the street as a public convenience and a rubbish bin, it makes for an eyesore and a ‘smell-sore’! The van connected to the restaurant also constantly parks in the disabled bay as well as the Zipcar bay, despite being asked not to.”

The Council say:

“The local City Inspector has visited the location and spoken to some of the businesses. We have asked Veolia to introduce a washing regime which will improve the appearance of the pavement. We are speaking to the local police team about the allegations regarding people street urinating at the same location and to take enforcement action where necessary.”

Goldney Road

We have chased the Council to replant a long-promised replacement tree in Goldney Road.

Fernhead Road

We are concerned about road safety for children at St. Luke’s, Fernhead Road as there is no crossing or lower speed limits. Parents and staff say they have experienced some difficulties with speeding drivers and we are taking this up with the Council.

Chippenham Road/Fernhead/Shirland Roads

We met with the Ward Police Officer, PC Armstrong and affected shop owners who were experiencing problems with youths over the summer. They’ve subsequently all been approached by the Police and given impact statements. This has now resulted in several banning notices being given to the problem youths advising them that they are banned form the area. There are still outstanding court dates for several of the youths involved.

Maida Hill Market

The main issues now revolve around vehicles driving through the pedestrian area. The Council have organised joint operations with the Police and Parking teams to stop vehicles and educate them; the Market Inspector has arranged for the trees to be cut back to the signage can be clearly seen and officers have written to the Road Management Department, highlighting the issues and asking them to look into what can be done to improve the situation.

Ashmore Road

A Council contractor pollarded the plane trees on Ashmore Road as part of the winter pruning programme to minimise the effect of these trees to the adjacent properties. Many of the plane trees have been removed from Ashmore Road over the years as they have caused subsidence damage and been replaced with trees better suited to the location and far less likely to cause damage to adjacent properties. There is a particular tree causing subsidence damage to 3 properties. The front steps of all three are moving away from the main building. The most sensible course of action to minimise stress and disruption to the home owners is to remove the tree and to replace it with a different tree species more suited to the location.

Fleming Close

A resident raised issues with overgrown bushes on Fleming Close, near the Chippenham Road (just next to the Squirrel). The bushes are completely overgrown and beginning to impose on the pavement. We’re working with the landlord and Senior Arboricultural Officer to get this sorted. 

Saltram Crescent

There is an ongoing issue of dog-fouling bags being left dumped on the road along Saltram Crescent. The animal warden has arranged patrols and will monitor.

Sutherland Avenue

We have reported this street lighting fault to the Council:

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

Sutherland Avenue/Warrington Crescent/Lauderdale Road

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

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

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

Maida Vale cycle hire bikes

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

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

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

Paddington Rec

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

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

The Council say:

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

We have also referred these matters to the Council:

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

“Several weekends in a row, we have been asked to leave the playground area with our toddler at around 3.50pm. Signs across the park say that it is open until 4.30pm. I appreciate that you need people to have left by 4.30 so you can lock up, but it isn’t fair to kick our 20-month-old out after 2 minutes in a swing at five to four. There were lots of other parents who were also surprised to be asked to leave in a fairly surly fashion. If the park is open until 4.30pm, children should be allowed to use the playground until at least 4.20pm.” 

The Council says:

“As you rightly point out, asking customers to vacate the play area 30-40 minutes prior to the park closing is not acceptable.  Our site contractor has raised this with the teams concerned who are expected to politely remind customers of the park closing time 30 minutes prior to closure and to ask people to start vacating the park 10-15 minutes prior to the closure time.: 

Kilburn Park Road 

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

Ordnance Hill 

We have made enquiries about a long standing empty Council property in Ordnance Hill: 

“The house next door has been empty for nearly two years. The council say it would be too expensive to ‘do up’ in order to house a needy family. But the neighbour who left the address said it was perfectly okay. It is now, however, getting very run down. If the Council were not planning to sell it for these years why hasn’t it been used for temporary emergency family housing? And why haven’t the Council looked after the property meantime? This morning I saw a rat coming from the front of that property.”

The Star, St John’s Wood Terrace – Update 

Following our enquiries, the Council says:

“Since the appeal was decided, we have heard very little from the owners.  However, we understand they are looking at bringing forward a development that reopens the pub at ground and basement levels with flat/s above.” 

St John’s Wood Barracks 

Revised plans on a scheme to turn the former army barracks in St John’s Wood into luxury homes has been submitted to Westminster City Council. The Council gave the scheme planning permission back in 2014 for 163 apartments and houses but this has now been increased by eight – while a series of villas has been reduced in number. The site, will also include retail along with 59 affordable homes and a further 41 off-site.

Wellington Road

We have reported this issue to TfL:

“We live on the west side of Wellington Road, the extension southward of Finchley Road from St Johns Wood station to the roundabout at Lords which includes Wellington North and Wellingon South hospitals and the pavements here are in a very poor condition.  Taking into consideration the crowds using this thoroughfare during the cricket season, plus those using the hospital and of course the many pedestrians going to and from the station and bus stops etc., when is this extension to Finchley Road pavements going to be repaired?” 

Abbey Road 

We have asked the Council to investigate the vacant property at 41 Abbey Road:

“The case of 41 Abbey Road is a disgrace. There are lots of different men coming and going from the place at quite random hours and sometimes loitering as if waiting outside the house. It would be good to look into it as I think there might be something else going on there. The police found a cannabis factory there a couple of years ago. The house is in quite a state of disrepair and it is getting really bad. A couple of windows are permanently open even when raining so I can imagine the estate inside it. A shame really with such a good property.” 

Finchley Road/Marlborough Place

We have asked the Council and TfL to investigate this suggestion:

“Crossing Finchley Road from Marlborough Place and travelling onto Queens Grove, the traffic light allows only a few cars through and then all traffic is stationery for a few long minutes. It would be so much more efficient to keeping the traffic flowing with a green turning arrow for cars crossing Finchley Road heading East at this junction.” 

Pavement Cycling

The Mayor has issued the following 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

20mph zones – what you say

“I absolutely fully 100% support.  All non-main roads should be 20mph in my view, with the limit actively enforced.  This would help make London a more pleasant city for pedestrians, with a greater sense of safety when walking.”

What you say

“Thank you, as usual an amazing report” 

“Thank you for your very informative and interesting update on local matters” 

“Thank you again for your excellent updates”

“Many thanks for your latest comprehensive report”

“Thank you for keeping us informed clearly and concisely”

“Many thanks for your informative newsletter – it is so helpful to know what is going on in the area. Very interesting news on the long running saga of the Chippenham!”

“Thanks again for your wonderful report. It’s great to hear what’s going on in the local area and to see all the things that local councillors get involved with.” 

“Thank you. Always appreciate the update” 

“It is good to see how much impact your work has; that said, unclear that much progress has been made on the Lisson Grove towpath tunnel – maybe we can see a result in 2017”

“Thank you for the continuing updates on our lovely area.  MUCH APPRECIATED.”

 “Many thanks for the good work and communication thereof”

“Thanks to you and your colleagues for your reports through the year and for all the work you do for the community. It really is greatly appreciated.” 

“Your attention to so many bad situations is welcome and re-assuring. We need you.” 

“Thank you for our efforts over the years to make improvements in the Westminster north area”

“Thank you very much for all the information. Great to have this news.”

“We have a replacement tree at last on Northwick Terrace – entirely due to your intervening on our behalf.  Thank you so much for the personal care you take – it is greatly appreciated.”

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

 

 

WESTMINSTER NORTH ACTION REPORT – December 2016

NEWS FROM WESTMINSTER’S LABOUR COUNCILLORS

Church Street Futures Plan Delays

Church Street residents backed the first phase of the regeneration proposals when they voted in May 2013. 25% of residents voted with 87% of those in favour of the proposals which are designed to improve the neighbourhood. However, over 3 years on from the residents’ vote, the reality is very different:

  • Lisson Arches:  contractors are still struggling to dig foundations for this 11 storey block to replace Penn House supported housing block.   This delay means:
  • Penn House cannot be demolished and replaced with a new health centre and offices. This delay means:
  • 4 Frampton Street/105 Lisson Grove council offices cannot be demolished and replaced with housing which will help fund other part of the Futures Plan.
  • Luton Street delays and cost increases, including Council insistence on unallocated parking and too much parking, rights to light.
  • Cosway Street delays mean that the site cannot be sold to raise the cash for affordable housing
  • Missed opportunity to support the Ashmill Nurses Home proposal, on a council owned Car Park site, which could have raised more money for the project and provided key worker housing
  • Berkeley Homes were given planning permission on the nearby West End Green site with insufficient affordable homes, so another opportunity was missed for providing more decant space to keep the community together

Church Street Councillor Barbara Grahame said:

“Church Street residents voted overwhelmingly for this regeneration scheme but the Council has delivered nothing.   Meanwhile blocks due to be demolished are left to deteriorate, lifts and heating break down.  Frail older people do not know when they will be moved to their new home.   The Council lacks the will or the competence to deliver promised improvements. After over 3 years the only Futures Plan new buildings are 3 show flats”

Lisson Grove/Shroton Street

We have asked the Council to have a word with the manager of The Globe about this issue:

“I contact you to ask if anything can be done about the fact that early evening, especially on Fridays, such is the crowd of drinkers on the Shroton Street pavement outside The Globe (on the corner of Lisson Grove and Shroton Street) that it is impossible to pass with being forced to walk on the road.”

The Council say:

“The staff at this venue have been spoken to about this issue quite recently, and I will now write to the licensee and remind him of the need to keep the pavement clear at all times, so that other pedestrians are not inconvenienced.”

Hatton Street/Frampton Street 

We have again reported rubbish dumping on this corner and have asked the Council to take the necessary action to remove the rubbish and against those responsible for the dumping. The Council say:

“There is an on-going issue with rubbish being dumped at this location and this has been happening for about eighteen months due to the fact that a bin cupboard half way down Hatton Street has been locked to prevent rough sleepers from using it. Residents have been dumping their rubbish in a recess area at the corner with Frampton Street. Veolia are aware of this situation but are unable to continuously collect rubbish from this location. I will now contact residents in Hatton Street with a view to opening the locked bin cupboard. I will also monitor the junction to ensure the quick removal of any dumped rubbish, while warning residents of the possibility of enforcement by way of an Educational Letter Drop. Any incidents of dumped rubbish should be reported via the Report-it function on our website, or alternatively by calling the Environmental Action Line on 0207 641 2000.”

We have also reported rubbish dumping at the corner of Boscobel and Venables Streets.

Wytham House

We have again asked the Council to take action to stop the anti-social chanting from a flat in Wytham House. 

Bell Street/Shroton Street/Stalbridge Street

We have received the following enquiry from a nearby resident and have asked the Council to investigate:

“I live in Waterford Court. The grounds of the old education centre opposite are a complete eyesore and the tree in the grounds on the corner of Stalbridge and Shroton Streets needs a serious prune. We also have a problem with people eating drinking, smoking drugs on our private entry steps.”

Harwood Row 

We have asked the Council when a ‘stump’ lamp post in Harewood Row, near the junction with Lisson Grove, will be replaced with a new working street light. 

Edgware Road 

We have asked the Council if anything can be done to remove redundant phone boxes:

Edgware Road is not one of London’s most scenic places. I walk it frequently and recently counted 42 phone boxes between Marble Arch bus stop and the Grand Union Canal at Aberdeen Place. Many no longer hold working phones, and in this day and age of mobile phones are no longer necessary. This does not include the four classic red phone boxes on the Bayswater side of Marble Arch (which have been used by people sleeping in Hyde Park for storage). Removing the ugly 1970/1980s phone boxes from Edgware Road would facilitate easier foot traffic and remove some of the eyesores of the area as well as their other unintended uses.”

Fermoy Road/Harrow Road

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“We live on Fermoy Road and have to walk through end of the road to get to Harrow Road on the school run. There is a door on Fermoy road that a restaurant use for deliveries and to store their industrial bins. The area around the door and on the public pavement is disgusting. The smell is rancid. Me and my children have to hold our noses and sometimes use the road to walk past. We cannot use the other side of the road as its a lowered pavement which is usually occupied by cars being repaired by the mechanic. It’s a health hazard and more than anything not safe for us with small children and the residents of Fermoy Road – especially the older residents who live at the top of the road in the sheltered accommodation. It’s awful, especially as the road is used as a public toilet which we have already been complaining to the council about. Please can someone look into this. “

Junction of Hormead and Great Western Roads

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“The bins are constantly used by fly tippers- fridges, beds, compressed boxes, TVs, builders rubbish, drums of used cooking oil are dumped there daily. Often the pile of rubbish is big enough to force pedestrians onto the road to avoid it. It is a truly depressing site.”

The Chippenham – Update

Councillor Tim Roca has continued to make enquiries about the situation at The Chippenham. This is the latest response from the Council:

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

Harrow Road Post Office 

We are again calling on the Post Office to install a post box outside the Harrow Road Post office after receiving this enquiry: 

“The post office on Harrow Road recently underwent a refurb which was nice. During the refurb the neglected to put the post box facility back. The situation is that you have to jump in on someone being served to post a letter which causes aggravation to those in the queue. Also after opening hours you cannot post anything. The staff have mentioned something about a post box being erected outside the post office. But it’s been over a year and nothing has happened. When will Harrow Road get its post box?”

Marylands/Goldney/Oakington/Edbrooke Road area

We have again asked for traffic calming and the introduction of a 20mph area following another traffic accident in Oakington Road near Paddington Academy. Residents say:

“A car driving down Marylands Road towards the Paddington Academy (corner of Marylands/Oakington) failed to negotiate the turn and crashed straight through the school fence.  The metal fence is completely mangled and the parking post was torn from its concrete moorings lying amongst the wreckage.”

Elgin Avenue

We have asked the Council to investigate reports of an unauthorized basement being dug under a house in Elgin Avenue.

Chippenham Mews

We have asked the Council to investigate reports of unauthorized building works at 16-22 Chippenham Mews.

Shirland Mews 

We have asked the Council to investigate pavement parking in Shirland Mews. The Council says:

“We will send marshals to the location and we will monitor this area, but please can I remind residents of the facility to use the link below to report any cases that need our immediate intervention, as these go straight to the marshals control centre from which marshals can be deployed.”

https://www.westminster.gov.uk/report-it-vehicles

Canal Path

We have written again to the Canal & River Trust about this issue:

“Can we address the issue of the lighting on the Canal towpath below Warwick Crescent again? The present situation is really unacceptable, and shows no sign of improving while use of that path has increased hugely over the last few years. The existing system of uplighters in the pavement is almost never working properly; some section (if not all of it) is usually dark, which makes the path both frightening and unsafe. The main point, though, is that the existing system is simply unfit for purpose, because the path is not being illuminated by the lamps when they are working. They provide upward shafts of light, which blind you as you pass through them and can be obscured completely by a standing pedestrian. Neither the edge of the canal, nor obstacles, nor other towpath users are adequately illuminated. This is really dangerous for both cyclists and pedestrians, and leaves dark places for people to lurk in.”

We have also asked the Council to investigate this problem: 

“Late tonight I made my way home from the service at St Mary Magdalene along the pedestrian/cycle path in Westbourne up to Harrow Road.  There were 2 adjacent street lamps which were not working.  Counting from the Harrow Road end lights 5 & 6 were both out of action.”

Kilburn Park Road/Shirland Road 

We have reported this issue to the Council: 

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

Airbnb 

Complaints about “nuisance” noise from Airbnb properties have increased more than seven-fold over the past year. Labour MP for Westminster North Karen Buck said:

“Residents in some apartment blocks are effectively living in a hotel. The comings and goings and their general expectation of being on holiday often add up to disturbance. And unlike in a hotel, there is no one there to manage the situation when problems occur.” 

Karen wants to know your views and has organised a survey which you can complete here http://www.karenbuck.org.uk/my_short_term_lets_survey   

Castellain Road

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

Braemar House, Maida Vale

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

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

The Council say: 

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

Elgin Avenue/Ashworth Road

We have asked the Council to investigate this suggestion:

“There is a raised bed on the corner of Elgin and Ashworth.  Most people don’t notice it, because it is such an eyesore.  My observation of it is that people dump trash in it, and that it reduces visibility between pedestrians traveling west on Elgin, and drivers traveling north on Ashworth.  The bed is filled with overgrown plants, and as far as I can tell is not maintained by the Council. Can I propose that the bed be re-booted, so to speak, i.e., take everything out, and start from scratch?  Lower plantings and flowers would make the bed considerably more attractive, and make the intersection safer. 

Paddington Rec

We are making enquiries after Ashworth Mansions residents contacted us to raise their concerns about plans to redevelop one of the dog exercise areas in Paddington Recreation Ground by the Grantully Road gate and bluebell wood. Residents say:

“There is simply not enough distance from residential development, not enough tree coverage and not enough privacy for park users or locals to be able to reason that the current proposals are the optimal solution for better use of this area of the park, a safe educational area for young children which is not overlooked by residential property or used by dog owners and harmony between the needs of the Rec management team, park users and local residents.” 

Warwick Avenue

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

“There is an ongoing litter problem on the W2 section of Warwick Avenue. The council has responded to our request to have the street swept, but this was a one-off. According to the council their contractor is supposed to clean this section of Warwick Avenue every week day. We are experiencing a high volume of dumped litter from vehicles. It really does need cleaning every day. The residents of this section would be very grateful if you would get us back on to the street cleaning rota which we are clearly no longer on.”

The Council say: 

“Since the start of November our Leafing Plan has been in operation, which needs to clear approximately 1,000 tonnes of leaves from the streets of Westminster, over the next 6-8 weeks. As part of this plan, we have employed an additional 11 agency staff and two extra collection vehicles. However, the scale of the challenge means that we also need to pair-up the regular street sweepers across most of north Westminster, including Warwick Avenue, and other specific locations with large numbers of trees. Based on previous years’ experience, two people working together can accomplish more than double the output that they could working alone. Unfortunately, this does mean that on many streets the sweeping frequency drops during the leafing period. In this instance I have raised your concerns with the local street cleansing depot, who I am sure will be keen to address your street as soon as possible.”

Finchley Road/Queen’s Grove

We asked the Council to investigate this issue

“I have noticed that the drivers travelling from Marlborough Place and continuing onto Queens Grove via the traffic light at Finchley Road tend to not keep to their side of the road and are often heading straight towards oncoming traffic that is turning out of Queens Grove and left onto Finchley Road. This is a problem as on many occasions I have had to brake very suddenly so as to avoid a head on collision despite staying very clearly in my side of the road. “

The Council has told us:

“I am pleased to be able to inform you that Transport for London were aware of the issue that has been raised. Consequently. as part of their planned works at this junction TfL will be amending the line markings for right turning vehicles into Queens Grove from Finchley Road. The stop line is being realigned so that turning vehicles remain on the correct side of the road. The amendments to the carriageway markings were undertaken at the end of October. Hopefully this will address this issue and TfL will be monitoring the revised layout once installed.”

Residents say:

“Thank you so much for sending this issue to the correct people. I am very grateful for the action that will be taking place. I hope that this is enough to solve this problem. Again, many many thanks for your swift action.”

St John’s Wood Post Office

Our petition to peen open St John’s Wood Post office has over 150 signatures and you can sign here https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/keep-the-st-john-s-wood-post-office-open. These are some of your comments:

“The staff really know what they are doing and have years of experience. Everything is very efficient each time I go there and there is a staff member who helpfully corrected my daughter’s passport application three times before I successfully submitted it and received her passport within a few days.”

“This is a PROPER post-office. Formosa St is nowhere close to the quality of service that we have been used to receive in SJW… A very sad news indeed! Keep it open!”

“St John’s Wood post office is vital to the neighbourhood. It is always busy and provides a great service. The next post office nearby would be the corner shop in Formosa St! It can sometimes barely cope with the numbers it serves.” 

St John’s Wood Station 

We have asked the Council to fix this problem: 

“I hope you could talk to the council about the lake that appears outside St. John’s Wood station when it rains – by the newspaper hut. Somewhere there is a drainage problem. Makes it impossible to cross safely.”

Elm Tree Road – Update 

Following our enquiries about improving visibility for drivers along this ‘dog-leg’ road, the Council say:

“Mirrors are not a ‘permitted’ measure on the highway so that is not an option. As there have not been any personal injury accidents at this location in the last 3 years there is not really the justification for any intervention measures. However, I have noted that there are already SLOW markings on either side of the bend and these probably need to be refreshed. In addition. it might be that a centre-line is implemented on the bend to provide a further indication of the change in direction of the road.”

St John’s Wood roundabout

We have asked Transport for London to complete the replacement of the safety railings after receiving this message: 

“Thank you for taking notice of my concern regarding the safety railing near St Johns Wood park leading out onto St johns wood round about. Why has only HALF of the safety railing been replaced? You can clearly see markings on the pavement outside of the position of the previously removed railing. Currently it only makes half of the area outside the gate safe. If a child were to exit the gates and turn right he/she would end up on the busy round about. “

TfL say:

“Originally intended to guide pedestrians away from the road, guardrails had the opposite effect. We found that people often walked around them, which sometimes trapped them in the road. Pedestrian guardrails are not vehicle restraint barriers and do not offer pedestrians protection from vehicles. In many cases, they provide a false sense of security to both pedestrians and drivers. We have been monitoring the situation where guardrail has been removed, and we have noticed a decline in the numbers of incidents involving pedestrians.

At this particular location, we did not consider the guardrail to be offering benefit to any user of the highway and so had it removed, however after receiving representations from a local school and others, we met with the school on site and agreed to reinstall the panels that are today, and in both of our views that was determined to be the most suitable outcome.”

Abbey Road

We have asked the Planning Department for an update on this issue:

“I wonder if anyone knows what is going on inside and outside no. 41 Abbey Road. It was a nursing home when I moved here and now look at it…… A disgrace”

We have also asked that the builder’s rubbish outside Manor Apartments at 40 Abbey Road is cleared away.

Great Western Road

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

For at least a year a massive puddle accumulates opposite the bus station every time it rains. It covers almost have the road. Inevitably this means that unless cars swerve onto the other side of the road, pedestrians are soaked by the water thrown up by cars. There is a similar problem in front of the depot on the other side of the road. It is not only dangerous, but invariably leaves pedestrians drenched. Why have the council done nothing to fix this problem? “

The Council says:

“I have raised this with my colleagues who oversee gully works and drainage. This is an issue they have known about for some time but due to technical reasons there have been delays in this work being started. I am pleased to say though that it is scheduled to start on the 14th November.”

Tavistock Road/Great Western Road

We have reported this issue to the Council for action:

“Although the 100 metres of paving slabs from the junction between Tavistock Road and Great Western Road and the bus stop on Great Western Avenue across from the bus terminal have never been fully fixed to the underlying surface, recently so many have got loose that whenever it rains, you have a very high probability of stepping on one of the loose slabs which shoots dirty water two feet in the air, soaking your shoes, socks and trousers. Can you look into getting these paving slabs properly affixed again to stop this happening?”

Carnival – Update

We asked the Council for an update on the review of this year’s Carnival and have been told the following:

“The multi-agency officer level review was due to take place a week ago, however I have been informed that it was cancelled following a request from the GLA for evidence in relation to its own review, which is specifically focused on security. The multi-agency review has yet to be rescheduled, however we are pushing for this to take place sooner rather than later.

Without the outcomes from the multi-agency review, it is difficult to say what changes are planned, however there does appear to be a focus on stewarding and policing arrangements, which is to be expected.  Consideration is also being given to how best to manage the sound systems and their impact.  There are three licenced sound systems in the Westminster footprint of Carnival and we are working with the police on how best to manage these and the other sound systems in both WCC and RBKC.

There is an expectation that the Council will work with the two sound systems at either end of Leamington Road Villas to see whether or not fencing can be introduced to try and mitigate the impact of the number of people Leamington Road Villas on residents of the road and this is something that we are currently looking into.”

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.

Christmas Alone?

Do you know anyone in Westminster who will be spending Christmas alone? There’s no need to be alone – join Everyone Active Events for a free Christmas Day dinner at Porchester Hall. Guests will enjoy a three-course Christmas dinner courtesy of Waitrose followed by carols and films. Please think of older neighbours who may benefit from this event and pass this invite on to them. Register at porchesterhallevents@everyoneactive.com or call 020 7792 2823. More info here https://www.westminster.gov.uk/spend-christmas-together

Plans to cut £750,000 from Westminster libraries – what you say

“I strongly support keeping good library services, it is vital for education and community future” 

20mph pilot schemes – what you say 

“I live on Oakington Road and would definitely support the 20 mph trial on that road or some sort of traffic calming measure in the area. People (particularly young men in Audis and BMWs) come round the bend at the end of Marylands and then see a straight road to Elgin and speed along there much too quickly and I worry for children’s safety.”

Prince of Wales junction – what you say

“It does ‘look’ much better with Costa there but the area desperately needs a decent, affordable one and has no pub at all, decent, affordable or otherwise, apart from the Squirrel. Five pubs have been lost, which means a massive loss of community exchange and dialogue. No chance of getting Wetherspoon interested?” 

“Costa Coffee is at least a positive amongst the negatives but whilst there is a betting shop next door there will always be problems! Perhaps an occasional Police Presence might be an advantage in that area of the Prince of Wales /Harrow Rd/Market site. The pavements in that area and up the Harrow Rd. Are disgusting. Are they EVER cleaned?”

Hathaway House – what you say 

“The planning result for Hathaway House was a travesty of justice. The congestion and disruption on Woodfield Road is beyond discription and will continue to be for the years to come. We have had enough disruption to last a lifetime. It would seem that Objections mean NOTHING to the planners and local authority. We pay our rates and taxes but get little in return and our comments are seldom listened to.”

What you say

“Thank you for your, as usual, excellent report.” 

“Thank you so much for your updates and hard work. I honestly feel like I’m part of a community knowing that there are people working so hard making where we live pleasant. “

“Very many thanks, as ever, for this comprehensive response to residents’ concerns. It is much appreciated.”

“Thank you for your hard work on updating us about our communities being listened to and action taking place as a result.”

“Bigger and better than ever. Thank goodness we have such a great facility in place” 

“Thank you for this. Good work.”

“Many thanks for all your work on our behalf.”

“As usual, many thanks for your perseverance in all our community problems.”

“Your newsletters are so informative” 

“Thank you for your always welcome newsletter” 

“It was a pleasure reading, keep up the good work”

“Thanks for all your efforts in our area of Westminster”

“My wife and I really notice your effort and attentiveness, and appreciate it very much.”

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.

Regards

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg

Labour Built Environment spokesperson

Westminster City Council

 

WESTMINSTER NORTH ACTION REPORT – October/November 2016

NEWS FROM WESTMINSTER’S LABOUR COUNCILLORS

Burne Street/Marylebone Road

We have been working closely with Peabody Court residents chasing works to be done by Peabody and BT to prevent use of the covered passage by rough sleepers and the closure of use of Peabody land as a pedestrian route between Marylebone Road and Burne Street

Lilestone Street

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue further after receiving this message:

“I read in you excellent Newsletter, the item on illegal parking in Lilestone Street and I was sorry to see that the subject had been dismissed somewhat, in my opinion, lightly. I have been aware of this problem for some time so this morning I took a short walk around Jerome Crescent and Swain Street.   I counted no less than 19 private cars parked quite openly and illegally on double yellow lines or in residents parking bays.  Illegal, because not one of them was displaying a residents parking permit.  Not one of them had been issued with a parking ticket.   You can imagine that if this is the state in two relatively short streets, what it must be like across the Lisson Green estate.  Many of them arrive in the morning and leave by the evening, having had a day’s free parking in one of London’s prime areas.   The Council must be losing hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds a day in lost penalty charges and legitimate parking charges.   Honest residents like myself are asking why we should continue to pay £140 a year for a permit when it seems we can park for free with impunity.

Frampton Street

We have asked the Council to investigate a takeaway in Frampton Street where there are unpleasant fumes coming from the building. The Council says:

“I will arrange for the restaurant to be contacted to make them aware that the issue has resumed and ensure there has not been a breakdown in their filtration/cleaning schedule.” 

“In regards to the issue of dumped waste on Frampton St l am currently investigating this matter and will be conducting an educational letter drop in this vicinity, l will also be issuing out Waste Transfer Notices to all businesses requiring them to send in documentation as to who their Waste Carriers are. The area will continue to be monitored and the relevant enforcement action will be taken on identified offenders.”

Kennet House, Church Street 

We reported problems with the front door to City West Homes who told us:

“I can confirm that a new door entry mechanism has been fitted to the entrance door at Kennet House, my colleagues at the estate office are in the process of distributing letters to all the residents informing them that new electronic fobs can be picked up at the Church Street office.”

Manor House, Marylebone Road

We have asked the Planning Enforcement Team to investigate a number of examples of illegal and unauthorised sub-letting. 

Shirland Road 

We have asked the Parking Department to investigate this issue:

“I am wondering if there are still traffic wardens patrolling Shirland Road as there appear to be a number of cars parking for long periods of time without residents parking permits in the part of Shirland Road between Chippenham and Fernhead Roads. Do we still have traffic wardens or is it all done electronically now?”

We received the following response:

“Over the last 6 weeks Shirland Road has received an average of 105 Marshal visits per week, or 15 per day. Over this time Marshals have issued 56 PCNs of which 28 were for 12r contraventions ‘Parked in a resident parking place without clearly displaying a resident permit’.  Marshals have also carried out 4 soft actions of moving the vehicle on for the same contravention in this street during this time. We will ensure the street continues to receive a high level of Marshal focus.  No electronic enforcement takes place in Shirland Road.”

The resident commented:

“Thank you very much for this – very interesting! Good to have the name of the person to contact if I have queries in future and also to know that electronic monitoring is not happening.”

Saltram Crescent traffic calming

We have asked the Highways Department to investigate this issue:

“As you know, after several meetings and much consultation, the proposed new traffic scheme for Saltram Crescent has gone ahead, which is a fantastic result for the local community.  

However, the the no entry signs, the road markings and the no left turn sign at the Fernhead junction with Saltram Crescent are being completely ignored by drivers. In the brief moments that I am either crossing this junction or driving out of it, I have noted no less than 17 cars driving straight through the signs. That is from a total of maybe 5 minutes of observation. I have also had three altercations with drivers attempting to drive through the no entry signs while I was crossing the road. Two claimed they didn’t know it was no entry, but only one turned round, the other two ignored me, one drove around me at speed. This is not only frustrating, but highly dangerous, since cars are driving up Saltram Crescent on the one-way section rightly not expecting any oncoming traffic. Have you got any ideas what can be done about this?”

The Council tells us:

“I have again highlighted to the Police the contraventions taking place and requested that they attend the two junctions. We are going to arrange for the CCTV car to monitor the location and act as a deterrent. This will also provide an indication of the extent of violations at the two junctions.”

Goldney/Edbrooke/Marylands/Oakington Roads

We are calling on the Council to include this area in the 20mph trial zones:

“I have written to you previously of my concern at the speed of motorist down Goldney Road/Edbrooke Road/Marylands/Oakington, as these are all used day and night as a quick short-cut to avoid the lights on the Harrow and Chippenham Roads.   Goldney Road has an infant School and a park halfway down its 400 metre arrow-straight length (as you know) but zero traffic calming, and cars regularly flout the speed limit.  But even those driving at 30mph are a danger to the parents, school-children and elderly residents who continuously cross over from one side of the street to the other.   Last year a dog was fatally run over in Goldney Road, but mercifully no one has yet been knocked down – yet.  If there was ever an ideal street to be part of the trail, I would say it was Goldney” 

Talk of the Town, Walterton/Shirland Roads 

Councillor Ruth Bush made this enquiry to the Council:

“I’ve just gone past this place:  the maroon/transparent canopy has gone – but what is there instead? A grey tent around part of the area and two parasol heaters on the remaining area, with men sitting about on the raised platform. It looks perfectly dreadful – far worse than when the canopy enclosed the platform. I can’t believe this is what the Council intended. Could you get it looked into promptly, please?”

The Council says:

“This property is under investigation already and prompt action is being pursued.”

Estate Agents’ Boards 

We have asked the Planning Enforcement Team to investigate this constant problem with estate agents’ boards: 

“They litter Shirland Road, Marylands Road and Edbrooke Road in particular. In Shirland Road I counted in excess of 30. They repeatedly put up SOLD or LET signs without the preceding for SALE or To LET signs which is a clear infringement. I saw a neighbour actually take down a couple of LET signs over the weekend in Marylands Road. This morning, I noticed Greene and Co have put them all up again in the same spot.”

Carlton Tavern – Updatre

The Carlton Tavern pub will be rebuilt after developers CLTX agreed to honour an enforcement order by Westminster City Council. CLTX knocked down the pub in April last year despite Westminster City Council refusing its planning application. Cllr Rita Begum, Labour Councillor for Maida Vale, said: “It’s an amazing victory. I’m very pleased with the outcome that the pub will be rebuilt, brick by brick.”

Maida Vale – Santander Cycle Hire Bikes

Following the petition organized by Councillor Rita Begum, we are delighted that the Council has given planning permission for the installation of a Santander Cycle Hire docking station on the pavement adjacent to Dundee House, 145 Maida Vale. The docking station will contain a maximum of 37 cycles and a terminal.

The Truscott Arms – the fight continues 

“Without it Maida Vale just won’t be the same, it won’t have that relaxed atmosphere that we all love. On an evening we can sit outside the Truscott and see anyone and everyone, it makes us feel like part of something more than just a pub but a family, somewhere that we can call a second home.”

You can sign the petition here https://www.change.org/p/westminster-council-save-the-truscott-arms-1f92c084-936f-45f9-ab86-b01a11b2315a 

Hall Park Estate

We have asked the Parking Department to investigate this issue: 

“I would like to raise concern over the issue of illegal parking on Adpar Street on both double yellow lines and box junctions. On one evening there were no less than 5 cars in the area of the box junctions which faces both Braithwaite and Hall Towers. I dread to think if there was the need for emergency services vehicles needing access. An ambulance or fire engine, getting access could mean the matter of life or death. This is already an immensely used and busy part of the estate. The entrance being Cuthbert Street leading to Hall Place and the entrance to no through road of Adpar Street. With the exit from the petrol station onto Cuthbert Street to get onto the Edgware Road, a challenge to get in via the only road onto the estate is to put it mildly, a challenge!”

The Council says:

“The box junction markings in Adpar Street are not enforceable, as this location is not suitable for such markings and does not fill the criteria for what a box junction markings are meant to be used for.  They were put in some years ago, although all parties at the time understood that there was no associated enforcement power connected with them, but their presence was to act as a visual deterrent, but unfortunately it appears they currently may not be doing so.

The double yellow lines are enforceable however, and I am currently checking our lining programme to see when they are due to be refreshed as they look a bit worn and if not in the near future, I will get it added to get done ahead of programme. I will also get marshals to pay attention to this area.” 

Warrington Crescent 

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“This is to tell you that residents in Warrington Crescent have been plagued by rats. I have lived here for nearly 40 years and never seen an invasion like the one we have now.  All along the Crescent we are taking action. I have had rodent control three times since May. Residents are vigilant with dustbins etc but we see rats in the street running with impunity, hovering by drains at night.”

Randolph Avenue

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

“Any ideas on how we can reduce the number of crashes and near misses at the Randolph Avenue/Elgin Avenue junction roundabout just by Maida Vale tube station? The drivers as they travel from Maida Vale (A5) to the roundabout don’t seem to realise that it is one and are going too fast. I have seen two really nasty accidents there, the last only two weeks ago.” 

We have also asked the District Surveyor to investigate a garden wall at the corner of Randolph Avenue and Sutherland Avenue which appears to be unsafe.

St John’s Wood Post Office

We have started a petition to lobby the Post Office to keep open the Crown Post Office on Circus Road, St John’s Wood

You can sign here

https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/keep-the-st-john-s-wood-post-office-open

The government owned Post Office on Circus Road serving St John’s Wood is set to shut down or be taken over by a private company.  It has been identified as 1 of 42 loss-making main Crown branches in the UK. It is currently on the market as a franchise meaning a private company could take it over and run it.

The Clifton, Clifton Hill – update 

The Clifton reopens in November 2016 at 96 Clifton Hill, London NW8 0JT. Opening hours will be Monday – Friday 10am – 11pm, Saturday 10am – 11pm and Sunday 10am – 10.30pm. Keep up with their news on Twitter @thecliftonnw8

http://linkis.com/www.hot-dinners.com/0S4l9

The Star, St John’s Wood Terrace – update

The Planning Department tell us:

“The applicant’s appeal was dismissed and we understand that the unauthorised use has ceased operation. At this stage, we do not know if anyone else has taken the premises on, whether the pub will reopen or if it is on the market.” 

Northwick Terrace 

We have contacted the Council’s Tree Officer about this issue:

“Two years ago, the Council removed a tree from the west side of Northwick Terrace, promising to replace it.  This has not happened and the space is an ugly blank except for the rubbish which accumulates there. Can it please be replaced?” 

The Tree Officer says:

“We’ll be planting replacement trees towards the end of the month and I can confirm that this on the list.”

Cunningham Place/Aberdeen Place

We have reported these issues to the Council for investigation:

“Since the closure of the Regent’s Canal towpath between Cunningham/Aberdeen Place and Lisson Grove many more people have been using the high-level pathway adjacent to Wharncliffe Gardens Estate.  However, this is still being extensively used by cyclists who do not dismount and is subject to large pools of water after even average rainfall due to inadequate drainage. Would you please take the following issues up with the Council:

  • Almost all the “No Cycling” signs are missing and new ones are required at both ends of the footpath and at intermediate points;
  • The drains adjacent to the railings are blocked and need to be unblocked.
  • Several of the lights are on all day thereby wasting electricity and the barriers designed to encourage cyclists to dismount could do with a coat of paint.”

We also asked the Council to remove graffiti from a wall at the junction of these two roads:

“This eye sore at the end of the road just brings the area down and encourages more of the same. Can you get the council to clean up the graffiti? It’s been here for ages and more and more is added. Also, the dumping of rubbish around the recycling bins is appalling. Collections really need to take place here daily.”

Residents tell us:

“Just to say thanks for arranging for the problem with the lighting to be addressed.  You will be pleased to know that the lights are now not burning during the day.” 

‘Huge thanks for pointing, as ever, your boot in the right direction! The graffiti in Cunningham Place has been removed. I’m not sure when, but I was delighted to see a lovely clean wall today. I’m sure they will vandalise it again, but for the time being it looks great.”

Queen’s Grove

We have asked the Council to take this issue up with TfL:

“The disused Marlborough Road underground station is undergoing extensive prolonged works by TfL in the middle of the night. The team arrive and leave during the night as they change shifts but park along our road noisily, banging car doors, having conversations and roaring engines. This is very disruptive to those of us who have bedrooms to the front of our houses including children, students doing exams, the elderly and so forth. The consequences are huge. Dogs bark, people have their sleep disrupted, shut the windows and generally experience stress.

The solution is simple, if only Transport for London would listen, which is for the service personnel to park along the stretches of Marlborough Place and Queen’s terrace where there are no occupied residences to disturb. Please can you help with this?”

Abbey Road

We have asked the Council to replace the lights on the belisha beacons at the ‘Beatles crossing’ on Abbey Road.

Hill Road

We have asked the Council to repair a defective street light in Hill Road. 

Hall Road/Circus Road

We have made enquiries about this issue:

“Can you please ask the council why they are not hoovering out the drains which are becoming clogged with leaves?   The junction of Hall Rd and Circus Road the drains were full yesterday and there wasn’t much rain. No wonder there is flooding.”

Elm Tree Road 

We have asked the Council investigate this issue: 

“I live in Elm Tree Rd, a small road between Grove End and Circus roads with a dangerous full 90 degree elbow bend. I had previously written to you regarding a mirror which had been mounted on a tree on the bend which had been removed and the response was that this mirror had not been placed by the council. The danger remains and a mirror mounted on a pole on the corner would help reduce the danger. Could the council mount such a mirror in the interests of public safety?”

Tavistock Crescent

We have been supporting efforts by residents and the Harford House Tenants Management Organisation for action to be taken against the keep fit groups that are periodically taking over the children’s playground, displacing the children and damaging the equipment. CityWest Homes are exploring legal options against the groups.

Unfortunately, despite a long campaign by ward councillors, the TMO and residents, Westminster Council has rejected plans to transfer control of the lighting columns from CityWest Homes to the Council’s street lighting teams. This means leaseholders (and the HRA) will continue to have to pay for street lights that benefit the whole community. However the council has committed to further citywide discussions on how to deal with CWH lighting.

Westbourne bus station Mural

Assisting the work of local residents Claudia Rice and Elaine Arthur, we were delighted to help facilitate the painting of a mural, created live by local artist Bambookid over the Carnival weekend, on the canal side of the Westbourne Park Bus Garage to help brighten up the area and deter ‘tagging’.

Hathaway House, Woodfield Road

Westminster Council’s Planning Committee has approved controversial plans for a 14-storey tower on the Hathaway House site on Woodfield Road. This was despite over a hundred complaints from local residents, and the opposition of both the Westbourne and Maida Hill Forums and Labour’s councillors. Cllr Adam Hug spoke on behalf of the objectors at the meeting but the plans were passed on a 3:1 vote with the Labour committee member Tim Roca providing the sole vote against the scheme.

Prince of Wales Junction

As many residents will have seen, a new Costa Coffee has opened on the site of the former Prince of Wales pub. This hopefully marks the end of a long campaign by local residents, the Maida Hill and Westbourne Forums and Labour councillors to stop the site being turned into a Betfred betting shop. While Costa may divide opinion, with many locals having signed a letter calling for the site to be turned into a café or coffee shop such as this while others had hoped for the restoration of a pub on the site, there is hopefully agreement that the site on the junction is now in a better state of repair and that finally ending the risk of a betting shop or payday lender taking over the site will be helpful for the area.

Elmfield Way

Continuing delays to the Council and NHS development have meant that the long-planned council ‘adoption’ of Elmfield Way with Westminster remains on indefinite hold. We continue to be pushing strongly for the council to get its act together and adopt the road, irrespective of the slippages in its development, to stop the menace of rogue clampers and poor road quality.

Marylands Road

We have been working with council officers to help residents tackle rubbish dumping on the street and to tackle illegal van parking, though there is still more to do.

Harrow Road Canal Bridge

We are pleased that after several years of local residents and councillors raising it as a concern, the council is finally taking action to place ‘any time’ double yellow lines on the section of Harrow Road that crosses the Grand Union Canal to help reduce congestion caused by parked cars. 

Lord Hills Road

The council has rejected initial plans for a new development on Lord Hills Road, next to Atherstone Court on the Warwick Estate, due to complaints from councillors and residents about the height and design. Revised designs are likely to be put forward to the planners but vigilance will be needed to ensure they are acceptable to local residents.

Aldridge Road Villas/Tavistock Road

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“We live on Tavistock Road and would like to report daily misuse of the bins at the corner of this street and Aldrige Road Villas. Indeed, people drop their rubbish next to the bins rather than in them and even drop stuff that should go to recycling centers. It is not unusual to find old fridges, chairs, TVs, etc, as well as commercial waste and particularly rubbish from the nearby flats being refurbished.  Besides, the bins, or rather the space around them, are used as a dropping point for people not originating from the area. Again, we witnessed several people driving there to drop their rubbish. We believe that something must be done quickly either regularly sending council officers to fine offenders, installing cctv, increasing the number of bins in the area or else.”

The Council says:

“Thank you for highlighting the ongoing fly-tipping problems at this on street bin site. I have asked the local City Inspector to prioritise this area for increased monitoring and to take enforcement action as appropriate against any residents or businesses found to be dumping rubbish on our streets.”

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

20 mph trial zones – what you say 

“It is great news that Westminster has finally agreed to look into 20mph zones; thank you for your continued pressure on this as speeding on the residential streets of North Westminster must be the number one concern of the majority of locals (it certainly is for me as a father of 2 children under 4).”

Super fast broadband – update

In the last month BT Openreach connected a further 650 residents and businesses to cabinets served by its Lords and Marylebone exchanges so that they can access fibre broadband, bringing the total up to 3,670 premises. This expansion is part of the BT Openreach commitment to make fibre broadband available to an additional 38,874 homes and businesses in Westminster following a council campaign last year. This summer, Virgin Media also announced plans to roll their fibre broadband to an additional 6,000 premises in Westminster.
If you want to find out about the planned roll out you  can check on the following website: http://www.homeandwork.openreach.co.uk/when-can-i-get-fibre.aspx.

Maida Hill Place – what you say

“The Maida Hill Place anti social behaviour issue is a shame. I think it’s lovely to see the community out playing cards and dominoes and having a drink but appreciate its a slippery slope to unpleasantness. Where are these people supplied to go with all the pubs closed or gentrified?”

“I really must speak up for the public use of the Maida Hill Piazza. There is really very little anti-social behaviour in the evenings there, though I recognise that’s really a question of perception. I understand that some people find groups of men intimidating, especially when they are talking animatedly, but that is really all that is going on most of the time. Old men playing dominoes or backgammon are hardly a threat (even if the games do make them shout and curse). Why should they not be there? Several pubs have closed, so denying meeting places to people who used them in the past; the Piazza is meant to be a public space, for members of the public to enjoy.”

St John’s Wood Post Office – what you say

“I can’t understand why the Circus Road PO is unprofitable.  It is always busy, there is never enough staff. It must be case of either bad management or the PO’s desire to capitalise on what must be a superb property.  With the development of the the St Johns Wood Barracks and the prospect of hundreds if not thousands of new residents the importance of the PO amenity is paramount to St Johns Wood. Please make a serious (possibly All Party) effort to maintain its presence for the future. Also, there isn’t enough disabled parking provided in the environs of the Post Office making necessary walking to the PO very tiring and painful.”

“I use the threatened post office several times a week. I’d be lost without it.” 

What you say

“Thank you for another Action Report covering so many issues. It’s reassuring to see your detailed responses and follow up on local concerns.”

“I love your reports – thank you.”

“I appreciate your hard work on our behalf.”

“Many thanks for your interesting and informative report – great work in responding to residents’ concerns. “

“Thanks for all the updates” 

“Very interesting, thank you!”

“Thank you again for your excellent and so well informed magazine, which helps us all so very much, to know and be aware of what is happening around us” 

“I look forward to your report each month. The fact that residents have a voice and more importantly that things get looked at and something happens is amazing! Thank you and long may it continue.” 

“Many many thanks for all your dedication and time in dealing with all local matters” 

“Thank you for your update and your work on our behalf.” 

“We regularly read your updates on various issues within the Westminster council and thank you for your ongoing actions.”

“Many thanks for all the good work. It is fantastic to have so much local initiative.”

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

 

 

WESTMINSTER NORTH ACTION REPORT – August/September 2016

NEWS FROM WESTMINSTER’S LABOUR COUNCILLORS

St John’s Wood Post Office

We have started a petition calling on Westminster Council to lobby the Post Office to keep open the Crown Post Office on Circus Road, St John’s Wood

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

The government owned Post Office on Circus Road serving St John’s Wood is set to shut down or be taken over by a private company.  It has been identified as 1 of 42 loss-making main Crown branches in the UK. It is currently on the market as a franchise meaning a private company could take it over and run it.

Burne Street/Bell Street/Marylebone Road

Following our enquiries, the Council has updated us on this long-running issue:

“Last week we met with BT to discuss the closing up of the footpath that runs between Burne Street and Marylebone Road. The footpath is BT private land and not registered with WCC as a public right of way, despite being open to pass and re-pass. Alternatives routes available to pedestrians include Lisson Street or the Edgware Road, both less than 50m away.

The closure of this footpath has been requested by many residents and partners within the Church Street ward community, due to the alarm, harassment and distress residents experience from rough sleepers, as well as the highly unsanitary conditions that the path is left in when utilised as a toilet. The situation was calmed through a resource intensive action plan last year but has since escalated with BT security personnel being physically threatened.

On behalf of all partners involved, I am pleased to inform you that:

  • BT has agreed an undertaking to permanently close the footpath from public use using matching fencing at both ends of the path. The works are anticipated to commence during September 2016, pending any planning application alterations and objections.
  • They have also noted a repair requirement to collapsed paving on the footpath on the Marylebone Road side and submitted a work order last week.
  • Peabody will review and implement design alterations to their boundary fence to prevent any individuals from accessing the path from their land. This work will be completed within the same timescale.
  • Peabody has also planned for any inconvenience to their residents, through the provision of key fobs to enter and exit their property through the Garden gate situated on Lisson Street.
  • The Local City Inspector has arranged for Veolia to provide a deep cleanse of the area and the use of the Community Payback Team to paint and refresh the walls of the path once secure, to leave the site safe, clean and protected

Residents say:

“It will be a relief to everyone when it closes. I think fewer people walk through now because it is too disgusting and stinks so badly. Can any provision be made by the council for the rough sleepers who are in this awful situation? Thanks to all of you who have helped to resolve our problem “

Lilestone Street parking

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“I am writing to you to complain about the obvious lack of traffic wardens operating within the confines of the Lisson Green estate. I did query their lack of presence with a traffic warden just outside of the estate on one occasion, who told me that they do not venture into the estate for fear of their safety as residents, who themselves are parked illegally, have previously threatened them on various occasions.  In particular, I would like to bring up the issue of illegal parking on Lilestone Street, just outside the community building and garden. On too many occasions I have driven past to find that no heed has been paid to the double yellow lines that are in place there. This has caused massive inconvenience for me as well as, I’m sure, for other drivers, who will have either had to squeeze in between the parked cars, or have had to reverse out to give way to oncoming traffic. This is exacerbated by the fact that this part of the road already contains speed bumps, adding to both the frustration and inconvenience. Could you please put pressure on the Council to take action on this issue?”

The Council says:

“Marshals are patrolling the Lisson Green estate area.  Indeed, in the last 6 weeks Marshals have visited this estate nearly 300 times and dealt with over 100 parking offences. We obviously will continue to patrol this estate and I have asked the marshals to pay particular attention to Lilestone Street to deal with the reported issues there.”

Venables Street

We have the local City Inspector to clear rubbish from Venables Street.

Seagulls

We have asked the Council to investigate what action can be taken against the seagulls in Church Street. Residents say: 

“There is a health and safety issue as well as the awful noise. Can you possibly lobby for WCC to put spikes on the roof ridges and the small flat roofs on the blocks around here. This will stop the gulls as they need height to swoop down and I can see many of the ridges and flat roofs are covered in droppings. The old people’s home on Penfold Street does not have this issue as it is protected with anti-bird wires.”

 “The suggestion of netting (over the guttering) and/or placing spikes along the ridges on the roof of blocks and on chimney tops seems a good one. And, as blocks which are immediately adjacent to the market and therefore very affected, are about to undergo major works which requires cherry pickers to be employed, perhaps this is an appropriate time to consider this solution again and use this opportunity as a trial?”

The Council say:

“Major Works have confirmed that WATES will be returning to complete the major works programme and have agreed to include the installation of pigeon spikes across a number of blocks: Cherwell; Wey; Loddon; Wytham; Derry; Isis; Mole; Windrush; Colne House. Gull netting would be outside the scope of works and therefore, we are seeking quotes to understand what could be done. We will also raise this matter at the Church Street regeneration meeting, to ensure it is factored into the regeneration scheme planning.”

Edgware Road Post Office

A petition has been set up calling for improvements to the Post Office:

“We the undersigned petition Westminster City Council to Lobby Post Office Ltd for better postal services at Edgware Rd PO. We welcome the refurbishment of the Edgware Rd Post Office but the local residents, users and businesses of the Edgware Road would like Post Office Ltd to make sure we also have the same service levels we have in Baker Street & Paddington Quay PO’s at the newly refurbished premises. 

If the adjoining neighbourhoods can have such good service at their local PO’s, we can not see why the same can not be done at the newly refurbished Edgware Rd PO. We want the Council to lobby Post Office Ltd to make sure their service delivery is the same across all their branches in City of Westminster, particularly at Edgware Rd PO which will still be heavily used by local residents.” You can sign the petition here

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

The Chippenham – update 

Councillor Tim Roca reports:

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

Saltram Crescent traffic calming – update

The traffic calming system is now in place and operational. First reactions from residents:

“A neighbour just told me I’d driven the wrong way down my own road!!! YES!!! Victory to the people!!! I assume they’ll put sign up to say new road system in place. Great work everyone there and here in Saltram Crescent. “

Maida Hill market area

We have asked the Council to let us know what can be done about this issue:

“I just wanted to let you know that unfortunately there is a big problem with anti-social behaviour on the Maida Hill market area, where there are gatherings of 30 people most evenings, drinking and generating a lot of noise with music on loudspeakers, loud screaming and laughs. It is frightening to walk from work past them, particularly for me as a female, as I’ve seen drunk people slashing glass bottles, screaming, leaving behind piles of rubbish with music from big loudspeakers on the wheels. Is there anything that can be done here?”

The Council says:

“The anti-social behaviour has started again in the last few weeks.  The police designated ward officer for the area has had complaints about the market area from residents and we have received a complaint from one of the market traders.  The group of older men used to turn up in the evenings, however it appears that they are now arriving in the afternoons too.

We are in the midst of contacting the complainants in order to obtain statements from them.  We will then go back to the group and advise them that the behaviour which is being reported (street urination, noise nuisance, littering) is anti-social and that if it continues we will have no choice but to start issuing Community Protection Notice warnings and then Community Protection Notices in order to stop the anti-social behaviour.  Our city operations night team is visiting the area on a daily basis and will continue to monitor the situation. “ 

Maida Hill Place toilets

We have asked the Council to explain why the women’s toilets are out of action. The Council says:

“It seems there is a problem with a wet fish stall holder whose stall sits above the ladies toilet and whenever he disposes of his salty fish water it causes the electrics to trip out.  Apparently there is no problem when he is not trading. We havearranged for an electrician to inspect the site to ensure that all is safe and the market inspector is also involved in taking this up with the relevant stallholder. Once the problems have been resolved the ladies toilets will be reopened.”

We have also asked that the steps are cleared of rubbish.

Truscott Arms, Shirland Road

We were angered that the much-loved Truscott Arms pub has been forced to close because the owners of the building have decided to hike up the rent from £75,000 per year to a wildly over-inflated £250,000 per year. Local residents are outraged that this well-loved and successful pub, home to the best roast lunches in Britain (according to a 2014 UK competition), has been driven out of business by what seems to be a transparent attempt to remove the existing tenant.

The pub and its owners have played an active role in supporting the local community since it opened and many are residents now returning the favour to help save the Truscott Arms. With no pub likely to be able to pay anything close to £250,000 per year, residents understandably fear that despite the Truscott’s well deserved Asset of Community Value status this may be the start of an attempt by the pub’s owners to convert the building to luxury flats which we will fight vigorously.

http://www.standard.co.uk/goingout/restaurants/london-s-best-sunday-roast-pub-closed-by-colossal-rent-hike-a3312911.html

St Mary’s Churchyard Gardens – update

Following our enquiries, the Council says:

“I wanted to update you on the issues of both gangs of youths and rough sleepers in St Mary’s Churchyard Gardens. This location is subject to regular undercover surveillance by the Police and we are in liaison with them as to what additional measures can be taken to deter anti-social behaviour here. We have also substantially reduced the planting and shrubbery to remove potential hiding places for drugs and weapons. I have also instructed the parks team to increase patrolling visits by uniformed parks staff during the late afternoon and evening to provide a visible deterrence during the busy summer period.”

Residents say:

“Thank you very much for the feedback and it is good to know that acting is being taken. We will certainly let you know if we see anything else.” 

Tesco, Clifton Hill – warning

We have received this message from a resident:

“I too was scammed at the cashpoint outside Tesco in Clifton Road. They also took £500 from my card. They use a system called Lebanese loop. Police are investigating as they also used card details to buy petrol at the pump in Tesco’s in Sutherland Avenue hopefully they will find the thief’s car registration number on the CCTV. Please share the above info if relevant.”

Little Venice Canal area 

We have asked the Canal & River Trust to investigate this issue;

“What has happened to Little Venice Canal at Paddington Basin? Even the ducks have abandoned the green slime that has engulfed the entire basin. Can we please have a longer term solution to the present rather disgusting mess in a once beautiful area.” 

Following our enquiry, action has been taken by the C&RT and a resident told us: “I understand that there is a problem in keeping the weed under control, needs a lot more attention and am very pleased to see some improvement this week.”

Rembrandt Gardens

We have alerted the Council to this recurring problem:

“Rough sleepers have again set up home along side the Canal next to the Rembrandt Garden and are bedding down on the grass. They have been there since last week together with their possessions.”

The Council say:

“The site of the rough sleeping is Stone Wharf / Rembrandt Gardens and is managed by both our parks team and the Canal Trust. Earlier this year we saw an influx of rough sleepers in this area and work was carried out to disrupt the rough sleeping and to clean the area.   This was undertaken by the council, police and our partners from the St. Mungo’s Hotspot Team. We are currently looking into the possibility of placing a gate at the mouth of the tow path which would allow us to prevent access other than for the canal boat residents.  It appears that the current rough sleepers are a couple and a single female.  A referral has been made to Streetconcern and the St Mungo’s Hotspot Team requesting an increased presence in the area and for a care plan to be put in place to support the single female.”

Maida Vale/Clifton Road

We have asked the Council to fix traffic light at Maida Vale and Clifton Road after a resident told us “It’s facing the wrong way this morning”.

Braemar House, Maida Vale

We have reported this issue to the Council for action:

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

Elgin Avenue/Shirland Road

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue: 

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

Hall Road

We have reported this issue to the Council:

Can you investigate traffic flow in Hall Road.  This is a bus route. Due to extensive building works there are often lorries parked both sides of the road most of the day. It makes it very difficult for local residents who wish to pass through this road. I understand there is to be a further development in William Court. Please can you see that the Road is free for cars to pass freely and for wardens to monitor the parking.” 

The Council say:

“Marshals have been to this location and spoken with the site manager who states that they are asking their drivers to report to site later in the day to help ease any congestion.  Our marshals have also been regularly patrolling the area and will continue to do so, and so far on their visits the area has been clear of any obstructions.”

Wellington Road

We have asked the Council to fix a drain cover outside Lord’s – “It’s noisy when the car goes over the it but when a bus or a train goes over it it is ear piercing”

St John’s Wood roundabout 

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

Why have the safety railings outside St Johns Wood park leading onto St John’s Wood roundabout been removed? This is a major issue as the exit leading onto St John’s Wood roundabout has a slope near the exit and children on their push bikes or scooters exit it frequently. Please have the safety railing put back as a matter of urgency before some child gets seriously injured”

Former Greek Farmer restaurant, Westbourne Grove – update

Following our enquiries the Council tells us:

“There was previously a problem with drainage and flies that was treated at the time. The issue had arisen as a result of the previous occupier leaving all of his food stuff in the premises while it remained closed and, for reasons unknown, digging up the basement and exposing the drainage.  This led to major problems with foul odours and a severe infestation of drain flies.

Through the Council’s Pest Control section, a treatment was arranged for a thorough spray treatment last summer. However, as there was pooling water, the pesticide failed to kill all of the larvae.  The Environmental Health Enforcement Officer has been working with the managing agent over the last 12 months in an attempt to resolve the drainage issues.  A fogging treatment was undertaken on 25 May 2016. 

There have been difficulties in dealing with the ownership of this site as the freeholder is based in Switzerland and contact is through a law firm in Mayfair. The property had previously been let and then sublet, however, the company White Stuff is now the head lessee and have taken the property back with a view to bringing it up to standard and opening it up as one of their stores in the near future.

With respect to the rough sleepers that are using the shop front for bedding down, the Local City Inspector has engaged with the individuals and has made referrals on their behalf to St Mungos Broadway hotspots team who offer outreach support. The City Inspector has also contacted the Estate Manager for White Stuff to secure the property in the interim period.  White Stuff has now applied for a hoarding license and this is being dealt with as a priority application. Once this has been approved the property will be boarded up until the works are completed and the shop opens.”

Kildare Terrace and Gardens

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

The drains in Kildare Terrace and Gardens were not cleaned for the second time despite suspending the residents parking! When it rains the drain in the gardens opposite the entrance to the communal garden floods & there is an unpleasant smell.”

Colonnades development

We have asked the Council for an update on the replacement trees programme in response to this enquiry:

This had been going on for 18 months. When it started, trees where removed from Porchester Road – one over 3 storeys tall. The new pavement is nearing completion, with no sign of trees or even spaces where trees will be planted. “

The Council tells us:

“The tree pits are under the paving but we won’t be planting until the autumn as this is the optimum time to plant trees.”

Westbourne Park Baptist Church

We asked the District Surveyor to investigate this issue:

“I live at off Porchester Road and noticed this morning that my house was shaking. As I had the window open I was able to realise that it was the works on Westbourne Park Baptist Church that was causing this. Please can you let me know who I need to contact as I don’t think this should be happening and I’m concerned that it might be causing structural damage.”

The District Surveyor told us:

“It would not be unusual for nearby houses to suffer vibration during the demolition. The nearby buildings are detached, so there is no need for residents to be worried about damage to their buildings through vibrations.”

Parking around Hallfield School – update

Following our enquiries, the Parking Department says:

“We have been sending marshals down here at start and end of the school day from the 27th June. The issue seems to be in the morning time where we have issued some PCNs to offending vehicles, but no real issues identified in the afternoon. The schools are about to close for the summer holidays, but we will keep our eye on this at the start of next year and engage with the school if needs be.”

Residents say:

“I have noticed two wardens issuing tickets and discussing the reason why they got them with the parents, which may help with the repeat offenders. It is indeed worse in the mornings because of the fear of being late for school leads them to park particularly badly, and then the lorries/coaches etc. can’t get past them. Not so bad in the afternoons. School holidays are upon us, and I hope that will make it less awful for a while. Thank you again for taking up this task for us, much appreciated”

Paddington Cube

It was the Paddington Pole and now it is a Cube! According to the press:

“The proposals from Great Western Developments and Sellar Paddington Limited are for a 360,000 sq ft, 14-storey office building above 1.35 acres of new public realm, as well as investment in the transport infrastructure. The £775m redevelopment, to be renamed the Paddington Cube, sits of the site of the former Royal Mail Sorting office adjacent to Paddington Station. The original plans were for a 72-storey building stretching up 254m, whereas the new proposals are 12m above the existing skyline. Once completed, The Paddington Cube will be capable of accommodating up to 4,000 workers. The scheme will also provide 80,000 sq ft of retail and restaurant accommodation over five levels, to include a rooftop restaurant, improved access to Paddington Station and a £65m investment in a new Bakerloo line station and ticket hall.”

What do you think of the revised plans? http://www.sellarproperty.com/properties/paddington-cube/

Read what Simon Jenkins thinks http://www.standard.co.uk/comment/comment/simon-jenkins-paddington-pole-may-be-dead-but-the-vanity-of-architects-lives-on-a3299261.html

What you say

“Thank you for the very comprehensive report & action taken. It gets bigger & bigger every month.”

“Thank you for this useful service”

“Thank you for another very helpful update on local issues, and your hard work to resolve these. I really appreciate this, as I’m sure all the residents who care about the area.” 

“Appreciate all the focus here – good news re the determination on the Carlton Tavern; thank you. Re the Lisson Grove tunnel, my latest exchange with the folks at the Canal & Rivers Trust is that they are working to find a work around to allow the reopening of the tow path, even if the root cause of the problem isn’t fully fixed.”

“Many thanks for all your hard work!” 

“Very good news about the Carlton Tavern!” 

“Thank you very much for your Report and the good work you are doing on our behalf.”

“Your issues list seems to grow with every newsletter. What a fantastic job you do for your local residents.”

“Thank you for the newsletter, I find it reassuring that you take the time to keep us informed of the activities you are all taking on our behalf. “

“Thank you for the excellent support that you give to your constituents.”

“Very warmest thanks, as ever, for the sustained quality and thoroughness of your reports. Quite exceptional, really, when compared to other boroughs/councils.” 

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

 

 

WESTMINSTER NORTH ACTION REPORT – JULY 2016

NEWS FROM WESTMINSTER’S LABOUR COUNCILLORS

Hatton/Frampton Streets

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

“Large items of rubbish are still being dumped on the corner of Hatton and Frampton Streets. For example, today there are two mattresses and an old gas cooker amongst other things. Although the council does clear the mess even so often, I feel that an effort should be made to get to the bottom of this somehow; it can’t all be from the flats in the former Lord Frampton pub. I should be grateful if you would look into this again.”

We have also reported rubbish dumping around Ingrebourne House and Chicken Inn on Edgware Road, Lavendon House on Lisson Green, as well at Plympton Place, at the Penfold Street end, and at the back of the Edgware Road shops.

Westmacott House

We are pleased that a serious flood at Westmacott House has been fixed. The Estate Office told us;

“The flood appears to be due to blocked hopper heads in a block with an internal drainage system under a pitched roof. A pump was successfully fitted to the roof to prevent further flooding. The pump worked well as residents reported the leak had stopped for the time being. All residents in the four affected units decided to remain at home or stay with relatives for the weekend.”

Wytham House 

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“I was woken last night at 1am by a group of 6/7 men gathered under the canopy at 1-6 Wytham House. This group made incredible noise for up to an hour, directly under the kitchen window of 1 Wytham House, throwing drink cans around, screaming, chasing each other for fun. I cannot be the only person who was disturbed/woken by the racket! We have men, who do not live here, who loiter on the estate, on and off, through out the day and night, between noon and early morning.”

Burne House, Bell Street

We have again asked the Council to liaise with BT about the proper maintenance of the area around Burne House. The Council says:

“I am pleased to inform you of the following response from BT this morning. I will ask the Church Street local inspector to monitor the area to ensure that the requested works have indeed occurred.

I have logged a job with the helpdesk for the area of hard standing to be attended to immediately – it’s on a 9 hour response. Longer term I am hoping BT will agree to me submitting a request to the Council for the area to have a dropped kerb installed so that it can be used for parking. 

I will keep you updated as to the on-going negotiations regarding the path running between Burne House and George Peabody Court.”

Church Street regeneration

Karen Buck MP reports: 

“I joined residents from Blackwater, Lambourne and other blocks, along with Councillor Grahame, to discuss their concerns about the progress of the Church Street regeneration programme, the neglect of their blocks during the (now long delayed) period before renewal, and everyday issues such as cleaning.”

Boscobel Street – Update 

Following our enquiries, the Council has agreed to the introduction of additional “At Any Time” double yellow lines waiting restrictions along Boscobel Street as an interim measure pending a comprehensive traffic study through the Futures Plan.

The Perseverance, Shroton Street

Aicha Less, the new Church Street Ward councillor, was contacted by the Perseverance pub in Shroton Street, which has re-opened recently.  They were having trouble getting permission to run a street party for the Queen’s birthday.   Aicha chased this and also got a waiver of charges for closing the road.

Church Street area parking

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue: 

“I’m a resident from the Church Street area The parking times in our are is between 8:30 am and 10:00 pm. After 10:00pm anyone can come and park their cars in our resident permit areas, making it impossible for us residents to park our cars or making us park our cars miles away. We are asking the council to change the time and to make it residents only at any time.”

Lisson Green canalside

We have asked the Canal & River Trust to ensure that the gates to the canal path are opened so that residents can walk along this stretch of the canal. 

Penfold Place 

Following our enquiries, the Council has agreed to replace the missing bollard that was removed in 2012.

Cosway Street

The Church Army hostel in Cosway Street has been awarded £691,756 from the Big Lottery Fund over 5 years to work with marginalised women to help them face a better future. This will enable the hostel to expand its current services by employing a Resettlement Worker to focus on move on and tenancy sustainment, an Education, Employment and Training Worker to help women to put down roots and move to long term sustainable independent living.

Saltram Crescent traffic calmimg – update

Following our enquiries the Council has told us:

“The Council’s Service Provider (FM Conway) commenced works this week on the provision of power supplies to some of the sign locations. In addition, the Traffic Order process has started. FM Conway’s programme for the delivery of the scheme indicates the scheme being operational by mid-August.” 

Goldney Road 

We asked the Council’s Tree Officer about this issue: 

It is just over a year since I first contacted the council about replanting a tree on Goldney Road which was storm damaged and subsequently chopped down. The Council confirmed that a new tree would be planted, however, it has not. It is really disappointing that we have not had a replacement to add a bit of much needed and much appreciated greenery back into our end of Goldney Road. What’s more, the patch of earth that has been left behind is frequently covered in dog poo, thanks to people who can’t be bothered to clear up after their dogs, which my three year old daughter recently stepped in when getting out of the car.”

Following our enquiries the Tree Officer told us:

“I was in Goldney Road last week surveying the street and the surrounding streets for trees that need replacing and for potential new sites.  Despite the wet weather it is too late to plant a replacement tree now but I have included it on the programme for this autumn.”

Edbrooke Road Gardens

We are continuing to press the Council to take action to safeguard residents’ amenity. Residents say:

“I do not believe that the groups congregating there are local.  There also, I believe, two different groups.  One drink alcohol and smoke marijuana and the other I believe are trading something or other.  Hence the need for the little moped that is darting back and forth in the evening. It is a great shame as it is at times intimidating to walk past on the way home with my young son.  I know that the floodlighting has been added and the hedge cut back with CCTV installed but I think a polite nod from the police to let them know that they are being watched might help maybe?

“I too have young children and would love to be able to let them run around in Edbrooke Gardens.  However, because of the frequency of the presence of dogs, it is not safe to allow them to, both because of the risk of them being knocked over by a boisterous pooch or scared by them running about, but mostly because of the dog fouling that by nature will always occur no matter how careful and observant the dog owner“

But I have thought of a solution which would bring new life to this park, and joy to the many local people who don’t have dogs and would love to enjoy lying on the grass, sunbathing, having a picnic or playing with their children. Would you consider proposing to the council put up a small fence on the western quarter of the park, running along the pathway from the Western Goldney Road entrance to the Western Edbrooke Road entrance) and make this a dog-free zone?  You immediately have a small area which is clean, safe, sunny and can open the park to a whole new cohort of happy residents!  I have nothing against dogs or dog owners, but I do wish young families could have the chance to make use of this fabulous area in the same way they do.”

The Council says:

“We are aware of these problems and are in close liaison with the Metropolitan Police regarding priority locations for increased surveillance and patrolling.  I have also instructed our parks team to increase patrols through Edbrooke Gardens and other nearby parks and gardens by uniformed parks staff during the late afternoon and evening period to provide a visible deterrence to anti-social activity during the busy summer period. 

On the issue of dog fouling in the area around the park I have asked the cleansing team to check that we have sufficient litter bins in the surrounding area and that they all have the ‘dog waste can be put in here’ signs on them that have proved successful in tackling this problem in other areas. The council’s Animal Warden will also be asked to look at hosting another ‘Responsible Dog Owners/Free Micro-chipping’ event in the Gardens.”

Talk of the Town shisha café, 122-124 Chippenham Road – Update

The Council tells us:

“Two enforcement notices were served and took effect on the 8th June 2016 which require the cessation of the shisha smoking and the removal of the canopy structure to the front of the property within 3 months. The date for compliance with both notices is the 8th September 2016.”

Elgin Avenue road surface

We have asked the Council to investigate the road surface along Elgin Avenue between Chippenham Road and Harrow Road. Residents say: “The road surface is breaking up. The substrate is not fit for the purpose.”

Shirland Road and Elgin Avenue – Junction Improvement works – Update

The Council has given us this latest update:

“The ongoing construction work at the Shirland Road junction with Elgin Avenue has unfortunately been subject to an extended implementation period due to unforeseen circumstances relating to footway construction and coordination of the programme.

The scheme which includes a traffic signals equipment upgrade with pedestrian push button facilities and improvements for right turning vehicles, footway improvements and carriageway resurfacing is now expected to be complete by the end of July, with the new traffic signals switched on by 10th July. We apologise for any inconvenience caused by this delay.

The Chippenham – Update

Harrow Road Ward Councillor Tim Roca reports:

“The Chippenham Pub on Shirland Road was considered at a third Planning Committee. The owners applied in December for a certificate of lawful use, to allow the Chippenham to become a shop. The pub was closed in early 2015 after being purchased by developers. The dilapidated ‘shop’ running out of the ground floor seemed a clear attempt to circumvent planning rules and the protections put in place for pubs. Local residents and councillors have been making representations against this application since January.

We’ve known from the start that this was going to be a difficult fight because the planning rules that effected the application were so weak (they’ve since changed). I’m sorry to say that the Committee ultimately approved the certificate. I was able to make representations and the Committee were very sympathetic, and cross examined the Council Officers about the options and pressed them on all the points we raised. Nevertheless, the law is very restrictive in this area. We are establishing contact with owners about their plans going forward, to make sure the community has an input in any future development.”

https://timroca.com/2016/06/14/update-chippenham-pub/

Carlton Tavern

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

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

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

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

Edgware Road/Blomfield Road – Update

Following our enquiries, TfL tell us:

“Our planning team have witnessed the congestion at this location and will arrange for a Keep Clear marking to be placed. This will assist the traffic movement at this junction. Although we’re unable to provide a timescale on these works at present, please be assured that the matter is in hand.”

Sutherland Avenue/Maida Vale Tesco – warning

We have received this warning from a local resident:

“At the Esso/Tesco garage on the corner of Maida Vale and Sutherland Avenue there are cashpoint fiddlers in attendance.  I was caught in a swift and clever operation which emptied my account of £500 this morning before I got home (around the corner) – less than 10 min – and rang the bank straight away.  Police also alerted.  Can you alert in your next newsletter – the cashpoint is not in a good position and outside the line of sight.

St Mary’s Churchyard Gardens

We have asked the Parks Department to investigate this issue:

“There is an increasing amount of unsociable behaviour going on in this Park. We have seen a stabbing and overt drug use including use of needles which is a particular concern near to the school. Other activity includes barbequing on the grass which causes damage and on grave stones. We have made reports to the Police but think a patrol presence and some signage would assist to eradicate the problems.”

Lisson Grove – Canal path update

The new Chair of Paddington Waterways and Maida Vale Society has told us:

“I spoke to the London area Manager of the Canal and Rivers Trust on this and he gave me the following headlines regarding the closed towpath under the Lisson Grove Bridge:

  • the roadway over the tunnel contains a number of high voltage electricity cables which are cooled by a jacket of oil
  • one of these has sprung a leak such that oil was running down through the masonry and polluting the canal
  • repairing this leak is the responsibility of the cable owners but no one has quite got around to doing so – budget pressures/priorities – so for now the tunnel is closed to allow them to catch the oil and drain it to a safe receptacle, without having to close the tunnel to boat traffic. Sadly this does result in the towpath being closed
  • I am due to follow up so will do so and see if the situation has changed”

Dibdin House

Karen Buck MP reports:

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

Rita Begum’s Casework update

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

  • Torridon House, Randolph Gardens – residents came to see Rita about the heating system not working for a long time. Residents had reported this but nothing has been done Rita called the estate office to get it fixed ASAP and the repair is now completed.
  • Edinburgh House – Resident came for advice on her son with a health issue. The son wants to get into employment and needs help. Rita referred her to Working with Men who will meet her son on a regular basis and help with getting him into training or employment.
  • Essendine Mansions, Essendine Road – A resident contacted Rita about the behavior of City West Home staff. Rita has taken it up with estate office area manager who will deal with the individual involved.

Elgin Avenue Environmental issues

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

  • A bicycle chained to a lamppost outside 25-32 Elgin Mansions has been there for nearly a year even though it has been reported to the Council on four different occasions. It is surprising that it has not been stripped of any parts, it is an old model and is now looking very weathered.
  • The privet hedge outside 203 Elgin Avenue, on the corner of Biddulph Road has over the years been allowed to encroach more and more over the pavement. It has now reached nearly a metre overlap, restricting the width of pavement to single file between it and a large established tree on the edge of the road. The hedge has been kept in good order, trimmed regularly but has never been cut back to the garden wall. The Council some years ago did pursue this problem and may need to take some action again.
  • The Euro-bins on the corner of Biddulph Road/Elgin Avenue need to be rearranged to accommodate increasing amounts of rubbish, better positioned to enable easy access and improved appearance. There are always two recycling bins and only one general rubbish bin which frequently overflows, leaving bags on the pavement which sometimes get torn open and contents get scattered around the area. An additional general rubbish bin, replacing a recycling one if necessary, would improve the provision.

Paddington Rec

We have asked the Parks Department to investigate this issue:

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

Maida Vale Countdown sign – Update

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

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

Elgood House 

We have urged the Council to deal with unpleasant smalls in this block following concerns raised by residents. The Estate Office has told us:

“I managed to get Thames Water out today and have just completed an hour long inspection with them on the drainage system. We got to the route of the cause of the blockage, this was proved to be excessive domestic waste, specifically wet wipes and nappies. This waste got down to Thames Water drainage system and built up over time, causing the blockage to the drains. There was so much in the drainage that the regular van and unit they sent to was not powerful enough and had to send out a “heavy duty” unit who will have the relevant equipment that can jet out the waste. They are scheduled to return this afternoon. Therefore, in light of this situation, letters will be sent out to the residents informing them of guidelines of what can and cannot be put down they’re sinks and toilets.”

Cotman House

We have asked the Estate Office to investigate persistent anti-social behavior at Cotman House.

Hill Road

We have again urged the Council to repair two longstanding potholes in Hill Road outside numbers 20-22.

Circus Road bus shelter – Update

Following our enquiries, TfL has told us:

“I am sorry we have been unable to provide a shelter at this location. We tried installing a shelter in 2007 but the attempt failed due to a legal challenge. A further request was received last summer but was not pursued in view of what had happened previously. The local authority then consulted locally about providing a bench. I understand this was initially positioned to the back of the footway but was moved to the middle after objections were received. We have no plans to provide a shelter at this location.” 

Junction Maida Vale and Carlton Hill/Carlton Vale – update 

Following our enquiries, the Council says:

“The construction has taken longer than expected but the scheme is now nearing completion. The current position is that the ducting works have been completed and TfL is now on site installing the new signals equipment, including all-round pedestrian facilities. These signals works are currently programmed to be completed by 14th/15th July. Resurfacing of the junction will then follow, taking a few days. Lastly high friction surfacing on the approaches will be laid towards the end of August.”

Springfield Road

We have reported this issue to the Council for investigation:

“There are builders working at two sites in Springfield Road and regularly the builders block off the residents parking bays with cones or bags of rubble and/ or planks of wood or just park their vans  or skips in the bay’s without having any permits or applying for suspension of the bay’s from Westminster and which are totally ignored by the traffic wardens to the detriment of the residents who wish to park there. Cannot Westminster and its wardens not enforce the law and ensure that the builders do not abuse the law and inconvenience the residents more than absolutely necessary?”

Hathaway House

Black cab drivers have joined forces with residents and Labour Councillors to fight a new 15-storey tower which they fear will overshadow their homes. The LTDA floated a blimp in Westbourne Park, where its HQ is based, to show the height of the proposed tower. Meadow Partners, an international property investor and asset manager, want to demolish Hathaway House and replace it with a tower of luxury flats.

 

Bike Racks on the Warwick Estate

After a resident of the Warwick Estate asked for secure cycle hangars to prevent bike theft, we have contacted the estate office and have been told:

“This is something that the village panel have been discussing, and the aerial fund would be used to purchase the new racks.  The plan is to replace our existing bike racks with more secure ones – and ones with green roofs.”

Formal planning permission is also needed but the cabinet member at Westminster council has pledged to help.

Shrewsbury Gardens park

After an accident a few weeks ago, the metal boundary and brickwork at the edge of Shrewsbury Gardens park (on the corner of Talbot Road and Shrewsbury Road) was damaged and the brickwork was left hanging dangerously. Fencing was put up outside but not inside the park. We were alerted by a nearby resident and contacted the Parks department who made sure both sides were fenced off.  The parks department are also in the process of getting quotes to repair of the wall and railings.

Westbourne Green garden

After months of delay the council’s development team has finally produced some initial plans for landscaping the area of Westbourne Green which was used for the WAES temporary classroom. They are proposing a grass ‘bund’ (a mound) about two feet high on part of the flat area opposite the Edward Wilson school entrance, together with some defensive shrubs along the path running between Bourne Terrance and Lord Hills Road. London Plane trees will be planted around the rest of the area.

Westbourne Park

We have again asked the Council to fix a blocked gully in the road opposite the bus garage. 

Westbourne Grove

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“The site of the former ‘Greek Farmer’ restaurant in Westbourne Grove, between junctions with Newton Road and Monmouth Road, seems to be hugely neglected by its landlord since the restaurateur left.  I reported an infestation of maggots and flies in the front windows, which were escaping out through cracks in the window frames, to the council as a public health risk at least a year ago (twice) and was told that the landlord had been notified.  Now, not only do the windows still look infested, but two or three men have taken up residence in the shelter of the front door, leaving stained bedding there all day and often lying there drinking during the day.  Their presence feels at best, a sad comment on our society (when you can buy luxury chocolate just across the street) and at worst, quite threatening.  Is anyone addressing this problem?”

Parking around Hallfield School

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

“Westminster have removed all wardens from monitoring parking at Hallfield and it is chaos again, with parents parking over the junction, stopping mid junction to open their doors and drop their children off and parking and blocking driveways. It is particularly worrying as there is some rearrangement going on with the traffic lights on the junction of Inverness/Porchester Gardens causing heavy traffic build up too. I am also concerned that no-one has thought through what the Whiteleys work will do to traffic movement and parking in the area when heavy building traffic vehicles will be involved as well.

The school needs to be more active in how the parents who park and drive irresponsibly see their relationship to their fellow parents who walk their children to school, as well as the Council in providing officers willing to tackle the bad parking and driving. I have suggested in the past that parents be allowed to park on single yellows and residents’ bays nearby (i.e safe parking spots) while they deliver their children, but that suggestion has not been taken up. Instead the council allow this chaos to continue and I fear that one day a child will be hurt as they cannot see across the road for blocking parked cars.”

Chilworth Street

We have reported this issue to the Council:

“For the last couple of months the Cleveland Arms has become a new renovating project. The issue we have is the workers starting at 8 in the morning on the weekends playing music and making a lot of noise. Not only this. The workers tend to hang around after they have finished work and get themselves extremely drunk and then shout outside on the street. They tend to use the building site as their local hang out both on week nights and weekends, surely this cannot be allowed? I ask for this issue to be raised as it cannot go on like this for the sanity of the people living on Chilworth Street.”

The Council says:

“A City Inspector visited the Cleveland Arms to investigate the complaint. The pub and associated residential properties above are subject to major refurbishment work that is likely to extend until the end of the year. The plan is for the building company to work during approved hours Monday to Saturday, with 10-12 workers present. The site foreman was courteous but said he was unaware of any such activities taking place. He said he would mention it to the staff and monitor accordingly. We work a range of hours and will monitor ourselves.”

The resident said:

Thank you for your help with this issue. And for the quick action. I will call their hotline if any more problems are turning up. Again thank you.”

7-12 Leinster Square

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

“Alchemi have now left the premises of 7-12 Leinster Square, but after all the rain we have had it is obvious that they have not cleared all the drains as requested. The drain outside the building where they had their lodgings during the works is blocked, and there is a large puddle completely covering the drain and overflowing several yards to either side of it. As we do not want the basement flats to be flooded, please could the council be prevailed upon to deal with this as a matter of urgency.”

“There are in fact several drains that appear to be blocked along the north side of the square, with large puddles in the hollows caused by subsidence of the road surface along the gutter where heavy lorries have parked (and continue to park outside 13-19). Do the developers have a responsibility to make good damage to the road? The same might be asked of the footpath, where many paving slabs are cracked and uneven.”

Hallfield Estate

Karen Buck MP reports:

“The Hallfield estate AGM was, as always, well aended by lessees and tenants, and inevitably the long-standing (7 years so far!) Major Works programme dominated the proceedings. I have undertaken to organise another LEASE lessee advice session and invite Hallfield residents amongst others, and have now booked the Stowe Club on September 10th for that purpose. A further invite will come round, but if you would like to reserve a place now, please drop me an email (whether or not you are on Hallfield). I have also been taking up the recurrent problem of rough sleeping on the estate with CityWest Homes and the Council.”

Kensington Gardens Square – Update

The Council has told us the following about their enquiries about unauthorized parking by vehicles delivering to hotels:

“The controlled parking regulations allow vehicles to park on Double Yellow Lines for 40 minutes to load and unload. However, our marshals were there yesterday and the vehicle stayed for longer than the 40 minutes allowed and was consequently issued with a PCN.  He then moved to Kensington Gardens Square, but stayed within the allowed time for loading/unloading. Our marshals will continue to monitor this going forward and will visit this location to ensure compliance.”

Residents say:

“Thank you so much for getting this acted upon. We always look forward to receiving your news letter and it is great to see first hand how you get things done!”

Underground train noise

We are investigating this issue with Council officers and TfL:

“My concern- and I am not the first to mention it- is the massively increased noise arising from the underground lines beneath our houses: what was once a distant hum is now a thunderous sound rather like being below the Heathrow flight path. Another unpleasant aspect of this is that the entire building now shakes, raising inevitably the possibility of structural damage. Then there is the constant rattling of glasses, seemingly every few seconds. My principal interest is finding an explanation from TFL as none has been forthcoming- why this alarming decibel increase? Is there anything that can be done? Any information you could provide would be warmly appreciated”

Cycle super-highway proposal– what you say 

“I strongly oppose the current plans as proposed for the cycle superhighway in respect of the lower half of Avenue Road and the Outer Circle. Crossing the outer circle of Regent’s Park will become a nightmare for pedestrians and dangerous.  I walk my dog twice a day and not once in 10 years has a cyclist stopped for to allow a pedestrian to cross at the crossing. The Outer Circle is not a ‘rat run’ it is a legal through route for non commercial vehicles and people do not speed.” 

What you say

“Thank you tremendously for your action and help with issues as things certainly move forward rapidly with your contact. The areas around Kennet House are a lot clearer and cleaner, thanks to you” 

“Thank you for the good work that you and your fellow Councillors in the Westminster Labour Group are doing.”

“Many thanks as always for summarising some of the work you and your colleagues do. Thanks in particular for your efforts to keep the Post Office open. And for trying to keep me dry at my Abbey Road bus stop!”

“Thank you so much, always for your continued concern and support for our community.”

“Thanks very much for the information. You seem very hard working!”

“Many thanks for the Westminster North Action Report, very informative and useful in achieving undertakings and action by Council officials.”

“As always thank you for your helpful report.  It makes us residents feel as if someone is listening and any action your team provides is a bonus!”

“Thank you as always for the highly comprehensive update” 

“Thanks, as usual, for all the good work you are doing”

“Many thanks for your tenacity in dealing with all these local problems”

“I always read it with interest. Thank you so much!”

“Thank you for your useful and interesting report”

“Once again, efficiency personified!”

“Thank you so much for taking the time to research and investigate the answer to my question.”

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

 

WESTMINSTER NORTH ACTION REPORT – JUNE 2016

NEWS FROM WESTMINSTER’S LABOUR COUNCILLORS

Penfold Street/Broadley Street junction – Road Safety Update

The Council has told us the following:

“The junction of Penfold Street and Broadley Street falls within the scope of Westminster City Council’s proposals for a Cycle Quietway route in this area. Design proposals are being developed for the Cycle Quietway route and changes have been proposed at locations along this route to help vulnerable road users and address existing traffic issues. At the junction of Penfold Street and Broadley Street it is proposed to introduce a raised table to reduce vehicle speeds. This measure should help to improve the safety record at the junction. In addition, this issue will be raised with the Cycle Quietways team so that it can be taken onto account during the design of the measures for the route. Subject to traffic order consultation and funding, the City Council is looking to implement the Cycle Quietway route later this year.” 

Penfold Street/Church Street junction

We have asked for an update at the situation at this junction:

“Is there, any news regarding, fading white lines and possible Halt or Stop signs? A number on yellow lines have been freshly painted, at said junction.  But does not, slow down or stop, speeding traffic. The morning and afternoon school run, have the effect of traffic congestion, noise from drivers blowing their horns, whilst stationary and shouting at each other. Maybe a one way system is required, say from Bell Street to Orchardson Street?” 

Lyons Place/Penfold Steet/Boscobel Street

We are continuing to press the Council to take action to stop vehicles using these streets to avoid congestion on Edgware Road. The Council has suggested this will be resolved through the Futures Plan traffic review. However, we have argued that it cannot be right to defer resolution of long-standing problems in this way. Double lines could be really helpful in the right place.  Treatment of the Penfold Street/Church Street junction would also be welcome.  Priority for pedestrians in this high density residential area should be a guiding principle.

Burne House, Bell Street

We are continuing to press the Council to deal with unsatisfactory situation:

I have occasion to walk through here most days and although it is in a generally better state than a year ago it is still not sanitary by a long chalk. There is still rubbish caught in between the cages to the side of the BT building which has never been thoroughly cleaned up and always discarded rubbish, bottles and cans strewn around. It must be awful for the families living in the flats overlooking this. I can’t understand why Westminster & BT can’t work in partnership for the good of it’s citizens and agree to keep this space clean every day and improve this environment.”

Kennett House

We have again asked that the illegally parked motorbikes and traders’ material is removed from the area around Kennett House. The Council says:

With regards to the market trader parking his delivery bike next to the Kennett House forecourt bollarded area, the local city inspector has spoken to the market trader who owns this bike and has informed him that he is not to park it in this location as the parking area is for permit holders only.  Following this conversation the city inspector has made regular inspections of the area and the owner of the motorbike seems to have complied with the instruction. The second query regarding the placement of the Big Recycling Bins is currently under review.  It has been agreed that the bins will be moved and new locations are being looked into in order to facilitate this.”

Penfold Place/Edgware Road

Motorists continue to exit Penfold Place and drive across the Edgware Road pavement and endanger pedestrians. We were told at the time the bollard was removed by TfL, prior to the Olympic games, that TfL needed emergency access to Edgware Road for the duration of the Games. We raised questions then because we were concerned about the danger to pedestrians. There was no suggestion this would be a permanent arrangement. Now that an increasing number of motorists have discovered this short cut, the potential injury to pedestrians has increased. We have called on TfL to re-instate the bollard without further delay.

Church Street/Edgware Road begging – Update

The Council has told us the following:

“The local and market city inspectors issue Community Protection Notices (CPNs) to those found begging when offences are witnessed.  This tends to occur on a daily basis. In conjunction with this, from January 2016, we have been running an enhanced number of mini-operations in the locality to target the key begging times. 

  • In March we coordinated a begging operation utilising all enforcement officers across the 24hr shift pattern to drive home the message that begging is not tolerated. The Edgware Road and Church Street market were one of three focal points for this operation which resulted in 42 individual enforcement actions being taken across the two-week period.
  • Those offenders known to be rough sleepers are referred to Home Office Immigration Enforcement (HOIE) to target for removal. In March 2016, two key offenders known to be coordinators of the begging activity in the area were removed and banned from re-entering the UK for a period of time through this method. Repeat offenders known to have a home address are also referred through to HOIE for targeting. 
  • Two key pieces of evidence provided by market traders proved links to serious organised crime and have contributed to a joint police and council initiative targeting foreign national offending launched in February 2016. 
  • Independent of the localised response to the begging in the Church Street Market and Edgware Road, local days of police action are taking place on a weekly basis with key partners, including Home Office Immigration Enforcement.”

97 Frampton Street

Some good news – following Council and Police action, the unauthorised shisha café at 97 Frampton Street has ceased trading.

Edbrooke Road Gardens

We have asked the Parks Department to look in to this issue:

“Every summer, crowds of young men gather and chat through the night, smoking God knows what. They litter the place. It’s really frustrating because they sit at the bench, right next to the bin but they think somehow it’s cool to just throw their takeaways on the ground right next to the bin. 

What is most frustrating is that the park keeper locks the gates with these young men still inside. He makes no effort to ask them to move out. He doesn’t engage with them at all. Yet, on the odd occasion I or another mother is there at closing time, he does not hesitate to tell us the park is closing and we should move out. The park keeper does a good job tidying the park in the morning but is hopeless at emptying the park at night.

It’s an intimidating atmosphere for a communal park, to have young men, with bikes and mopeds racing up and down the adjacent roads hanging around after hours. It shouldn’t be allowed to be used as some gang meeting place after hours and I suspect, drug use.”

CCTV cameras switch-off

We are very concerned about Westminster Council’s decision to switch off all of its crime and disorder cameras across the city. We have particular concerns for areas outside the centre of Westminster where public spaces are less likely to be covered by TfL or private CCTV cameras. We are calling on the Council to provide reassurance that areas that have had a high number of incidents recorded on the current camera network, such as Harrow Road and Church Street wards, won’t be left without support. We are also calling on the Council to use the money saved to deliver public realm security works, such as improved lighting, and supporting the work of the integrated gangs unit and other security measures.

Safety improvements to the Shirland Road/Elgin Avenue junction

We are pleased that, following the petition from residents, the Council has agreed to the following safety improvements:

“The traffic signals will be upgraded to include a dedicated all-red to vehicle pedestrian stage (including pedestrian countdown facilities).  This means that whenever a pedestrian push button is activated, all the traffic signals for vehicles will subsequently turn to red and a green man will be shown on all crossings, allowing pedestrians to cross each road without any vehicles passing through the junction at the same time. The physical pedestrian crossing facilities will be improved at the junction by repaving the footways and widening the crossing points.  Advanced cycle stop lines will also be provided on both Elgin Avenue approaches to supplement those already existing on the two Shirland Road approaches. The road will also be resurfaced at the junction.”

Traffic/pedestrian lights Chippenham/Shirland Road Junction

We have asked the Council to fix the traffic/pedestrian lights Chippenham/Shirland Road Junction.

City of Westminster College, Elgin Avenue

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

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

The College says: 

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

Blomfield Road/Edgware Road junction

We have again contacted TfL about this junction which continues to cause problems:

“When coming up from Blomfield Road and trying to turn right on Edgware Road the junction is often blocked by buses and general traffic. I live on Aberdeen Place and trying to go straight through Blomfield to Aberdeen; but often that turn is blocked. This creates huge problems with blocked traffic trying to go right on Maida Vale. A simple solution of box junction would solve this problem once and for all. “

Little Venice canal path              

We are chasing the Canal & River Trust about the closed canal path due to works on a bridge between Little Venice and Regent’s Park. Residents say. “It has been closed, I would say, for a good year now with no explanation whatsoever. I have yet to see anyone working on the bridge either.”

Shirland Road

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

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

The Council says:

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

Maida Vale and Carlton Hill/Carlton Vale junction

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

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

Rita Begum’s Maida Vale Case Work update

  • We have been helping residents in Invergarry House, Carlton Vale with issues such as condensation in one of the bedrooms, leaking toilet in the bathroom and the wall outside front door is cracking.
  • We have requested double glazing to be done on all windows in a flat in Renfrew House, Carlton Vale.
  • We are helping residents Glasgow House, Lanark Road, living in overcrowded conditions and have written a supporting letter for them to be rehoused in a larger property.
  • We are helping residents in Edinburgh House, Lanark Road who are concerned about the standard of cleaning in the common parts.

St John’s Wood Station Update

TfL tells us:

“An escalator which required replacement parts and another that was closed for refurbishment are now both fully working. Following your comments, we reviewed the escalator lighting and needed to replace three lamps”

St John’s Wood Post Office 

We have written to the Post Office to oppose the proposed closure of the St John’s Wood Post Office. We said:

“The Post Office is an essential local service used and valued by many residents; especially older people with reduced mobility who rely on the variety of services it provides. St. John’s Wood High Street is a great example of small independent business working to serve local residents and the loss of the Post Office would be keenly felt. As the possibility of the Post Office closing is a matter of great concern locally we would appreciate it if I could be kept update with any developments regarding its future.”

The Post Office say:

“We have identified St John’s Wood Crown Post Office as a branch where we are seeking a franchisee to take on the running of the Post Office.  At this stage we have not finalised proposals for this branch and we will launch a public consultation when we can announce our intended franchise partner and location for the branch.  We will also host a customer forum so that members of the public can speak to Post Office Ltd about our plans.”

Abbey Road 

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“Once again Abbey Road was flooded in the recent rains. The drain on the south eastern corner of Abbey Road/Carlton Hill remains blocked. This has been the case for 5 years. The water runs north on Abbey Road and west on Carlton Hill flooding to the crown of the road. You cannot access the post box or stand at the bus stop without being drenched by passing vehicles.”

Violet Hill Garden

We have asked the Parks Department to investigate this issue:

“I have a serious problem with dog owners using Violet Hill gardens as a dog lavatory.  I regularly see young children playing on the small lawn, too young for the playground, being totally ignored by dog owners who allow their animals to foul the grass near to where they are playing.  I have challenged a few of these selfish dog owners and been shocked by their response.  The problem is that, no matter how scrupulously they clean up after their dogs, if the animals defecate on the lawn one cannot clean the grass properly.  The smell and traces of poo remain.  Parents do not allow children to defecate in public!  Why should we accept gross behaviour from dog owners? Not all of us are lucky enough to live in houses with gardens.  We need our parks for the children.  But we cannot allow toddlers to play amongst filth which can so easily be prevented. “

Barrow Hill area

We asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“I would just like to mention whilst writing if anyone else has found it rather disagreeable seeing so many small black bags littered around Charlbert Street, Eamont Street, Mackennal Street, and other streets in NW8 left by dog owners.  May be a few dog bins would help.”

The Council says: 

“Dog owners can use any of our street litter bins to dispose of bagged waste – the majority of our litter bins have stickers highlighting that bagged dog waste can be put in the bins. Several additional bins were placed in streets around this particular estate last year to assist owners.”

Cameron House update

The Estate Office has given us the following update:

“We currently working with our ASB team and have taken steps to address the issue of youths congregating in the area that has been highlighted to us near Cameron House. Quotes have been requested from our contractor to install gates in the vicinity of Cameron House’ sheds which were highlighted as an area of concern, and will be applying for funding to install them once this has been received.

Elm Tree Road

We have asked the Council to fix this problem:

“Elm Tree Road is a narrow road which has a 90 degree dogs leg bend. We are on the bend. Very dangerous bend for traffic. A mirror had been fixed to a tree, presumably by the council – to help motorists see incoming traffic. This mirror has been removed.”

Aberdeen Place

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“I live on Aberdeen Place. We have two problems on the street; the pub traffic where people come and park outside the pub. The zone restriction ends at 6.30 Mon -Fri and basically as a resident I don’t remember the last time I was able to park on the street. Second problem is that on any given day 70-75% of cars parked on Aberdeen Place are Zone C; so people drive from zone C and leave their cars on Aberdeen Place as it is closer to Paddington etc. Everyone iving on Aberdeen Place gets resident permit Zone B, yet the vast majority of cars parked on Aberdeen Place are Zone C. A simple solution would be to re-zone Aberdeen Place into Zone B and not B/C. We have cricket coming up and this would make parking impossible on weekends.”

The Council says:

“I have investigated this and it appears that this allowance of allowing C and B permit holders to park in certain counter respective zones seems to be as a consequence of a decision that was taken back as far as 1990. Although, the full reasons for this decision seems to have been lost in time, it is felt that it was something to do with boundary changes that happened then. I have therefore forwarded this request onto the relevant parties, so that it can form part of our Parking Service Review to see if there is still a need for this concession. The point raised regarding extending controlled parking hours already forms part of this review process anyway and will be looked at in line with this policy review.”

Prince Albert Road

We have asked the police to be vigilant about this issue and to take action whenever possible:

“I continually observe cyclists on the pavement along Prince Albert Road. Today one came around from Townshend Road on to Allitsen Road on the pavement and told my wife and I to get out of the way   This cannot be right. We are pensioners.”

The Star, St John’s Wood Terrace

Karen Buck MP has received the following update from the Council:

“I am aware that the Property has recently re-opened with the same estate agents occupying the ground floor.  An enforcement notice in respect of the use of the site has not been served because the unauthorised use ceased and it became a vacant public house, which is not a breach of planning control.  A planning enforcement inspection has recently been carried out, which confirmed that it is no longer a vacant public house and is being used in breach of planning control – although this is disputed by the owner.

A Public Inquiry is due to be held at the City Council’s offices on 7 June in respect of the appeal the owner has lodged against the City Council’s refusal of their Certificate of Lawfulness application from last year.  The Planning Inspector’s decision on this appeal will clarify whether an estate agent use of the Property is lawful or not.  It is therefore likely that the formal service of an enforcement notice will be held in abeyance pending the formal determination of that appeal, which should be shortly after the Public Inquiry. 

Circus Road

We have asked TfL to let us know the situation about the missing bus shelter:

“Please can you find out why the bus shelter on the south side of Circus Road closest to the Wellington Hospital was removed? Now there is a very nice bench (strangely and inconveniently placed in the centre of the pavement) instead, and no shelter. It seems to me that the shelter would have been better left as is!”

Building works in St John’s Wood

We have asked the Council to investigate a number of building sites in Cliftom Hill and Springfield Road to ensure that the sites are safe.

Hathaway House

We have spoken out about controversial plans for a 16-storey tower on the Hathaway House site on Woodfield Road. Building on long standing concerns that we have raised with the developers and the Council, we have been working with local residents to identify the key concerns about the proposed scheme and calling on the Council to reject the application unless it is dramatically revised.

Westbourne Green

We asked the Council about this issue: “All the dog-waste bins have been removed from Westbourne Green; any idea what is happening?”

The Council says:

“We are currently in the process of removing all of the dog waste bins from our parks and replacing them with standard litter bins that can take all types of litter. These bins include signs confirming dog waste can be put in them (like many of our street litter bins). The reason for the change is that when it is separately collected, dog waste is classified as offensive/hygiene waste and has to be treated in a similar manner to household chemicals/asbestos.  When it is mixed with other litter it can be collected as regular waste on our normal vehicles.  Disposing of regular mixed waste is about 10% of the cost of disposing of offensive/hygiene waste. A small number of former dog bin sites won’t have a new bin installed as our park keepers have highlighted a number of locations which were hardly being used.  “

Paddington Station car ‘drop-off’ points

We asked the Council to help with this enquiry:

“I believe there is no “approved” dropping off/picking up area, which is shameful, considering the billions that Crossrail is costing and the disruption locals have had to endure. For those of us too close to take a taxi but with luggage this is very inconvenient.”

Network Rail say:

“I regret to advise that due to the limited space available there are no means of pre-booking space at the drop off area on the taxi deck. Alternatively, the station car park that leads off Bishop Bridge Rd can be used to drop off/pick up customers/family etc. If “Assisted Travel” is required to and from either the taxi deck or car park this can be pre booked by calling 0800 1971329 or in person at our NR Station Reception on platform 1. There is also a “Help Point” intercom at the taxi set down beneath the train departure displays where customers arriving without pre-booking require assistance to their train can request “Assisted Travel”. When the Crossrail station opens and former “Departures Road” is handed back to the Station in 2018/19 the 20 minute/drop off bays will be restored to the Bishop Bridge End of this roadway.”

Moorhouse Road

We asked the Council to comment on this issue:

I now find my flat surrounded by trees covered in ugly and environmentally damaging plastic owls, birds of prey and spikes which aim to deter wildlife from living there. The last straw for me was one that now rests outside my balcony directly into my living space. Birds and squirrels nest in this tree, which cannot do anymore. I note that this practice would appear to be in contradiction with Westminster council’s own environmental policy relating to creating an attractive environment for residents as well as providing a habitat for local wildlife. Is there anything that can be done to remove this scourge and unsavoury setting from our landscape?”

The Council’s Tree Officer says:

“Tree protection legislation requires consent from the Council for tree pruning and tree surgery, but installing pigeon spikes/ pigeon deterrents in trees doesn’t need to Council’s formal consent. I appreciate the resident’s viewpoint regarding the impact of these installations on wildlife, but these types of deterrent are usually only used when pigeon roosting or nesting causes a problem for the tree owners.  Sometimes tree owners can be so affected by the problems that they seriously consider the removal of the trees, so deterrents such as the decoy owls can prove a useful way of curbing the pigeon activity whilst allowing for tree retention.”

Whiteleys

We have written to the new Mayor, Sadiq Khan, about the threat to homes around the Whiteleys site because of the proposed mega-basement. In our letter we said:

“Whiteleys is located in a flood risk ‘hot spot’ and residents are concerned that the advice from the Planning Inspectorate in respect of a very recent planning appeal in an adjacent street to Whiteleys is that the site is within a flood risk ‘hotspot’ and that there may be a “cumulative effect on the movement of ground water with the basements acting a dam”. In the case of Whiteleys, the proposed basement will act as a dam measuring “170m in length by 90m wide”. Residents are deeply concerned about the movement of ground water as the result of the proposed ‘mega-basement’ and that it will put their homes at risk.”

Westbourne Gardens/Porchester Road junction

We have asked the Council to do repairs to the road at the corner of Westbourne Gardens and Porchester Road where there is at large ‘lake’ of water. The Council says:

“Gully there was blocked. A job has been raised with a 28 day priority.”

Chepstow Road update

The Council have given us the following update:

“Works have been completed in Chepstow Road between outside 104-108 between Talbot Rd and Westbourne Park Road. There are further Thames Water works to be done in Chepstow Road between Talbot Rd and Westbourne Park Rd by the bus stop. The Thames Water trench outside 52 was also completed and the ponding issue outside 41 is planned in for the 31st May.”

Leinster Square

Residents tell us:

“For some time now Trenchco vans (and others) have been parking in Residents Only bays at the eastern end of the north side of Leinster Square without a parking suspension being in place. As it is a daily occurrence, they are effectively blocking the use of these spaces for residents. I imagine that the situation will get worse once the full refurbishment works commence. I would be grateful if someone could investigate the status of these vans.  I also note that Deliveroo drivers have taken to using the same spaces from time to time.”

The Council say:

“One of our officers visited the site and found four vans parked in residents’ bays which had no permissions issued to them to be there.  We then contacted Trenchco’s site manager and all vans have now been moved.  We have also made it clear what their options are in terms of obtaining traders permits, however until such time as they do they will have to park in pay by phone bays. We will continue to monitor the situation here to ensure that they do not return.”

Phoenix Hotel, 1-8 Kensington Gardens Square W2

We have asked the Parking Department to investigate this issue:

“The large truck marked County Linens regularly parks on the double yellow line which dangerously obstructs the views of motorists entering Kensington Gardens Square from Salem Road as well as Porchester Gardens. One day there will be a serious accident caused by this wilful and persistent breach of traffic regulations.”

Do you want to help unaccompanied child refugees from Europe?

We received this message from a local resident:

“I’m a Queen’s Park resident and I run a refugee aid and advocacy group called Calais Action. I’m setting up a working group in the North Westminster area to help bring over lone refugee children from the camps of Northern France, Italy and Greece under the recently-passed “Lord Dubs Amendment” (s67 of the Immigration Act 2016). Lord Dubs himself arrived here on the Kindertransport of 1939 when Britain voted to bring in Jewish refugee children from Germany, and was formerly a Westminster councilor.

I’ve met many unaccompanied children in the camps who have travelled from their own countries without an adult, and am deeply concerned for their welfare. This saddening report details their fate if they are not given a safe and legal route to asylum. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/apr/29/they-are-falling-apart-the-fate-of-lone-children-in-calais-refugee-camp

We need to identify potential foster parents, local sponsorship, publicise the need for foster parents and demonstrate popular support (petitions, etc) If you’re interested in becoming involved at ANY level whatsoever, please email me at tess@calaisaction.com. You can also follow Calais Action’s work on Twitter and Facebook. Thank you!”

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.

Fermoy Road – what you say

Do you know why the rubbish bin that was installed next to the firegate at Fermoy Road was removed? It was being used and there was a visible decrease in the rubbish in the street; although I do acknowledge that people were also putting what appeared to be household waste in it as well. On balance, it was more beneficial to have the bin there, than not.”

St John’s Wood cycle superhighway – what you say

“I believe the proposals are an excellent step to making London a more livable city for Londoners. It will make the Swiss Cottage roundabout – a total nightmare for pedestrians right now – more pleasant. It will make Regent’s Park more friendly for park visitors and residents – and will hopefully do away with the current rat-running private motor traffic.”

What you say

“The area round Burne House seemed a bit better last week; hopefully this will continue”

“Many thanks for your monthly update, I always read it with interest.”

“Thank you so much for all your good work”

“Thank you for your and other Councillors’ receptive ears, hard work and constant efforts to take up, listen to and find solutions for residents’ issues of concerns, suggestions and overall well being in our north Westminster neighbourhoods. I appreciate these lengthy and insightful updates on the great work you and your team are doing.”

“Thanks for all your sterling work for us”

“Good comprehensive newsletter. Thanks. Pleased to see problems re SJW station escalator being addressed!”

“Thank you for your regular newsletter – it is most interesting and informative.”

“Thanks for all the updates over the years”

“Many thanks for the information”

“Thanks for this excellent newsletter! Please keep them coming!”

“Good note. This is precisely what local councillors ought to do!” 

“Thank you for all that your group have been doing over the years, and for putting me on your e-mail list.” 

“Just a quickie to say how interesting and useful I find your reports and it is much appreciated that you go to the trouble of keeping residents up to date on such matters. “

“Thank you for your very good Action Reports”

“Thanks for emails. I find the information most informative.”

“Excellent update – good to receive”

“Thanks, as ever, for the helpful newsletter.” 

“Many thanks for your May report – very informative as usual.”

“Thanks so much for the update. You are so good in responding” 

“Thank you for all you do to keep us informed and listened to!”

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

 

 

WESTMINSTER NORTH ACTION REPORT – MAY 2016

NEWS FROM WESTMINSTER’S LABOUR COUNCILLORS

Walterton/Chippenham/Shirland Road junction

We have asked the Council for an update on these issues raised by residents:

  • Corner of Walterton Road/Shirland Road café burns embers on the side of the street area for the café. This is an extreme fire hazard going into summer and a child or animal could easily be burnt as open the road. This has been an ongoing issue.
  • AMPM shop on Chippenham Road. This is the owner also of the café as per above.  There continues to be material waste around the shop that it produces, cigarettes thrown out of the café constantly, and waste around the shop.  

We have also asked the Council to fill a large pothole in the road at this junction.

Shirland Road

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

“Speeding down Shirland Road. This is an ongoing problem and seems to be getting worse.  Motor Bikes in particular speeding down Shirland Road in particular from Chippenham Road going west. What is being done about this? Speed cameras would be an easy fit and make material revenue for the council? someone will get hurt soon.”

Saltram Crescent traffic calming

We are making enquiries in to the latest situation on the proposed traffic calming initiative in the Saltram Crescent area. The Council say:

“The scheme has been approved for implementation under an Experimental TRO. The processes to progress the ETRO have been commenced and will be advertised shortly. The implementation schedule for the introduction of the scheme is being prepared. However firm dates for the delivery of the scheme on-street cannot be set until the timeframe for provision of the power supplies required to illuminate the signage is known. The power supplies are provided by UKPN so at the moment the key focus is arranging for UKPN to install the power supplies. Once the date for the provision of the power supplies is known then a date for advertising the ETRO and undertaking the necessary works on-street will be set.”

Since then there has been another accident: 

“A quick note to say that this morning a car sped up Saltram Crescent at around 9:30am followed by an almighty bang and it was a car collided with a van. I called the police to report the incident so that it least it was on the record 101 call. Ambulances appeared to have been called. It’s sad that Westminster is able to make more progress demolishing our swimming pool and lining their pockets than investing money in infrastructure to make our community safer”

We have called on the Council to implement the long-promised traffic calming as a matter of urgency.

Maida Vale/Elgin Avenue junction

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

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

Maida Vale bus stop 

We have asked TfL for an update on this issue: 

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

Warwick Avenue Underground Station

We have written to TfL about this issue:

“I am writing to express my concerns about ongoing noise problems due to late night maintenance work at Warwick Avenue tube station.  Over the past six months, the noise problems have significantly worsened, to the point where it is seriously affecting my sleep, and my working life. I have complained several times to TFL via their hotline, but received no follow-up response. Subsequently I received a notification that major track maintenance will be taking place from April – October 2017, between 11pm-5am, Sun-Mon. Obviously, I am extremely worried about this and the impact it will have on my well-being and that of my neighbor.”

Maida Avenue

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“The management of the Gogi restaurant’s rubbish on the corner of Maida Avenue and Edgware Road.  Their lease forbids the placing of rubbish in the private road Callard Close and the landlord’s managing agents have at last made them stop leaving their rubbish there where it was an appalling mess as they had insufficient bins, constantly attracting fly-tipping.  But Gogi are now leaving their four bins either on the Maida Avenue pavement or in the nearby gutter.  Anything you can do to resolve that issue would be most helpful.” 

The Council say:

“The commercial waste account manager for the area visited Gogi Restaurant. The business has agreed that will no longer store their commercial waste bins at the back of the property but on the frontage instead.”

Residents say:

“This is excellent news. As of today I am delighted to say the Gogi bins are no more and the Gogi rubbish is now in pink bags in Edgware Road for regular daily collection. A triumph. We are most grateful for your transforming intervention.”

Tesco Express, Sutherland Avenue

We are supporting this initiative started by a parent of 2 children who attend St Josephs School Lanark Road. He has written to the Manager of the Tesco Express as follows:

“I am concerned by the proximity of the Esso petrol station to the school, and the impact of the petrol fumes and exhaust fumes from the many cars that visit your station / shop during school hours. I realise that it is unlikely we are going to be able to move the location of the petrol station, however, would appreciate it if you could maybe install signs asking people waiting for petrol to kindly switch off their engines to limit the exhaust fumes reaching the school. Perhaps we could make it into a competition at the school, get a shortlist of posters from the children, and you be involved in selecting the winning poster?”

Randolph Avenue/Sutherland Avenue

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“There are temporary traffic lights that have been installed on the junction of Randolph Avenue and Sutherland Road to deal with road works. This is causing significant traffic build up around St Josephs school (along both Randolph and Sutherland, and no doubt exposing the children to higher levels of pollutants than normal. I have not seen any work being undertaken at this site for 2 weeks, and would hope the council can expedite this work as soon as possible and remove the added congestion.” 

The Council say:

“This is a Thames Water emergency job. They have had a burst that is very difficult to repair as the leak is coming from a pipe that is under a maze of other services. Every time they thought they had located it they found it was actually deeper and harder to get at. On top of this they had problems locating the valve to turn off the water. Finally, they were ready to complete the works over this weekend just gone but were asked to stop by those filming the new Mummy film with Tom Cruise. We are not sure why they were asked as the filming was internal and we have told TW that they should not have complied without talking to us. This matter is being looked into with Events and Filming colleagues. However, works should be starting again today with a view to complete ASAP.”

St John’s Wood Station

We asked TfL to look into this issue:

“St John’s Wood Station was without down escalator service for almost three months while it was serviced. A fortnight ago it re-entered service only to collapse after 10 days. There has been no service since Friday and no technicians are working on it. This is unacceptable. At the same time I would point out that 70% of the light bulbs in the listed uplighters on the escalator are burned out.”

We also asked TfL to investigate this matter:

“TfL recently refurbished the St John’s Wood Station bus stop towards Baker St/Oxford Street but have removed the indicator board!!There are 5 different routes from this stop & timings are needed especially on routes 46 and 187 which have 15 minute intervals and much longer at weekends and also 82 bus to Victoria. Why has it not been replaced?”

TfL have given us the complete list of Countdown signs temporarily out of use, including the one at St John’s Wood Station https://tfl.gov.uk/corporate/publications-and-reports/buses. They say that they are waiting for the power to be connected.

Circus Road

We have asked the Council to repair the pavement in Circus Road after receiving this message:

“A resident of Grove End Road is confined to a wheel-chair and has to make regular visits to the medical facilities in Circus Road.  She tells me that the condition of the pavement on her route, especially in the vicinity of the medical practices in Circus Road, is in a very bad condition and causes problems for the person pushing her.”

Cunningham Place/St John’s Wood Road

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“I took my paper for recycling to the containers at the corner of Cunningham Place and Aberdeen Place and found that both waste paper containers were full to overflowing with paper strewed around on the nearby pavement. This is a very unsatisfactory situation as, I assume, the containers are not emptied at weekends and many people, especially those in employment, bring their recyclable waste there at the weekend.  I have experienced overflowing containers on previous occasions and feel that the containers should be emptied more frequently as many residents are being discouraged from recycling.”

The Council says:

“The recycling bin collection frequency at Aberdeen Place is currently scheduled for Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday each week. The basic plan is that we appreciate many more residents use the bins at weekends so they are cleared on Friday (ready for heavy usage on Saturday) and then again on Sunday morning.  Unfortunately, it isn’t cost effective to send vehicles every day unless usage is consistently above 50% of the ‘bin capacity’ available. Some bin locations can be overwhelmed on occasion by one or more residents having a major clear-out (e.g. large volumes of cardboard packaging) but we are tracking patterns of usage to determine efficient collection schedules. I have asked for a review of weekend usage at Aberdeen Place to take place over the next four weeks and this data will be used to determine whether collections need to be increased or changed around.”

St John’s Wood Terrace

We are continuing to chase this issue:

“We are still experiencing problematic minicabs parking in our resident bays in St John’s Wood Terrace and at the junction of Townshend Road. We therefore end up having to park a further distance from our homes which is proving annoying. especially with shopping and young children.”

Wellington Road

We have reported this issue to the Council:

“There is a very noisy drain cover outside the National Express bus stop going north on Wellington Road, outside Lords Cricket Ground. It is very near the Wellington Hospital and must worry them also. The noise when vehicles go over it is very disturbing. Could this also be repaired asap?”

Loudoun Road

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

“Please could there be a review of traffic slowing measures and/or speed limit review on Loudoun Road. Due to an increase in commuter traffic off late it has become increasingly difficult to cross the road safely between 8am-9am especially.  Cars appear to be undeterred by the rather low speed bumps and pay no notice to residents attempting to cross the road with very small kids and babies. I was in fact scraped by someone’s wing mirror last week as I was attaching one of my two kids in the car seat.  This morning I waved at a car to slow down only to be almost run over and beeped at furiously.  It will not take long before a serious accident at this rate….”

Hathaway House, Woodfield Road

Residents have been concerned about the plans for Hathaway House on Woodfield Road, where Healy Development Solutions are trying to get permission for a 15 storey tower, with the rest of the development being four storeys. We have already registered our objection to the plans. We don’t object to the site being developed, but what is proposed is badly designed. The 15 storey tower relates very badly to the area, and the rest of the building is very bulky and takes all the light from Athlone House care home. We also want to see some new social rent flats in the development to help with the housing crisis. We’re encouraging the developer to rethink, and working with residents and the groups in the area.

St Mary Magdalene’s Project

It is an important time for the Living Heritage Project at St Mary Magdalene’s Church on Rowington Green. The project involves a new heritage wing to allow access to the undercroft, as well as conservation work on the existing Grade I listed building. The heritage wing will include an education room and a community café.

The project has planning permission but now needs to raise a seven figure sum to do the work. We are supporting the bid for Heritage Lottery Funding, and have also begun talking to Westminster Council about support from funds from past contributions paid by developers. For details of the project and how you can help, go to: http://marymags.org.uk

2-6 Lord Hills Road

There is a redevelopment proposal in the middle of the Warwick Estate at 2-6 Lord Hills Road, the former doctor’s surgery on the end of Atherstone Court facing Edward Wilson School across Westbourne Green. The owner is proposing to build a block of ten flats to replace the existing building. We have encouraged full community consultation.

Church Street by-election result

Labour’s Aicha Less was elected as the new Councillor for Church Street ward following a by-election victory on 5th May. Aicha won 2,174 votes to the Conservative candidate’s 512 votes on a 44.95% turnout, meaning she won 70.3% of valid votes cast. Councillor Less has lived in the area since 1983 and is the first British-Moroccan to hold local office in Westminster. Following her election Aicha Less said:

“I’m delighted to have been elected as your member for the Church Street ward and, very grateful for residents having faith in me and coming out to vote on 5th May. I feel very overwhelmed with the support and response on the doorstep. It’s a great privilege to represent an area that is very close to my heart. I’d like to thank everyone who came out to support my campaign and made it a success. As your Councillor, I will do my best to make this area an exciting place to live and work. Many thanks again and look forward to working on your behalf.”

West End Green

We are very disappointed that the Council ignored many of its planning policies and gave permission for the West End Green proposals and that this was followed by the Mayor’s decision not to review the situation and ‘call in’ Westminster Council’s decision. We continued our objection to the West End Green plans for the following reasons:

  • The height of the 30 storey tower is much too high and is not in line with the local area
  • Further plans for the 16, 10 and 9 storey blocks have been increased by at least one storey, which will block all light from Gilbert Sheldon House, Hall Tower and surrounding buildings
  • The scale of the proposal is not in line with the surroundings and character of the area
  • The already stretched GP surgeries, schools and nurseries will come under more pressure
  • Parking and traffic is already an issue in the local area which will be exacerbated
  • Church Street, bordering the site, is already always extremely congested, and the influx of residential and commercial vehicles will be intolerable – the entrance to the site is on this street
  • 300 flats were proposed in the previous application and that number alone seemed high – the new proposal, along with commercial units, appears to be totally excessive.

Lilestone Estate

We are calling on CityWest Homes to provide answers as to why costs for replacing the heating and hot water system at Eastlake and Tadema Houses on the Lilestone Estate in Church Street has quadrupled in price since it was initially improved. When the scheme was approved in February 2013 it was estimated as costing £420,000 but by the time the scheme was actually underway the bill for the scheme comes in at £2.16 million. This means residents are now facing an average bill of £20,334, with one flat facing a massive bill of £40,180. Lessees feel CWH did not consult them as the costs spiralled, leaving many with bills they will find difficult to pay. Labour’s candidate for the Church Street by-election Aicha Less said: ‘City West Homes must urgently investigate what has happened here and find a way to bring down these bills closer to what lessees had been told to expect.’

Bendall Mews

We asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“Bendall Mews is in desperate need of repair. The street is missing all the Tarmac, too many potholes and just worn out really”

 The Council told us:

“I have spoken to the local Inspector and he has advised me that he raised a job for 29 Square metres of Hot Rolled Asphalt surfacing following its scheduled 6-monthly inspection on that day. This should be completed within a month.”

Cherwell House

We have asked CWH to investigate illegal subletting and anti-social behavior in Cherwell House.

Penfold Street/Broadly Street/Church street junctions

We have asked the Road Safety Team to investigate this recurring issue at both these junctions”

“There have been several accidents in recent years including one about 12 months ago, when a young lad riding a Domino delivery motorcycle was hospitalised, and given the ferocity of the corrosion, seemed to be very fortunate not to suffer very serious injury, or worse. Because of the nature of the junction, vehicles travelling both north and south along Penfold Street sometimes seem to have difficulty checking along Broadly Street in the direction of Lisson Grove; or are careless about doing so. The fact that cars are parked along both sides of Broadly Street (please note, I make no criticism of that) means that faster moving oncoming traffic is not always observed in time. I mentioned this to the senior Police Officers who attended the accident referred to above.  His reply was to the effect that the statistics do not justify any fresh signing or other precautions at that junction. I really fear a fatality is only a matter of time.”

“Is there, any news regarding, fading white lines and possible Halt or Stop signs? A number on yellow lines have been freshly painted, at said junction.  But does not, slow down or stop, speeding traffic.

The morning and afternoon school run, have the effect of traffic congestion, noise from drivers blowing their horns, whilst stationary and shouting at each other. Maybe, a one-way system is required, say from Bell Street to Orchardson Street?”

Boscobell Street

We have asked the Council to investigate this problem:

I wonder if there is any progress from the council on the traffic scheme for Boscobel Street. The road rage and hooting continues every day but is worst on a Saturday. Quite literally the hooting can go on for 15 minutes at a time as the road is too narrow for 2-way traffic and cars jockey for position with some often being forced to reverse a good 100 yards back to a space where others can pass. It really is intolerable and something needs to be done.”

Burne House, Bell Street

We have asked the Council for an update on the situation here:

“I walked through there earlyish one morning last week; the smell and detritus was as bad as ever. Noticeably, there were a lot more discarded alcohol containers than previously.” 

Church Street Market/Edgware Road begging

We have asked the Council to let us know what action is being taken with the police on this issue:

“There is an increasing and unpoliced problem of begging in the Church Street and Edgware Road areas. I observed a well built man in his 40s harassing a tiny lady who looked around 80, whilst she pulled her shopping trolley along Church Street. He was rattling his paper cup his under her nose, while she was twisting and turning in an attempt to avoid him. This is but one example over many months, and I have to see any form of enforcement action taken by Police or market wardens.”

Whiteleys

Following the decision of Westminster’s Planning Committees to approve the plans for Whiteleys, we called on the Mayor’s office to use its powers to ‘call in’ the Council’s decision. Karen Buck MP made similar representations to the Mayor’s office given her deep concerns about the Whiteleys project.

For a copy of the Labour Group letter see https://labourwestminster.wordpress.com/2016/04/10/westminster-labour-urges-the-mayor-to-call-in-the-whiteleys-plans/

Garway Road

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“For some time now motorcyclists working for Deliveroo have been using the motorbike parking spaces at the junction of Garway Road with Westbourne Grove as their ‘depot’.  It is not at all clear that they have parking permits to use the spaces, and their presence has become something of a worry for local residents and shopkeepers, some of whom have felt threatened by their attitude.  Please could their status be investigated?”

The Council say:

“This is a growing problem across the City and there is a fair amount of work going on to try and find ways of addressing it. I have also placed this area on our Service Enhancement programme and asked our marshals to regularly patrol this area during controlled hours so we can see exactly what is happening here and if any parking contraventions are found we will take action.”

We have also asked the Council to sort out this issue:

“We have been fighting a bit with BT over getting our fibre Internet connection installed to our office. Apparently there are some blockages across the road and the Council is dragging their feet on releasing the permits since it requires some roadworks. Essentially the issue is that OpenReach need to get a Section 58 Waiver signed off to dig on Westbourne Grove and I think they are having a bit of a hard time getting the approval through Westminster Council.”

The Council say:

“BT has not submitted a permit application for this work.  The council has therefore not been “dragging its feet” as there were no permit applications to consider. BT’s contractor did submit details to the road management team regarding the S58 exemption in place on Garway Road.  The purpose of a S58 exemption is to protect a newly resurfaced highway from excavation (for 3 years), however can be waived at the council’s discretion.  We received the request for this location in late March and agreed it last week with suitable conditions on the reinstatement once works are completed. Unfortunately, BT has a history of blaming local authorities for all delays regardless of what caused the delay.  BT senior management has agreed nationally to clamp down on this, however it would appear that this has not yet reached all parts of their organisation.”

Craven Road – Broadband

We have written to BT Openreach about this problem:

“I live in Craven Road, west side of Gloucester terrace. For years I have been checking to see when BT will offer fibre broadband. It seems that a couple of blocks away, towards Paddington Station, there is fibre coverage but in our area, there is none. BT Openreach have been changing their site, sometimes showing that they were “Accepting Orders” (not true), other times that the area is “Under Review”. There does not seem to be a way to find out what their plans are, or even put some pressure on them.”

Queensway – Sainsbury’s

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

“We were woken up again at 6h17 this morning (a Sunday!!) by Sainsbury’s. The last Sainsbury’s (169 Queensway W2 4SB) opened 2 years ago and we complained at the time with the Council that the hours at which it was requesting to be open were not ok and that we had enough Sainsbury’s around. The Council went ahead and agreed to let them open a 3rd store within 100m of each other. As residents we are now regularly complaining to them about the time at which they do their deliveries. They deliver every day of the week. Their truck parks anytime between 6am and 7am with a lot of noise, beeping and the lot. As they do not open until 7am they park their idly engines on and from 7am onwards the noise of delivery is waking us all up. They have between to do their deliveries between 7 to 11 and for this amount of noise they should not be allowed to do anything before 8am. Can you please help us to talk some reason into them, they can easily organise the schedule for the deliveries and truck to not be here from 6am and to start past 8am.”

Queensway – Maplin’s – Update

The Council says:

“We have managed to discuss delivery times with the manager of Maplin Queensway and he has advised that Maplin does not accept deliveries before 08:00.  However, he acknowledged that there are occasions when the delivery vehicle arrives early and waits outside the shop.  He advised that the vehicle’s engine is switched off.  Apparently Maplin used to accept deliveries before 08:00, however following a large number of complaints, they have changed their policy to only take deliveries after 08:00.”

Residents tell us:

“Thank you very much, the shop indeed has stopped getting deliveries before 8am which has been a great improvement to our sleep! Kindest regards and thank you for the great work you do for the community.”

Lord’s Cricket Ground

Middlesex v Somerset, Sunday 22nd May – Gates open 10am

Open Age is organising an event at Lord’s.  It’s a chance for people aged 55 and over to talk about old memories and create some new memories while watching cricket.  It’s also an opportunity to meet like minded new people over a cup of tea at the Home of Cricket. To book a place please contact Claire Hoggan on 020 7266 2776 or choggan@openage.org.u

Air Pollution

Air pollution is now the top issue of concern among Westminster residents, according to a Council survey.  A fifth of people named ‘air pollution’ as a very or fairly big problem. The only other issue causing a similar level of concern is homelessness and people begging on the streets.

A thousand residents aged 16 or over were given a list of possible concerns and asked in face-to-face interviews: “Thinking about this local area, how much of a problem do you think are…?”  They were invited to rate them as a “very big problem”, “fairly big problem”, “not a very big problem”, “not a problem at all” or “don’t know”.

  • Twenty per cent named poor air quality as either a very big or fairly big problem in the survey, the same result for people homeless or begging on the streets, followed by rubbish and litter lying around on 19 per cent.
  • Three issues came next on 15 per cent; parents not taking responsibility for the behaviour of their children, noise from building sites and dog fouling on pavements. 
  • They were followed by noisy neighbours or loud parties, people being drunk or rowdy in public places, teenagers hanging around on the streets, and people not treating other people with respect and consideration, all on 14 per cent.
  • Noise from commercial entertainment properties such as pubs got a problem score of 12 per cent, people using or dealing in drugs got 11 per cent, and particular families in the neighbourhood causing crime and anti-social behaviour got eight per cent.
  • Lower down the list came issues related to licensed premises (seven per cent), violence among young people (six per cent), gangs and gang violence (also six per cent), dangerous/aggressive dogs (five per cent) and vandalism, graffiti and other deliberate damage to property or vehicles (four per cent).

Circus Road – what you say

“I don’t know how long ago the council finally put a double yellow line on one side of Circus Road between Grove End and Cavendish, but it was a stroke of genius.  It was a constant traffic problem previously and now solved.  I think priority should be given to traffic flow on bus routes, over endless parking on both sides of an already narrow street.  I would strongly encourage more use of double yellow lines in these circumstances as the positive impact on traffic flow is really very significant.”

Wells Rise – What you say

For the last few years the residents of Wells Rise have been subject to considerable inconvenience as a result of two developments at the top of the road on St Edmund’s Terrace. This has meant that there has been a constant stream of lorries going up and down Wells Rise very day other than Sunday. This has caused noise, dirt, disruption to parking and a danger to children and others. On a number of occasions there have been water leaks due to the weight and volume of the lorries and parts of the road have had to have been re-surfaced a number of times. We need a respite. Westminster Council should have care for the life of its citizens and I suggest there should be a moratorium on future developments in Wells Rise and its vicinity for the next few years.”

Gt Western Road – what you say 

“I notice that someone else has raised the issue of the blocked drain outside the Bus Garage in Gt Western Road. I also have been soaked by vehicles driving through at high speed this puddle, which has been there for some months now, I think since Cross Rail did some works there. I see today that it has reduced in size but would not be surprised to find it there again next time it rains.”

Hathaway House – what you say

“It is clear from residents’ comments so far on the WCC planning application webpages that there is widespread opposition and dislike for the 15 storey tower.  It brings nothing to our neighbourhood, apart from a general sense of anguish and, for myself, a rising hatred for all associated with it – the Manhattan-based developer, the architects, the planning officers and committees which will almost certainly wave it through and the millionaire residents who will be looking down on us from their penthouses.  Tall tower blocks are not suitable for low rise residential areas.”

What you say

“I am so pleased to see that the issues regarding motorcycle bay in Western Mews has come to this attention.”

“Thanks for the updates which are always welcome.”

“Thank you once again for your informative newsletter.”

“Thank you for your ever vital action report.”

“We do so appreciate your vigilance in keeping our area well managed and properly cared for.  We do not under estimate the work and dedication this requires.  Thank you.”

“This is really terrific work and much appreciated.”

“Your tireless efforts are much appreciated”

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.

Regards

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg

Labour Built Environment spokesperson

Westminster City Council

 

WESTMINSTER NORTH ACTION REPORT – APRIL 2016

NEWS FROM WESTMINSTER’S LABOUR COUNCILLORS

Maida Hill Market area

We have again asked the Council to address the continuing issues here:

“Unfortunately the situation with rubbish on Maida Hill market area has deteriorated yet again. Is it possible to put larger bins, organise multiple collection of rubbish from the market every day or at least to install CCTV to see who is dumping all this rubbish onto the streets? CCTV would also help with anti-social behavior. Before the weather got cold, I often saw many people totally drunk, behaving in an anti-social manner with loudspeakers on full volume. The behaviour was threatening to passers-by.”

The Council say:

“There have been problems with increasingly large piles of waste accumulating on Maida Hill, with market traders, local businesses and street sweepers all collecting rubbish into one pile, prior to the Veolia crew attending on their evening run at about 6.30pm. We have found out that, for some time now, the street sweeper for the Harrow Road, between the market and Ashmore Road has been putting all of the waste from that stretch of the road, on to one location at the market, which has contributed to the problem. We have therefore asked Veolia to ensure this working practice ceases. The street sweeper sacks will now be left in situ at recognised collection points in the Harrow Road for Veolia operatives to collect.

We will also be providing an additional waste bin at Maida Hill market for the use of traders only – this is for all cardboard and other recycleable waste only. The Market Inspector will continue to monitor this situation, to ensure compliance over coming weeks, and we anticipate that there will be a reduction in the volume of waste seen.

We have also been monitoring the issue with street drinkers for many months now, and will continue to do so, alongside local police teams, especially as the evenings lengthen and weather improves.  The street drinkers have been engaged with in the past, particularly back in the autumn. “ 

Elgin Avenue

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“Can you use your influence to get a traffic island installed in Elgin Avenue please? This wide road is dangerous to cross, especially for elderly and disabled people, some of whom use Elgin Surgery. Traffic bollards about halfway along Elgin Avenue would be very helpful. They would not obstruct the traffic as the road is already very broad. Several busy bus stops are located along it.”

The Chippenham

The Council deferred making a decision about The Chippenham pub being turned into a retail unit. The Planning Committee deferred a decision in view of concerns raised by local people and asked to see more information, such as invoices, as evidence the building is being used as a shop.

Shirland Road/Chippenham Road

We have asked the Council to deal with this issue:

“The corner of Shirland Road and Chippenham Road, where the crossing is located is practically drowning in water. This happens every time it rains. The crossing is unusable to those pushing baby buggies. “

Shirland Mews

We have asked the Council to investigate what can be done to resolve this issue:

“I have contacted you in the past regarding the inconsiderate parking in Shirland Mews. I can often not drive into my own road as people either park right across it, completely blocking the entrance or down the side, making it impossible to pass.  Worst of all, vans and cars often park on the pavement. I walk my 2 children to and from school everyday and we often have to walk in the road as the pavement is blocked. This is unacceptable, why should i put our safety at risk because somebody in a van can be bothered to either wait for a suitable parking space or use one a few metres down the road. Speeding is also a huge problem. It’s a cobbled road, highly dangerous when wet and populated mostly with families with children. A camera of some description would go along way to deterring this type of behavior. Also a more realistic speed limit of 10mph should be implemented. Those who live in the mews have no need to speed up and down it. Please look at this and try to improved the road safety in my area.”

The Council say:

“Our marshals regularly patrol this road, and in the last 6 weeks have done so some 35 times, dealing with 10 contraventions that they have found.  However, I will ask them to increase their presence over the next few weeks and pay particular attention to the points you have raised.

Unfortunately, our use of CCTV has been severely restricted with the implementation of a Deregulation Bill that came into force, and we can now only use it in a very small and specific area which unfortunately does not cover the issues you raise here, and so we are unable to deploy a CCTV camera.

It is not current City Council policy to implement reduced speed limits on its highway network. Nonetheless it is proposed that consideration will be made to the painting of the legend ‘SLOW’ at the non-cobbled access points at each end as a means to caution drivers to be considerate to the local neighbourhood they are driving through.”

Elgin Avenue/Shirland Road area – Road Safety issues – Update

The Council has given us the following update:

  • Elgin Avenue/Shirland Road junction improvement scheme – Works are programmed to commence on the introduction of an all-red to vehicles pedestrian crossing stage on 14th
  • Elgin Avenue/Shirland Avenue area – Owing to resource issues it has not yet proved possible to commence the pedestrian accessibility study in this area. The study is now scheduled to commence in April
  • Fernhead Road/Shirland Road area – In the last 3 years there were 3 accidents at this junction, one of which involved a vulnerable user. This safety record means that the junction has not been identified as a location for an accident remedial feasibility study under Westminster City Council’s Local Safety Scheme programme. There are therefore no current proposals for this junction. However the situation will be kept under review as part of the Saltram Crescent traffic calming scheme that was recently approved for implementation.”

Elgin Avenue road surface

We asked the Council if there are any plans to resurface the road along Elgin Avenue between Chippenham Road and Harrow Road. Residents say that the road is in a very poor state. The Council say”

“This section is not in the new Highway Programme for the coming year. I understand that while it was recommended for inclusion by my Inspectors it did not meet the cut against other priorities based on the Value Management score process. Another section of Elgin Avenue is included (Chippenham Road to Shirland Road).”

Bayswater Children’s Centre

We recently met with the youth service to discuss the future of Bayswater Children’s Centre following the Council’s announcement of major cuts to the service. The future of stay and play services remains very much at risk, but at present it seems the centre will stay open providing new support to 2 year olds. We have been working with CityWest Homes to see if this building might be able to be used for local residents’ meetings in the evenings.

Hanwell House Care Home

We were shocked when residents told us that a property in Hanwell House on the Brunel Estate was being used as a care home without permission from CityWest Homes, and have urged CWH and the Council to take action.

Future of the Brunel Family Centre

We have called on the Council to give clarity about the future of the Brunel Family Centre, which has been deemed unsafe for long-term use due to subsidence. Rather than being left empty long-term (housing some materials for electoral services in one section), Councillors are looking at alternative ways the area could be used by residents ahead of any long-term redevelopment.

Dorchester House and Aldridge Road Villas

Following longstanding complaints from local residents about prostitution and anti-social behaviour on this corner, City West Homes have committed to introducing improved lighting as part of the major works programme on Dorchester House. The Safer Neighbourhood Team has made a number of visits to the area in recent months following these concerns.

Carnival Sound System annual public meeting

After unfortunate delays Westminster Council has finally agreed to organise a local meeting for residents to discuss issues relating to the sound systems at Carnival 2015 and plans ahead of Carnival 2016, due in late April or early May. More information should be available shortly.

Tavistock Road street lighting and playground

We have been working with lessees in the Harford House TMO on Tavistock Road about the TMO (and them) being charged for some of the external lighting and the upkeep of the playground area that is fully open to the public. Discussions are underway to see if CWH or Westminster Council will take back control, cutting costs for residents and ensuring the area is actively maintained in future.

Tarmac Signs

Working with residents on the Brunel Estate in February, we helped persuade the planners to call for the rejection of plans for Tarmac to put up a number of unsightly blue name signs around their plant.

Westbourne Bus Garage

Cllr Adam Hug and the chair of the Grand Union Residents’ association recently met with Tower Transit to discuss ideas for future uses of their car park, once the new bus deck is complete. They also discussed doing more to tackle graffiti on the canal-side wall and the possibility of installing a Green wall. Tower Transit were urged to do more to tackle the noise and emissions from idling buses.

The Prince of Wales

We have been calling for action by the Westminster Planners and the Harrow Road town team to help expedite the planning situation at the Prince of Wales. Many residents are open to the site being used by a high-quality café or restaurant that helps provide a meeting place for the community and improves the area.

Western Mews

We have been working with local businesses and residents to secure the creation of a new motorcycle bay following changes in parking management that have caused real problems for a longstanding small business.

Hathaway House

Plans for the redevelopment of Hathaway House on Woodfield Road are now available for residents’ comments (16/02091/FULL). We have previously raised concerns about the proposed height of the (15 storey) tower to the developers and planners. While the currently proposed affordable housing (around 19% of the scheme) is better than many developers’ opening offers these days, it still falls far short of Westminster’s own policy target of 30% affordable homes. New office space may well be welcome to assist local businesses. Let us know your thoughts and do comment on the application.

Marylands Road planning

We are continuing to work with residents and shopkeepers to stem the repeated attempts to turn shops into residential flats and new developments that might impact on their neighbours.

Amberley Road drivers

Despite the best efforts of the head and teachers of the Ark Academy a small minority of parents insist on driving down Amberley Road, in breach of the agreed school transport plan, causing problems for the residents of Amberley Road and the Amberley Estate, along with safety concerns for the children. We have been calling on Westminster’s highways team and CityWest Homes to take further action to prevent drivers doing this.

Harrow Road – bridge over the canal

With cars often parking on both sides of the road on the Harrow Road canal bridge, causing issues for drivers and buses, we have called on the Council’s highways team to put in double yellow lines in this area to help tackle the problem.

Former WAES temporary building site

After long delays and some miscommunication by Westminster the scheme is due for final consultation with residents, based on the designs initially supported by residents in 2015. We are pushing for as many residents as possible to be consulted and for the scheme to be delivered as quickly as possible so that Warwick Estate residents can benefit from the improvements this summer.

Chepstow Road

Following complaints from local residents, we councillors have taken up problems with water pooling and poor road surfacing on Chepstow Road. The Council Highways team agreed to take further action near 37-41 Chepstow Road and pushed Thames Water to move forward with works near numbers 43-52.

Chippenham Mews

There is growing frustration that long promised road safety improvements on Chippenham Mews are still outstanding, letting down residents, and the parents and children of St Peters primary school. We are calling for answers from the Council about the reasons for the delays.

 

Church Street Ward By-Election – Thursday 5th May

There is a by-election in Church Street Ward on Thursday 5th May. The Labour Candidate is Aicha Less who has lived and worked locally since moving to the area as a child in 1983. She has almost 20 years’ experience working in local government and is a passionate campaigner on local issues. Aicha Less said:

“I’m extremely passionate about my area and loyal to my community, which makes me want to make their voices heard. I want to be the people’s advocate and work on your behalf, particularly in raising your concerns about problems with the Futures Plan for Church Street including the lack of consultation from the Council. I will work hard to ensure Westminster listens to the worries of residents about the renovation of the market and the need to actually deliver new social and genuinely affordable housing. I’m looking forward to the campaign and hearing more about what Church Street residents want from their Council.”

Applications for inclusion on the voters list need to be sent to the Council by Monday 18 April 2016 https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

Postal vote applications need to be received by the Council by Tuesday 19 April 2016 (5pm) http://transact.westminster.gov.uk/docstores/publications_store/elections/postal-vote-form.pdf

Promoted by Andy Whitley on behalf of Aicha Less, both at 4g Shirland Mews, London W9

West End Green site

Local residents and businesses have waited over 20 years for West End Green to be developed.   This is a golden opportunity to regenerate a long neglected area.   The urgent need is for family-sized homes for overcrowded local families. Many Church Street families will need to move when their homes are demolished to make way for new private and affordable homes. We have continued to object to the offer of only 19% affordable housing. This is way below the Council policy of 30%, and below the 35% affordable housing that has been established in the Futures Plan for Church Street, just across the road.

The latest proposal reduces the height of the tower to 30 storeys (still not in line with Westminster’s policy), but the affordable housing provision remains well below the Council’s policy. This is already one of the most high-density living areas in England, so as well as building houses and shops, the proposals should include upgraded open space combining Paddington Green and St Mary’s Gardens to make up for the impact of the hundreds of additional residents who will live in West End Green.   The plans should include a basketball pitch and tennis courts.

Paddington Green police station

After years of rumours, Paddington Green Police Station has been sold to the same developers who now own the next door West End Green. Paddington Green is the last police station serving North Westminster, since both Harrow Road and St John’s Wood stations were sold for development in 2013. The Mayor’s Office for Policing had previously promised that the development should include a similar replacement either on that site or elsewhere locally.  However, it seems they are now only committed to replacing the Police Station with a ‘front counter and a Safer Neighbourhood Teams base’. We are urging that space for a new police response unit base is found as a part of this development or elsewhere in the area. In the short term the police cars and response team will be moved to Kilburn Police Station in Brent.

Church Street toilets

We have again asked for the Council to ensure that the Church Street toilets are open for use. Residents say:

“The closure of the public toilets on Church Street following their constant misuse by the gangs of beggars has led to an intolerable situation.   This is a tourist area as well as a busy residential ward with a daily street market, and the lack of these facilities is causing considerable distress   We appreciate that installing turnstile access, are not feasible in the Church St building, but we need to know what action the Council intends to take. One can see that the lights are on 24 hours in the locked female section and as the male section is still being used, residents are asking if that section is being cleaned regularly.”

The Council says:

“We closed these facilities in agreement the Police following ongoing anti-social behavior.  As part of the closure, keys were provided to market traders to provide access for the traders. We are preparing a plan of action”

Salisbury Street

We have asked the Council to repair a broken pavement where an elderly resident tripped recently.

Lisson Green parking

We have taken up the issues of residents with legitimate parking permits being prevented from parking on the Estate by illegal car parking. Those with garages cannot access them because of obstruction as a result of illegal parking.

Kimble House

Residents tells that trees outside Kimble House have been allowed to grow to height above and beyond 6th floor. The trees’ foliage is so dense that residents (particularly on the lower floors) have to keep their lights on during the day. When complaints are made to the Estate Office, the foliage is trimmed back only to the height of the top floor, and trees continue to grow in height and density. We have asked the Estate Office to review the situation.

Kennett House

We have reported this issue to the Estate Office for action:

“The kebab stall directly in front of Kennet House side entrance have been using a motorbike/scooter ‘Quiqip’ (green box at back) for kebab delivery. They have parked this bike there for the 3rd week running and all last week overnight (24 hrs) and again today, despite no parking signs. What can be done to move this bike??

The area is signed ‘no parking.’”

“Recently when bikes were parked there, one bike was set on fire and exploded with the other two also on fire. This severely damaged the side of the block and lights, around the corner and balcony area. It caused damage to the 2nd level but the seriousness of it was the black smoke and smell bellowing upwards, fortunately most windows were closed otherwise it would have entered some flats.”

The Estate Office tells us:

“We have spoken with the market inspector regarding the bike and he will discuss this with the men at the kebab stall and inform them to not park the bike there. Furthermore, we have also spoken with the local Westminster Warden who will monitor the situation closely.”

Penfold Street

We have reported this issue to the Council:

“A number of vehicles, travelling along Penfold Street, towards Broadley Street, fail to stop at the Church Street junction, often not slowing down.  The broken white lines, are barely visible. Can any action be taken? An accident waiting to happen?”

Church Street CCTV

We are continuing to press the Council to reinstate the CCTV cameras in Church Street:

“What is the status of reinstallation of cameras on Gateforth Street, Plympton Street, Church Street corner? I continue to see cars/vans driving the wrong way on Church Street. Nothing seems to have progressed to make this safe.”

“Very disappointing that there is still no progress on the reinstatement of the CCTV cameras on Church Street. How many more people will need be injured, robbed, mugged and hurt before the cameras are back and the culprits never get caught.”

The Perseverance, Shroton Street

We are delighted that The Perseverance pub has reopened following the building works. Long may it serve local residents and people working in the area.

Frampton Grind, Frampton Street – Update

The Council has told us:

“Before any formal application could be determined by the Court, the freeholder advised that the tenant’s lease had been revoked so the judge decided that there was no need to grant the requested closure order. It appears now that the tenant moved out over last weekend and the venue is currently unoccupied. I will arrange for the venue to be monitored for new occupiers and activities, but it would seem that the actions of the City Council and the local Police working together have had the desired effect.”

Lisson Grove/Regent’s Canal

We have asked the Council to investigate this matter urgently:

“Further to our recent exchange of emails regarding rats on the bridge over the Regent’s Canal in Lisson Grove, unfortunately after a period of several weeks I have today again seen a rat in this very same place. The gap between the pavement and the railings is rarely, if ever, cleaned and is full of rubbish, including fast-food remains, etc. and this may well be a contributory factor.”

The Council says:

“I have spoken with officers from the Pest Control team and they have visited the site. They confirm that rat holes are still appearing and that there was food in the area, generally bread –  which the rats are eating. The area has been cleared of the rubbish that was there, but this soon accumulates. The team are ensuring a treatment programme of baiting is ongoing and the officer dealing with this will also contact the Westminster Adult College next week. I’m sorry this problem is persisting but I can assure you officers are using their best endeavours to find a solution.”

Lanark Road update

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

Little Venice bridge

We have written to the Canal and River Trust about this issue:

“When is British Waterways going to open the canal after Little Venice that has been closed to pedestrians for almost, I believe, a year now while they supposedly work on the bridge? I often walk along there and have yet to see a single workman.”

Castellain Road Update

The Council has told us the following:

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

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

Residents say:

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

Elgin Avenue and Lauderdale Road

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

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

Maida Vale

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

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

2 Maida Avenue

We are working with local residents who are concerned about the unauthorised building works at 2 Maida Avenue. Residents say:

“Without any planning permission and no party wall agreements they have demolished the back of the house and excavated for almost a month vast quantities of soil in order to build a big ungainly modern extension with the entire roof area a terrace in the Conservation Area. We, their neighbours in Stafford House, have swung into action with building advisers to protect our exposed foundations and dividing wall left high and dry by the deep excavations and with the help of WCC Planning Enforcement Team who want all work to cease pending the application, we have been endeavouring to ensure the site is made safe.”

Blomfield Road/ Maida Vale/Edgware Road

We have asked TfL to investigate this issue again:

I would like to bring to attention once again on the Blomfield Road/ Maida Vale/Edgware Road intersection. This is a very unsafe crossing and every night that I escort my young kids home, crossing the road is like running the gauntlet, anticipating whether drivers run the red light or not. Its gotten to a point that my kids make a game of it nightly, counting how many cars run the red light before we are able to cross. In addition, I have had 3 near misses resulting with driver abuse in the past 4 months, with my wife has reported one to the police being dismissed easily with the reply ‘We will only pursue further if someone is physically injured.’  Can we not request from TFL a red light enforcement camera at both positions with signage stating that there are ‘Safety cameras are operating’?”

Tfl say:

“While running a red light is a criminal offence and therefore a matter for the police to enforce, the safety of all road users is a top priority for us. We regularly review locations where an issue is brought to our attention.  We assess each location against some criteria to help us determine whether a red light camera would help improve safety. If there have been two or more collisions in a 3-year period on a single arm of a junction resulting in an injury due to motorists running a red light, a camera will be installed. Criteria for introducing cameras are set so that the roads with the worst safety records can be addressed first. Between January 2012 and October 2015 there were 8 collisions at or in the vicinity of the location.  However, in only one case was running a red light identified as a possible contributory factor. Unfortunately, at this time we will not be installing a red light camera but my team will continue to keep this location under review.”

Circus Road/ Cavendish Road

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“Could you request that the council installs a street rubbish bin somewhere on the corner of Circus Road and Cavendish Avenue in St John’s Wood, NW8. This busy spot opposite the rear of the St John & Elizabeth hospital and a NHS health centre is constantly full of waiting taxis and private cars as well as hospital transportation and other health service vehicles   The drivers generate rubbish and rather than taking it home with them some see fit to throw coffee cups, food and other trash in to the cages surrounding the saplings at this end of the road.”

The Council say:

“There are two nearby litterbins on either side of Circus Road next to the bus stops so I am tentative as to whether cabbies and other vehicle owners will actually use it. We will therefore trial another bin and monitor its usage for four weeks and then make a decision on whether it stays or goes. I have asked Veolia to arrange for its installation.”

Residents say:

“I noticed that there are indeed two bins in the vicinity; one is a hundred metres down the road near a bus stop on Circus Road and the other is on the other side of Circus Road near the hospital entrance. However, the cars, vans and taxis all wait in Cavendish Road and seemingly can’t be bothered to walk down the street or cross a busy road. So I maintain it would be useful to have a bin on the Cavendish Road /Circus Road junction on the right hand side pavement.”

Tesco, Circus Road

We have asked the Council again to investigate this issue:

“The parking of lorries outside Tesco’s at St John’s Wood still goes on. They are still there every day up to 10 a.m. (they leave space for 1 small car on some occasions). They complete ignore the fact that they should clear by 8am.”

St John’s Wood Road

We have reported this problem to the Council:

“I have tried to report the noise every time a vehicle drives over the drain cover outside Lord’s. The clinking noise is loud and dreadful especially when the window and balcony door is open. This needs to be sorted as soon as possible.”

Abercorn Place

We have asked the Council to fix this problem:

“On the T-junction of Abercorn Place opposite Wellesley Court is a loose manhole cover. Each time a automobile drives over it the noise is annoying and loose. Can it become secure?”

Westbourne Park Bus Depot

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“There is a huge puddle that fills with water any time it rains. It’s opposite the bus depot, but right under A40. Lots of buses pass that way and they go right through it. Because the puddle is so big, it holds a lot of water and when the vehicles go through it, they soak the pedestrians.”

The Council says:

“It appears that a gully has become blocked. A job has been raised and is scheduled for completion within 28 days”

Whiteleys

We were very disappointed that the Planning Committee approved the plans for Whiteleys despite a strong campaign from local residents and local groups. The Committee voted 3-1 in favour of the proposals with Labour Councillor Jason Williams voting against. Karen Buck MP wrote to the Council to support residents’ objections to the plans. She said:

“I would also be very grateful if the following points could be added to the objections being put forward to the Planning Committee taking the decision. I have had a number of objections to the current proposal for the redevelopment of Whiteleys from local residents, including:

– loss of light, especially as this impacts on residents in Kensington Gardens Square

– the bulk/height of the development

– the effect on the Listed building

– the lack of affordable housing provision

I am anxious to ensure that we do take the opportunity to build more residential accommodation and accept the importance of kick-starting the regeneration of Queensway, but that should not mean accepting unsatisfactory designs or ignoring the wider responsibilities to local residents, heritage and need for more affordable homes. It is clear that many in the local community feel that the current proposals fall short on these grounds.”

Queensway

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

“I live on Queensway and was wondering if you could help me with an issue we have as residents with the Maplin store. They get deliveries 3 times a week and their trucks make a great deal of noise from 7am onwards. Our understanding is that the truck company had been asked to not do deliveries before 8h15 am. We are used to the traffic on Queensway but Tesco’s deliveries are done at the back so aside from that store nothing else makes this amount of noise before 8am. I have been told by the truck company that this could be resolved if Maplin instructed them to change their route as they do all their deliveries for their stores, hence they could arrive here later. Is this something you can help with?”

Paddington Station

We have asked the Council to investigate with Network Rail what can be done to resolve the following issues:

“I live in Gloucester Mews West, and while this is quite close to the station, at times I have considerable luggage or packages and it would be helpful to get a lift and be dropped off.  Before Crossrail disrupted things, it was possible for private cars to access the slip road along Eastbourne Terrace to drop off/pick up passengers. However, private cars are now banned from the new taxi rank off Bishops Bridge.  As far as I can tell, there is now no legal place for a private car owner to drop off or pick up passengers at Paddington. How can a major London railway station be said to serve the public properly if there is no place to be picked up or dropped off?

“The only southern access to Paddington now is the slip road where deliveries are made off Praed Street. There are two narrow pavements – often very crowded. There is a manually operated boom to control vehicular access at the top. Foe some reason, Network Rail doesn’t want cyclists to cycle on the slip road. How can it be OK to drive a truck on the road but not coast a cycle at low speed? Why not shorten the boom at the top so that a small gap is left for cyclists?”

Cleveland Terrace

We have asked the Council to investigate these issues:

  • There is a building on the corner of Cleveland Terrace and Gloucester Terrace (I think its is 29 Gloucester Terrace) that seems derelict. The building looks unsafe and that it is falling apart (its the one that the car rammed into during a care chase). Can you tell me when will they repair the damage etc?
  • We live on the corner of Cleveland Terrace and Cleveland gardens where the street is two way. There used to be a bollard there which would cause cars to slow down when they turned into Cleveland Gardens. It was taken away some years ago and MANY times when my 4 year old and I are crossing there, we have almost been hit by a very fast car while we were already in the middle of the road. Is there any way to to put the bollard back, or put in a zebra crossing? It is really very dangerous.

108-112 Westbourne Terrace

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

“Are you aware of the chaotic and massively delayed way in

which City West Homes are handling the major works on 108 – 132 Westbourne Terrace? An utter disgrace and would not be out of place on the TV programme Rogue Traders.”

City West Homes say:

“The works commenced on site in September 2014 and were due to complete in July 2015. Once the main contractor (Mears) had erected the scaffold they immediately made two claims for variations under the contract and took the decision to halt all works whilst the claims were reviewed. The impact of the dispute was that works did not commence fully until March 2015. Once the works did commence there were a number of issues with the quality of work being completed by the sub-contractors. The CWH project manager at the time was not managing the project effectively, and was replaced in April 2015, at the same time Mears took the decision to replace their site manager (for the same reasons).   During the course of the contract, additional works have been discovered (predominantly the quantity of repairs, rather than completely new works), which has further delayed the completion.”

“We anticipate all works being complete and the site being cleared of contractors and their accommodation by May 2016.”

Chepstow Road Update

The Council has told us the following:

“We met up with Thames Water and they have agreed to rectify the cross carriageway trench at their cost. I will also make every effort be on site while the work is being done to supervise.”

The works will start on 15th-19th April.

Church Street CCTV – what you say

“Very disappointing that there is still no progress on the reinstatement of the CCTV cameras on Church Street. How many more people will need be injured, robbed, mugged and hurt before the cameras are back, and the culprits never get caught.”

Maida Vale bus stop – what you say

“This is just to say that I use the moved Maida Vale bus stop regularly and I really cannot see what the fuss is about. The new stop is only a short distance from the old one although it is on the other side of a crossroads.   More important in my view is the lack of the bus arrivals timing notice which used to be in the old bus stop shelter but is not, as yet, in the new one.”

St John’s Wood cycleway – what you say

“It seems there are a group of St. John’s Wood residents who worry that their ability to drive around the area in their cars will be affected by changed traffic patterns. They may be right about that, but on the other hand there are also very many reasons for supporting this excellent scheme:

  • a more pleasant park for everyone
  • less traffic on Avenue Road
  • a much-improved Swiss Cottage junction
  • a better and more inviting environment for bicycles

hopefully a much-needed reduction in traffic and peoples’ use of their cars, with resultant reductions in noise and pollution.”

“I am very concerned about this and have already been to one meeting about the one in Finchley Road. I wrote to TfL with my views. I received no notification of any meetings whatsoever on either Finchley road or the Westway. There are many of us very disturbed about this but with no means of expressing our concern. My other point is these super highways help only cyclists who commute and, despite the expense, they still do not separate cyclists from vehicles”

“I wouldn’t want you to think all residents oppose Cycle Superhighway 11. There has been a lot of misinformation about this scheme – people objecting to things which aren’t even being proposed. Anyway, I’m writing to you in support of it so that you are aware that there is support as well as opposition.”

You can make your comments at https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/cycling/cs-11

What you say

“Many thanks for your very informative reports. I really appreciate the effort you’re putting into resolving local issues.”

“Thank you very much indeed for another comprehensive and detailed report. This is indeed ‘forensic investigation’ and a fantastic job, for which we re all grateful.”

“Street lights have been restored on Edbrooke Road. Very many thanks for your prompt and effective intervention.”

“I would like to add my thanks to those you have already received for sending out this very useful and enlightening report. it certainly helps one to feel that the people of Westminster are listened too, even if all the issues cannot be immediately resolved. Please keep sending this out.”

“Thank you for another interesting report.”

“Many thanks for your updates they are very informative”

“Very useful update on local problems etc. Thank you for circulating the information and you hard work on behalf of us all. I’ll be interested to hear what response you get about rough sleeping by the canal and Sheldon Square, I’m afraid this is a growing problem.”

“Very useful as always”

“You are wonderful – both what you do, and how you keep people informed. Bravo!”

“Many thanks as always for your update and for all your hard work on behalf of residents. Greatly appreciated. “

“Thank you for these updates they were great.”

“Good news. The yellow paint fairies visited Pindock Mews at some point in the night (or day!) because when I looked out this morning the lines were done ! Thank you for sorting this. 

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

 

WESTMINSTER NORTH ACTION REPORT – MARCH 2016

NEWS FROM WESTMINSTER’S LABOUR COUNCILLORS

Baker Street/Gloucester Place proposals

Murad Qureshi, Member of the London Assembly, is undertaking a survey of residents’ views on the Baker Street/Gloucester Place proposals. He says:

“It is my job to listen to your views about Transport for London’s work in London and to push them to make changes. Recently I have been contacted by a number of people in the Marylebone area who are concerned about the proposed changes to Baker Street and Gloucester Place. You may be aware that Westminster City Council and Transport for London recently consulted on their proposed changes to the road layout. The consultation found that 70% of residents and visitors opposed the overall project, although support was higher for certain aspects of the scheme. A second consultation has been launched that proposes some alternative plans for specific parts of the scheme and I would urge you to respond. This short survey is designed to run alongside the alternative proposals. I want to know what residents think about the second consultation and the proposed alternatives.”

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/whichwayformarylebone

West End Green

We have objected to the current proposal for 285-329 Edgware Road (West End Green) on the basis that the proposed scheme:

  • does not provide enough affordable housing (only 22%);
  • is too tall – 38 storeys are proposed
  • the impact on local school places
  • the lack of wider public consultation on such a large scheme.

The site has stood empty for decades and it is welcome that it is being brought forward for development. However, this will be a major scheme and it is vital that it is judged against any detrimental impact on local residents /businesses and against the need to maximise benefits for the wider area. This is especially true give the need for on-site affordable housing, additional school places and access to health services in the Little Venice/Church Street areas.

Lilestone Street

We have asked the Council to remove a burnt-out motorbike on Lilestone Street near by the Church Street traffic lights.

Westway bicycle lane proposal

The Mayor of London has announced a proposal to convert one of the three eastbound lanes on the Westway into bi-directional cycle route. TFL says its modelling shows that drivers using the route at peak times would only have their journeys delayed by 1-2 minutes between Gypsy Corner and Edgware Road and 4-6 minutes between Westbourne Bridge and Paddington. A bike journey from Westbourne Bridge to Gypsy Corner would take around 18 minutes on the new route. There is more information at:

https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/cycling/east-west-phase-2?cid=east-west-consult

What do you think?

George Peabody House, Burne Street

We are continuing to help residents who are having problems with intruders gaining access to their block and sleeping in the stairwells. There are also continuing problems with drug dealing and other anti-social activities in the car park.

Church Street

We have asked the Council to deal with this issue:

“It looks as if they have not taken the Christmas decorations down but on closer look the trees are covered in plastic bags. Please can the market inspectors have a word with traders to put the rubbish in bags?”

Gateway Academy

A group of 30 children from Gateway Academy in Church Street Ward has been supported by the Church Street Councillors’ Ward budget to learn Bollywood dances to keep them fit and healthy. For the last three months they were trained by two Indian dance teachers and now they are able to perform at least 6 Bollywood dances by their own or in a group.

Cherwell House

We have asked City West Homes to introduce measures to discourage shops and shoppers from leaving food to feed the pigeons in the Triangle outside Cherwell House.

Sheringham House

We were surprised to find a high proportion of the corridor security doors were not locked. Residents said they have reported this problem. We have asked City West Homes their plans to repair the security locks.

Shirland Road

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

There seems to be a growth of motorbikes on Shirland Road. They tend to park in the centre of road (ie between Fernhead and Chippenham) which makes parking around them quite difficult. As their owners live at the end of the road I wondered if it might be an idea to have a few dedicated motor cycle spaces at the end of the road or on Fernhead. Just a thought!”

The Council say:

“I am happy to investigate the possibility of additional provision if it is warranted. Currently motorcyclists who live in the borough are entitled to a resident permit that allows them to park on residents’ bays and many prefer to keep their bike within view and so they tend to shun motorcycle bays in preference to resident parking bays. Therefore. we need to ensure that any parking changes will benefit both car and bike users.”

The Chippenham

We have asked the Planning Department to investigate this issue:

“I wanted to draw your attention to the fact that there has been some demolition work in the back yard to the Chippenham Hotel pub. The area is now boarded off and while there doesn’t appear to be anything more happening it is concerning given the history of the owners with the Carlton Tavern.”

Fernhead Road

Residents have again told us of their concern about traffic speeds along Fernhead Road between Shirland Road and Carlton Vale. We have asked the Council if there is any action that can be taken to slow down traffic, particularly as St Luke’s Primary school is in this stretch of road.

Bradiston Road

We have asked the Council to remove an abandoned moped in Bradiston Road. The Council says: “The abandoned vehicle was removed and disposed of on Friday morning.”

Edbrooke Road

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

A considerable number of street lights are no longer working/ have been switched off on Edbrooke Road. Since there has been neither consultation or even information, there is no way of knowing whether this is a Council’s decision or a temporary state of affairs. Although days are getting longer, night will fall at some point and a very dark street presents a risk hazard, particularly to wheelchair users and those with a pram.”

Lapworth Court

We have asked the Council to remove an abandoned car outside Lapworth Court. The Council says vehicle has now been removed and that:

“To ensure that abandoned vehicles are investigated and dealt with in a timely manner,  it is advised that such matters are reported through via our website at https://www.westminster.gov.uk/report-it-vehicles, or by telephoning the Environmental Action Line on 0207 641 2000.  This will ensure a swift response and ensure that the job is allocated accordingly.  “

Paddington Rec – trees

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

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

The Tree Officer says:

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

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

Sutherland Avenue/Castellain Road

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

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

The Council says:

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

Little Venice canal area

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“Walking from the Rembrandt Garden in Little Venice alongside the canal towards Sheldon Square and under the motorway yesterday was a sad sight of a mattress and belongings which had been used during the night, as well as a large patch of vomit.  This area is often used by rough sleepers; can Westminster offer something better for those in need.”

Townshend Estate

We have reported an unauthorised parked motorbike in the cycle parking area and asked the Estate Office to investigate unauthorized parking in the area near Cotman House.

Circus Road

We have asked the Council to investigate whether a disabled parking bay on Circus Road is still required as residents say that it does not appear to have been used for the past five years. The Council says:

“The removal of this bay has been on the list for our contractor to do for some time now.  Following your email we have now flagged this up as urgent and the disabled element of the bay should now be removed within the next few weeks.”

Acacia Road/Ordnance Hill

We asked the Council to inspect a cracked wall at a property at this location to check that it was safe. The Council told us:

“I inspected this wall a couple of weeks ago and note it is not immediately dangerous although defective. It has at some point been rebuilt and is likely affected by the adjoining tree. There is a survey target on the corner pier which suggests this is being monitored by another surveyor/ structural engineer.”

The Clifton Pub, Clifton Hill

The Clifton Pub in St John’s Wood has potentially new tenants, Robson Brothers Ltd, after a three year closure!! All that is required is the license, which will be the same as the previous one, for a bar and restaurant.

Boundary Road

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“An area of footpath has been barriered off for at least six weeks and possibly nearer eight weeks. I am not sure what work was done originally requiring the barriers but I cannot believe they are now serving any useful purpose – no work has taken place for many weeks. They are in fact causing an obstruction as a parent with a pram would probably just about be able to get past, but I am certain a disabled person in a wheelchair would not be able to pass at all as the path has been narrowed so much. Apart from anything else, at this time of government cutbacks this is also a total waste of resources which I am sure could be better used elsewhere.”

Proposed St John’s Wood cycleway

Transport for London’s public consultation on Cycle Superhighway 11, planned to run from Swiss Cottage, through Regent’s Park, to Portland Place, is under way.

The scheme includes controversial proposals to close gates at the north and south ends of Regent’s Park for much of the day. Residents in the Swiss Cottage and St John’s Wood areas have launched a petition against the proposals which can be signed at:- www.change.org/p/transport-for-london-stop-transport-for-london-s-ill-planned-cycle-superhighway-11-scheme-in-north-london

Residents say:

“Please use your political voice to object to the proposed TFL cycle route which will be a nightmare for residents in your area “

“I was wondering what you are going to do about the very ill thought out cycle super highway 11 and the traffic chaos that will result from it in and around St. John’s Wood.”

St John’s Wood Terrace

We have reported this issue to the Council:

“We have frequently had minicabs parking in Resident bays in St John’s Wood Terrace which prevents us residents from finding parking. They sit there for a considerable amount of time whilst waiting for jobs etc. It is very frustrating. Is there anything that can be done?”

The Council tells us:

“We have tasked the Marshalls with increasing visits and enforcement in this area, as well as gathering information regarding times and vehicle/ company details in order that we can contact the relevant minicab companies. “

Regent’s Park Zoo

We are making enquiries with London Underground about this matter:

“There is very misleading information made on the Bakerloo line trains when they stop at Regent’s Park. The announcements states that ‘passengers should alight here for local buses to ZSL London Zoo’. This statement causes great confusion to many of the visitors hoping to go to London Zoo, for the following reasons.

  • They do not understand what ZSL means. Some think that it is another zoo not the main London Zoo.
  • They do not understand what is meant by ‘local’ buses and may think that this is a different service from the normal buses.
  • However, the most important point is that from Regent’s Park station there are NO buses (local or other) that go to London Zoo. The only bus that goes to the Zoo is the route 274 which only stops a very long way from Regents Park station. (in fact far closer to Baker Street station). 

Maybe the staff from the Bakerloo line should be made to make this journey themselves so that they realise how misleading the announcement is. As visitors to London are so important to the economy of our city, I feel that we should all do as much as possible to make our city as visitor friendly as possible.”

Amberley Road

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“Amberley Road is a relatively narrow street which leads only to the buildings on it, and to the Amberley Estate. The Ark Atwood School on the south side of Amberley Road opened in September 2014. When it went to planning, it was clearly understood that parents would not be allowed to drive down Amberley Road to drop off pupils. The travel plan, which was approved, states that “Ark Atwood Primary Academy will operate a strict no drop-off/pick-up policy which will be promoted prior to the relocation and enforced by the school once they occupy the site.”

But the best efforts of the school have not stopped parents driving down Amberley Road to drop their children off. We have heard that there are problems between parents’ cars and Amberley Estate residents, and also of those children who are walking to school. Is it possible to get a proper street sign at the top of Amberley Road by the junction with Foscote Mews, which makes it clear that there is ‘no vehicular access for Ark Atwood School’ down Amberley Road? There is already a ’no through road’ sign in this position.”

Safety and Security

We have asked the police for an update following this enquiry:

“I was interested to read in the paper this week about a number of lone women (and mothers with young children) being robbed of jewellery in the middle of the day/late afternoon in Notting Hill, Maida Vale and St John’s Wood over the last 6 months. Can you please let me know what is being done about this?  I understand from the articles that the perpetrators are still at large.”

Chepstow Road

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

“I’m emailing you all this morning as we have been woken up yet again since 5am due to vibrations in our house caused by buses “bouncing” off the uneven road surface on Chepstow Road!! I have lived on Chepstow road for over 14 years and this is the worse it’s ever been! It is clearly apparent from viewing the road that it urgently needs resurfacing.”

The Council Highways officer says:

“I visited site yesterday afternoon and found the below…

  • outside no 25 there was a pot hole in the carriageway, this being the case a 2hr repair was ordered and while I was on site this was made safe, a P3 7-10 PERMANENT REPAIR has been put on the system.
  • Ouside no 6 in bus stop a pot hole – again a 2hr repair was sent to Zayo as it was still in Warranty and this was made safe and a perm repair scheduled in.
  • Outside no 52 there is an old Thames Water cross carriageway trench that has a very slight depression however I have also defected this to TW and a permanent repair will be programmed in.”

In addition, the Council says. “Chepstow Rd as far as I am aware is not in the 2016 resurfacing programme.”

Residents say: “This is disappointing news for residents of Chepstow Road. The present situation for residents will continue to get worse! The road surface is obviously inadequate!”

In addition, we raised the issue of bus speeds along Chepstow Road with TfL who say:

“We take health and environmental issues very seriously and, if we receive complaints of this nature, always notify the relevant bus operating companies. I’ve been in contact with Metroline and Tower Transit, the two bus operators responsible for running the night bus services along Chepstow Road. I can confirm that the appropriate measures have been taken to ensure that all drivers on these night routes are adhering to the speed limit along Chepstow Road at all times and to be mindful of local residents.”

Bayswater Road

We are supporting residents who are opposed to the new development which is being proposed for Bayswater Road and Queensway.

“The images shown on the WCC website show a bulbous blockhouse which is quite out of keeping with the generic architecture along the Bayswater Road.  Although in general the design of the buildings in Bayswater Road is a mixed bunch, this particular proposal has to take the prize in being the most unattractive in its size, bulk and so-called “decorative features” which are apparently supposed to bring to mind “ripples of water”. Also I would like to point out that “affordable housing”, a contribution to which will be made by the developer to the borough is not the same as ‘social housing” and that is what is needed in our area. “

Leinster Square issues – update

The Council Officer for the area says:

I visited Leinster Square on Friday last, where I started at 13-19. This is a licensed site and is being monitored closely regarding deliveries/traffic management etc. I had a word with the site manager to inform him that things need to be managed more tightly. I then spoke to the site at 7-12 regarding clearing/unblocking both gullies outside their site, which they assured me they would action ASAP. Finally, I looked outside 1-4 where I couldn’t see any defects/trip hazards/rocking slabs etc. However, our dedicated highways officer, who is more of an expert than me, will be visiting the square imminently to pass his opinion. I, also, shall be swinging by over the coming days.”

Residents say:

“Many thanks for all your help and for the above information. It is much appreciated. I’ve also had contact from the noise team and things are very much quieter although apparently all the managers of the different sites denied any knowledge of issues around equipment that might be causing noise! I am very grateful to you and them.”

37 Leinster Square

We have asked the Council to investigate noisy building works at this property.

Haminados, 78 Chepstow Road,

Last year, a much loved local cafe in Chepstow Road was refused planning permission for the use of its garden as part of the cafe. The result is that it cannot even open its windows, which must be unreasonable. No surprisingly, the cafe wants to regain full use of its garden again for patrons and staff. We have asked the Planning Department how the owners of the cafe can go forward in line with planning policies.

Paddington Station

We have asked the Council to take action on the idling black cabs outside Paddington Station parked on double yellow lines with their engines running. Residents say these taxis are blocking ambulances and they also park in the cycle lane, as well increasing pollution in the area.

Maida Vale lost bus stop – what you say

“Could you not please try once more to get a bus stop replaced on the Maida Vale block between Abercorn Place and Hall Road – one resident with lots of money has had his personal wish resolved to the inconvenience of so many other residents.  Not a day goes by without someone bemoaning the loss of the bus stop.”

Castellain Road – what you say

“I too have frequently noticed cars driving the wrong way down Castellain Road, and also Lauderdale Road.  Not only that, but they are exiting onto Elgin Avenue through “No Entry” signs.  There are two easy solutions to this problem.  Either block off completely the entrance at Elgin Avenue, and have a flower bed or preferably a cycle hire rack, making Lauderdale and Castellain a crescent, entered from Sutherland Avenue and leaving at Warrington roundabout.  Or have a much narrower access at Elgin Avenue.”

Woodfield Road proposals – what you say

“A proposed 15-storey tower block on the corner of Woodfield Road is causing local residents much concern; not just the height of the building but the size of the development and the fact that it will include (i.e we lose) a car park and green open space. “

 What you say

“Thanks for making sure that pothole at the intersection of Abbey Road and Marlborough Place got filled!”

“As always, thank you for the forensic detail and follow through with all the nitty-gritty of NW Westminster. You and your colleagues do a fantastic job.”

“Thank you for another informative report.”

“Your Action Report is always so interesting and you do get lots of problems solved.”

“It’s good to see our councillors doing so much to support social justice in our community. Often it can seem as if the local council is not listening to its constituents.”

“Thank you for your latest report and many thanks for dealing with our complaints and worries concerning our local environment!”

“Thank you for the Action Report. I always read all of them and find them very informative. Keep up the good work.”

“You and your colleagues have been busy- thank you! Pleased to see that you’re keeping abreast of contentious planning applications and delighted that Air Pollution is being taken seriously.”

“Thank you, as always, for a very useful report on current issues and problems. Your follow up is fantastic! Many thanks.”

“Thank you for your reports as it is great to know that someone is looking after the interests of residents of North Westminster.”

“I gratefully receive your regular emails regarding local issues”

“Thanks for taking the time to make this useful report.”

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

 

WESTMINSTER NORTH ACTION REPORT – FEBRUARY 2016

NEWS FROM WESTMINSTER’S LABOUR COUNCILLORS

Church Street

Following a recent stabbing outside Alfie’s we have again called on the Council to reinstate the CCTV cameras that were removed last year.

Cherwell House

We have asked the Council to investigate the continuing dumping of food outside the shops which attracts pigeons, foxes and vermin and creates a health hazard.

George Peabody House, Bell Street

We have asked Peabody to investigate this issue:

“Rough sleepers are moving into this block every night, occupying the common parts. The caretaker has been calling the police when he arrives in the morning but they have run away before the police arrive. They are smoking and taking drugs and leave piles of their rubbish. This is a terrifying situation for us living there, especially as many are elderly and, like me, live alone. Although this is not a council property, is there any action the council can take urgently to ensure these people are stopped from entering?”

27 Tresham Crescent

We are supporting local residents who are opposing the Council’s proposal to relocate the Pentecostal Church from the Dudley House area, Paddington Basin to 27 Tresham Crescent. Residents are concerned about a number of issues, including:

  • noise of loud amplified live music on Sunday morning and in the evening
  • traffic problems caused by visitors to the church who arrive by car

27 Tresham Crescent has just been built for two nurseries and a Play Centre specialising in play for disabled children. We agree with residents that Westminster Council should find a more suitable temporary home for the Pentecostal Church. Disappointingly, the Planning Committee gave planning permission for the church for four years but we will be working with residents to monitor noise and traffic issues.

Lisson Grove

The pavement outside Armitage House at the bottom of Lisson Grove has an increasing number of loose and wobbly paving stones and we have asked the Council for this to be investigated and repairs undertaken. The Council says:

“This section of highway was walked on Monday and a number of rocking slabs identified for repair. They were put in for 7 or 28 day repair (depending on how bad they were). Some were found not to be meeting intervention criteria and so were left for the next inspection.”

Penn House, Lisson Green

There is real disappointment from residents living at Penn House because the replacement building, Lisson Arches, has not yet been started despite the Council’s original promises.   The elderly residents had expected to be living there by now.  There have been problems about moving pipes and cables underground and now the Council cannot find the plans for the foundations of Chequers House which is immediately adjacent to the proposed Lisson Arches building.  It is thought that all the drawings were put on microfiche by the Council which has now disintegrated.

West End Green site

The fact that the long-empty site on Edgware Road, behind Paddington Green police station, is to be developed is good news. However, the developers are currently only offering 23% affordable housing – well below even Westminster Council’s own guidelines. You can see the planning application and make comments here:

http://idoxpa.westminster.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=NZESNJRPLIF00

Marylebone flyover

We have asked TfL to investigate this matter:

On approaching Marylebone Road via A40, as you near Paddington Green, the 30MPH sign cannot be seen by motorists, it has been turned, now facing across the the motorway. Are tickets, being issued for speeding, at this section, now we have the Average Speed Cameras/cameras operating?”

Prince of Wales, Harrow Road

We are making further enquiries after receiving this message:

“After the successful opposition to transforming the Prince of Wales Pub into a betting shop or similar disagreeable operations, the building has been totally gutted and is barely supported by rudimentary scaffolding with a corrugated iron roof. The whole flimsy structure on the corner of a busy road is an eyesore and a potential collapse risk. Do you know what is planned for it?”

Lydford Road

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

“Since the waterworks wee carried out in Tamplin Mews gardens last year the traffic was diverted off Chippenham Road to Lydford Road and surrounding roads. Once work had been completed I assumed traffic would reduce. But it is busier than ever as drivers have found a short cut to Fernhead Road.  My main concern is the speed of the cars that travel down this road. Cars have been scratched by these car and safety is compromised. What was once a very quiet road has become a main road.

Could the council please monitor this road and put in traffic calming methods.  And please don’t wait for casualties to occur first to put those measures in place.”

The Council say:

“A review of the safety record for Lydford Road reveals that there have been no personal injury accidents over the 36-month period up to the end of July 2015. It is recognised that in view of the comment that traffic conditions have changed in Lydford Road that this review may not reflect current circumstances. Accordingly, it is proposed that the Police be requested to carry out a traffic speed survey to assess existing traffic conditions and assist in identifying any appropriate traffic calming measures. I would add that the number of measures on roads of this width and type, which in particular seek to reduce damage to vehicles, are limited and can result in a loss of parking and/or the requirement for one-way working. In the interim whilst further investigations are taking place it is proposed to look at whether ‘SLOW’ markings on the carriageway would help to mitigate the concerns raised.”

Warlock Road

We have asked the Council to check that the street lights along Warlock Road between Walterton Road and Chippenham Road to see if it some additional lighting might be provided. We have also asked for a check be made to see that all the lights on and around the Maida Hill Marketplace are working properly.

Saltram Crescent

We have asked the Council for an update on the Saltram Crescent traffic calming proposals and have asked the Council to implement the double one-way system that residents agreed last year. Here is the latest report recommending the go-ahead for the proposals

http://committees.westminster.gov.uk/documents/s16915/Saltram%20Crescent%20Cabinet%20Member%20Report%20SCCMR.pdf

Speeding on Elgin Avenue between Shirland and Chippenham Road junctions

We are continuing to press the Council and Police to address the urgent need to find measures that will reduce the daily speeding madness between these two junctions. Residents say:

“This is a residential road not an urban highway where safety priorities should be given to the residents in the first instance as well as to the many students on their way to and from the numerous schools near by.”

Paddington ‘Pole’

We have welcomed the announcement of the withdrawal of the Paddington Pole proposals, that we first called for in December when the developers first submitted their planning application and Westminster Council sought to push ahead with the application for a decision in early March 2016. We have been clear that the scheme proposed failed to deliver for local people, changing the skyline dramatically but failing to to provide much needed affordable housing. The excellent campaigning work by local residents, the Skyline Campaign, SEBRA and others have helped now force the developers and the council to see sense and delay the project.

The designers must now go back to the drawing board and come back with a radically revised plan that dramatically reduces the height of any new building and significantly increases the number of social and genuinely affordable homes in Westminster generated by the scheme. Labour group leader Councillor Adam Hug said:

“Westminster residents won’t accept only cosmetic changes to the Paddington Pole plans, shaving off just a few floors and hoping no one notices. There must be a real rethink about how this important site is used so that it benefits local people. We must all remain vigilant to ensure that this happens.”

Elgin Avenue

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

Castellain Road

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

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

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

Parking at Essendine and St Augustine’s Schools – Update

The Council has given us this update:

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

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

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

Lanark Road Development

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

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

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

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

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

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

Porteus Road/St Mary’s Terrace

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue raised by a resident:

“I want to ask for something to be done with a rubbish bin on the corner of Porteus Road and St Mary’s Terrace.  More and more people are leaving household garbage in the bin.  The bags burst open and there is garbage on the street.  I see the bin got emptied (by regular service) but no one has cleaned up the garbage around the bin.  Which brings up a further point.  I have noticed an increase in street trash over the past month to month and a half.  If there is any street sweeper, they don’t come very often.  Considering this is a path between Sheldon Square and Edgware Road, with lots of foot traffic we get much garbage thrown on the street.  The street sweeping should reflect that.”

The Council says:

“The local City Inspector is aware of the issue and has been trying to tackle the dumping issue but unfortunately with limited success to date. These bins were originally installed to assist dog walkers’ dispose of bagged waste but it now appears they are being misused and have become a convenient waste dumping spot which is obviously not what street litter bins are intended for. I have asked that the bin is relocated. This will be done in the next few days once we have identified a new location. I have also spoken to the local cleansing manager who along with the City inspector will monitor the street.”

Marlborough Place/Abbey Road

We have asked the Council to repair the many potholes after receiving this message:

“The worst offender is at the intersection of Marlborough Place and Abbey Road. There is a very large pothole at that intersection, which can damage to your car If you are driving across that intersection along Marlborough Place. You have to slow down considerably to traverse the pothole safely! There are also a number of potholes on the block of Marlborough Place between Abbey Road and Hamilton Terrace.”

Lodge Road

We have asked the Council to investigate this problem:

“Lodge Road was recently resurfaced but inadequate attention was given to drainage as, after every even modest rainfall puddles remain at several places on the road, mainly on the south side.  This is not only inconvenient when crossing, but the puddle at the junction with Park Road which can be in excess of 20 metres long, is a particular hazard for passing pedestrians who have to avoid getting drenched from the not inconsiderate amount of traffic coming southwards from the nearby roundabout and turning into Lodge Road.  Can you draw this to the attention of the Highways Department with a view to remedial work being undertaken at all points where necessary”

Lisson Grove/Wharncliffe Gardens

We have reported this issue to the Council:

“When walking up or down the west side of Lisson Grove I invariably see rats on the bridge across the Regent’s Canal between the railings and the pavement and a number of rat holes are clearly visible.  There does not appear to be any evidence of measures being undertaken to eradicate these and perhaps you would ask the relevant department of WCC to take action, please, especially because of the closeness of the Wharncliffe Gardens Estate.”

The Council says:

“This is an issue that we were aware of following routine inspections by our officers.  Rodent activity was identified in this area in late December 2015 and a reactive treatment was subsequently implemented with baiting has been taking place during January 2016.  We have increased the frequency of visits in order to gain control of the infestation. Wharncliffe Gardens itself is currently under a pro-active baiting programme for rats, agreed to and funded by City West Homes.  At this stage the activity appears to be localised to the raised planter over the canal and will shortly be brought under control. “

Elgood House, Wellington Road

We are taking up this issue with City West Homes:

“Despite diligently paying for management services through my charges every month, I am having a great deal of difficulty in getting the St. John’s Wood estate office to take ownership of issues, and to manage them to resolution. I have been asking them to resolve a problem that we had around noisy pipes that I first raised with them in November last year. I have been very patient, and I understand that that the holidays did cause timing disruptions, however, not only has the issue not been resolved, it appears to have worsened”

Empty properties in St John’s Wood

We have asked the Planning Department for an update on the situation at 34 Marlborough Place which has been derelict for over 5 years and at a property at 15 Loudon Road in a similar long standing state of dereliction.  The Council says:

“In respect of 34 Marlborough Place, we have recently refused planning permission for the construction of front, side and rear first floor extensions and installation of rooflights on design grounds. The extensions are far too big,

In respect of 15 Loudoun Road, there is a valid planning permission and listed building consent for the erection of single storey extensions to the front, side and rear, excavation of basement, internal and elevational alterations and new front boundary wall. The applicant has started to discharge a number of the conditions, and we currently have an approval of details application for the Construction Management Plan (CMP), so hopefully works will start shortly if we are satisfied with the CMP.”

Ryder’s Terrace

We are supporting residents who are opposing yet another planning application to build a mega basement at 40 Ryder’s Terrace. Residents say:

“The basement would appear on the face of it to run counter to both the WCC cited guidelines and the proposal put forward in Parliament by our MP, Karen Buck, to curtail such development. The proposed basement runs the entire width of the plot east to west. Moreover, the huge amount of soil that would be extracted all has to be removed via the narrow ramp leading from Blenheim Terrace to Ryder’s Terrace making life a total misery for residents in the immediate vicinity specially bearing in mind that there is very limited space for dumper trucks to turn around. “

Acacia Road/Ordnance Hill

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“There is an empty house on Acacia Road and Ordinance Hill that has a six foot wall that looks dangerous as has cracks which could fall and hurt someone”

Northwick Terrace

We asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“Thames Water fixed a mains leak about ten days ago but left ‘Road Closed’ signs at both ends of Northwick Terrace. Are you able to get them removed?”

The Council says:

“Thames Water have been notified and Section 74 overstay charges are being applied. Thanks for passing this on as we are able to levy charges on the utility for such failings. If you or a resident wish to report signs left behind after works they can drop an email to my team at Permits@westminster.gov.uk

Townshend Estate

Residents on the Townshend Estate tell us that they are concerned about growing anti-social behaviour and drug dealing on the estate. Residents suggest installing CCTV and we have asked City West Homes if this can be considered. City West Homes say:

“We have received a number reports of youths congregating on the estate in recent weeks, but nothing that we have been able to take any specific action on. Last week however, the gate to the playground on the estate was vandalized. We cannot be certain that this is related to the youths congregating, although it could well be the same group of youths. We have reported our concerns to the Police and will keep them posted on any further developments. In the light of your e-mail, a letter will be issued to the estate this week, asking residents to be vigilant and to report any incidences following the vandalism that occurred last week.

You mention the possible use of CCTV. This is something that could be considered if there was an increase of antisocial behaviour incidents and could identify specific hot spots where cameras would help. In the absence of specific incidents, CCTV is not a realistic option at this stage but something we could explore should the position change.”

Canal tow path near Westbourne Park

We are continuing to try to find an organization that will take responsibility for installing lighting along the canal tow path.

Tavistock Road

We asked the Council to look into this issue:

“Can you please look at the renewal of the tree in the raised area with benches outside the Metropolitan Public House in Tavistock Road W11.  This small tree one of 3 disappeared at the same time as area was used by Cross Rail developers, I assume that cross rail removed it.  The other 2 trees from this street landscaping project still remain.”

The Council’s Tree Officer tells us:

“I recall that the tree was indeed removed to facilitate Crossrail works. Once the area is free of their works compound I’ll make sure a replacement is planted.”

Alfred Road

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue with Westminster Academy:

“I live on Alfred Road which sadly is never without rubbish despite the hard work of the cleaners both estate and council street ones. It’s particularly bad surrounding the Westminster Academy building and leading onto the railway bridge.”

The Council tell us:

“This issue has been reported to the Local City inspector who will speak to the Academy principal to ensure students are reminded about their break times and the need to use street litter bins. In the meantime, Veolia will continue to visit as scheduled but I have additionally requested them to see if they can pick the spurious litter items from the wire coverings surrounding the trees today. The green/playground areas behind the Academy are managed by Leisure so I will highlight these issues to them and ask the local CI to liaise with them also.”

Residents say:

“I sincerely appreciate you taking the time required to try sort this out.”

Porchester Road – trees

We are following up on this enquiry:

“Any news on the promised replacement of the felled tree outside the West London Buddhist Centre on Porchester Road?”

The Council say:

“I’ll need to check but I recall that there were problems incorporating a replacement tree owing to the traffic sign and services.  You may wish to know that trial pits for the replacement trees outside Waitrose are due to commence within the next week or two.”

Porchester Road – bike racks

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“Could you find out whether the cycle hoops outside Waitrose on Porchester Road will be put back? They were removed during the building works to redevelop Waitrose which were completed in autumn 2015. The hoops have not been returned and, as many people cycle to Waitrose, there is often nowhere to park. I would have expected the developers to have made a commitment to return the hoops but this does not seem to be happening.”

The Council has told us:

“The works to the development that removed the hoops is not complete. I am advised that they are due to be returned on completion of the works as part of some street environment upgrades (such as new trees). This will be completed over the coming 15 weeks.”

Hereford Road

We have asked the Council to investigate noisy building works at a property in Hereford Road.

Chepstow Road

We have raised this matter with the Council and TfL:

“More and more residents are becoming increasingly upset and concerned about the buses on Chepstow Road. I do not have a problem with the number of them using this route but I do have a problem with the speed at which they drive when the road is not congested or busy. At night, and particularly during the early hours of the morning, the buses race along at a speed that must be above the limit. Because the road, after endless re-patching and repairs, is not even and smooth, the buses hit the various bumps and dips causing our properties to ‘jump’; it is very disturbing and some of my neighbours who sleep on the upper floors are awoken at 5am on a daily basis, which seems to be when the problem is at its worst. There are cracks appearing also in many of our houses and flats. What is the speed limit for Chepstow Road? Is there a special, lower, limit for HGVs and larger vehicles such as buses? Could we have speed cameras installed? Could TFL and the various bus companies be held accountable and asked to train their drivers to respect the inhabitants of residential streets?”

Craven Hill

We are making enquiries with the Council about this issue:

“There is an approved plan for a mega basement two levels deep next door to our residence. The owner has now submitted a variation that will include the basement going out UNDERNEATH the public right-of-way. Surely there must be a stop to all of this. How far can they go? I hope you will voice your strong disapproval of this latest plan to extend an already massive basement.”

The Council say:

“The question of the increased footprint of the proposed basement will be a material consideration in dealing with this fresh planning application. In respect of excavation under part of the public highway, policy does allow development under the highway and restricts the extent of the works in order to ensure that services and essential street furniture can be provided. The new basement policy also allows basement excavations under the public highway. In planning terms, there is no compensation payable, although the owners need to obtain all necessary approvals under the Highways Act.

I understand that the Highways Authority owns in most cases the right to surface and resurface the highway and to install street lighting/drains etc. and therefore own the top two spits” – that is, the top two spade depths – or however deep they need to dig down, to lay a reasonable running surface- which is why we have the requirement to retain a minimum vertical depth below the footway of 900mm.If we have brought the land in order to build a road on it, we may still own the subsoil, but in the majority of cases, the people who own the properties on each side often own the land underneath the highway.”

Leinster Square

We have asked the Council to investigate the following issues:

“Works have started at 14-16 Leinster Square, where the hotel used to be. The main pavement is completely blocked off at that point and the pavement opposite, next to the gardens, is extremely narrow. Vehicle parking has not been discontinued there so of course there are vehicles backing onto it, making pavement access completely unavailable. It is therefore necessary to walk in the road which can be quite dangerous. I myself was nearly knocked down by an Alchemi vehicle reversing without warning the other day.”

“The ongoing saga of the blocked drain.  This was reported on 6th August to the Council. It is still outstanding and this drain floods to several feet either side every time it rains. On one side of it the kerb is completely pulverised, probably by Alchemi vehicles.”

“Outside Nos 1-4 there are several loose paving stones which need to be fixed.”

Children’s Services

We have asked the Council to explain this very worrying situation:

“I’m responding on the issue of children’s services in the borough. I have a 6-month old son, my first child, and have been using the facilities at Westbourne Children’s Centre, Senior Street. The staff and activities there are wonderful – helpful, informative, supportive and, at times, a real lifeline. I was really upset to learn that these services are being lost. In fact, the baby group, which took place every Monday afternoon, has now ended as one member of staff isn’t being replaced and the staff member who ran the group has been moved to Queen’s Park.

Westminster Council is running a (poorly advertised) consultation on changes to these services. Their website states that no changes will take place until October 2016 – how is it then that my centre has already had to make changes and we users are already having our services cut? I know other centres have also had to do so. Finally, I’ve also been told that Westminster plans to close all the hub centres and will run services from just three centres for the entire borough! How can that deliver a decent service? I’d be really grateful if you could look onto this with Westminster, particularly the changing of services before their own, published, deadline.”

Air Quality

We have asked the Council and TfL to investigate this suggestion from a resident:

“There was a recent article in the Sunday Times regarding a novel US technology which can measure exhaust emissions and identify cars which are emittng above the agreed limits. This could provide a solution to London’s air quality problem. The costs could be recouped by fining the small minority of drivers whose cars are the largest part of the problem. For more details please see the manufacturer’s website at:

http://heatremotesensing.com/

The article in the Sunday Times (available on the above website) indicates that they are interested in deploying this technology in the UK. Is this something which you could promote in Westminster? Emissions monitoring in this way is a practical way of tacking our air quality problem – and I can see too many other ways of achieving this without draconian steps (e.g. banning 50% of cars each day in London).”

‘Paddington Pole’ – what you say

“I too, am horrified at the impact to the skyline for the view from our Royal Parks and the erosion of the rural aspect of the parks. Where can I make my protest count?”

“The Shard is proposed instead of a lower rise development that offers far more homes. The sole purpose of the Shard is to provide highly profitable, penthouse apartments with wonderful views over Hyde Park for Russian billionaires. That is why many of us are fighting these schemes. We want developments that provide housing for a mix of people – including ordinary Londoners. “

“This whole proposal seems to have a planning momentum that we lesser mortals trying to build a tiny extension to our tiny flat can only dream of!  “

The Chippenham area – what you say

“How fed up I am with many of our local residents.  They complain about seating at Maida Hill market because people sit and drink – why shouldn’t they as long as they are not yelling obscenities at passers by and throwing things at them?  Anyway the seats help the food sales of the little stalls.   Now people are complaining about the Shisha places – what harm are they doing?  All this is part of a lively area.  Next they say they are frightened walking home at night?  I’m a 65 year old woman who has lived round here for over 30 years and have often and often walked home alone late at night and never been threatened or attacked.  The very fact that we have street live is what makes the area safe. Please don’t join with them to harass the mixed range of locals who make this place the vivid, friendly, energetic quarter it is.”

Social housing – what you say

“Why is the council not pushing new developments hard to provide a much higher number of not just affordable housing – but social housing? At the moment we have a chronic housing shortage on one hand in London, and developers selling 70% of all new homes to foreign buyers on the other. This is a crazy situation. How when London’s population is increasing, and with it, the need for housing, can we continue to sell such a large percentage of our housing stock as investment for wealthy foreigners? What about a higher percentage of social housing?”

What you say

“Thanks for your latest report which I always read with interest.”

“I always appreciate receiving the Westminster North Action Report, thank you!”

“Thank you for the ongoing reports, they are much appreciated”

“I’m hugely impressed with the speed and the response. I might even vote Labour again!”

“It is always great to receive your report.”

“As usual, I am impressed by your endless energy and ability to move things forward in our local area. Well done and please continue the good work.”

“Please allow me to thank you for not only keeping us au fait of all what is happening in our area, but also for your prompt attitude with Westminster on all areas of problems.”

“Keep up the good work you do a great”

“Thank you, as always, for this very interesting report.”

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

 

 

WESTMINSTER NORTH ACTION REPORT – JANUARY 2016

NEWS FROM WESTMINSTER’S LABOUR COUNCILLORS

West End Green

The West End Green site on the corner of Edgware Road and Church Street which has been a car park and car wash for the last 25 years has been bought by Berkeley Homes, who have now submitted a new planning application for a mixed use development. This will include almost 700 private and affordable homes, offices, shops, restaurants and a small boutique cinema, with construction planned to commence in summer 2016. along with Karen Buck MP, we are very concerned by the suggestion that only just over 20% of the 700 homes proposed will be “affordable”, and we are keen to ensure that local residents are content with the design, especially of the proposed tower.

Church Street CCTV cameras

 We are continuing to chase the Council on this issue:

 “What is happening with the missing cctv cameras at the corner of Church Street and Gateforth, Plympton Streets? We need them! When will they be reinstated?”

 Church Street toilets

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

“Good to learn about the council’s efforts to stop the Church Street public toilets from recent misuse. Problem is also that while it is kept closed in order to avoid misuse this lovely old building is badly in need of maintenance to stop it falling into terminal disrepair. The roof tiles are covered in moss, tiles are being dislodged by energetic seagulls, and the guttering is growing a garden! Somebody needs to look at this much admired feature of old Church Street and invest in its future by giving it an overdue spring clean and doing some elementary maintenance.”

 The Council says “maintenance work to the roof and gutters will now be undertaken early in the New Year.”

 Lisson Grove/ Marylebone Road junction

We have reported this issue to the Road Safety Team:

“This is always held up by parked coaches and delivery vans narrowing the crossing to one lane. Only a few yards back the pavement is double width for no good reason – couldn’t some emergency parking facility be installed there?”

 The Chippenham area

We are making inquiries with the Council about these issues:

“I am keen to hear plans for the development of the Chippenham and whether anything can be done about these awful Shisha places that are directly opposite! When you walk past the smoke bellowing out I always wonder how this manages to get past the smoking ban. Also leaving burning hot coals in the street outside surely isn’t allowed? There really is a desperate need for some other businesses in this area, I was very sad to see Stitching Room has moved on.”

 The Council has given us the following update:

 “Talk of the Town, 122-124 Chippenham Road

 The appeal against the City Council’s refusal of planning permission (ref: 14/08593/FULL) for the “Use of ground floor premises and forecourt area as a mixed internet cafe and shisha smoking place (Sui Generis) and erection of supported and enclosed canopy structure on forecourt area with associated alteration to forecourt (retrospective application)” remains ongoing and the appeal site inspection is due to take place on the 4th January 2016. The City Council should receive a decision from the Planning Inspectorate within five weeks after the site inspection.

 The Planning Enforcement Team has prepared a report to serve an enforcement notice on the property in the event that the appeal is dismissed. The enforcement notice will require the shisha smoking use to cease and for the forecourt extension to be removed. 

 Momtaz Shisha Café, 99 Chippenham Road

 The City Council served an enforcement notice formally requiring the use of the site as a mixed café/restaurant and shisha smoking place to cease in December 2013. The lawful use of the site is as a café/restaurant.  Prosecution action commenced in June 2014 following non-compliance with the notice and the exchange of extensive correspondence with the owner’s legal representatives.  The owner has claimed that the notice is invalid because it was not served properly, but the City Council disputes this.  The owner has also claimed that he is complying with the notice by ensuring that shisha smoking at the site is only ancillary to the lawful restaurant use, which the City Council also disputes.  He pleaded not guilty at Westminster Magistrates’ Court earlier this year and requested trial by jury in the Crown Court.  There is due to be a trial at Southwark Crown Court in January 2016.”

Lanark Road

Dolphin Living have been chosen by Westminster Council to re-develop the Lanark Road site which currently includes the Lanark Centre, Paddington Boy’s club and a facility used by St George’s School. We welcome the new, much needed, homes and the re-building of the community facilities – but it is also important that the design is right and the impact on neighbouring residents kept to a minimum.

Warrington Crescent

 We raised this issue with the Council:

“Your newsletter update prompted me to write about  a building called ‘Manor House’ at the top of Warrington Crescent, W9, the Warwick Avenue end. When the church grounds were sold some of the pavement was taken, and all the low walled green space with the benches was taken away. Residents were assured that there would still be places to sit, within the development, where a small courtyard with plants and benches was built. Indeed, we did sit there sometimes, and could walk through from Warwick Avenue to Warrington Crescent to do so. But then, gates were erected at both ends of this ‘common space’ and we were locked out.  I don’t remember when; nor the actual reasons given; whether permission was granted. I would be really grateful if you could look into the history of this piece of amenity land, its disappearance and its recent continual encroachment.”

 The Council says:

 “There was fa planning application or the installation of new railings and gate and change of use of the public highway to private amenity area to Manor House. The application was reported to the Planning Sub-Committee on 18 December 2012 and Members resolved to grant planning permission and also authorised the Stopping Up Order for the area of highway necessary to enable the development to take place. Permission was granted due to the anti-social behavior.”

 Grove End Road

 The Council has updated us on the missing refuse bin:

 Our bin washing team took this bin away to be jet-washed recently but it has since been returned. Normally they would replace the bin at the same time as they take one away so apologies for the confusion.”

 Junction of Hall Road/Circus Road/Grove End Road

We have reported this issue to the Road Safety Team

“Allowing a right turn from Circus Road inevitably means all other traffic misses a green light – especially as the buses on this narrow road delay traffic when meeting vehicles coming the other way. Couldn’t the Southbound light stay green longer than the North one to facilitate this turn? This is now done at the Avenue Road/Regents Park junction most successfully.”

 Woronzow Road

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“The enormous development of a house here has been ongoing for some years. Recently, after some time, another refurbishment was done. The pavement outside has been extensively damaged by all these works and never repaired – isn’t it the responsibility of the developer to reinstate this?”

 Aldridge Road Villas – prostitutes

We have been working with the police to use some of their sadly depleted resources into monitoring this area. We are also calling on City West Homes to see what more they can do design and lighting wise at the back of Dorchester House to limit the problems.

‘Paddington Shard’

We are very concerned that the plans for the controversial new ‘Paddington Shard’ development might be rushed through by Easter 2016, despite only opening for public consultation on December 14th 2015. The proposed 254-metre tower (up to 72 floors) on the old Royal Mail sorting office site on London Road next to Paddington Station is designed by architect Renzo Piano for the Sellar Property Group, the team behind the Shard at London Bridge.

The proposals will contain up to 349 new homes, over 100,000 sq ft of office space and 50,000 sq ft of retail and leisure facilities. The scheme has the potential to dramatically regenerate the area around Paddington Station, providing new job opportunities and public realm benefits, but has a number of significant problems, not least the currently proposed lack of affordable housing.

Many local residents are concerned about the height of the proposed building and its impact on the surrounding area. They are not alone in this concern, as according to the ‘Independent’, Heritage England have made it clear that they have “very serious concerns indeed” about the proposed project. They have written that “A building of this scale in this location threatens harm, some of its substantial, to many designated heritage assets across a wide geographical area, including listed buildings, registered historic parks and conservation areas…If permitted, this building would be the beginning of a permanent change in the character of a large part of London.”

The development is likely to have a significant impact on traffic and local public transport that must be fully understood before approval is given. The project must not impede the work at St Mary’s Hospital or its future development needs, and we are calling on the applicants to work collaboratively with Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust to ensure any new development benefits the hospital and its patients.

Chepstow Road – refuse collection

We asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“I have noticed that the garbage collectors on Chepstow Road have recently been leaving large wheelie bins open after they have emptied them which results in rainwater build up at the bottom of the bins as well as inviting passers-by to jettison their own rubbish into these larger bins. The council should be made aware of this and I am not sure who the right person to contact is – hence this message!”

The Council say:

“I’ve highlighted specific location to Veolia to highlight to collection crews alongside general reminder of bin ‘etiquette’”

Chepstow Road – parking

We have reported this issue to the Council:

“May I bring to your attention the case of the motor cycle which for the past four weeks (at least) has been occupying Residents’ Parking space in Chepstow Road? The practice of parking motor cycle on Residents’ Parking Spaces has grown in recent months. Can we please have a note of the Council’s policy for addressing this problem?”

The Council say:

“I can now confirm that the motorbike in question has a valid resident’s permit which covers Chepstow Road. The council’s policy is that any Westminster resident who can prove that they have a vehicle registered and insured at their address is entitled to a resident’s parking permit, this includes motorcycle users.  There is currently no plan to change the policy in relation to motorbike owners. The council does not remove vehicles that do not display valid parking permits.  The only occasions on which we do remove vehicles are when they are deemed to be abandoned.”

We have also reported this issue:

“I have noticed that the garbage collectors on Chepstow Road have recently been leaving large wheelie bins open after they have emptied them which results in rainwater build up at the bottom of the bins as well as inviting passers-by to jettison their own rubbish into these larger bins. The council should be made aware of this and I am not sure who the right person to contact is – hence this message!”

Recycling

We have asked the Council to consider this suggestion from a resident:

“The recycling black bins have a small slot through which people are meant to put their recycling.  However most people use the blue bags.  I note that most people dutifully recycle and then place the blue bags next to the black bins as it is difficult to fit everything in through the slots.  Westminster Council then sends somebody round to rummage through the blue bags and fines people £80 for the privilege.  This seems like a nonsensical situation.  Several families have given up recycling for this reason.  I appreciate that there is collection once a week, but recycling builds up more quickly than this and space in flats is at a premium.  Would it not be more sensible to open the lids of the recycling bins as with the rubbish bins?”

The Council says:

“Unfortunately it isn’t practical to leave the lids of recycling bins open as they often get filled with general rubbish – if the rubbish has then been covered over with ‘genuine recycling’ it may then still get emptied by our recycling vehicle but the whole 8 tonnes of recycling then gets rejected at the recycling sorting plant and we have to pay penalty ‘contamination’ fees.

Blue recycling bags are intended only for residents to leave on their doorstep on the recycling collection day. Dumping blue bags (or black bags) on our streets is totally unacceptable and has been the focus of our ‘no dumping’ campaign. I would estimate it should take no more than a minute to post the contents of a normal sized bag of recycling through the slot of a recycling bin.”

Air pollution

We are continuing to press the Council to take action to reduce pollution on Westminster’s roads. Recently the Evening Standard reported that:

“Nearly one in four school children in London are being forced to breathe air so filthy that it breaches EU legal limits, a shock report warned today.

In findings which will alarm many parents, it was revealed that 328,000 pupils were at schools where nitrogen dioxide levels were above the annual permitted level. They included more than 30,000 children in Westminster, 29,000 in Tower Hamlets, 28,800 in Southwark, 26,300 in Camden, 24,000 in Kensington and Chelsea, 23,700 in Lambeth and 20,100 in Hackney.”

Play Service

Westminster Council is pressing ahead with plans to drop all responsibility for the Children’s Play service. In December 46 staff were told that their posts were being abolished as Westminster cuts funding and expects schools to take over responsibility for play and after-school activities..

Church Street – what you say

“I am probably on Church Street 5 days out of 7 most weeks, and rarely do not see beggars. It has got worse this year, and some of the younger males have been very forceful at times (typically with older females); I have telephoned the Police twice re specific incidents.”

Maida Hill Market area – what you say

“I wondered what the plans are for the now closed Costcutter on Harrow Road. This was a little sense of safety when coming home late at night and popping in to the shop at all hours, now it’s closure means quite a dark and scary junction is even worse.”

Whiteley’s – what you say

“I’m pretty sure that the ’80s shopping centre development retained some original features such as the staircase. It’s a wonderful feature sweeping curves from ground to first floor. I think it would be appalling if Whiteley’s turns into another block of luxury apartments with many being bought as investment properties where the owners have no intention of living in them or even in some cases, renting them out.”

Clifton Road/Maida Vale junction – what you say

“It is very dangerous crossing Clifton Road here near the bus-stop and Remedys chemist shop as traffic is either turning into Clifton Road from the right or left of Maida Vale or the traffic is hurrying to get onto Maida Vale, including buses. Perhaps there could be a phase when all lights are red for vehicle traffic as at the nearby junction of St. John’s Wood Road and Lisson Grove/ Grove End Road.  This would be a great advantage for pedestrians at both junctions and would delay vehicle traffic by, say, only 10 seconds.”

What you say

“As always many thanks for this report and all the work that goes behind it.”

“May I (once again) repeat my appreciation for all your efforts on the many local problems that are brought to your attention.”

“Thanks once again, this is a terrific example of local democracy and representation working to good effect.”

“Thank you so much for the email and keeping me informed. It is always good to hear from you.”

“Thank you for the update as ever, a very interesting read! Many thanks for your continued hard work”

“Thank you for the latest WNA report.  Getting things done as usual!!!”

“Thank you for the informative report. You have a tough job because the same people who moan about a lack of housing protest every measure to increase housing (Whiteleys, the Chippenham, Lanark Road).”

“Thank you for the December report – really helpful and informative. I think you are doing a great job and it is really good to have someone to pass on concerns to”

“I really appreciate all you are doing for us and have done so over the many years I have been living here.”

“Many thanks for the very informative and good reply from the relevant authorities.”

“Many thanks for the good work and communication thereof”

“Thank you again for addressing so many of our local issues”

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

 

WESTMINSTER NORTH ACTION REPORT – DECEMBER 2015

NEWS FROM WESTMINSTER’S LABOUR COUNCILLORS

Edgware Road/Harrow Road subway

We reported this issue to the Council:

“I write with regret, as I have been reporting human excrement smeared on a subway wall. Despite calling repeatedly it is still there.”

The Council told us:

“I can confirm that this offensive waste was jet-washed clean yesterday evening by Veolia.  The confusion arose as the subway network is owned and maintained by Transport for London with the Council’s role limited to sweeping the floors.  However, in cases like this however, determining which public body holds responsibility clearly comes second to getting the problem fixed as quickly as possible. I have asked for the lessons from this case to be reviewed with Transport for London colleagues to ensure we can respond more quickly in future.”

The resident said:

“Thank you so much, and that’s great news! Thanks for all you do.”

Church Street toilets – Update

The Council has told us the current situation:

“We have locked the ladies and men’s facilities whilst retaining the controlled access for the disabled facilities.  A Market trader holds the key for traders to use the facilities and the City Inspectors and Police are aware of who holds the key and can direct members of the public to the relevant trader to gain access if needed.   

The intention of this pilot is to break the habit of rough sleepers using the facilities as a support system and it has worked to date, reducing the draw and numbers of rough sleepers and beggars in the area. We had received complaints about the abuse of these facilities and our information showed that they were little used by members of the public. 

We plan to review this approach on a monthly basis through to the spring.” 

Pedestrian crossings on Marylebone Road

We asked TfL why pedestrian cannot cross Marylebone Road in one go. This is the response we have received:

“All the traffic signals on Marylebone Road work in unison to manage any delays that may occur along the entirety of this section of road. All vehicle and pedestrian signals are therefore timed to work in parallel with one another whilst giving pedestrians as much opportunity as possible to cross both halves of the crossing in one movement. However, dependent on when during the signal cycle pedestrians arrive at the crossing, there will be times they will have to wait in the central island to complete the movement.

While it is possible to cross in one movement at both locations referred to in your email, it is not possible at all crossing points on Marylebone Road. If we implemented full width pedestrian crossings at all locations on Marylebone Road it would have a significant negative impact on the operation of Marylebone Road, creating additional delays at a number of locations.

Unfortunately, I cannot therefore commit to modifying the crossing points but I can assure you we are vigilant to changing behaviours and demand, and that we undertake frequent reviews to ensure our junctions work in the most effective way.”

The Chippenham

We are continuing to take this issue up with the Council:

“It would also be great to find out what is happening with the beautiful pub, the Chippenham. This area would benefit greatly if this is retained as a sensitively refurbished pub rather than over-priced flats. This cross roads is in desperate need of attention and a space of social and community value that is welcoming to all, this would bring some life back. In recent years this corner has become an issue. I have been physically harassed late at night getting of the number 6 bus and I know local residents whom have been here for years are being more and more excluded from this hub of very dominant ghetto of shops and cafes.” 

Crompton Street

We have reported this Issue to the Council:

“I would like to report a dead sapling in Crompton St, London, W2, diagonally opposite the Little Venice Medical Centre.   It needs removing as it has rotted away and could fall on a passing pedestrian or cyclist/motorist in a strong wind.”

The Council tell us that it will be removed and a new tree will be planted.

Parking problems at St Augustine’s and Essendine Schools

Councillor Rita Begum has been meeting with representatives from St. Augustine’s School, Carla Lowe, Road Safety officer and Claire Dunn to discuss parking problems caused by cars parked on double yellow lines, zig-zag lines, single yellow & double yellow lines. These parking problems are making it hard for children to come into school. We have called on the Council to deploy Parking Marshalls to control parking between 8.30am to 9am and from 3.15pm to 3.45 when the problems are at their height. These problems are the same at Essendine School and we are urging action at both schools.

Junction of Finchley Road, Marlborough Place and Queen’s Grove – update

Transport for London has told us:

“Due to the merging of southbound lanes on Finchley Road after the junction, a yellow box would not be the most appropriate measure here. However, based on our observations we have concluded traffic would move through more smoothly if ‘Keep Clear’ road markings were introduced. My officers had advised they will implement new markings within the next three to four months.”

Relocated bus stop between Abercorn Place and Hall Road on Maida Vale‏ – Update

We asked TfL why they did not consult residents about the decision to relocate the bus stop. TfL tell us:

“While we do not carry out consultations for relocating single bus stops, we of course do so for schemes with potentially wider impact on the travelling public.When we move bus stops we are required to notify residents or businesses whose property fronts directly onto the new location. In this case, as there is no direct frontage at the new location, no notification letters were required. Meanwhile, I can assure you that the move was fully approved by Westminster City Council.

Regarding the Countdown sign, I can confirm this will be reinstated once the shelter has been connected to the electricity grid. This is dependent on our contractors who we are chasing regularly.”

436 and 452 bus routes – Proposed changes

Transport for London is consulting on proposals to change the 436 and 452 bus routes. TfL says:

“The area around Vauxhall, Nine Elms and Battersea (VNEB) is currently experiencing a large amount of growth; with an increase in the number of jobs and housing, the number of people needing access to public transport is on the rise. As a result, we are proposing to make changes to routes 436 and 452 so that they better serve the VNEB area and would like to hear your views. We are also proposing to increase the frequency on route 36 in conjunction with these proposals.”

You can see the proposals and make your comments here: https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/buses/436-452

Artesian and Needham Roads

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“A coach has now taken to being parked up over some nights – may be one or two in the week – on the corner of Artesian Road and Needham Road, the opposite side to the pillar box.  It comes around 10.30 pm and is there after 8.30 the following morning.  We don’t see any parking attendants first thing in the morning so it gets away with it.  It makes the turn right out of Needham Road into Artesian Road slightly difficult for cars. It also gives less temporary drop off parking for mothers with children for the Cherry Tree nursery. There is a perfectly good coach park in the Bayswater Road and I don’t like looking at it!!!!  It would be good to stop this coach parking anyway.”

The Council tells us:

“I can confirm that this area is subject to an overnight coach parking ban and so a vehicle with a capacity to have more than 9 seats (including the drivers) should not be parking here between the hours of 6.30pm and 8.30am.  We have had Marshals patrolling this location at night and the good news is they have not seen any coaches parking here overnight, so I hope this means that the issue has now gone.  We will however keep checking on the area and if a coach is found parked overnight we will deal with it by way of enforcement, and I will let you know.”

We have also asked about this issue:

“There is a new shop on corner of Needham Road and Artesian Road.  This has been renovated with the departure of the upholstery shop and is going to be inhabited by Mimi et Mina.  They have put on the wall on the Artesian Road side the name “Miimi et Mina”.  Is this OK?  It is nicely done and not offensive but is it allowed to advertise like this, not above the shop front and in a residential street?

Talbot Road

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“I wonder if you could look into something for me because you have been so helpful in the past. I’d like to know why on a Saturday morning Virgin Media are allowed to dig up the road. I assumed, stupidly that it must be emergency work but no – when I left my flat I discovered it was for Virgin Media!  I called Westminster noise line and was told that they are allow to make this noise until 1pm.  Why 9-1pm??  surely that is more anti-social to local residents that after 1pm?  

I can understand that British Gas or some kind of emergency has to be dealt with on a Saturday morning – but television cabling!! This road is reasonably quiet after rush hour so there would be plenty of opportunity to do it when it is quiet during the week.  Currently my feet are shaking with the vibrations and I’m in a 3rd floor flat and I have a splitting headache from 2 hours solid digging. The corner of Talbot Rd/Chepstow Road has been dug up so many times it is now a standing joke with local businesses and residents”

Whiteleys Plans unveiled

Please let us know you views on proposals for Whiteleys announced by Meyer Bergman and Warrior Group, which they say “will transform Bayswater and Queensway through a mixed-use revitalisation of the landmark building”. They say:

“A planning application involves the demolition of the 1980’s building behind the retained, historic Queensway façade to provide a residential-led, mixed-use development with a new retail and leisure offering. Detailed consideration has been made to the original design by John Belcher and John James Joass in 1911, to combine some of the impressive features with an exciting, contemporary design by Fosters & Partners, which will incorporate the iconic central dome. A careful refurbishment of the prominent façade will be undertaken to restore it to its former status as the window into an exciting new retail and leisure world.

The proposed plans include the construction of more than 100 homes, a mixture of apartments and townhouses. These will be arranged around an attractive inner courtyard with new retail units, a boutique hotel, gym and other enhanced leisure facilities, including a new cinema at basement level.

The scheme will open onto Queensway, which is planned to undergo a £50 million revamp scheduled to begin in early 2016, creating an active frontage for a revitalised retail offering and designed to draw the public into the inner courtyard.”

For more information see http://whiteleysdevelopment.co.uk/index.php

A group called Save Whiteleys Heritage has bee set up to ensure as much of the Whiteleys building is saved from demolition

http://www.westendextra.com/news/2015/nov/historic-whiteleys-department-store-could-be-demolished-developers-unveil-£1bn-plan-bu

Porchester Road

We are chasing the Council on this issue:

“You reported a while ago that the Council said it was planning to replace the tree that had been felled on Porchester Road, for the construction of the new building that now houses the West London Buddhist Centre.  The tree has still not been replaced, what is happening?”

32 Palace Court

We are supporting local residents who say:

“We have been vigorously opposed to the demolition and reconstruction of ESCA House.  Over 50 letters were written to object. Several of us have read the plans and we believe the developers have paid not the slightest attention to our comments.  The proposed changes are no more than a condescending attempt to pacify a few angry residents.”

“The plan is structurally flawed, providing for a large residential development directly over an underground line. The new site is frankly a monstrosity that is totally out of keeping with one of the finest late Victorian streets in Bayswater. The area is already overcrowded and this new site will simply increase the intensive residential development throughout our streets. We already live in a very noisy area. Any increase in housing density will add to that noise, permanently change the local environment and make neighbourhood lives unbearable.”

Bayswater Road

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“I don’t understand why the work along Bayswater Road is taking so long. Why does it take several months to install new pipes? Is there an estimated completion date? Why is there no explanation of what is causing this endless disruption?”

The Council says:

“There are a couple of major works on-going in Bayswater Rd. One is our own footway resurfacing, which will basically be both sides footway and will continue into the Spring of 2016. The other major job is the Gas works taking place at the Notting Hill Gate end of Bayswater Rd and I believe that it should be completed within next couple of weeks; however, I don’t have too much information on this job as it is all within RBKC.”

Chepstow Road – what you say

“To add to the discussion about traffic in Chepstow Road which seems to come up quite often, I would like to put in a plea for keeping the status quo.  I live on the street and, like lots of other owners, have had major problems with cracks in the walls, to the extent that the lintel broke on the first floor.  The surveyor said the problem was vibrations from the traffic which he said have the same effect as bomb damage. This of course is not insurable against.   I have found that since the new busses have come in use that the house shakes far less that it used to, and that the noise is not nearly so bad, and I think this is at least in part because the traffic is slowed down a bit by the busses having to pass each other.  It is also the case that the problem is not chronic, it only happens occasionally that busses have to give way to each other, and it seems to work very well.”

Whiteleys – what you say

“I like the concept and approach. Current Whiteleys was of its time. My only concern is whether the residential accommodation will contribute to the housing needs of W2 or just be 100% open market and sold off plan to overseas investors.”

Paddington ‘Shard’ – what you say

“For goodness sake, support Simon Jenkins view in this case. A tower of spectacularly pedestrian appearance! It might be acceptable in the City but most certainly not in Paddington.”

“I think it is an exciting prospect. Paddington is such a run-down area with its only identity given by the hospital and the station. I know there are a few interesting things, like the Frontline Club, etc, but it could be so much better! I hope they get permission to go ahead and to begin the regeneration of this area and to give it a new identity. “

“My view of the shard is that it is completely out of keeping with north of Hyde Park. If there was some comfort that the flats would be lived in I would have a tiny amount of sympathy, but there will be a care issue with the building in due course if residential and it will permanently alter the area. I hold no candle for Praed Street which is a grim bus canyon, but anything higher than the basin flats should be discouraged I believe.”

“I think the old Sorting Office site is totally inappropriate for a ‘Shard’ type building – it would stand out like a sore thumb.  I’m surprised the old Sorting Office is not a listed building.  In any case, the area needs more luxury flats/hotels like a hole in the head.”

“I believe I’d oppose it.  It’s SO tall.”

“Would be the ruin of the neighbourhood, light. I totally agree with Simon Jenkins.”

“I completely agree with the article by Simon Jenkins.  I am not a fan of tall buildings but can appreciate the Shard which is one of several tall buildings and therefore does not look so totally out of place.  However, to have a mini Shard in Paddington where it would stand alone like a pencil would look ridiculous and so out of place amongst the smaller surrounding buildings. “

“NO. Paddington Shard too much for low rise West London – don’t let them destroy the intimacy of West London. Paddington has had enough second rate high-rise in the Basin – have you been there? Claustrophobia on the grand scale!”

“A very strong NO to the proposed skyscraper in Paddington. Completely out of scale and out of character. Would put much more pressure on transport in an area that’s already a squash”

Maida Hill market – what you say

“The best solution for the Maida Hill market is to remove all the seating benches on the square to stop the drinkers gathering there.”

Blomfield Road, Aberdeen Place, Maida Vale junction – what you say

“I agree with comments from others about proposed cyclist measure at Blomfield Road, Aberdeen Place, Maida Vale. They seem willing to do anything to favour cyclists with no regards for pedestrians. My reply to the e survey bounced back but I will try to send again. Cyclists are often arrogant, heedless of pedestrians (as per the example on another part of the towpath in your report).”

 What you say

“Very many thanks, as ever. This is such a thoughtful and informed bulletin!”

“Thank you for your detailed update on this action”

“As always thank you for all the work that goes into the reports, detailed and thorough as they are”

“Thank you to you and your team for yet another informative report”

“Many thanks for this great update report once again”

“Many thanks for your updates and information – so useful and helpful.”

“Thank you for these interesting updates.”

‘Thank you for the newsletter which I find very useful.”

“My thanks for all the good work you are doing for the residents”

“A rubbish bin has turned up near the fire gate on Fermoy Rd! I know this wouldn’t have happened without your support and action, so I’d like to thank you sincerely. Hopefully this will make a small difference to the level of litter in the area.”

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

 

WESTMINSTER NORTH ACTION REPORT – NOVEMBER 2015

NEWS FROM WESTMINSTER’S LABOUR COUNCILLORS

Church Street CCTV cameras

We are continuing to press the Council to reinstate the CCTV cameras in Church Street to deter crime and catch those responsible for thefts and anti-social behaviour.

West End Green, Edgware Road

Berkeley Group has bought the 2.59 acre site fronting the long-empty Edgware Road (behind Paddington Green Police Station). Berkeley plan to develop it for residential use, including a 22-storey residential tower, to deliver over 600 new homes. Along with Karen Buck MP, we are pushing for a reasonable proportion of new homes to be genuinely affordable, for rent and sale – at least the 30% contained in the Council’s policy.

BT building, Marylebone Road/Bell Street/Burne Street

We have asked the Council for an update on the present unsatisfactory situation with dumped rubbish at the BT building, particularly along Burne Street.

Lisson Green football pitch

We have asked the Estate Office to replace the broken lights around the football pitch as children are playing in dark.

Fingest and Hardwick Houses

We have asked the Estate Office to replace a couple of broken panels to the entrance door of Fingest House and Hardwick House.

Aberdeen Place towpath closure

We have asked the Canal and River Trust to let us know the situation:

“The towpath at the top of Aberdeen Place has been closed for months. The official notice, attached to the railings said it was initially closed for energy company works which is understandable, but it has now been closed for two or three months longer than the notice states. Many tourists as well as local people love to pick up the towpath walk after Little Venice and the 250 yards of Aberdeen Place where there is no towpath. “

The Canal & River Trust has told us:

“There has been an oily discharge appearing on the towpath, where it is beneath the bridge that carries Lisson Grove over the canal. We continue to explore with UK Power Networks and National Grid, two companies with installations in the area, but it has proven difficult to establish the source. Our environmental scientists are keeping the situation under review to minimise the impact but until the seepage can be eradicated the towpath here is not safe for pedestrians and cyclists.”

In response, we have asked the Canal & River Trust to put up sign with this information.

Prince of Wales public house, Harrow Road

A the 3rd November Planning Committee the proposed change of use of the Prince of Wales pub on the Harrow Road to a betting shop was unanimously refused. Two separate petitions containing 768 signatures combined were collected and 80 individual objections were received by the Council. Officers recommended refusal as: “…the loss of a public house and the proposed use will harm the retail vitality and viability of the Harrow Road District Shipping Centre.”

A great victory for the local community!

Lydford Youth Club

We are working hard with residents to get a youth group reinstated following the recent decision by City West Homes to close its youth club on the Lydford and other estates in Westminster. Residents say:

“The Lydford Tenants and Residents Association started this youth group 15 years ago and are concerned that there has been no consultation and with community organisation in the area who have a strong interest in these important facilities for young people. We would like to hear from others who care about provision for young people in this area so that we plan some response to save our clubs.”

Fermoy Road

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“The level of rubbish in Fermoy Rd appears to be getting worse – we have drink receptacles left on our fences, there is a great deal of fast food litter from local eateries and not to mention the dog mess (there was a significant fowling on the motorcycle chains at the intersection with Hormead which was disgusting to have to clean up). Fly tipping is also getting out of hand behind the bike bay at Hormead/Fermoy- it seems like every week there is a new heap of wood, a mattress, some white goods, general rubbish left there for someone else to clean up.”

Canal Tow path

We have written again to the Canal & River Trust about this long-standing issue:

“I had yet another discussion with a cyclist yesterday who was racing down the path even though there were several pedestrians on it. When I pointed out that there was a cycle path parallel to the towpath and it was prohibited to cycle on the tow path, his response was, ‘I don’t care, I just want to get home from work’, as he sped away from me. I am all for encouraging cycling, but when there is a cycle path right next to the towpath, when will pedestrian’s right to safely walk alongside the canal be acknowledged? At a minimum the signage needs to be updated and made clearer that cycling is not allowed on the canal side path (much of the footpath writing has worn off and the signs do not all face the direction of the cyclist).”

The ‘Paddington Shard’ – what do you think?

Simon Jenkins has written an article in the Standard opposing the proposed ‘Paddington shard’. And there is an article on ‘Mail Online’ where the architect explains his plans. What do you think?

http://www.standard.co.uk/comment/comment/simon-jenkins-london-s-precious-skyline-is-for-sale-to-the-highest-bidder-a3100166.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3289794/Skyscrapers-NOT-ruining-London-skyline-claims-architect-Shard-unveils-plans-latest-project-new-224-metre-tower.html

Pindock Mews

We have again asked the Council to repaint the yellow lines to stop unauthorised parking.

Edgware Road and Blomfield Road junction

We have asked the Road Safety Team about this issue:

“Do you know whether the TFL cycle lane plans for the junction of Edgware Road and Blomfield Road involve the addition of any new green men on the crossings? The crossing in Blomfield Road is particularly dangerous. There are traffic lights on Edgware Road at this junction. When the lights governing Blomfield Road go red and the traffic coming along Blomfield road stops, pedestrians assume that they can cross Blomfield Road safely. Wrong. Traffic coming along Edgware Road from Marble Arch can turn into Blomfield Road and traffic coming the other way from Kilburn can also turn into Edgware Road. So pedestrians have to monitor traffic from three directions if you include the cyclists coming from Aberdeen place. I use this crossing every day and have seen many near accidents, particularly involving tourists who are very confused by this layout. We need a green man. “
“I assume you will be involved in the consideration of the proposed changes to the junction of Edgware Road, Maida Vale, Blomfield Road and Aberdeen Place. If so, could you please bring some pressure to bear on TFL to give real consideration, at last, to the problem of the pedestrian at this junction, and not just the cyclist? “

Maida Vale bus stop – update

Residents tell us:

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

Kilburn Park Road

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

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

Gustavo tells us:

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

Paddington Rec

We have asked the Council to sort out this issue:

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

The Council say:

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

Barrow Hill Estate

Karen Buck MP will be meeting the new Chief Executive of City West Homes to discuss residents’ concerns about the ongoing major works programme on Barrow Hill Estate. In order to better understand residents’ concerns Karen sent out a survey to all of the residents asking for their thoughts and comments on the project.

Derelict sites update

We have received the following update from the Council:
• 42 Carlton Hill: Works have re-commenced on site. A new contractor has been appointed and the Case Officer will be attending the site to establish how things are progressing.
• 34 Marlborough Place: The general condition of the front boundary wall and the untidy appearance of the land is be rectified. The owner has also confirmed their intention to fully implement the planning permission granted in 2010, which is currently part-implemented, and seek to re-instate the front boundary wall. Should works not have commenced on site to remedy the general condition of the land then legal action will be considered by the Council.
• 15 Loudoun Road: The developer has confirmed his intention to redevelop the site, and has submitted details to discharge the condition concerning the Construction Management Plan.

St John’s Wood Road buses

We have asked Transport for London to consider this suggestion:

“Instead of both 187/46 buses turning left along Maida Vale when they come out of Clifton Road, and then proceeding up Hall Road towards Circus Road, identical routes here, one of these buses from Clifton Road could go straight over the Edgware Road into St John’s Wood Road; turning left at the top into Wellington Road (opposite the Church where there’s a bus-stop) and then virtually continue their normal route.”

“When I was young the bus that is now the 139/189 ran along St John’s Wood Road to the Church roundabout but at some point it was rerouted through Lisson Grove and Rossmore Road. It would be good to have a St John’s Wood Road service perhaps by diverting the 46, 139, 187 or 189 but the frequencies of buses on the existing routes would need to be maintained.”

Wharncliffe Gardens

Karen Buck MP tells us that it has now been confirmed that the residents on the Wharncliffe Gardens estate will be having new windows fitted as part of their major works programme, following her efforts in trying to make this happen.

The Windsor Castle

The Maida Hill Forum reports:

“Following an enforcement notice, the owners have removed breeze blocks from all the windows and installed security grids on the inside. They’ve repainted and tidied up the front. A group from Westbourne Forum, Councillor Adam Hug and Jen Lindsay from North Paddington Society met with the agent and architect for the owner (who is YPP Investments, specialising in ‘student and professional residential sector’). YPP Investments intends to convert the building into flats and will make a formal application in the New Year. The local team pushed for the following:
• To retain the historic fabric of the original building, with all its decorative features. If careful ‘excavation’ of the frontage should reveal hidden features, e.g. the five pillars of the original façade then they should be restored and retained.
• To provide a space at ground level that is of social and community value.”

Elmfield Way

Residents living near Elmfield Way have been complaining all summer about a chaotic and dangerous parking situation – with vehicles triple parked on bad days. Karen Buck MP raised the issue with the road’s private owners and a new parking contractor, Euro Car Parks, has now been appointed and their impact has been remarkable, with the street now mostly clear and accessible. Karen is continuing to speak to the council and the private owners of Elmfield Way to push forward with the adoption of the road, which would provide a long-term solution and the provision of normal council services.

Aldridge Road Villas and Westbourne Park Road

We have asked the Police and Council to let us know what they doing to address the problems of continued prostitution on the corner of Aldridge Road Villas and Westbourne Park Road.

6-8 Hereford Road

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“I have again been hearing whining noises at night and rumbling noises both at night and through the day. The latter have now been witnessed and traced to the ongoing building works at 6-8 Hereford Road. Planning permission for building works has been applied for (a roof extension and adjustments to some of the windows) but has not yet been granted. Why, therefore, is the whole building covered in scaffolding and plastic and why are loud drilling noises and vibrations coming from it?”

Leinster Square streetlight

We have reported this problem to the Council:

“I reported this issue this morning but was told it was not a priority issue. I pointed out how dark it is as I live in the basement flat. It will also be dark in the street for members of the general public and people going into and out of the building upstairs so it is a general health and safety issue.”

Residents tell us:

“Just back from dinner to find the street light working! Thank you very much.”

7-12 Leinster Square

We have reported a blocked drain at this location:

“The builders have been putting all sorts of rubbish down the drains and as a result they are blocked. When it rains there is standing water. Who takes responsibility if the basement flats get flooded? I reported this to the council in August and nothing has been done.”

Chepstow Road/Talbot Road

We have asked the Council to investigate the situation here:

“It is not the amount of heavy traffic, it is the speed they are driving, the noise they are making and the condition of the road. We have experienced so many accidents and close calls in the junction over the years. All of us had had near misses mainly busses running a light. Making it easier to speed down the road by restricting parking for the residents to one side is NOT an option. The only way to go forward is to either split the lines and have other routing or make it into a one way street. We have over the years have had cracks in the house; we have changed our windows to triple gazing with noise reduction film, had double lined curtains. We can unfortunately not do anything about the house shaking, items falling of shelves and cracked windows. This is the reality of living at the corner of Chepstow Road and Talbot Road. “

St Petersburgh Place

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“I cycle it southwards frequently and it must have the worst surface of any road in the Borough. It seems strange that some roads are repeatedly resurfaced while others remain in appallingly dangerous condition.”

Buses in Bayswater update

We have received this update from the Council:

“With regards to the issue of bus noise, we have discussed this with Transport for London (TfL). We have been advised that many of the bus routes which operate through the area are older style vehicles built in 2004 and are significantly noisier than many of the newer models in operation on other bus routes across London.
However, TfL have advised that some of the existing bus contracts are being renewed shortly and the buses travelling through this area will be newer and less disruptive to local residents. Newer bus models for Route 28 and Route 328 are scheduled to be introduced from April 2016. These buses will be much newer models and therefore much quieter than existing buses. Route 7 saw the introduction of new hybrid vehicles in 2014 so these are already much quieter than other buses in use. Route 70 has 2012 single deck vehicles in use which are also relatively new. The Route 31 contract has just been extended for another two years so the existing bus models currently in use are likely to remain in operation until then.
TfL have advised that if residents feel more noise is being generated than is expected by buses, they should contact their customer services team at londonstreets@tfl.gov.uk with details that will enable the operator to identify it. This would typically be the registration number, the date, the time and the location. The vehicle will then be inspected at the earliest opportunity.”

North Paddington Food Bank Update

The Foodbank provides food for over 30 people a session and is open on Wednesday mornings from 9.30 to 12.30 at the WECH community hall, off Elgin Avenue W9. If you would like to help, Tara is the main contact: Tara@wech.org.uk. She works Wednesdays and Thursdays for the Food Bank and is contactable during those hours. For urgent queries on other days please continue to contact Gina or Phyllis on 0207 266 3347 or by email at npfoodbank@wech.org.uk.

Grand Union Health Centre

The new Elgin Practice and Harrow Road Health Centre have now merged and are located at 209 Harrow Road. The combination of practices means more appointments for patients, longer opening hours, more choice of doctors. Contact the Grand Union Health Centre, 209 Harrow Road, London W2 5EH 02072861231

Maida Hill Place – what you say

“It just doesn’t seem to be able to get rid of the street drinkers and often there is a drunk person just lying there and you worry that if they were in serious trouble, people would just walk by as it’s not a rare sight!”

Cycling on the towpath – what you say

“Cyclists regularly go very fast across the junctions at/near Caffe Laville where Edgware Road/Maida Vale/Blomfield Road have a series of hopelessly difficult traffic lights. As well as going fast, cyclists jump the lights, and have no regard for pedestrians. I am getting older and I find it more difficult to dodge cyclists on the pavement and speeding across junctions or going straight through them against the lights. This relates to the towpath because the same behaviour applies, they speed silently past, almost throwing me off balance. There is not enough space to accommodate cyclists and pedestrians safely. A cycle lane would never be enforced and cyclists ignore them at will. They behave as if they are more entitled to speed around than a pedestrian wanting to walk slowly enjoying, our lovely area.”

Regent’s Park – what you say

“In regard to the matter of the homeless guys enjoying Regents Park in the Holford House Meadow area, Nick and Pascal are very gentle, spiritual and educated people. For whatever reason, they have chosen an alternative lifestyle which they live peacefully and kindly. I have walked my dogs in the park every day for 12 years now. At first, I was a little taken aback at the sight of the men sitting in a sunny glade with their neatly wrapped belongings, but I walked past regardless and received a respectful nod and a smile. As the years have passed I have got to know a little about them. Nick and Pascal respect their surroundings. They arrive with their belongings as soon as the park opens and retreat to this little piece of heaven to restore themselves during the day. As the park closes they pack up leaving the place spotless and move on out. They cause no trouble and do a good service in looking after the area.”

Church Street antique shops – what you say

“Church Street has made a name for itself as the place to go to for antiques. These shops should be protected. I noticed new signage at the corner of Church Street and Lisson Grove; there is no point to it if the area is going to lose these shops so full of character.”

St John’s Wood High Street – what you say

“We have lost several restaurants recently – Tinos, Rotisserie, Café Rouge and I understand that Richoux will also go in a year or two. We have a surfeit of estate agents, one after the other. We also lost Timpson’s. The High Street and adjoining streets are being taken over by these characterless estate agents – can’t we limit their number somehow?”

Finchley Road/Marlborough Place/Queen’s Grove junction – what you say

“Someone has asked for a yellow box to be painted on the road at this junction which is a good suggestion and galvanised me into writing what I always think would be a good idea when I am stuck waiting for the lights to change to green at this intersection. The traffic light allows only a few cars through and then all traffic is stationery for a couple of minutes. It would be so much more efficient in keeping the traffic flowing with a green turning arrow for cars crossing Finchley Road at this junction.”

“I entirely agree with the idea of urging TfL to put a yellow box on the Finchley Road/Queen’s Grove junction”

What you say

“Thank you for another excellent WN action report. I appreciate as many others do the painstaking work that must go into recording and dealing with all these issues.”

“It seems to me there’s a constant disregard from Westminster Council for residents and visitors in the area, as many items on your action reports testify”

“Many thanks for your email and the update news of what is happening in North Westminster. I appreciate the time you have taken in compiling these reports which I read with much interest. There is a great deal of useful information in them and also very helpful web links. It helps make us a much more cohesive community.”

“Another excellent report; much appreciated”

“Many thanks for looking into the Plympton Street question. It is clear that the developers are trying to pull a fast one.”

“Thank you again for an interesting update”

“Many thanks for yet another excellent and informative update on local issues”

“Thank you for your help, it really is appreciated.”

“Thank you for your latest news report. These reports are always very interesting and demonstrate both the concerns of residents in this area of London and also the prompt and sensible responses of the Councillors.”

“Many thanks for your bulletin- as informative as always. Thank you all for the work you continue to do for the community. “

“Thanks for your October Action Report, which is as always fantastic in addressing problems and issues in this ward. Many thanks for the good work and communication thereof”

“Thank you as always for your efforts in the local community”

“Thank you again for your report and the action you take on our behalf”

“Thank you for these newsletters which I find very informative and encouraging that we can see responses and indeed often results to comments on local concerns.”

“I just want to say thank you very much for the excellent service I have been receiving from you throughout the past few years. I have found you to be very kind and helpful”

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

WESTMINSTER NORTH ACTION REPORT – OCTOBER 2015

NEWS FROM WESTMINSTER’S LABOUR COUNCILLORS

Boscobel Street

We have reported to the Council:

“Something ought to be done about parking in Boscobel Street. Weekends and evenings there is a line of cars parked on single yellow line with other side taken up by resident’s parking making a two way traffic absolutely impossible”

The Council says:

“Marshals have been informed of the concerns around this area and to take appropriate action. The single yellow line is controlled Mon-Fri 8:30am to 18:30pm. Marshals cannot enforce the single yellow line outside controlled hours. Transportation are reviewing the location as part of a larger review of the Church Street area.”

Hatton Street/Frampton Street

We have reported this problem to the Council:

“I note that large amounts of rubbish are still being dumped on an almost daily basis at the northwest end of Hatton Street by the junction with Frampton Street. There’s so much of it that I suspect that one of the businesses on Frampton St and/or maybe the building site opposite might be largely to blame. The council does a good job of removing the rubbish, but it builds up at weekends and evenings and attracts rats and urban foxes.”

Brazen Head, Lisson Street

We are investigating this issue:

“A planning application has been submitted for the conversion of the Brazen Head pub, 69 Lisson Street, into offices. As you know, the upper floors are already in the process of being converted to flats as per an earlier planning approval. I feel that it would be a terrible shame for yet another pub to be lost. Under the right ownership, it could have a very positive part to play in this ‘cultural’ corner, next to the Lisson Gallery, and at the foot of the proposed new Futures Plan “Green Spine” which will run as far as Fisherton Street, connecting the north and south parts of the ward. I should be grateful if you would look into this and do what you can to prevent it from being approved. “

Plympton Street

We have asked the Planning Department to look in to this issue:

“We have had constant trials and tribulations with planning applications, builders doing what they want after the plans have been approved and now installing plastic gas meters cupboards, which were not in the approved plans. Now after they have installed them, they are going back to apply for them. The planners did not show these cupboards on the plans. These plastic white cupboards stand out and look ghastly. No one else has these on the street and they should be removed. This continues to be a mockery of planning applications and process which favours unscrupulous developers with no regards to neighbours.”

Manor House, Marylebone Road

We have asked the Council to investigate a number of flats where residents believe there are unauthorised holiday lets.

Lodge Road update

We have asked the Road Safety Team to contact this resident who has offered to assist with the Council’s investigations:

“I am sure the traffic planning officers are more than capable, but having driven in the area for over 40 years and living in Lodge Road for many years, I might be able to give a deeper insight on the whole area and its bigger picture? The Lodge Road issue is a much bigger, wider picture than just routine traffic in one street. I would love to help my community and offer my local driver/resident experience to the Council on this issue, if they feel it might assist them.”

Maida Hill Place

Karen Buck MP has written to the police and the Council about the current unsatisfactory situation with street drinkers:

“I have just walked home via Maida Hill Place, for the first time in a few weeks at this time of night, and I was absolutely shocked by the scale of the street drinking. There were at least twenty people there, in two or three groups, and their activities are totally dominating the area. Although I don’t personally find their behaviour threatening, there is no question that it is an intimidating situation, and indeed there were several residents expressing genuine distress as they tried to pass through. Whatever happened to the attempts to control this situation? It clearly hasn’t had any effect at all so far. Please may I have an urgent update? “

In addition, we have asked the Council to deal with this ongoing issue:

“Clearly if the market continues to operate, the council needs to consider ensuring a collection of rubbish multiple times a day, and adding further commercial waste containers – currently there is only one and this is not sufficient.”

The Markets Manager told us:

“Regarding waste collections for the Harrow Road, there are currently two collections a day Monday to Sunday. These collections are for residential rubbish, commercial waste bags and market waste. The times of theses collection are 09:00 to 10:00 and 18:30 to 19:30. Waste can be placed out on street no more than 30 minutes prior to the collection times. We will monitor the location and where necessary enforcement action will be taken against any individuals placing waste onto the street outside of the prescribed collection times. I will also look into the possibility of increasing the number of market waste bins.”

The Chippenham – Update

A Planning Contravention Notice has been served on the owners of The Chippenham (who are also the people who own the Carlton Tavern) to establish the history of the site, how it has been used, how it is now being used and when the changes occurred, so that the Council can determine whether a material change of use has occurred.

Chippenham Road/Shirland Road Junction – Update

The Council has given us the following update:

“There are two open enforcement investigations on the Shisha cafes either side of the junction. Number 99 Chippenham Road has a lawful Class A3 (café / restaurant) use and it appears that it is being used unlawfully for shisha smoking. We are in the process of prosecuting the owner of the business for non-compliance of the requirements of the extant enforcement notice which requires the shisha use to cease.

At number 122-124 Chippenham Road there is currently a planning appeal regarding the use of shisha an unauthorised forecourt extension. The appellants are seeking to retain the structure and the use. I understand that it has taken the Planning Inspectorate an inordinate amount of time to validate the appeal and at this stage our enforcement action is being held in abeyance pending the outcome of the appeal.

Our food safety team has also visited AM2PM. The fruit stall outside the shop is sublet by the store. Although there was no evidence of pests at the time of our visit, we instructed the two workers on the stall that fruit must be stored during the night in a manner which prevents contamination from pests. We also made it clear that our staff patrolling during the evenings and at night would check that this was being done.”

Carlton Tavern, Carlton Vale

Carlton Tavern 1Karen Buck MP has written to the Planning Inspectorate about the forthcoming Public Inquiry:

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

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

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

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

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

Kilburn Park Road

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

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

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

Elgin Avenue and Shirland Road junction

We are continuing to press the Council to improve this junction

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

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

Morshead Road

We have reported this issue to the Council:

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

Maida Vale recycling

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

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

Carlton Vale

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

Paddington Rec

This concern has been raised by a resident:

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

The Council says:

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

Untitled-1.jpgBasements

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

Finchley Road/Queen’s Grove

We have asked the Council to investigate this request:

“Can I ask you please to see if you can have a yellow box painted where one turns right from Finchley road into Queen’s Grove? Too often traffic travelling south inconsiderately blocks the inter section causing tail backs of traffic wishing to turn right and causing congestion for traffic travelling north along Finchley Road.”

St John’s Wood Road

We are taking up this issue with TfL:

“Many elderly local friends wish I would revive my campaign to have a single-decker bus along St John’s Wood Rd from Maida Vale to the Church Roundabout, possibly using the 46 or 187 with a simple ‘detour’ of one of the routes”

Northwick Close

We have reported noisy building works on Saturday afternoon and asked the Council to take action to safeguard residents’ amenity.

Regent’s Park

We have asked The Royal Parks to investigate this issue:

“I walk in Regent’s Park all the time and recently walked in that area of natural vegetation as you enter from Prince Albert Road turn left and walk as if towards the Zoo. I believe the area is called Holford House site or Leaf Yard or Chat enclosure. I came across some rough sleepers surrounded by their bags under a tree so I quickly left the area. This area was designed for greater enjoyment of the park it makes us urbanites think we are in the countryside. I am told they have been there 3 years!!!!!! The police have been told many times.”
The Royal Parks tell us:

“The rough sleepers do not stay overnight in the park. They often use the northern end of Regent’s Park during the day choosing to sit in the sun and dry clothes etc. A particular favourite area is the Holford House meadow. The Police are well aware of the individuals and do move them on from time to time. On most occasions the individuals are not breaking any Park Regulations and if they are being well behaved they are entitled to be in the park. If they are found in the park after park closing they are removed from the park. I understand that they tend to spend the night in a number of locations along the Regent’s Canal away from the park. I will talk to the Wildlife Officer to ensure that he is much clearer in how he communicates with the public. “

Leinster Square

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“I am contacting you to see if there’s anything that can be done about a long-standing problem we have on Leinster Square with groups of Spanish speaking youths that seem to congregate from off-square in all weathers and cause us increasing grief. Their presence on doorsteps at numbers 3-6 (generally) and under the scaffolding at numbers 7-12 is often intimidating, and their activities have caused me and several neighbours to contact the police, to report incidents including damage to my car in the summer caused by a tile from one of the doorsteps being tossed across the street onto the bonnet. There has also been damage to a plant trough, presumably from their football. The youths generally leave a mess of empty beer cans and other rubbish, sometimes smoke cannabis, and in the past we have had suspicions that drug dealing has been going on.”

We have also asked the Council to take action on this recurring problem:

“Alchemi are preventing use of parking spaces without an in-date parking suspension. They have also closed the road without notice this afternoon so that their large lorry can block everything.”

Courtnell Street Update

We have received the following update from the Council regarding short-term letting at a property in Courtnell Street:

“I have visited the Property numerous times and have also issued the Freeholder, Leaseholder, Owner and Occupier with a Planning Contravention Notice. This Planning Contravention Notice will hopefully allow us to gain a better understanding of how long the Property has been used for short-term letting as prima facie evidence has, unfortunately, been hard to come by”

St Petersburgh Place

We have reported the following issues to the Council:
• Rubbish remains a problem in the cubby holes at the south end of St Petersburgh Place
• There was until recently a bin on the west pavement near the hotel, this has been removed, and the only bin is right at the north end of the street.
• The lovely plane tree outside hotel has raised the pavement badly, seems quite dangerous, could it be levelled?

The Council say:

“A works order to relay the slabs has been raised. This may be delayed as it looks like the tree roots will need to be altered before the job can be completed and this relies on prompt actions by Tree colleague’s contractors. I have asked my Inspector to keep on top of the issue and chase Trees for assistance.”

Chepstow Road/St Stephen’s Gardens

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

“In Chepstow Road at the St Stephens Gardens junction there used to be six wheely bins. Two for recycling and four general waste. Yesterday I noticed that this has been changed to three recycling and two general waste. Ok, so the Council is trying to encourage recycling but surely the total amount of general waste plus recycling will still be the same even if in different proportions. One less bin may mean that rubbish will be dumped on the pavement when the bins are full, which will happen more often with one less bin. This already happens with the recycling because those bins’ lids seem to be locked most of the time with only a small flap available for use.”

The Council tells us:

“Following investigation, it came to my attention that, one of the waste bins branding has been replaced with recycling accidentally while carrying out scheduled container maintenance, which is now scheduled to be rectified. To avoid any confusion, the total number of bins at this recycling centre is five, a combination of three refuse bins and two recycling bins.”

Notting Hill Carnival clear-up

We have asked the Council to deal with this issue:

“Crush barriers are still scattered around the Westbourne Grove/Chepstow Road/Pembridge Villas junction two weeks after the carnival. The Council would never have let this happen in South Westminster. Perhaps they need to get out from Victoria Street more often.”

Church Street Antiques shops – what you say

“It is of great concern to see antique shops closing, what is being done to protect reasonable rents? If these continue to shut and they are not able to stay, the whole character of the neighbourhood changes and affects the residents. What was the point of new signs? Meanwhile the street cameras are gone leaving us more vulnerable. Help preserve the antique end of Church Street and safety of citizens.”

Saltram Crescent traffic calming – what do you

Saltram image“I am surprised that after all this careful consideration objections by just 1% of the consulted residents are allowed to complicate matters like this. Of course it was to be expected that there will be a small minority objecting any proposal. May that as it be, I don’t understand why the one-way measures are not implemented on a test basis now, as originally planned. That would be the obvious way to judge the effect on the other roads. In my eyes there will be only marginally more traffic in the side roads heading towards Saltram Crescent, because this has to come from residents. The majority of the current traffic is through traffic, which would then stop.”

Shirland Road/Chippenham Road junction – what you say

“There are more and more Kangaroo Mopeds 24/7 parked on Shirland Road causing noise pollution, all speeding up Shirland Road. Could add a speed limit on Shirland Road and a ban on these mopeds be put in place. For too long this area which borders Brent is left behind.”

Paddington Rec dogs – what you say

“I hope dogs off leads in Paddington Rec are stopped, and the stoppage enforced, as my partner is afraid of dogs and when they run up to us and he freaks out, the owners sometimes become abusive and e.g. tell him to f— off out of the park if he doesn’t like dogs. People who have a phobia against dogs do not choose to react this way.”

“We walk our dogs regularly and never leave poo anywhere. Again, it is the responsible owners who will suffer with their well-behaved dogs also being punished unnecessarily. The dogs need to get their exercise and be off lead, which in turn makes them content and as a result well-behaved.”

“Last Sunday I came across a dog, doing his ‘business’ while his owners were deep in conversation, at least 30 metres ahead and out of sight of their dog. I called out to them and pointed out the mess needed picking up. They responded with ‘we’ll pick it up on our way back’. I said, ‘sure you will and you only know it’s here because I pointed it out’. Someone could step in it now so please pick it up.’ Their response? ‘We come here every day, we know’. That is your regular, everyday dog owners. This was also not the first time I’ve had to call out to owners who have left their dogs to roam and poo unattended while they chatted away. I am a dog lover but over 20 years of using Paddington Rec it is clear the current policy is no-longer fit for purpose. As with anything the few may spoil it for the many but it is the many who use the park we must be looking out for. Dogs should be on leads in public areas.”

“On the issue of dogs in Pad Rec – surely it’s nuts to have 3 (unused) dog areas? If dogs are going to remain off lead (and we’re going to continue walking in loads of dog-poo) then surely the 3 areas should be re-thought?”

Regent’s Canal cycling – what you say

“I do think cyclists should not be allowed to cycle there at all. The towpath is narrow and there is always the danger of the pedestrians especially those with children being startled and knocked into the canal!”

“Westminster should do much more to encourage cycling, including on the canal tow path. If you can get a broader demographic cycling speeds would be lower, and hence safer for all; not just youngish men in Lycra.”

“As a cyclist and a walker, I understand the issue from both sides. The problem is often due to the width of the pathway, which is very narrow in places. In my opinion, TFL and the Mayor missed a huge opportunity when planning the London cycle superhighway, in not considering the canal network as the best place to run this. All the canal paths desperately need upgrading. The fact that there are several points where the path ends, forcing users back onto busy, polluted roads is also a major problem. In the short term, it’s clear cyclist users and walkers need educating. Aggressive riding and failure to use their bells is commonplace. But from a cyclist’s point of view, pedestrians are often ignorant too, refusing to move out of the way, even with a gentle bell-ringing warning. One short term solution could be a clear demarcation of a cycle lane, where this is possible, and much better signage, informing users to be aware of the mixed-use nature of the canal.

In the long term, a massive upgrade to the canal paths would be of huge and lasting benefit to all of London, providing a safe, clean and fast cross-London route that would prevent accidents and also allow traffic to flow more smoothly, bringing economic and health benefits.”

Abercorn Place and Nugent’s Terrace – what you say

“I live round the corner and the traffic of school children, mums in their 4x4s and the large coaches are a nightmare. The Abercorn Place School with its many small children toing and froing make it very necessary for good road safety and signage.”

Carnival – what you say

“All the police left at the ‘planned’ end of the carnival 7-8pm, as if they didn’t know the crowds, drinking, music etc. are always continuing for hours afterwards!”

Rubbish dumping – what you say

“I am totally dismayed that most people don’t respect or care for their surroundings. I am living in Alfred Road and there is never a day without rubbish lying in the greenery or on the road. The railway crossover always has rubbish and the small children’s playground is often left in a disgusting state. The council tries to maintain things but the current generations have been brought up without any discipline or respect. I have never seen an anti-rubbish campaign and if you try to enforce individuals into being responsible they cry out loud that their human rights are being abused and that they are being made a victim.”

What you say

“I enjoy, and find very useful and readable, your regular newsletter about local issues – keep up the good work”

“Thank you for a great update thanks again”

“Thank you for taking up issues for us!”

“Thank you for the newsletter. Much appreciated.”

“We really appreciate your efforts and regular updates to make our local area safe and clean”

“Many thanks for this newsletter and all your hard work for the community”

“As usual thank you for a wonderful report. I am so glad the issue of the Aberdeen Place/Blomfield Rd/Maida Vale/EdgwareRd danger spot is being raised. It is a terrifying spot, as is the junction of St John’s Wood Road/Lisson Grove/Grove End Road.”

“Thanks your newsletter is always so informative”

“Thank you for the great updates”

“It’s extremely kind to be kept up to date and a lot of hard work goes into it.”

“To have this degree of communication with what is largely a faceless body is a lifeline for which an enormous number of people are grateful.”

“Very many thanks, as ever. This information is invaluable and quite exceptional, it would seem.”

“Thank you so much as ever for the feedback and for your immensely valuable work on behalf of residents.”

“I welcome any improvement you can bring about to the litter in St John’s Wood High Street”

“Thank you again for your newsletter and your attention to local issues”

“Our family also appreciate very much the regular newsletter about the Labour team’s hard work on behalf of constituents”

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

WESTMINSTER NORTH ACTION REPORT – SEPTEMBER 2015

NEWS FROM WESTMINSTER’S LABOUR COUNCILLORS

Cosway Street

The Head of Christchurch Bentinck School has asked us to investigate this issue:

“The parents at my school are constantly complaining about the traffic that comes off the very busy Marylebone Road into Cosway Street. Sadly, in July 2015 during the last academic year, there was a fatal accident at the junction between the Marylebone Road and Cosway Street. This is of great concern to us as our new school entrance will be very close to this junction when the new block opens in September 2016. Please could you kindly look into to this matter and help us to make Cosway Street a safer place for our children and community. We would appreciate the following:

  • Clear large visible school signage close to the junction between Cosway Street and the Marylebone Road
  • Humps on Cosway Street to slow the traffic
  • Some kind of controlled crossing on bell street that leads into Cosway Street ie lollipop personnel

Penfold Street traffic

We have reported this recurring issue to the Council;

“Again, temporary traffic lights in Lisson Grove, by Frampton Street, are causing congestion. Frampton Street is being use as a short cut on to Penfold Street. Penfold Street is often logged jammed, due to extra traffic and drivers not giving way. It is nearly impossible to travel along Penfold Street from Broadley Street to Frampton Street, without a long delay. If Penfold Street is ever clear, some drivers are travelling at excessive speeds. Risky if you are a pedestrian”

Penfold Street parking

We have reported this to the Council:

“Could you please have a look at parking in Penfold Street at the junction of Church Street and Penfold Street? The wardens just let the stall holders park up all day for free on the meters; some vans are parked up for a whole week on the meters “

The Perseverance pub, Shroton Street

We are making enquiries about plans for The Perseverance pub which closed suddenly recently.

Waterford Court, Stalbridge Street

We are making enquiries about this issue:

“Over many years we have had a problem with teenagers sitting on our steps in Stalbridge Street smoking, drinking taking drugs and leaving a terrible mess. Of late we have had drug dealing in the area leading to the underground car park. Some residents particularly the ladies feel vulnerable. Is there anything you can do that may help?”

Lodge Road traffic update

The Council says it “will be carrying out a study of the existing and potential traffic conditions in Lodge Road to investigate options to address the situation.”

Oakington Road/Sutherland Avenue

We have reported a number of serious incidents of rubbish dumping to the Council. As one resident told us:

“Rubbish bags have now been lying outside Oakington Road house numbers 38 and 40 since the middle of last week. The rubbish collection on Friday has ignored them, as they do with regularity of similar bags alongside trees. Everything is all over the pavement again, either thrown about by the wind or torn open by foxes in the night. And so it goes on. For almost a week we had a burned out barbecue standing outside no 40 which was eventually collected. But the complete set of bedframes leaning outside No 18 for the same time was not. Posting a letter this afternoon at the Sutherland/Harrow Road junction post box, photos at that location speak for themselves”

Saltram Crescent area

We are continuing to press the Council to introduce traffic calming measures in the Saltram Crescent area and have raised concerns at the continuing delays:

“The problem with speeding cars and motor bikes along Saltram Crescent has not abated. As well as the obvious safety risks, their en‎gine noise is incredibly loud and alarming, disturbing this quiet neighbourhood. Is there a legal decibel limit on vehicles? I’m guessing some of these racing cars and bikes are 1/4 mile away.”

There will be a public meeting to be held at 7pm on Monday 12 October 2015 at the Fernhead Road Methodist Church to discuss the proposals for traffic calming measures for Saltram Crescent.

For more details see https://labourwestminster.wordpress.com/harrow-road-ward/

Hormead/Fermoy Roads

We have again pressed the Council on the outstanding issue with the removal of the firegate at Hormead and Fermoy Roads. This encourages cyclists and scooters to use the pavement to access the other end of the street. Residents wanted bollards instead of the firegate as at least that way cyclist and scooters could weave through and not use the pavement.

We have also asked for rubbish bins to be located in Fermoy and Hormead Roads at the request of residents who reported:

“I had an encounter with a gentleman whom I challenged when I saw him clean up after his dog and leave the untied bag at the base of a tree. I asked him if he could throw it in the bin and he said there were no bins and he was not going to carry the bag home with him. While I think a responsible dog owner would take it home, it does appear that if there were rubbish bins available this would reduce the level of all kinds of litter / rubbish / dog mess.”

Chippenham/Shirland Road junction

We have asked the Council what action can be taken to deal with this long-standing issue:

“The corner of Chippenham Road and Shirland Road is such a mess with two shisha bars, disgusting chicken shop opposite Domino’s Pizza and rubbish all over the place. When are they going to upgrade that corner? The grocery shop next door to Domino’s leave all their fruit and veg out ALL night long on the street covered only by filthy covering and left for all the rats and mice to have access to it and then sold the next day. Where are the health and safety issues? How can this area be so neglected when Elgin Avenue and Little Venice are treated with more respect. It’s all Maida Vale /Hill but we’ve been left to rot?”

Pindock Mews

We are chasing up the Council on this matter:

“Still waiting for the yellow lines to be painted in the corner of Pindock Mews (Castellain Rd entrance) in Little Venice. Meanwhile, various builders- and other chancers- are parking their vehicles on this corner and restricting the access/exit to or from the mews, which is both inconvenient and annoying. And then they have the cheek to be belligerent and stroppy if their inconsiderate ways are pointed out. Help!”

Blomfield Road/Aberdeen Place/Edgware Road/Maida Vale junction – Update

The Council tells us:

“The Central London Cycle Grid Westminster Quietway Route Camden Town to Little Venice will pass through this junction. Transport for London (TfL) are designing proposals for this TfL controlled junction and officers have asked TfL to consider the feasibility of introducing a signalled controlled crossing for pedestrians across Blomfield Road.”

Trees outside Stuart Tower, Maida Vale

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

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

Kilburn Park Road

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

The Clifton Pub, Clifton Hill

The Planning Committee has refused permission for change of use to residential, as recommended by the Planning Officers. One of the important issues was that the owners had submitted marketing information which showed that the pub had been marketed for a rent about twice what would be reasonable, and the owners had also removed all the internal fittings which would be needed to reopen it. There were 173 letters opposing the loss of the pub, and 14 in favour – almost all the latter were from near neighbours who said it had been badly managed when open.

St John’s Wood High Street area – cleaning

We are taking up this issue with the Council

“St John’s Wood is an affluent busy commercial and highly populated area with hoards of customers sitting on public pavements daily. At no point have street cleansing put into place a strategy to cope with this and it is not acceptable to walk over filthy pavements anymore. There is no excuse for commercial businesses along stretch of Circus Road from Cochrane Street end right through to St John’s Wood High St to be disregarded re hygiene. Let Starbucks, Gails, Richoux pay for pavements to be hosed weekly as their customer mess this pavement with coffee cigarettes foods. Commercial businesses in this area are abusing our public pavements and residents are suffering!”

Garden Waste collection

We have raised this issue with the Council:

“I would like to raise the issue of the disposal of Garden rubbish which currently has to go into the general collection. I am aware of the influence of cuts but many parts of Westminster have considerable amounts of Green Waste. Can anything be done to make better use of this?”

The Council say:

“The Garden Waste Collection Service was cancelled in 2010 – primarily due to very low levels of participation by local residents. There are no proposals to reintroduce this service and instead we encourage residents to compost their food and garden waste at home. Further details can be found at https://www.westminster.gov.uk/composting-your-food-waste”

Marylands Road

We are pressing the Council to take action against those responsible for continually dumping rubbish in Marylands Road.

Harrow Road Health Centre is merging with the New Elgin Practice on 1st October 2015

From 1 October 2015 the Harrow Road Health Centre will merge with the New Elgin Practice (formerly located in Chippenham Road, W9), to form a new GP Surgery called the “Grand Union Health Centre”. From 1 October 2015 the contact details for the new combined surgery will be:

Grand Union Health Centre
209 Harrow Road
London W2 5EH
Telephone: (020) 7286 1231
Fax: (020) 7266 1253
Email: grandunion@nhs.net (from 1st Oct 2015)
Web: http://www.grandunionhealthcentre.co.uk (from 1st Oct 2015)

All the staff at the Harrow Road Health Centre will be staying on, i.e. all the doctors, nurses and reception/Admin staff and will be joined by the doctors, nurses and other staff from the New Elgin Practice.

Westbourne Park Villas

We asked the Council about this issue:

“I am asking for your help and support in getting Westbourne Park Villas included in the WCC Carnival clean up service. Last year we were assured the omission of the Villas was an oversight and that we would be included this year – but we are still not eligible apparently. It is a puzzle to me that streets which are not near the carnival route (for example Alexander Street) and not access roads (like the Villas) would appear to be eligible for this service. We take a great deal of pedestrian traffic down the Villas with attendant litter, noise etc. It is quite unfair that we are not considered for the clean-up. I cannot register my house for the service – the street is excluded!”

The Council told us:

“The omission of Westbourne Park Villas from the clean-up area was an oversight on our part and is being rectified immediately. We will ensure that this property is on the list for cleansing and will carry out a letter drop early next week informing all other residents in the street that they are eligible for this service. “

Residents told us:

“You are a wonder! I knew you would help us. Thank you SO much! And for everything else that you do for all the residents of Bayswater. You are greatly appreciated”

“Thank you for putting us on the website for the Carnival clean-up – I have now signed up my address for it. I do sincerely hope that we will not be in this position again in 2016 and that Westbourne Park Villas will remain firmly on the list for future clean-ups. Thank you to everyone who have helped us with this.”

“Thanks to your swift intervention Westbourne Park Villas is now an eligible street for Carnival Clean up. Although my neighbours also contacted our ward councillors, who gave their support, I still regard you and your team were our champions despite the Tories (in their current newsletter) claiming the success was all down to them! However we know who helped us……THANK YOU!!”

Courtnell Street

We have asked the Planning Department to investigate this issue:

“I live in Courtnell Street and the house opposite is short term holiday letting and has been doing so for over 6 weeks. I have reported the matter to Westminster Council and have contacted the Short-term Let Team. I understand the 90 day proviso in the new law, but believe the owner will soon exceed this limit and besides the situation is becoming quite disruptive to the residents in my street. When a large coach arrived yesterday to collect nearly 20 people from the house, I thought a limit had been reached! The Westminster Council Team is investigating, but as you are aware I am sure, this new law makes it very difficult to gather evidence over a period of time. Any support or advice you can offer would be appreciated. I believe the Labour Party voted against this new legislation in Parliament, so I would appreciate your assistance with this issue.”

Artesian Road grid

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

“With the continuing applications for basement excavations in the Artesian Road grid and therefore the continuing use by contractors using residents parking bays for months on end, residents parking should be brought into line with all surrounding areas and be allowed ONLY to residents from 8.30 am to 10.00 pm seven days a week. We already have the pub, church and restaurant visitors making full use of free residents parking bays as they are not able to park elsewhere in zone B, Saturdays and Sundays included.”

Ossington Street

Residents asked why refuse collection for this street is not managed by just one Council rather than the two Councils as present. Residents suggest that a consistent approach for both sides of the street will stop the current dumping on the Westminster side. The Council say:

“Although we have a ‘reciprocal agreement’ with RBK&C so that one sweeper from either council covers both sides of some boundary streets we don’t do the same thing for waste collections as our collection systems and waste disposal costs are very different. On Ossington Street all of the trees are on the Westminster side which unfortunately makes it more prone to dumping than the open pavement on the K&C side. I have highlighted this issue to the local City Inspector to monitor and take enforcement action against dumpers as appropriate.”

Moscow Road – Rubbish dumping

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“I have lived in W2 for 40 years and I have to agree with everyone’s view on the rubbish problem. It has worsened multi-fold over the past month, with mattresses, fridges, cookers, chairs and many more items around the bins. This is particularly bad around the bins on Moscow Road, (by the electricity substation) as well as on by the bins opposite St Sophia. This is definitely a case of fly tipping by the hotels and bedsits which are scattered in our area. This is not only unsightly, but also a health hazard as it invariably the rubbish is there for some time, before being collected. “

Westbourne Grove

We are investigating this enquiry with the Council:

“Are you aware that the restaurant Fresco, on Westbourne Grove, has been told by Westminster planners that it can no longer hold its kitchen licence, because there are too many restaurants on Westbourne Grove? Is this to clear the way for more, bigger, restaurants, serving a wealthier clientele in the new Whiteley’s development, by any chance? Fresco needs its kitchen to continue to make the healthy, freshly made on the premises food that it has served, at an affordable price, to our community for, is it 20 years now? They are being told that they can only have a licence for a much simpler service, more suitable for a cafe. Can we fight for them?”

The Council Planning Officers say:

“This premise is a good example of the often fine line between some A1 (retail) and A3 (restaurant/café) uses. What can appear to be a café/restaurant, such as a sandwich bar or Starbucks, can actually fall within A1. As was noted by the Inspector in 2000 in deciding that this was an A1 use the key issue is the proportions of cold food takeaway v consumption of hot food on-site. The Inspector found that the majority of sales are from cold food takeaway (i.e. over 70%, usually from workers dropping in to take a sandwich to their office) and that whilst some hot food is consumed on-site, this is ancillary to the cold food takeaway. It does not take place to such an extent that a change of use to A3 had taken place. “

Bayswater Road

We are making enquiries about this issue:

“All in favour of cycling but it is too dangerous to cycle along Bayswater Road (I am an experienced, responsible cyclist and parent and was almost knocked off by a bus). Royal Parks should have a cycle path parallel with this busy road from Marlborough Gate or at least Lancaster Gate, west to Victoria Gate at the western edge of the park. I believe it should be segregated from pedestrians; there is already a mud track which could easily be converted with very little tree pruning. It’s unfair that the anti-cycling lobby have so much sway with Royal Parks and there are so few places to cycle in Kensington Gardens. The park should be everyone provided it adheres to the constitution “for peaceful enjoyment”.”

Blomfield Road/Aberdeen Place/Edgware Road/Maida Vale junction – what you say

“I am so pleased to see the multiple problems at the junction of Blomfield Road/Aberdeen Place/Edgware Road/Maida Vale being raised. Cyclists and motorists jump the lights, as described, making it feel very threatening for pedestrians. “

Church Street – what you say

“Thank you for taking up the one way /wrong way driving issue on Church Street. It is Gateforth Street where the camera was removed and Plympton Street corner that needs a clearer arrow on the road as well as signs at on Church Street at that junction, to make clear the last bit toward Lisson Grove is a One way. Thank you for taking the time to address this issue.”

Little Venice canal path – what you say

“I can add my voice to those who have experienced aggressive cyclists on the Little Venice canal path. I had a cyclist actually swear at me and my 3 young children to get out of the way as they passed at high speed under the bridge beside the Browning pool. I noted that there are signs on the walls that say that pedestrians have priority but I think it is necessary to actually paint them on the pavement to make it more obvious to those who might actually just be ignorant and not intentionally delinquent. “

“I don’t normally respond to your emails – but in this case I really want to underline the issue raised by one of your correspondents – the bit about cyclists on the canal towpath. A few do ring their bells when they come up behind you – but the majority think that a) they own the towpath and b) pedestrians are a nuisance. Anything that can be done – more sleeping policemen? – would be appreciated by those of us who use the towpath as a walkway”

“I would like to echo the concern expressed about cyclists on the canal path. I have seen a number of elderly people startled by a cyclist coming up behind them having to move quickly out of the way and not knowing whether to go toward the canal or into the greenery. The canal path being quite narrow at some points a fall into the canal could well happen. I am particularly concerned over the possibility that the canal path is going to be become integral to the plans to extend cycle routes in the city. If this happens then inevitably many cyclists will be attracted to the path and walkers will no longer be able to enjoy the rare pleasure of a quiet peaceful walk by the canal.”

Paddington Rec – what you say

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

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

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

Hamilton Terrace and Abercorn Place junction – what you say

“My children make the crossing every day at the junction of Hamilton Terrace and Abercorn. Pedestrians never have the right of way. There are plenty of young men in very expensive cars who seem to want to run them down. The enormous Abercorn bus is a nuisance too. There should be a pedestrian crossing there. “

“I’d like to echo the feelings of those who wrote in to you last month regarding adding a pedestrian signal at corner of Abercorn Place and Hamilton Terrace. I heartily agree with this idea!”

Notting Hill Carnival clean-up – what you say

“In regards to Westminster’s ‘event litter’ within private front gardens etc; it is useless unless one is prepared to wait for 3 or 4 days AFTER the carnival’s end to have the detritus removed and cleaned up. Many of us (especially those with basements) can’t wait that long so we have to resort to doing it ourselves. Nevertheless the clean up on the streets at the end of each day, is excellent.”

“Please pass on our thanks and appreciation to your team for the excellent job of cleaning our streets after the carnival had finished on Monday night. I know that the sweeping and washing lorries were out until the early hours and yesterday morning our wonderful road sweeper was busy clearing the final litter from Westbourne Park Villas. We all value the hard work that goes into the clean-up and that Westminster makes an enormous effort to clear our streets as soon as possible. Many thanks from us all in Westbourne Park Villas”

“I was given no information about this year’s Notting Hill Gate Carnival. Usually we at least have a leaflet pushed through the door. I found out some information from the internet although it was not entirely correct. This year at 7pm on the 30 August no police presence was seen on Chepstow Road, and only 2 police officers present at 8pm on August 31. As write now 9ish I hear bottles being broken and the air smells of weed. What do the vulnerable have to do to get some say? Disgusted, very tired and brain dead resident.”

What you say

“Thank you for another excellent Action Report.”

“Many thanks for all the work that goes into the report”

“Thanks once again, you do such a good job”

“Brilliant update. Very informative and much appreciated”

“Another great newsletter. Thank you.”

“Thanks very much for the very full & encouraging feedback. Great to know that such a lot of work & interest is shown by the Councillors”

“Thank you for the letter. It is nice to see that the concerns I have are already being considered by the councillors in the area.”

“Can I just say how nice the hanging baskets were looking this year in Randolph Avenue”

“As always, terrific updates on matters of neighbourhood concern.”

“As ever a really informative newsletter that makes me feel very connected to the communities and area in which I live. We are very grateful for all your efforts.”

“Thank you for another very efficient Report.”

“Thank you again for this round up of the latest issues in Westminster North. It really does make so much difference to the quality of life in this part of Westminster to have such active and committed councillors who really make sure that Westminster City Council plays its part too.”

“I am really impressed by the attention that you give to local issues which may seem small but which really matter to local people. Thank you.”

“Just to say thank you. I really appreciate receiving information on local issues and I think your newsletter enables residents to know what problems we share. Keep it up.”

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

WESTMINSTER NORTH ACTION REPORT – AUGUST 2015

NEWS FROM WESTMINSTER’S LABOUR COUNCILLORS

William Hill betting shop, 357 Harrow Road

We are supporting the campaign for a review of the William Hill betting shop licence and the details of how you can add your voice are below;

http://www.maidahillforum.org.uk/latest-news/78-william-hill-harrow-rd-licence-review-please-write-in.html

Church Street Market

We are supporting local antique dealers in Church Street market who are concerned about proposed rent increases by the Council. They say;

“The Antiques trade is still recovering from the 2008 recession and these increases are excessive. This will damage not just the local antiques trade but also the local economy as a whole.”

http://www.hamhigh.co.uk/news/heritage/st_john_s_wood_antiques_dealers_face_being_wiped_out_by_rent_hikes_of_up_to_85_per_cent_1_4155962

Burne Street and Burne House

We asked the Council to again investigate this continuing issue;

“I live within yards from the BT Building that stretches across from the Marylebone Flyover – Edgware Road -Bell Street and of course Burne Street. It is well know that Burne Street is a disgrace and even now although the passage way has been cleaned up the bay off the Street is full of the most disgusting mess has not been cleaned for weeks. I realise that Burne Street is a grey area as to who should do what but I write to you today about the building as a whole. It is a disgrace to BT – the walls that run along Burne Street are filthy and going round to the Marylebone Road the same and if you look up at the building from any angle or any of the Streets mentioned it looks filthy, unkempt and possibly empty. I did write to the CE months ago but of course no reply. It is bad enough living so closely to the building but to look at the filthy fire escape stairs covered in Pigeons mess is so depressing. They should be informed that they are a disgrace to the area of Westminster and to the city of London.”

The Council Inspector has told us;

“The stairs that lead people to the passageway on Burne Street and the passageway itself onto Marylebone Road is not Westminster City Council property hence the reason why it is not cleansed and maintained by Westminster or our cleansing contractor Veolia, as such the onus and responsibility is solely on BT, to cleanse and maintain. Our previous Local City Inspector has personally moved on rough sleepers from this location and sign posted them to Outreach services such as St Mungo’s. Veolia have also assisted by removing mattresses/cardboard etc., and swept and cleaned on more than one occasion, which they have done in good faith on request from Westminster Inspectors. I have been informed that former City Inspector spoke to BT at Burne House for the footpath to be cleansed. We are looking to ensure that this is not a short term fix as it does require several sweeps per week, due to the high footfall of pedestrians that use this cut through to the main transport hubs.”

Church Street

We have reported a number of cars going the wrong way down Church Street and creating problems for pedestrians. We have passed on car registration numbers to the Council. The Council tell us:

“We currently have two static CCTV cameras already situated in Church Street at the junctions with Penfold Street and Salisbury Street and we have issued 165 PCNs since the start of April for vehicles contravening the No Entry signs at these locations. We also consistently deploy Marshals to this area and although they cannot capture moving traffic contraventions they do act as a deterrent, and over the last 6 weeks they have spent over 170 hours at this location keeping an eye on vehicle parking and parking related issues. Our Customer Engagement Officers also attend the location to speak to the owners of local shop premises to remind them and their drivers of their responsibilities in complying with all traffic laws, especially when making deliveries.”

Boscobel Street

We have reported the following issues to the Council for action:

“Delta Pizza, which had been operating to sometimes 4 am, applied for a late licence which was rejected but they currently have an appeal in process. Their delivery motorbikes were obviously a nuisance.

Dar Marrakesh applied for a late licence to which I objected on the grounds of noise and nuisance from the garden as well as comings and goings. Their application was rejected but they are threatening to appeal and are currently ripping out the pub interior so they can be more of a restaurant in order to support this.

Diyabaklilar Sofrasi, in theory close at 11 but it takes them 30 mins or more to clear the place and another hour to clean it during which time they still sometimes serve takeaway. They take their own rubbish by car at 12.30 and the whole process is noisy with loud group conversations on the pavement culminating in the shutters coming noisily at 12.30 – 1.00. They, like the other traders have no respect for anyone trying to sleep despite being overlooked by Westmacott and Mole Houses.”

Edgware Road site between Paddington Green Police Station and Church Street

This long vacant site has now been bought by the Berkeley Group and we hope that this leads to the early development of the site, including affordable homes and new shops along Edgware Road. One resident has commented:

“I see today that all the old scaffolding that supported the electronic hoardings has been removed. Let’s hope there is speedy progress on what has been a scandalous waste of a prime site for far too long. Berkeley Group has a better reputation than many a developer.”

Maida Hill Market

We have asked the police to investigate this problem:

“I just want to mention that motor bikes and scooters come from Walterton Road cutting through Maida Hill market to Elgin Avenue. Most users are from the local pizza take-aways, Top Pizza, Pizza Hut, Domino’s Pizza in Chippenham Road. All their drivers they use this short cut at high speed. One day I saw a young child nearly got knocked over. Just to add, there are two big signs saying ‘no motor bikes or cars’ next to the toilets at Maida Hill market. I really appreciate if you can help us to stop these dangerous bikes crossing through the market”

Fermoy Road

We are taking up this issue with the Council:

“There is an inordinate amount of fast food containers (mostly from the chicken shop opposite the street), food and household waste on a daily basis in Fermoy Road between Harrow Rd and the fire gate across Hormead Road, despite the local street cleaners’ best efforts. Some people even leave their rubbish directly under the sign that warns about the fines for dumping rubbish! I myself have challenged people sitting in stationary cars, who think it appropriate to throw rubbish out of their window, to be laughed and sworn at. I know this is not a priority for local law enforcement, but perhaps a rubbish bin or two on Fermoy Road might encourage people to throw their trash out?”

Kenrick’s, 518 Harrow Road

We have asked the Council to investigate these problems:

“I live across the street from the bar, and over the past year I’ve regularly contacted the noise team, but the issue is more than just loud music. There is extreme drunkenness, fighting, yelling and dancing in the street on a regular basis. The problem spills out into the street in Harrow Road, occasionally stopping traffic, and it also spreads up along Ashmore Rd. I hope the Council will be able to deal with this issue in a way that makes Harrow Road safer for the rest of the community. I hope that there is something you can do to help residents reclaim Harrow Road and scrub away some of the general impression of Maida Hill as “lawless land”.”

Lanhill Road

We are making enquiries about this issue:

“I would like to enquire what the very noisy works are on Lanhill Road. Why there was no notice about them with their very heavy drilling/demolition and when they will be finishing. Living very close on a Elgin Ave with a newborn baby, it is very stressful.”

Saltram Crescent/Fernhead Road junction

We have asked the Council to take up this issue:

“Please could someone talk with the owners of Carlton Elite car hire whose premises are at the Saltram/Fernhead junction? Numerous times I have come through this junction‎ (both directions), to find myself suddenly facing a car coming towards me on the wrong side of the road. The drivers are carrying out bizarre manoeuvres to park or drive off. These drivers sit on the yellow lines whilst they wait for a fare. I have nothing against the company, they have been here years and provide a valuable service, and presumably they need to respond quickly to booking requests, but they are not considering others.”

Lydford Estate

We have asked City West Homes to investigate the regular dumping of rubbish on the street by users of Lydford Hall. City West Homes tell us:

“The original issue related to Pinnacle People leaving their rubbish outside the back door, at the time we advised that they should use the large bins across the estate. However, they have been leaving their rubbish at the base of the tree on the street, which is unacceptable. In light of the situation we are arranging for them to have their own wheelie bin, so they are able to dispose of their rubbish responsibly within the grounds of the garden at Lydford Hall. Pinnacle People will cover the extra cost of the wheelie bin.”

Elgin Avenue

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“This spring, Westminster Council installed new trees along both sides of Elgin Avenue (between Chippenham Road and Harrow Road). The design of the cages around them wasn’t the best and as a result they have now turned into litter bins. They are now full up with litter, food waste, dog faeces and a used urine sample bottle. This could be solved almost instantly if someone briefed the street sweepers to address this as part of their normal, daily routine. Instead, it really makes the local area look neglected and dirty, which is a shame as it offsets the very good work done by planting the trees in the first place. I logged an online report via the WCC website back in June but nothing happened. I reported it by phone in July and then again last week but nothing has happened”

The Council has told us:

“The waste has now been removed and we have instructed our contractor to cut an aperture in the cage in order that debris can be removed, this should be completed before the end of the week.”

A satisfied resident said:

“I’m bowled over by how quickly this has been rectified once the information gets through to the right people. Please keep up the good work and pass on my thanks.”

Shirland Road

We are continuing to press the Council to introduce measures to reduce vehicle speeds along Shirland Road.

Chippenham Hotel

We are concerned that the owners of this pub are the same company who demolished the Carlton Tavern in Carlton Vale. They have closed the pub and the fear is that they are looking to put in another betting shop or poor retail outlet with no regard for the future of this iconic building. We are monitoring the situation closely.

News just in – the owners have put the upper floors on the market – http://www.rightmove.co.uk/commercial-property-for-sale/property-53958926.html

Hall Place

We have asked the Council to investigate the dropped kerb situation around Hall Place, Paddington Green, in and around the Church Street market. A resident tells us, “my mother along with other wheelchair users, continue to suffer and on many occasions nearly fallen out their wheelchairs.”

Little Venice canal path

We have written to the Canal and River Trust about this issue:

“I often walk to work along the Little Venice canal path between Harrow Rd and Paddington. Despite clear signage that cycling is prohibited on the canal path, cyclists are a constant presence on the path. There is a wide and clearly signed cycle path next to the canal path (on the other side of some fencing) and yet they persist in cycling along a very narrow stretch which is supposed to be prioritised for pedestrians. I agree that cycle paths are important and encourage a healthy way of life, but it seems that pedestrians are starting to be affected more by the ‘anything goes’ attitude of many bike riders.”

Blomfield Road/Edgware Road

We have asked the Road Safety Team to investigate this issue which has been raised by a number of residents:

“As a resident of Clarendon Gardens for many years, I can only add to the concern expressed about pedestrian risk at the western end of Blomfield Road by saying that the eastern end, the turn off the Edgware Rd, is equally dangerous. Apart from the lack of a crossing, this very heavily used rat run is made very unsafe by drivers tuning into Blomfield Road at high speed long after the lights have turned red against them. Can the police be persuaded to arrest/install safety cameras here? They would make a lot of money in fines.”

“The crossing has several issues which we would like to highlight below and hope you will be able to assist to make this a safer place for residents and visitors, in particular pedestrians:

• Blomfield Road has no camera. There is an increasing number of drivers that run the red light to cross. We assume these to be locals, aware of the traffic light system and lack of a camera on Blomfield road. This seems to be an increasing issue.
• Blomfield Road has no pedestrian crossing. there is no safe moment for pedestrians to cross as there is always one direction of drivers having the green light to cross. pedestrians have to endure a lot of verbal abuse when trying to cross and slowing down cars trying to enter/leave the road. we have witnessed and endured this on endless occasions.
• The pedestrian crossing across Edgware Road has a very short green light, which does not give pedestrians enough time to cross safely. Especially the elderly and families.
• The kerb on the side of Aberdeen Place, where pedestrians press the green light to cross Edgware Road and wait for the green light, is not raised. A lot of cars coming from Blomfield Road run over the curb and are of great danger to pedestrians. We have witnessed this on numerous occasions.
• Edgware Road is often congested, especially during peak hours (e.g. mornings). This causes the crossing to be blocked by cars pushing in despite the congestion. This includes many London buses, which cause a dangerous barrier. During these peak hours it is near impossible to cross as the crossing is never clear with the green light. There are also many cars coming from Blomfield Road trying to push into the already congested Edgware Road and continue their journey on Edgware Road when the pedestrians have the green light, putting them into great danger.
• Cyclists coming from Aberdeen Place have their own green light. They often ignore or are not aware of pedestrians crossing at Blomfield road, which lacks a crossing. Pedestrians can’t hear the bicycles approaching and/or are not aware of the bike lane system. There have been many near misses.
The fact that the crossing is very busy with families and tourists walking along the canal makes it even more dangerous for these pedestrians as they are slower and/or unfamiliar with the dangerous light system.”

Elgin Avenue/Shirland Road Junction – Update

The Council tells us:

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

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

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

Sutherland Avenue/Shirland Road junction – Update

The Council tells us:

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

Trees outside Stuart Tower, Maida Vale

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

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

St Edmund’s Terrace

We are supporting residents who are opposing further development proposals in St Edmund’s Terrace. They say:

“It is proposed to demolish three houses that were built about 40 years ago, are in good condition, are well constructed, attractive and enhance the area. To destroy them would be an act of vandalism. Their replacement by nine flats might not increase available properties in Westminster, primarily as they will be in the more highly priced property range which seem to be particularly attractive to overseas buyers who often only use them for occasional use”

Hamilton Terrace/Abercorn Place

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

“Could you please speak to the Council regarding installing a pedestrian walk signal, and a camera at the lights on the corner of Hamilton Terrace and Abercorn Place? There are a large number of schools in the area (ASL, QK, Abercorn etc) and many children walk to school through this junction – something we should be encouraging. Hamilton Terrace is increasingly being used as a rat run especially by the enormous red buses from Abercorn School, carrying tiny children to their other location, which turn left onto Hamilton Terrace not waiting for small children crossing and thundering down the road (despite the fact that large vehicles are prohibited on Hamilton Terrace). In addition, as there is no camera installed at the junction, there are numerous cars who shoot through red lights at high speeds. It is just a matter of time before there is a child killed at this junction – can something be done before that happens, please?”

Leinster Square

We asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“I note with little surprise that the most recent parking suspensions along the north side of Leinster Square, W2, expired over a week ago, yet the developers continue to prevent use of the spaces (and as usual they prevent the use of more than the number of spaces suspended). Would somebody like to remind the developers that they should be swelling your coffers for the privilege?”

The Council say:

“I can confirm that the parking suspensions team were already aware of this issue and that the company responsible have applied to extend their suspensions at this location. The charge that we apply will include a retrospective payment to cover all the days the bays were in use. In this particular instance the company allowed their suspensions to lapse before applying to renew them, however Parking Services had already been in contact with the site manager of the development regarding their use of these bays and the need for them to ensure they submit applications in a timely manner.”

Sutherland Place

We are supporting residents’ objection to the proposal for a deep basement development at 46 Sutherland Place. Residents say:

“This is a large scheme which will affect the whole of Sutherland Place and properties backing onto Sutherland Place in Moorhouse Road and Northumberland Place, which are already traumatises by the successions of more and more extensive permissions.”
Residents are collecting signatures for a petition and say “so far we have over 50 signatories in Sutherland Place, Moorhouse Rod, Northumberland Place, Talbot Road and Artesian Road”

Ossington Street – update

We followed up previous enquiries after receiving this further report from a resident:

“The rubbish is not a question of a bag or two . It is several black rubbish bags left daily, not just at weekends. Also, it is not a question of a transient population since the same people have been leaving this since last October. So, once again, the response of the council bears no relation to reality. As a result of the council’s failure to react, the problem is escalating and today they left a fridge “

The Council have told us:

“The local Inspector Ashik Ali is already aware of this waste issue on Ossington Street, which is shared with Kensington & Chelsea. Ashik recently put up Don’t Dump notices and has conducted several spot checks but so far no evidence has been obtained, we will continue to monitor & enforce as soon as evidence is obtained. Collection time letters have also been distributed to Westminster residents only; although we suspect K&C residents are leaving their waste on Westminster public highway.”

Sunderland Terrace

We asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“Can you please advise on the status of scooters and motor bikes parked in resident car parking spaces and not in the area designated for bikes . They do take up a disproportionate amount of space and reduce much needed residents ‘car parking space for which we pay”

The Council says;

“The residents of that zone, whatever their vehicles, be they cars, motorcycles or mopeds, are entitled to park in residents bays in their own zone. The bay in Sunderland Terrace is not restricted to cars alone.”

Kensington Square Gardens

We have asked the Council to look into this issue:

“It appears so many people are either so stupid/lazy they can’t put their rubbish actually in the bin (despite half the time they’re not overflowing, although this is also often an issue) or there is not enough capacity for the hotels/guest houses etc. The latter point is also more valid in terms of larger disposals – the amount of mattresses, fridges, sofas etc which are just dumped beside the bins is frequent. Or, it’s just a dreadful case of fly tipping. “

Electoral Registration – makes sure your voice is heard

Each year the Council’s Electoral Services Office has to publish a revised Register of Electors. This involves conducting an audit of all residential properties in Westminster. In order to carry out this task Westminster City Council is recruiting enthusiastic, fit and dedicated staff to join the Electoral Canvassing Team.

If you are interested in joining the Canvassing Team then follow this link to the application form:
https://www.westminster.gov.uk/canvasser-recruitment

To make sure that you and your family are correctly registered, follow this link:
https://www.westminster.gov.uk/register-to-vote

Minicabs in Sutherland Avenue and Marylands Road – what you say

“If the Council are serious about dealing with this problem they need to send our enforcement officers who are not in uniform. As soon as the drivers see an enforcement officer they drive off and come back when the officers have departed. Alternatively a CCTV camera could be installed and offenders caught on camera and fined. They soon get the message that it’s expensive to park in areas where they shouldn’t”

Paddington Rec – what you say

“The Rec attracts dog owners who are clearly not in control of their dogs (including not being able to clean up after them), and also attracts unsocial groups of aggressive people showing off their scary aggressive dogs. There needs to be a balanced consideration of what purpose Paddington Rec is serving. To me this is a community park and not a nature reserve, and from that point of view I would prioritize the interests of the non-dog-owning residents over the interest to provide a large dog exercise area.”

“Regarding the issue of dogs off leads in Paddington Rec I have never understood this policy. There is a large area of grass in the middle of the park which is the obvious place for children to play, kick a ball and have a picnic, but it is also used and defecated on by dogs off leads. This does not make sense and is not hygienic. I have seen similar situations to the one recounted. Either it is an area for families to enjoy or it’s a dog exercising area, it cannot reasonably be both on health and safety grounds alone.”

“Many owners travel to Pad Rec specifically to allow their dogs to run around. For every respectful dog owner there are plenty who allow their dogs to run wild and defecate everywhere. There are days when there are dog faeces every few meters. I rarely see anyone approach dog owners to reprimand them about any misdemeanours. However parents with young children are frequently asked to stop their kids using chalk or playing by the track, no doubt partly driven by which is the easier target. Whilst in theory I’d love to say that we should live and let live… in practice we are reaching a point where Pad Rec is a more attractive park for dogs than for children. If there are no plans to change the byelaws then we should at least accept this is the case and convert the rarely-used dog areas into children’s areas which are dog (and dog-poo) free. “

“I was disturbed at the re-emergence of a campaign to force dog owners to be put on leads in Paddington Rec. Although I do not use this park often, it is a very useful facility for dog walkers; many of the regulars are pensioners. Over the fifty years I have lived in this area, I have seen restriction after restriction put on dog users so our enjoyment of the facility has been much diminished. People who want to picnic have two cordoned off picnic areas now and a ‘wild life’ walk. It is a shame that people who are dog haters are unable to practice some tolerance and allow dog walkers, who are mostly extremely obliging, some enjoyment. Dogs need to be able to walk off the lead and dogs that are not let off the lead do not get enough exercise, which in turn leads to a frustrated and irritable dog.”

Church Street CCTV – what you say

“I absolutely agree with The Church Street Antiques Dealers Group that the CCTV cameras should be returned to Church Street and put back in the same place. It was an insane decision made by the Council to have them removed. Since their removal there has been a serious surge in antisocial behaviour. CCTV cameras are a must on this street, not only for the security of the residents, shop dealers and stall holders but also all the visitors who come to the market. “

What you say

“Thank you for your recent report – you all do such a splendid job in keeping this area under your watchful eye!”

“Thank you for another informative and valued update on the local area”

“Thanks for this useful information”

“Thank you for these updates, it is good to know of the work being ‎done behind the scenes to help improve the area.”

“I am delighted to see that replanting has taken place at last on the corner of Abbey Road/Abbey Gardens and removal of the stump. It took 18 months!”

“Thanks for this – useful. I agree a timed light or zebra would be helpful at the Blomfield and Warwick Avenue junction.”

“Thank you for your email and the update news of what is happening in North Westminster. I appreciate the time you have taken in compiling these reports which I read with much interest. There is a great deal of useful information in them and also very helpful web links. It helps make us a much more cohesive community.”

“Thanks for all your efforts”

“Thanks as always for the helpful newsletter”

“I really appreciate your tireless work on behalf of the Westminster North community and your monthly Action Reports which are very informative, and highlight true grass roots work.”

“Good news that double yellow lines are to be introduced at the Nugent Terrace/Abercorn Place junction. Thanks for all the information and for all your work.”

“Keep up the good work”

“We greatly appreciate the clear up and shrub prune in the garden area in front of Parsons House”

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

WESTMINSTER NORTH ACTION REPORT – JULY 2015

NEWS FROM WESTMINSTER’S LABOUR COUNCILLORS

Church Street Market

We are supporting calls from local businesses for CCTV cameras to be returned to the Church Street Market area.

The Church Street Antiques Dealers Group have written to Councillors to express their concerns about the removal of the cameras on Church Street which were originally located there partly as a result of crime including violent street muggings of customers of antique dealers’ shops. Leon Young of the Antique Dealers Group says:

“The placement of the cameras at the junctions of Ashbridge Street, Gateforth Street and Lisson Grove gave coverage of the street encompassing over 20 galleries and Alfie’s was considered one of the safest antiques locations to visit. It is a concern for the antiques dealers on Church Street that the cameras have been withdrawn. Their removal is against the interests of safety and security for both members of our group, the customers who visit and their goodwill. The removal of the cameras has had the following effects;
• Increase in begging, particularly on Saturdays
• Criminal damage. A window was smashed in commercial premises on the junction of Gateforth Street and Church street.
• A marked increase in the frequency congregating of groups of boisterous youngsters who have been seen to drop food litter on the street, can be foul-mouthed and are intimidating to some.

The net effect is to offer visitors to the location a poor impression at the least. At worst, if they feel it is unsafe, unwelcoming or unattractive, we lose their custom. The loss of the cameras works against the ethos, investment, goodwill and revenues that our group creates.”

The Church Street Antique Dealers Group have our full support. We’ve raised the removal of CCTV cameras across Church Street with the Chief Executive when he did a Ward walk with us. There are real concerns about the impression this gives to shoppers and residents who worry about safety and the impact given the ongoing reduction in police/council officers involved in public protection.

We are still waiting for a response from the Council. They need to show that it is taking these concerns seriously and talk with us about what can be done to ensure Church Street feels and is safe.

Church Street Drop-In Centre and Nursery

Church Street residents benefit from a drop-in centre for the elderly that is very well used and much needed. The site also provides for a 30 place nursery that provides good care for local families. It is really a great site that cares for both the very young and the very old.
It had been run by Shepherds Bush Housing Association but they have decided to pull out and we are petitioning the council to be an active voice in securing these services for the local population and Westminster in general.

The drop-in centre provides nutritious meals, regular contact with the elderly, support across a number of areas and informal support too. Far too often these services can seem pushed to one side so a visible centre, right on the market street, is very important.

We have now started an online petition for others in Westminster to share their support. You can find the petition, which has been started in the name of the local neighbourhood forum, here: http://petitions.westminster.gov.uk/10-Church-St-NW8/

Boscobel Street

We have been getting reports of increased late night noise on Boscobel Street and have asked the Council if there have been an increased number of reports from the noise team and what can be done to monitor the situation.

Also, residents say that parking and traffic around Dar Marrakesh is reducing the flow through on that street in the evening and we have asked that the parking situation be investigated.

Lisson Grove/Lodge Road junction

We have again asked the Council to deal with this long-standing issue:

“The reflective Bollard at this junction has been hit yet again. This is the fourth or fifth time in 12 months. It’s only a matter time before there is a serious accident here. What is the council waiting for?

Tim Roca is Labour’s choice for the Harrow Road by-election on 23rd July

The Labour Party has chosen Tim Roca to be its candidate in the forthcoming Harrow Road by-election on Thursday 23rd July. Tim was brought up in Cheshire before moving to London 8 years ago. He was state educated and the first in his family to go to university. Tim works at King’s College London in the Institute of Pharmaceutical Science. In his spare time he acts at as a charity trustee and is a member of CAMRA. Tim, 29, studied history at Lancaster University and was president of the Student’s Union, taking a role campaigning against tuition fees. Tim said:

“I feel privileged to be selected as Labour’s candidate for the Harrow Road Ward. I want to stand up for the community and, together with the current councillors Ruth Bush and Guthrie McKie, be a powerful advocate for the area.”

Prince of Wales pub latest – Westminster Council rejects betting shop licensing application

POW demoThanks to a campaign by local residents, Labour councillors and Karen Buck MP, Westminster Council has rejected an application by BetFred to turn the Prince of Wales pub, Harrow Road into a betting shop.

Tim Roca, Labour’s candidate for the Harrow Road by-election said:

“I’m delighted Westminster Council has listened to local residents and said no to another betting shop on Harrow Road. This is a great first step, but the fight is not over. It is very likely that BetFred will appeal so we must be ready to continue our campaign through the planning appeal process.

There are already several betting shops nearby, which is an unacceptable concentration. The committee agreed with residents and ourselves that a betting shop in such a prominent place would put vulnerable residents very much at risk. It would also blight local businesses. We need a proper balance of shops and facilities along the Harrow Road in the interests of a safe and thriving local community.

The building is local landmark and an important asset. It should be developed in a way which improves the junction and the whole Maida Hill Market area.”

Saltram Crescent – traffic calming

Saltram image Following the consultation which found a majority of residents in favour of the traffic calming proposals, we are pressing the Council to go ahead. The proposals would be put in place for an initial 18 months so that their effect on all concerned can be properly assessed. We know that there are concerns from some residents in the side streets, but we believe that these concerns will be catered for within the proposals. If this turns out not to be the case we will ask the Council to review the situation so that any problems are resolved quickly.

Karen Buck MP has received the following reply from the Council on the latest situation on traffic calming proposals:

“Following the public meeting on 26 November 2014 on Saltram Crescent, we have recently completed a consultation exercise regarding the proposed traffic calming measures. The measures selected by the working party for consultation, were those that it considered would have the minimal impact on all roads in the Saltram Crescent area, including the side roads.

The Working Party considered a number of different options including road humps and road closures, but has opted for the one-way solutions at either end of Saltram Crescent. This solution would allow traffic to exit Saltram Crescent and resolve the rat running traffic issue, without pushing the through traffic onto the side roads. The Working Party have accepted that this solution may require some traffic from Saltram Crescent to use the side roads, but they considered that it would be unlikely that the through traffic would divert on to the side roads, as there would be no advantage in doing so over going the direct route. The Working Party hoped that the scheme they proposed would encourage through traffic to use the main roads as it should be using.

A number of residents from Fordingley Road and surrounding roads have sent in their concerns following the consultation exercise. Their concerns and comments have been collated and included in a Cabinet Member Report on this project, which will be submitted shortly for consideration.”

Maida Hill Market area

maida-hill-marketWe have asked the police to take action to stop the late night anti-social behavior around the market area;

“I came home just after 11pm and as I got out of the car – half the way down Elgin Avenue towards Chippenham Rd, I heard them shouting and screaming! And an hour later they are still here (after midnight)! I don’t know who else to call – no doubt they will be here tomorrow, and the day after, and every night now the weather is warm”

We have also asked for more rubbish bins after receiving this request:

“I wanted to let you know about a massive problem with rubbish dumping at the Maida Hill market area. There are not enough containers for commercial waste (despite various promises to install more containers as the market has expanded). The area looks very unpleasant, dirty and this encourages mice. While there are cleaners who clean the area, absence of large rubbish containers means that for most of the day huge piles of rubbish are dumped onto the street. I hope the council can install large rubbish bins, or perhaps organise twice-a-day rubbish collection from the area. It is madness to try to expand the market, especially if these issues are not resolved first.”

The Market Managers has told us:

“I have made arrangements for the market bin to be changed to one that can be locked with a padlock to prevent abuse from residents and businesses. The traders have all been reminded of their duty of care. As a result of this all market waste is placed into the designated market bin and all cardboard boxes are broken down. Maida Hill market waste is collected within the Harrow Road collection time bands, which are Monday to Sunday 9am and 6:30pm. The market bin is located behind the public toilets from where it is used on a daily bases by the traders. For the evening collection time, the street sweep wheels the bin to the Harrow road junction with Elgin Avenue ready for the refuse crew to collect. This location is also used by local businesses, residents and street sweepers to place bags for collection.

Waste enforcement operations (Project Red) have recently been conducted on the Harrow road. Unfortunately at the location in question there was no evidence found to show where the waste had originated from. We’ll continue to monitor this location with the intention of identifying the individuals who dump waste outside the collection time bands. The cleansing and waste management agreement for the market is currently under review in preparation for completion of the market extension.”

Lydford Estate – Update

The Deputy Estate Manager has given us an update on various issues of concern to residents on the Lydford Estate:

“I am aware of the most recent parking issues on the Lydford Estate, especially where people are parking on the ramp as you enter the estate. We are working closely with Wing Parking to increase the patrols on the estate. This has resulted in Wing Parking issuing a number of penalty charges which normally deters illegal parking however thus far in this case it has been unsuccessful. We will be writing to the block closest to where the cars are parked with the intention of identifying their owners. The details of the cars have been taken by the Police in order for them to carry out background checks on the vehicles. We are continuing to monitor the situation.

With regards to the potential drug taking, this would ultimately need to be reported to the police, however it would be useful to have some specific areas within Lydford where the drug taking is happening. Anything you would be able to provide would be useful so we are able to get to the bottom of the issue with the support of the police.”

Following further information received from residents we have reported that the alleged drug dealing is being carried out at the Harrow Road end of the estate.

Edbrooke Gardens

We have raised this issue with the Council:

“As I write, the Council is killing/eliminating one of the superb trees that makes it a joy to be living opposite them. Why is this tree destroyed? I am no botanist but it seemed pretty healthy to all of us. What consultation has taken place? I am sure that I have not been consulted in spite of my location. This is real violence being made of the only oasis of peace and greenery left in this area and a violence to all users of the park.”

The Council’s Arborcultural Officer says;

“We are carrying out maintenance to the trees in Edbrooke Road Gardens as part of our cyclical maintenance regime. The majority of the work is to remove dead, dying or damaged branches, crown lifting over footpaths and the public highway, so nothing controversial. However, there are three trees identified for crown reduction. Two lime trees that have been implicated in subsidence insurance claim. Lime trees are very tolerant of pruning and will grow back readily. The other tree is a sugar maple that has been crown reduced previously. Unfortunately this species is particularly prone to branch failure from the old pruning points and therefore this work is required for reason of public safety. I did speak to a resident this morning who was concerned at the work that was going on so I’ve said that’s I will inspect this particular tree to ensure that we are not carrying out any more pruning than is necessary.”

Rubbish dumping

CCTV should be deployed at rubbish dumping hotspots to catch those anti-social people who ruin the local environment for everyone else, following reports of continual rubbish dumping in Walterton Road, Goldney Road and elsewhere. Some residents believe that people, particularly builders and landlords, are driving to parts of the area from elsewhere to dump their building rubbish and old furniture.

Rubbish dumping is becoming one of the biggest local issues and those responsible should be caught and fined for their anti-social and irresponsible behaviour. At the same time, Westminster Council needs to improve its street refuse collection service with regular patrols to clear rubbish dumping hotspots as quickly as possible.

Hormead Road

A number of residents from Hormead Road have complained about the behaviour of some of the boaters living on the Grand Union Canal. Karen Buck MP is speaking to the Canal and River Trust, as well as Westminster City Council and Police, to see what more can be done to tackle complaints of anti-social behaviour, littering and noise. House boaters are a long standing and welcome part of the local community, but it is a shame that a minority are causing such problems for their neighbours.

Shirland Road

We are taking up this issue with the Council:

“Motor cycle delivery vehicles take up between 2 – 3 pay and display bays outside 184 – 190 Shirland Road on a daily basis. This has become very annoying, car drivers cannot park, and they have been asked to move into the motor cycle bay on Saltram Crescent which is empty every single day. When the drivers are asked to move they say ‘speak no English’. I am sure the company they work for is not aware that 8 of their drivers are sitting on Shirland Road for 4 hours, 7 days a week. Please can someone do something as this has got to stop, it’s not fair on local residents coming in from work and who cannot park.”

‘Save our Jubilee’ petition

A new petition to Save Our Jubilee Sports Centre has been launched!
http://petitions.westminster.gov.uk/jubileesports/

The petition reads:

“We the undersigned petition Westminster City Council to join with the ‘Save Our Jubilee’ campaign to develop a cost-effective plan for the Jubilee designed to refurbish and update the Centre, and offer even more facilities to local people.

With a strong team, answerable to the community, put in place to manage the Jubilee, we call on Westminster City Council to work with our community on this sensible alternative.”

Carlton Tavern Update

Carlton Tavern 1We have written to the Health and Safety Executive to ask what action has been taken by the HSE regarding the unlawful demolition of the Carlton Tavern in Carlton Vale on April 8th. Maida Vale Labour Councillor Rita Begum said:

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

Councillor Adam Hug, Leader of the Labour Group said;

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

Dibdin House

Dibdin victory 2Residents at Dibdin House are celebrating two big successes this summer. After a spirited local campaign, the estate’s landlord has dropped plans to turn the communal hall into a luxury flat and has instead agreed to allow residents access to their hall again for community events.

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

Paddington Recreation Ground

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

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

The Council says;

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

Warwick Avenue/ Blomfield Road

We have asked the Council to investigate road safety issues at this junction:

“Please could you advise who I would petition to get some kind of pedestrian crossing assistance on the corner of Warwick Avenue and Blomfield Road. This junction is so dangerous and is heavily used by pedestrians and road users alike, the difference being there is no way of pedestrians safely crossing this junction. I live just opposite and use it every day, it’s in the heart of Little Venice, which I’m sure you are aware is a residential area, which is also frequently visited by thousands of tourists every year.”

Boundary Road

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“Some years ago traffic management measures were introduced between Loudoun Road and Abbey Road to slow the traffic (after a local consultation). However, the raised roadway is split and by driving between the raised areas allows vehicles to travel at whatever speed they choose, thereby making the traffic calming measures ineffective. I have noticed recently that vehicles and cars in particularly are travelling up and down Boundary Road at high speed, with estates on both the Camden and Westminster side of the road with large numbers of children living there and with parked cars on both sides restricting vision it can only be a matter of time before there is a tragic accident. I wonder if you can speak with the police to get some enforcement action, or perhaps better traffic calming measures which cannot be by-passed.”

Hamilton Terrace and St John’s Wood Road‏ junction

We are taking this issue up with Road Safety Team:

“Some time ago I raised the dangers to pedestrians wanting to cross Hamilton Terrace when walking along St John’s Wood road down the hill towards the traffic lights at the St John’s Wood Road junction with the Edgware Road. There is a pedestrian crossing over St John’s Wood Road but none over Hamilton Terrace. There is no real problem for pedestrians wanting to cross over the first part of the road coming from the direction of Lords as visibility is good and vehicles coming along Hamilton Terrace have to slow down before turning into St John’s Wood Road either towards Lords or towards the Edgware Road. The danger arises on the second or other part of the crossing nearer to Edgware Road. Vehicles coming up from Edgware Road turn into Hamilton Terrace and it is not easy for pedestrians to spot vehicles some of which fail to signal a left turn. A largish number of vehicles especially at rush hours, turn right into Hamilton Terrace coming along St John’s Wood Road from the direction of Lords using Hamilton Terrace as a ‘rat-run’. The dangers would be reduced if a zebra crossing were to be placed across the end of Hamilton Terrace at the junction with St John’s Wood Road”.

Marlborough Place

Karen Buck MP is taking up this issue with the Council:

“Marlborough Place is a very busy cut through between Hamilton Terrace, Abbey Road and Wellington Road. Unlike other similar cut through in the area, it has no traffic calming features. Consequently it has become a very popular “rat run”. Despite it being a residential road, vehicles regularly drive through at very high speeds both in and out of the rush hour. It is dangerous for pedestrians crossing the road and for drivers trying to drive in or out of their driveways. Most driveways are relatively narrow and Residents Parking spaces and single yellow lines can come right up to the edge of the driveway entrances making visibility regarding passing traffic and pedestrians very limited. The speed of passing vehicles makes coming, going and crossing very dangerous.”

Blenheim Road

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“Blenheim Road is one of the few residential streets in the vicinity without speed humps and everyone from school run drivers to taxis and minicabs is now taking advantage of that to speed down our street. There is a generational change underway as more families have moved in while other older residents still remain and so the risk to pedestrians is growing exponentially. Some people oppose any change to the area but the priority must now be safety, can you please help?”

The Council has told us that the Police are to commission a two week speed camera survey using a small temporary camera.

Nugent Terrace/Abercorn Place junction

The Council has agreed with residents’ suggestion that double yellow lines are needed to prevent cars coming out of Nugent Terrace at the weekend being hit due to blocked sightlines resulting from people parking on the single yellow line on Abercorn Place. We are now awaiting a date for this to be implemented.

Elmfield Way

Road safety and parking complaints continue to flood in from residents living on and around Elmfield Way. The good news is that the Council have agreed to adopt this private road and will start providing normal street services as soon as a land transfer is completed. The bad news is that this means the current private contractors have already ‘checked-out’ of their responsibilities on the road and in the short-term the situation appears to be getting worse. Karen Buck MP is raising complaints with the current private owner and pushing the Council to get the takeover moving as quickly as possible.

Chepstow Road

We are chasing up the Council on this long-standing issue:

“Would you be so kind as to follow up with Westminster council regarding the condition of Chepstow Road, it’s got worse! Trenches on road are getting larger, result large vehicles “bouncing” over causing more vibrations and noise! As for the volume of buses it’s unreal! Every day one can guarantee there will be a roadblock as buses do not give way to each other, often these buses are empty which result in constant traffic jams. Increase in noise and air pollution which is totally unacceptable for residents!”

The Council says:

“I can confirm that the street is not in this year’s programme but it is possibly going to be in next year’s. We can’t promise this at this stage as the final list is made of an algorithm based on a number of variables. I understand from my colleagues who compile the list that the letters to Ward Members are going out in the next 2-3 weeks- at which point they can respond with detail of the strength of local feeling and impact to ensure that this street is as high up the list as it can be.”

We have advised residents to start a petition so that the Council is aware of the strength of local feeling on this matter.

Water leak outside 75 Chepstow Road

We have contacted Thames Water about this issue

“We have already had two very serious leeks in this area. Thames Water have stopped by a couple of times, lifted a couple of grids, a bit of road marking, nothing else. The flood area is spreading. This is a bus route for five buses plus the transits from the garage. Any good ideas for someone I can telephone?”

Thames Water told us;

“I have raised this with the clean water network team for the area and this is being investigated as a priority case given the delay. One of our Network Service Technicians attended the site today to assess the repair work needed.”

This problem has now been sorted out and residents say:

“Many thanks for your assistance, the Murphy guys worked like Trojans. They discovered the leak was not where it was marked, worked out it was about a yard into the road. They have now finished and we said we would tell you how impressed we were with the way they dealt with a difficult situation. A great factor was the way they handled the traffic, no lights, no buses waiting for them to change, everyone was so respectful of each other.”

Westbourne Grove

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“I try to remain patient, living as I do on a building site (you may know it as Bayswater), but I continue to be dismayed by the number of new pavements being installed in the area that don’t have lowered kerbs at junctions for wheelchairs and prams etc. The latest example is along the stretch of Westbourne Grove near the recently converted Westbourne House, where unsightly slopes of what looks like temporary tarmac have been laid to compensate. Presumably all of this will need to be re-done at great expense and further disruption. Why can’t developers get it right first time? It is very frustrating. “

Kensington Gardens Square

Residents of 43-45 Kensington Gardens Square have asked us to contact their landlord, Genesis, about long-delayed repairs and maintenance issues.

Crackdown against begging and ASB in Lancaster Gate and Bayswater

Local police tell us that;

“These coming weeks will see the Lancaster Gate and Bayswater SNT and cluster policing team targeting beggars and Anti-Social Behaviour in Queensway, Westbourne Grove, Royal Oak and the immediate surrounding streets. We will be working with Westminster Council and will be utilising new Anti-Social Behaviour Legislation. This means that we will be able to issue Community Protection Notices (CPNs) in the near future. In order for this to be implemented, we do need impact statements from local residents and businesses. Some individuals have come forward, but we do need more. CPNs will be used to require individuals to stop begging in the area. If the CPN is breached, they will be either arrested or summonsed to court and could be liable to a huge fine or custodial sentence.”

Royal Oak Station

Back in May 2014 Labour GLA member Murad Qureshi wrote to Transport for London to express his concern that the poor condition of the staircase at Royal Oak station posed a real health and safety threat to commuters. TfL acted on the letter and, after being closed for three weeks whilst remedial work was carried out, the station reopened in May with a new staircase.

Wells Rise – what you say

“For the last few years the residents of Wells Rise have been subject to considerable inconvenience as a result of two developments at the top of the road on St Edmund’s Terrace. Namely blocks of flats adjoining Primrose Hill and a new reservoir by Thames Water. This has meant that there has been a constant stream of lorries going up and down Wells Rise very day other than Sunday. This has caused noise, dirt, disruption to parking and a danger to children and others. On a number of occasions there have been water leaks due to the weight and volume of the lorries and parts of the road have had to have been re-surfaced a number of times. The two developments are nearing completion and we need a respite. Westminster Council should have care for the life of its citizens and I suggest there should be a moratorium on future developments in Wells Rise and its vicinity for the next few years.”

On line advice service

People living in Westminster can now receive email advice and information from Advice Westminster’s new online service. Residents can submit a query using a simple form, which will be answered by email within five working days. Applicants will receive a one-off response from a trained adviser who, wherever possible, will provide advice or information, or give details of other organisations that may be able to help. Residents can ask about a range of topics, including benefits and employment rights, as well as having access to health, debt and housing information.

You can get started http://advicewestminster.org.uk/get-advice-online/?ct=t%28One+Westminster+News+|+15+August+2014%29

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

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

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

Beatles Crossing, Abbey Road – what you say

“I still think the “Beatles” zebra-crossing needs regulation of some kind. Yesterday a foolish girl was taking photos, standing in the road; and the subsidiary zebra going north to St. John’s Wood is also hazardous. Frankly, as a driver I find it more and more difficult to stay patient whilst all the ridiculous and carefree posturing goes on?”

Elmfield Way – what you say

“I hope the adoption of Elmfield Way makes progress soon. The car and vans that are regularly double parked all day on double yellow lines are a constant hazard to passing vehicles and to disabled residents who find it difficult to find space to cross the road. “

What you say

“Thank you for being there and following up on problems”

“Really do appreciate you keeping us in the picture. Excellent work and thanks for all the effort.”

“Many thanks for all your work and emails”

“Good newsletter”

“Thank you for your hard work. Good luck!”

“Thank you for all the work you do on our behalf”

“Many thanks for the excellent work you do in highlighting and resolving important issues for the local residents!”

“Many thanks for all the good work and information you provide”

Thanks a lot for the updates “

“Thank you re Westbourne Park Road – I think they got the message. Much better lately”

“Thanks very much for the work you and your colleagues are doing, and for the regular updates – much appreciated.”

“As always, this is so informative and such a useful means of being kept up to date with both your actions and those of the Council. Very many thanks.”

“Another great action report. How do you find the time to deal with your ever increasing number of problems?”

“Thank you for your work on these email lists. They have provided a vital point of knowledge in a world where communication rarely seems forthcoming.”

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

 

WESTMINSTER NORTH ACTION REPORT – JUNE 2015

NEWS FROM WESTMINSTER’S LABOUR COUNCILLORS

Church Street Nursery and Drop-In Centre

Two local community services in Church Street are under threat of closure and we have called on Westminster Council to step in and save them. Shepherd’s Bush Housing Association has given notice that it will cease to subsidise the Church Street Nursery from 17 July 2015. The Nursery has a mix of 42 full- and part-time children registered. It occupies the ground floor of a council-owned shop at 10 Church Street. The Drop-In lunch club for elderly residents occupies the Ground Floor of the shop and has also been given notice by SBHA that it will cease to subsidise them.

Church Street Labour Councillor Barbara Grahame said:

“Church Street Nursery has an Outstanding OFSTED rating and it would be very disappointing if parents were obliged to accept less satisfactory placements elsewhere. The council should to try to enable it to continue. The Council have suggested that its 42 parents could be helped to find alternative places at other nurseries or childminders. However it is very unlikely that it would be possible to find good quality flexible placements for this number of children nearby. It has always seemed unfair that Church Street Nursery, a charity, should ever have been expected to pay a high rent to the Council for a converted shop basement.”

Penfold Street

We are pressing the Council to take action at this junction:

“The junction/crossing of Penfold Street and Broadley Street needs consideration as many drivers on Penfold Street fail to stop (Broadley Street drivers have the right of way) and occasional accidents happen but quite a few sudden stops do. This is a concern given the closeness of Broadley Street Gardens, King Solomon and the market and the residents, children, etc using these places. We are fortunate that only cars, so far, get damaged.”

Due to complaints from residents we have received about issues along the entirety of Penfold Street, we have also managed to get the Council to extend the proposed traffic flow/speed survey to cover the entire length of Penfold Street to the north of Church Street, as well as to the south of Church Street and south of Broadley Street (outside the King Solomon Academy), as planned.

Plympton Steet

We have reported instances of rubbish dumped on the street in Plympton Street and Plympton Place to the Council.

Wyatt House, Lilestone Estate

We have again contacted the Council after the refuse collectors left rubbish sprayed across the ground around Wyatt House. We contacted the Director of City Management who confirmed that the Council’s contract with Veolia requires their operatives to clear any spillage from around rubbish bins when they are undertaking their collection rounds. He will ensure that this incident is highlighted to senior managers at Veolia so that it does not happen again. He also advised sending in evidence to environmentalactionline@westminster.gov.uk or reporting it here https://www.westminster.gov.uk/report-it as the council use these reports to identify issues with the services and Veolia’s performance generally and it will mean the Council are getting a full picture of any poor service that residents are receiving.

Hatton Street

We have asked the Church Street Inspector to investigate this issue:

“I should be grateful if you could see if you can do anything about the piles of rubbish which have started appearing at the north-west end of Hatton Street. I’ve seen foxes tearing at the rubbish as well as the occasional Roma beggar. The issue is the lack of a bin store or ‘wheelie bin’ for the flats on the site of the former Lord Frampton pub.”

Maida Hill Market area

We have asked the Council and the police to investigate this continuing issue:

“There are about 20 people gathering at the Maida Hill market after 6.00pm. They bring a loud speaker, they start playing loud music until midnight, sometimes later than that. Also lots of alcohol is been consumed bottles, cans, cups. What is worst is when they urinate at the square by the trees. My kids are straggling to have a sleep and they keep waking up many times at night due to the loud music especially when they need to get up early in the morning to go to school. Something needs to be done to tackle this anti-social behaviour”

Fermoy Road

We are making enquiries about this long-standing issue:

“I wonder if there is anything that you can do to help a local situation in Fermoy Road which has been going on for a number of years. There is a firegate in place which (when the lock hasn’t been broken, prevents cars from using Fermoy Road as a rat-run between Harrow Road and Great Western Road). Unfortunately motorbikes and scooters know the area well and mount the footpath all day, every day, putting local residents at risk, including children and the residents of the sheltered accommodation which is located next to the firegate.

There has been dialogue with Westminster Council on this for many years, and we thought we had finally made progress earlier this year but this appears to have now stalled and we are yet again in a frustrating position of inactivity. Meanwhile, these motorised vehicles continue to put residents at risk. Is there anything that you can do to help us?”

Shirland Road, Chippenham Road and Walterton Road junction

We have asked the Council to let us know the latest situation on this long-standing issue:

“I just wondered if you could do something about the eyesores and the blatant flaunting of the smoking laws by the two shisha places at the junction of Shirland Road, Chippenham Road and Walterton Road”

Shirland Road/Elgin Avenue junction

We have the Council to investigate the problems at this junction after receiving this message:

“Both my son and his friend had a very lucky escape this morning on their walk into school. They were crossing at the junction of Shirland Road and Elgin Avenue between the newsagents and the interiors shop Day True. As there are no pedestrian lights there the only way of gauging whether it’s safe to cross is by guessing the traffic light sequence. The 2 older boys crossed first as we took charge of the 3 younger children. The boys were about three quarters of the way across when the lights changed and a motorbike, which must have been travelling at some speed accelerated through the amber light missing the boys by millimetres.

At the junction of Shirland Road and Chippenham Road we now have a pedestrian countdown which has greatly improved our ability to cross safely at this junction. However the two remaining junctions are still a danger and this is a major route to school for many families. I am asking and for Pedestrian lights to be installed at these junctions and all those on major routes to school before there is a serious accident and the 20MPH speed limit to be introduced. On the final day of Walk to School Week, I have had a very cold, harsh reality check, and realised the streets are not safe for myself and my family.”

The Council says they are currently considering the following options:
• Upgrade to double yellow lines around junction and loading blips
• Add cycle reservoir on Elgin Avenue arms (already on Shirland Road) and add pedestrian Green men to all arms.
• Stop lines 3m from studs
• Improve pedestrian crossing studs and widen to the min of 2.4m
• Add tactile paving
• Upgrade traffic islands in line with new stud lines
• Right turn pocket in centre of junction in line with Shirland Road
• Pedestrian phase

Lydford Estate – parking

We are following up this issue raised by residents:

“I have noticed the continuous parking of cars on the ramps entering the Lydford estate on Riverton, Portgate and Lapford Closes. These cars do not have parking permits and I understand a number of them have parking tickets and but this has not resolved the problem. The effect of this illegal parking is that residents who have paid for parking permits and also services such as rubbish collection have difficulty getting into the estate and driving into their allotted parking spaces around these closes. It is believed that the owners of these cars live in houses on Ashmore Road opposite the entrance to Portgate Close. There is also a lot of drug related activity in some closes at night.The police have been informed of these problems which have been going on for some months. It is time that some action is taken”

Bus stop outside Vale Court, Edgware Road

We are making enquiries about this issue:

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

Kilburn Park Road – parking

We are making investigations with the Council about this issue:

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

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

Kilburn Park Road – rubbish dumping

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

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

Essendine Nursery – Update

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

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

Pindock Mews

We are chasing up this issue:

“Can you give the Council a boot up the backside re the matter of painting those non-existent yellow lines in Pindock Mews? We are still waiting and now builders vans are parking there and blocking our exit/access via the Castellain Road end of the mews. “

Lodge Road

We have asked the Council to investigate this road safety issue:

“The main problem is – because Lodge Road is long and straight- people speed like lunatics along it. Their speed is curtailed at points because it also gets congested at various spots where it narrows due to parking on both sides. If the drivers are not speeding then they are engaged road rage. It’s also a busy road with lots of pedestrians crossing at the Regent’s Park end going to the hotel. At the Lisson Grove end there is the church and church hall busy with folk and, moreover, children going to clubs and lessons.

Yesterday at the church end as children were using the church hall to my absolute horror a motorbike doing about 40 miles an hour or thereabouts came roaring along the pavement to avoid the bottleneck that had formed at the Lisson Grove end. Had any child opened the door and stepped out onto the pavement at that moment there would have been a fatality. I was incandescent but powerless. Is there any cctv on this road? That idiot needs to be caught.”

41 Abbey Road

We are pleased that the planning application for the conversion of the former long-empty and derelict care home at 41 Abbey Road into 7 flats was approved by the Planning Applications Committee on 2 June 2015. We liaised closely with local residents to support this proposal.

Tesco, Circus Road

We are continuing to chase up this long-standing issue:

“Tesco’s delivery lorries at St Johns Wood have become a nightmare. I am sure that the Council are doing everything in their powers to solve this problem. Let me assure you that the lorries are there after 10 a.m. in the mornings, blocking up all the spaces. Furthermore at many times there is a second delivery lining up outside the Post Office, also waiting to deliver. This has got to stop. They must leave at 8.30 a.m. as arranged with the Council, not at 10 a.m. I am over 95 years of age, and cannot park as those valuable spaces are used by lorries still delivering at 10 a.m. Please do something.”

Westbourne Park Road

We have reported this issue to the local City Inspector:

“I head out to work-out every Tuesday and Friday at about 0550, returning at about 0700 down Westbourne Park Road. These are rubbish collection days. And every Tuesday and Friday without fail there is a black bin bag of rubbish left outside numbers 2 or 4 that has been torn apart by foxes. Rubbish is all over the pavement and on to the road. Clearly this bin bag’s owner probably shouldn’t be leaving his rubbish out in this way at all, and certainly not the night before. The street cleaners appear to be highly competent in clearing it up between 0550 and 0700 but someone does need to notify the owner. Just because we have great cleaners I think they could be spending their time doing something else! And needless to say it is disgusting. I expect the bin bag owner is completely unaware!”

The local Inspector visited both properties at 2 and 4 Westbourne Park Road. They were both had gated entrances and there was no answer. So she delivered warning letters indicating the collection times, their responsibilities and of the possible penalty for not adhering to the notice. She told us to keep her updated and if there are any further complaints she will go round again.

Elmfield Way

We are continuing to press the Council to speed up the adoption of Elmfield Way. Residents are very concerned about the current management of the road and the problems it causes particularly for disabled residents. The area of primary concern remains from the corner by Carlton Gate to Ashgrove Court that passes in front of the Eaton Plaza area. Issues are a mix of poor road maintenance and long standing and continuing problems with the myriad different private parking companies that manage each individual section. Parking enforcement is the biggest problem at the moment and the perception is that the private contractors are not up to the job of keeping traffic moving but do issue tickets for some very minor infractions.

Woodfield Road

We have raised this issue with the Council’s Arborcultural Officer:

“In March 2008 a large tree was removed from the pavement outside our flat on Woodfield Road, a second tree was scheduled for felling but I managed to save it. I was assured at the time that a replacement would be planted. I followed it up the following year and was again told that it would be. No tree has been planted. Is there any way that that tree can be planted?”

The Arborcultural Officer say the tree was removed in 2008 due to an insurance claim. He says that sites in the area are looked at regularly for potential tree planting and Woodfield Road will be inspected over the summer to identify any potential site for planting new trees in the autumn. Having taken a look at the minutes from the planning committee meeting where the redevelopment of Harrow Road Police Station was discussed, the developer will be contributing £20,000 to public realm improvements including tree planting.

Canal lighting

We have asked the Canal & River Trust for an update on this issue:

“Is there any update on the lighting on the canal path? I realise that the area I am concerned about (from Westbourne Park tube station to Sainsbury’s Ladbroke Grove) is mainly RBKC, but I would love to know if this is on the radar at all”

St Petersburgh Place

We are continuing to urge the Council to sort out this issue:

“There is still a problem with the cubby holes without gates on them filling up with rubbish on St Petersburgh Place, from the back of the Orme Square houses”

Leinster Gardens

Following an enquiry from a resident about the creation of a substandard and undersized flat in the basement of a property in Leinster Gardens without planning permission, we asked the Planning Enforcement team to inspect the property. The property has now been inspected and indeed found to be substandard and undersized and is now no longer in use.

Leinster Square – update

We have received the latest update from the Council regarding residents’ concerns over lorries leaving their engines on whilst being loaded;

“The City Council is using its traffic marshals to enforce the Road Traffic (Vehicle Emissions) (Fixed Penalty) (England) Regulations 2002 in order to reduce polluting emissions from stationary vehicles. Vehicles idling while stationary cause unnecessary use of fuel, an increase in emissions and can also create a noisy environment, especially for residents and businesses. It is an offence under Regulation 98 of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 to leave a vehicle engine idling unnecessarily whilst stationary and powers are available to authorised local authority officers to issue fixed penalty notices of £20 to drivers who allow their vehicle engines to run unnecessarily while the vehicle is stationary. The Westminster Air Quality Action Plan, adopted in 2013, made a commitment to review the options and resource and emissions implications of utilising ‘no idling’ legislation to help improve local air quality.”

Below is a link to the City Council’s website giving more information
https://www.westminster.gov.uk/idling-vehicles-0

Claremont Court

We are taking up this issue with the Council:

“Residents of Claremont Court do not put blue bags on the street. These flats have a separate marked recycling bin provided by WCC for paper/ glass etc. It is kept at the rear of the block. Residents put their blue recycling bags in this bin. General rubbish is kept separate in the usual black bins. However the blue bags are not collected by a recycling vehicle. What happens is that a Veolia operative arrives at c7.00am and dumps all the black bag rubbish into the blue bag recycling container and this is then wheeled out to the street and then into a waste lorry which crushes all the stuff together. Other blue bag recycling in this part of Queensway is treated similarly. As a result some residents are saying why bother?!”

The Council says:

“We have now looked into the issue at Claremont Court. The Operations Manager for the services involved has confirmed that the crew do, on occasion, use the recycling bin as a means to carry additional waste bags from Claremont Court to the collection vehicle. This is not acceptable practice and the crew have been instructed to stop doing it. The crew assured their manager they do not tip any recycling bags and only use the recycling bin when it is empty (waste and recycling being collected on alternate days of the week). Even so, this is not acceptable and we will ensure all Veolia crews are briefed on the matter to avoid a repeat.”

Exeter House, Hallfield

We are taking up problems with blocked drains suffered by some residents in Exeter House.

Reading, Pembroke and Tenby Houses – Hallfield

City West Homes has written to all residents within these blocks requesting that any defects with the windows fitted by Mulalley be reported to them. These will be inspected before being passed to the contractor to rectify.

The scheme to replace tenant front doors at Reading, Pembroke and Tenby Houses are expected to start late this year.

Ossington Street

We are chasing the Council on this issue:

“I am writing to you now after spending seven months trying to get some response from the Council. I have sent seven emails and had five conversations but clearly they have zero interest in engaging with this. One set of neighbours across the road have been using the pavement as their personal rubbish-dump since last October. Since they leave their rubbish there, anyone passing disposes of their rubbish there also. It is clear who is disposing of the rubbish, since everyone else in the street has their own area for disposing of rubbish. If there is anything that can be done to resolve this, I would be very grateful.”

Note My Vote

You might like to take a look at ‘Note My Vote (NMV) http://www.notemyvote.co.uk which is a website that enables the public to vote on legislation before MPs. The results are published on the website and then sent to MPs before they vote in the House of Commons. People can also vote on news items relating to Government policy, with the results also being published on the website and sent to MPs.

By replicating how MPs vote in the House of Commons and keeping the process simple for users, Note My Vote brings politics into the digital age and provides a quick and easy way for people to voice their opinion on important legislative matters and engage directly in our democratic system. As well as making MPs more accountable to their constituents, one of their aims is to get more people involved in politics.

We would be interested to know what you think.

The Chippenham – what you say

“I was glad to see in your latest Action Report for Westminster North that you are keeping a close watch on the Chippenham pub. As a “born & bred” resident for past 40 years, I’ve always felt that the Chipp is the key to the surrounding area (the Shirland crossroads and environs). Compared to surrounding areas (eg Maida Vale / Queens Park) the high street is fairly run down and the Shisha-cafes compound the downbeat look of it all. If the Chipp was finally developed and run as an establishment worthy of its history, its knock-on effect to the rest of the high street would be hugely positive.”

Maida Hill area – what you say

“I fully agree with the contributor who suggests that we need a few more up market establishments in this neighbourhood rather than more betting shops where alcoholics, drug dealers and other undesirables congregate”

Notting Hill Carnival – what you say

“I note the frustration recently expressed about Carnival which is consistent with the issues I raised with you; namely that Carnival has become more an event for outsiders at the expense – and detriment – of local residents”

“I am on the beginning of the route and the floats assemble on Woodfield Road and begin blasting their music early in the morning. The walls of my flat shake and the art work literally moves. I was reduced to tears one year when I was ill with a flu bug and needed to sleep. In the evening everyone throws their beer cans in our garden and pukes in our gateway. Someone once did a poo in our front garden! It is a horrible, horrible weekend. I dread it every year and cannot afford to go away each time. I have begged friends who live elsewhere to take my son and I for the weekend.”

Tailback of traffic on Maida Vale Edgware Road – what you say

“Buses where Maida Vale meets Edgware Road at Topps Tiles going south – there is always a massive tailback in the morning and a widening of the bus lane or stricter enforcement of the bus lane or a reduction in unnecessarily wide paving is required.”

Carlton Tavern – what you say

“Great news about the Carlton – The principle and decision reached by the Council is the right one. Let’s hope the developers deliver with the action against them, ‘brick by brick’.”

Goldney Road/Edbrooke Road – what you say

“Speed ramps on Goldney and Edbrooke would be amazing for all residents and pupils. Could we look in to moving the bins from the corner of Goldney Rd and Chippenham RD as they attract large numbers of fly tippers being a busy corner? I have already suggested to the council that maybe the yellow line by the park would be better”

What you say

“Many thanks for these updates. Greatly appreciated”

“Many thanks for adding me to the distribution of the Westminster North Action Report. It’s great to hear all the great things that the councillors are doing for residents.”

“Wow! Thank you. Great info”

“Thank you for the regular updates”

“Thanks for the updates and all the hard work”

“Thank you so much for your brilliant newsletter – as always. I know it takes a lot of work to produce and even more work to continually keep pursuing all our worries and complaints. You guys are amazing”

“Thank you for your ever-informative update on local matters. In particular, thanks for taking the lead on the Carlton Tavern and on the right for the public to speak at planning committee. The future of The Clifton continues to be of great neighbourhood interest- we’ve lost too many local community pubs over the last 20 years.”

“I enjoy receiving your emails on updates regarding issues affecting our area”

“Thanks very much – it is great to hear about everything that you are addressing”

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

Regards

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg
Westminster City Council


WESTMINSTER NORTH ACTION REPORT – MAY 2015

NEWS FROM WESTMINSTER’S LABOUR COUNCILLORS

Plympton Street

We are making enquiries with the Council after receiving this message:

“Help, this tiny overbuilt alley with no pavement is being seen as a street to rev and speed up from Church Street to Broadley Street. Children play on the street, our front doors open directly on to the street, with no pavement, as do our garages. This has got progressively worse as we are boxed in and used as a rat run because of traffic pattern and market, roadworks etc. There should be a 20mile speed limit, or a speed bump and a stop sign at the Broadley Street end, where pedestrians cross (and with building works hoarding cannot see or be seen). This alley is a haven for dog walkers, alcohol bottles and dangerous speeding. Please help stop this before we have a serious accident.”

Penfold Street

We have made investigations with the Council after receiving these enquiries:

“Many residents are complaining about the extra traffic, too often speeding, that is currently being directed down Penfold Street due to works in Lisson Grove. Last night an ambulance was blocked from leaving the estate with a patient onboard for an extremely long time.”

“As Lisson Grove is blocked off traffic is being diverted down Frampton Street and consequently Penfold Street. Leaving for work at approximately 7 am for work I sometimes have to wait to pull out of our entrance for sometimes over 20 cars to pass. When the building work starts this is going to create other problems.”

The problem was caused by UK Power Networks failure to complete the electricity works in Lisson Grove on time. But this work has now been completed following our enquiries.

We have also called for special attention outside King Solomon Academy where speeding traffic is a particular problem and also at the Penfold Street junction with Church Street. There is often heavy foot traffic at this junction with people attending the market and the fear is that an accident will happen there soon.

Lisson Grove

We have reported this issue to the Council:

“The restaurant at 112 Lisson Grove has just erected two identical ‘Just Eat’ signs, and also a (seemingly permanent) temporary sign hung up. These signs are unsightly, especially the ‘Just Eat’ ones which jut away from the wall at right angles.”

Edbrooke Road Gardens

Edbrooke Rd Gdns
Residents have asked if speed controls can be put in place in Edbrooke Road and Goldney Road to deter speeding cars who endanger local residents when crossing the road to get to the gardens, particularly parents with small children.

We have also asked the Council to remove rubbish dumped outside the Gardens.

Chippenham Road

We have asked the Council to remove rubbish dumped in Chippenham Road near the junction with Shirland Road.

The Chippenham

We are keeping a close watch on the future of The Chippenham pub after learning that it has been bought by the same company that bulldozed the Carlton Tavern.

Carlton Tavern Update

Carlton Demo Council
Community campaigners scored a great victory on Tuesday 5th May when they succeeded in getting Westminster Council to order the owners of the Carlton Tavern to rebuild the pub they bulldozed in April ‘brick by brick’. The campaign, led by Dibdin House resident Poly Robertson and Maida Vale Councillor Rita Begum, has forced Westminster Council to support the community demand for the pub to be rebuilt.

Councillor Rita Begum said:

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

What residents say:

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

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

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

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

“I was horrified to discover that ‘developers’ have almost entirely demolished the Carlton Tavern just prior to it being officially listed. I hope proper action will be taken against the culprits. At the very least WCC planners should refuse planning permission for the proposed luxury flats and impose a serious fine.”

Kilburn Park Road

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

Elgin Avenue

We have asked the Council to investigate this suggestion:

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

Warwick Avenue

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

“There was a tree knocked over in an accident about five weeks ago outside the flats at the back of St Saviour’s church. The tree root stump and the trunk of the tree are still on the pavement in Warwick Avenue. Could these please be removed?

A satisfied resident has told us;

“Thanks very much. The tree and stump has now been removed.”

Edgware Road buses

We have contacted London Buses about this issue:

“I live on Randolph Ave at the junction of Clifton Gardens and use the buses regularly. Bus routes on the Edgware Rd up to Edgware Road underground station have become a nightmare of traffic and angry passengers as the delays are daily, every day, all day and long. Some improvement in this bus route is urgent. Bus numbers 6, 414, 98, 16, 332 are all affected.”

Junction of Nugent Terrace and Abercorn Place

We have again reported this issue to the Council:

“I am particularly concerned about the situation of the junction of Nugent Terrace and Abercorn Place, about which other people have commented in your newsletter. When can we expect some double yellow lines to be placed on Abercorn Place to the left of Nugent Terrace so that, at the weekend, it is possible to pull out safely from this junction without risking a side impact collision with cars racing down Abercorn Place?”

Potholes in Hill Road

We have chased up the Council again about this long-standing problem:

“The day after your visit in January, white paint marks appeared around several of the 3 inch deep pot holes in Hill Road but nothing has been done to repair these? When can we expect some action?”


Junction of Lisson Grove and Lodge Road

Lisson Grove bollard
We have reported this issue to the Council:

“The traffic bollards at the junction of Lisson Grove and Lodge Road are destroyed, on average, once every three/four months. They are currently broken. I have hit the traffic island at night when there was no illuminated bollard (it having been destroyed by a collision) resulting in several thousands of pounds of damage to my wheels, tyres, axle, shock absorbers. Luckily I was able to maintain control of the car but it is only a matter of time before a very serious incident takes place here.”

Circus Road Tesco

We have reported this long-running issue to the Council for action:

“Tesco are still delivering late at their St John’s Wood Branch. Their lorries are still there past 9 a.m., taking up all the small number of parking spaces. I understand that they were to be clear of those valuable spaces by 8 to 8.30 a.m. Can this be taken up with Tesco?

Marlborough Place

We have advised residents to write an objection to the Council after receiving this message:

“We have been notified about a planning application in Marlborough Place. This is a house which was only built a few years ago and recently sold. The new buyers wish to convert the garage into a habitable room and excavate the basement. One wonders why they bought this house if it was too small to start with! BUT the problem with this application is that our building is next door to them and our parking lot already has flooding when it rains a lot with rising water that comes through the concrete floor and walls as it is very close to the water table level already. Digging out a basement next door certainly is not going to help this and they will disturb it even more. They will also have flooding problem themselves if they are allowed to go ahead.”


Aldridge Road Villas/Tavistock Road

We have reported dumped rubbish at this location and asked the Council to collect it.

Westbury House, Westbourne Park Road

We have asked the Council and City West Homes why there are so many empty flats in Westbury House, Westbourne Park Road.

Chepstow Road

Earlier this year residents told us;

“We are continuing to have the same problems i.e. trenches/pot holes appearing again on the road. Buses/large vehicles are literally “bouncing” over this which is causing the properties to vibrate! e.g. outside no 37, 54 and 60 Chepstow Road.”

Following our enquiries, the Council has confirmed that the site was visited and works orders have been raised for two carriageway patches and a defective carriageway trench has been referred to Thames Water for remedial works.

Leinster Square

We are making enquiries after receiving this message:

“A large lorry was being loaded with rubble from the works at 13-17 Leinster Square with its engine running, causing noise, pollution and of course greenhouse gases. Are there rules about this? I asked the driver and foreman if it was necessary to keep the engine running and I was fed some rubbish about it needing more fuel to start the engine again than would be used while it was ticking over! The driver did switch off without too much fuss, thankfully, but it’s not the first time this has happened, and I would like to be sure of my facts about any legislation that applies.”

Residents speaking at Planning Committee meetings

On 29th April we put down the following motion at the Council meeting:

“This Council agrees to allow the public to speak at the weekly Westminster Planning Committee meetings – in the same way as the public are allowed to speak at practically every other Planning Committee in London and the rest of the UK. This would be a small but significant step forward in the process of restoring public confidence in local democracy in Westminster.

Adopting this simple and straightforward change in the way in which Planning Committee meetings operate will enable those residents most directly affected by planning proposals (and those promoting them) to state their case directly to the Committee members when applications are being determined.

The Council appreciates that, given the high volume of planning applications received by the Council, introducing speaking rights for the public needs careful thought. However, we believe that this can be managed without difficulty as it is in other inner London boroughs and the Council hereby instructs Officers to report on how the detail of this can be implemented.”

Unfortunately, while all Labour Councillors voted for this motion, all the Conservative Councillors who were present at the meeting voted against the motion.

We will continue to press the Council on this fundamental issue.

Trees

We asked the Council for an update about replacing a number of lost trees after receiving this enquiry:

“I would like to ask if anyone is keeping track of the steady loss of trees in our area due to new developments. One was felled when the new building on Porchester Road (now housing the West London Buddhist Centre) was built; two were felled to build the new development on Westbourne Grove adjacent to Hatherley Grove; and now it is proposed to lose the two trees outside the Sainsbury building. Are there any plans to replace these, or are they just to be sacrificed? We need the oxygen!”

The Council told us that the trees on Porchester and Hatherley Grove will be replaced when the developments have been completed. The two trees outside the Sainsbury building will also be replaced with new trees in the vicinity as there will be insufficient space to plant on Westbourne Grove.

Carnival

We have asked the Council for an update on this year’s arrangement after receiving this enquiry:

“We on the carnival route and those in the general area, who can’t escape for that bank-holiday weekend, are under siege. I have calculated that I, in my years living on Chepstow Road, have lost 36 days of holiday and that doesn’t count the Saturday before the carnival because I have to prepare for it. Then I have to clean up my front garden and basement area at the end of each day. The council offers a ‘clean-up service’ for those living on the route but it doesn’t come into effect until 3 days later; I don’t want chicken bones and beer cans and broken glass and vomit and excrement sitting in front of my house waiting to be cleared for that long!

The carnival really needs to be discussed thoroughly, in terms of noise, nuisance, disgusting behaviour, filth, smells etc. I am not against the carnival; I grew up with it (it used run just along the Portobello Rd), but, it seems that all locals hate it and dread it and that only out-of-towners and tourists flood in to enjoy it. I can’t see that it benefits the residents in the area at all and we have to give up, overall, weeks of our free time/holiday time for the benefit of the company that runs it, for the non-local food-stall holders who hand out over-priced but revolting food, littering the streets with their polystyrene containers etc. I am starting to consider leaving my birth-place, my home, my community that I used to love so much; because of the vultures swooping in to abuse and use this area for their own benefit while offering nothing in return. “

The Clifton pub – what you say

“Clearly the buyer has no intentions if renting it as a pub and wants to build a house. In fact he has not done his numbers as a pub but as a redevelopment. A building of such historic significance and local amenity should never be allowed to be converted. The pub was always full of people!!!”

Harrow Road pubs – what you say

“I strongly disagree that what Harrow Rd needs is a cheap, soul-less chain pub. I think we have enough soul-less cheap betting and grocery store options nearby as well as the inexpensive Angie’s Freehouse. I would love to see another classy establishment or gastro-pub similar to the Union Tavern on Woodfield Road and the canal. “

Prince of Wales pub – what you say

“The last thing we need is another betting shop”

Maida Hill market area – what you say

“I think the Maida Hill market is not just a market in day time it is also a drinking place for the drunks especially from 6.30pm onwards. After the market closes they all start gathering at the square playing loud music. I have been forced this evening to call the police. Please something it needs to be done to tackle this anti-social behaviour. They don’t care about anyone, especially young children who go to bed early for school.”

20mph speed limit – what you say

“I fully agree with fellow residents regarding speeding cars in the area and the selfish attitude of motorists who think nothing of driving at 30mph – 70mph in a residential, built up, urban environment. I am also appalled that the recent report on the impact of a 20mph speed limit on Elgin Avenue, in not so many words, is saying that there are not enough serious injuries or deaths to warrant imposing a restricted speed limit.”

Residents speaking at Planning Committee meetings – what you say

“I definitely believe residents should have a voice at planning meetings. We recently encountered this issue when attempting to defend our rights that are directly violated by the now approved development of the 325 Harrow Rd police station.”

What you say

“Thank you for another thorough and informative update on local issues and the actions being taken”

“Brilliant report as always”

“Thank you for your ever-useful newsletter”

“Thank you very much indeed for all these updates concerning our neighbourhood. I always find them extremely interesting.”

“Thank you very much for the reports and updates and the efforts of all concerned in making our locality a pleasant place to live.”

“Thanks for this informative report as ever”

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

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg
Leader of the Labour Group
Westminster City Council

Printed and Published by Andy Whitley at Westminster North Labour Party at 4g Shirland Mews, London W9 3DY

WESTMINSTER NORTH ACTION REPORT – APRIL 2015

NEWS FROM WESTMINSTER’S LABOUR COUNCILLORS

Church Street

We have reported this continuing issue to the Council;

“I see the pool is still outside Tesco at the junction of Church Street and Venables Street, it smells so bad and outside a food shop it’s not very nice”

Burne Street

We have again reminded the Council and BT to clean this area on a daily basis;

“The BT building may have slipped under the radar: I was passing it about 8am yesterday and today. Rough sleepers are still on the ground (on mattresses), a great deal of rubbish, strong smell of urine – all being negotiated by schoolchildren in uniform commuting from the no.18 bus.”

Bell Street

We reported rubbish dumped at the corner of Bell Street and Daventry Street and an unsafe manhole cover at the corner of Lisson Street where a young woman tripped and was injured.

Swanbourne House

We have reported to City West Homes that the stairwells in Swanbourne House are being used as ‘drinking dens’.

Prince of Wales pub – Betfred update – Time to object

Betfred have applied for a licence to use the pub as a betting shop. Residents and local groups have until 22nd April to submit objections.

Residents who live ‘sufficiently close to be likely to be affected’ by the activities or who have business interests which might be affected are entitled to object, as are persons who represent them e.g. residents’ groups and amenity societies.

Objections need to relate to the likely impact of the application on the promotion of the ‘licensing objectives’, which are:
• prevention of public nuisance,
• prevention of crime and disorder,
• public safety and
• protection of children from harm.

Richard Brown from the Licensing Advice Project at Westminster Citizens Advice Bureau is happy to provide advice and assistance to residents in respect of this application, and to assist with drafting representations which focus on the relevant issues. Go to http://www.licensingadvice.org for further information.

Richard can be contacted on 020 7706 6029 and licensing@westminstercab.org.uk

The Betfred licensing application documents can be viewed on the Council’s website- http://idoxpa.westminster.gov.uk/online-applications/licencingApplicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=NLVB56RP0JT00

Saltram Crescent update

Residents report the following:

“Hopefully everyone has seen the letter from the council informing us of their proposed solution to calm traffic in Saltram Crescent. It’s all on http://safersaltram.blogspot.co.uk/.

Thanks to everyone who stepped up and formed a committee to liaise with the council and who came to our meetings. Thanks too to our hard working councillors Ruth, Guthrie and Nilavra and our MP Karen Buck for pushing it through and arranging meetings. And big thanks to the council, for listening to our concerns, thoughts and for meeting with us and working out a solution. Together. Feedback from the committee has been that the council and their consultants have been amazing – knowledgeable, collaborative and action-orientated.”

Harrow Road

We are making enquiries about this issue:

“Thank you for all the work done concerning the improved crossing facility (Pelican Junction) at Harrow Road and Chippenham Road, which is now ‘complete’; however, the removal of some of the safe haven islands has had the effect of large commercial trucks cutting the westbound corner from Harrow Road into Chippenham Road, often at speed as they try to beat the lights. Since the closure of the Batching works heavy traffic has decreased significantly. Even though the Crossrail works are continuing their traffic conforms to regulated hours of activity. I notice the ‘massive’ new batching facility under construction in its new position and wonder just how much Cement truck traffic it will generate on completion. Please could you ask the licensing authority to clarify the hours that facility will operate, and trucks use the surrounding residential area streets.”

Ernest Harriss House, Elgin Avenue

We have asked Genesis to deal with this issue:

“I’m sad to note that our little “jungle” at Ernest Harriss House continues to gather more rubbish. I would’ve helped but I don’t have gardening equipment.”

A delighted resident told us:

“WOW…..I did not see anyone do it but…it now looks excellent!”

Walterton/Warlock Roads

We have contacted the Council about the continuing unsatisfactory situation around the communal bins at the junction of Walterton and Warlock Roads. A resident suggests the following:

“I believe that the only tactical solution for this spot is a very visible CCTV camera to support uncompromising law enforcement, made visible thanks to frequent up-dates on prosecution numbers fixed to the bins and/or other things. The authorities must show resolve and send a very strong message as a matter of urgency. The current tactics simply do not work to deter people from dumping everything on that corner.”

Carlton Tavern

Carlton Tavern 1
We have called on Westminster Council to take the strongest possible action against those responsible for the demolition of the Carlton Tavern on Carlton Vale and called it “an act of vandalism” which has united the local community in calling for the pub to be rebuilt as it was before the bulldozers moved in. Councillor Rita Begum, Maida Vale ward, said:

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

Carlton Tavern 2
Historic England said there were plans to recommend the pub be given a grade II listing pending approval from the Department for Culture Media and Sport.

“The Carlton Tavern built in 1920-21 for Charrington & Co, probably by Frank J Potter, was an early inter-war improved public house, carefully detailed and built of good quality materials, showing the vision of a leading London brewery. It was laid out as an improved pub with a public bar, and originally off sales, a saloon, and unusually a luncheon and tea room. The site was remarkably well-preserved externally and internally, it displayed the hierarchy of rooms in their fixtures, fittings and decorative treatment and retained all its external signage. Few pubs were built at this date and fewer survive unaltered. It also had great historical interest as an improved pub, illustrative of growing concern at raising the reputation of public houses, by providing family facilities and reducing drunkenness.”

Biddulph Road/Elgin Avenue – rubbish

We have again reported this long-standing problem to the Council:

“The rubbish around the bins at Biddulph and Elgin are a persistent nuisance. There is a general sense that one can just dump things in the area, and so even after collection the area is a mess.”

The local warden has spoken to the caretaker for Biddulph Mansions again and residents have been reminded to dispose their waste within their premises. Ashworth Mansions’ management have also been notified about improper behaviour towards waste disposal by the bins. The warden has been monitoring these bins regularly, the 24 hour team also spent resources in operations and will continue to monitor this site closely and evidence of address and name of alleged offenders will be used for Fixed Penalty Notices. Same procedures will apply if the offenders are caught in action.”

Warwick Avenue Station – Update

Following reports of begging outside the station, the police tell us they will “visit Warwick Ave tube when on late shift to deal with the beggar as begging is an offence so if found committing can be arrested or summonsed to court.”
Sutherland Avenue

We reported exposed wiring on a lamp post in Sutherland Avenue and hope that is repaired soon.

Violet Hill Gardens

We are making enquiries about this issue:

“Please would you discover Westminster Council’s plans for these gardens. At present there is a park keeper present for all the hours the garden is open. I understand that from the end of March it is intended that a keeper would only be present to open and close the gates leaving the garden and playground otherwise unattended. If this is right, how will the garden be maintained? The garden and the playground are a much valued local amenity and it would be most regrettable if they were allowed to deteriorate or at worst sold off to greedy property developers.”

Dale House, Boundary Road

We reported this issue to City West Homes;

“Please note that the light on the stairwell leading to 31-36 Dale House is not working”

Cunningham Place

We have received this objection to another basement proposal:

“My main concern about the planning application is that such excavations may have very damaging effects on adjacent properties by causing a risk of subsidence and damage to the long-term structural integrity, and also by having an unknown effect on the water table. I fear that this may be the first of a rash of underground basement applications in Cunningham Place of the kind that have bedevilled Hamilton Close. It is wholly unnecessary and inappropriate for a resident to wish to excavate an underground basement which extends beyond the footprint of the house and covers almost the entirety of the garden to the rear. Such excavations seem to me to pose a significant threat to the long-term structural integrity of adjacent buildings.”

Tyburn Stone

We are making enquiries into this matter:

“I notice that the Bank in Edgware Road that used to have the Tyburn Stone in its window has been gutted and is being refurbished; I tried to ask one of the Builders what had happened to this old stone, but he did not know. Can you find out what has happened to it?”

A resident has sent us this link with the new location of the Tyburn Stone

Find the Tyburn Stone

Botts Mews

We were very disappointed when the Planning Committee agreed to the proposed basement development in Botts Mews. All three Conservative Councillors voted for the basement extension. Labour Councillor Barbara Grahame voted against. Here is what residents have told us:

“The anger and frustration is increasing to a breaking point”

“It was a really disappointing experience last night after all the trouble that everybody had been to in proving this development is going to have such a bad effect on the local community ……and only one Committee member against saying that she thought it would be a disaster”

Porchester Terrace/Porchester Gardens/Leinster Gardens junction – Parking Update

The parking team has met with Hallfield School and made it clear that the current parking situation is unacceptable and pointed out the nuisance that it is causing to other road users and residents. The school has a travel plan in place and has been issued with concession cards (and they have distributed 17 to parents of children who live outside of the borough).

The Planning Department will be sending the school some information regarding parking in the local area (such as information on the Park Right app and some ‘dos and don’ts’) and they will discuss ideas to engage the children and the school which will go some way to educating the parents on the need for safer parking. The Parking Team will also be discussing stricter enforcement as there is a view that current practice is on the lenient side at the moment with some parents parking for up to twenty five minutes (concession cards allow only for ten minutes).

Westbourne Grove

We are investigating this issue with the Council:

“The company undertaking the resurfacing of the pavement resurfacing is very poorly carried out, and the workman involved are unprofessional. Some of the new pavement slabs installed are already loose, the gaps between the slabs are far too large, and are unfilled without cement. The shop fronts and the pavement are not aligned.”

Chepstow Road

Residents alerted us to this continuing problem:

“We are continuing to have the same problems i.e. trenches/pot holes appearing again on the road. Buses/large vehicles are literally “bouncing” over this which is causing the properties to vibrate! e.g. outside numbers 37, 54 and 60 Chepstow Road. Could you please visit the site and let me know your thoughts?”

Council officers are making a site visit to assess the situation and what can be done.

Leinster Square

We have asked the Council to let us know what action will be taken to address this recurring issue with the builders in the Square:

“The parking suspensions opposite 7-12 Leinster Square expired on 27 March, but don’t seem to have been renewed, despite the ongoing building works preventing use of a large number of parking bays. I also note that a conveyor system has just been installed at 13-17 Leinster Square, presumably for new basement excavation works. The last time this happened parking bays were blocked off without a parking suspension being applied for. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this were to happen again, in view of the rather cavalier attitude of the developers. It really is all very tiresome.”

20mph speed limit – on-line petition

We have posted a new online petition to urge Westminster Council to introduce 20mph trials on residential streets:

“We the undersigned petition Westminster City Council to follow Transport for London’s lead and to reduce the number of pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists killed or seriously injured by 40 per cent by 2020.”

You can sign the petition here http://petitions.westminster.gov.uk/20mphtrial/

Residents in a number of Westminster’s residential streets have already urged the Council to introduce a 20mph speed limit and traffic calming measures, including Elgin Avenue, Saltram Crescent, Fernhead Road, Marne Street and Nutbourne Street.

The TfL initiative is a very welcome step forward and should be followed in Westminster as a matter of urgency in order to reduce accidents and increase road safety. Westminster Council cannot continue to avoid listening to local residents on this important issue. Action needs to be taken to reduce road casualties and immediate 20mph speed trials need to be established in areas of Westminster where residents have petitioned for action, without further delay.

Enabling the public to speak at Planning Committee meetings

We have called on Westminster Council to allow the public to speak at the weekly Westminster Planning Committee meetings – in the same way as the public are allowed to speak at practically every other Planning Committee in London and the rest of the UK.

In a letter to the Council, we say;

“We appreciate that, given the volume of planning applications received by the Council, this needs careful thought. However, we believe that this can be managed without difficulty by introducing the following criteria:
• Speakers should be allowed where a planning application receives more than 50 individual written objections or a petition with over 50 individual signatures
• A limit of two speakers per application – one speaking for the objectors and one speaking for the applicant – with a limit of 3 minutes per speaker
• The agendas for the weekly Planning Committee meetings should be organised so that all applications which attract speakers are considered on the same agenda, perhaps once a month. The start of these meetings should be brought forward to 6pm (from 6.30pm).”

We call on the Council to adopt this simple and straightforward change in the way in which Planning Committee meetings operate so that those residents most directly affected by planning proposals (and those promoting them) are able to state their case directly to the Committee members when applications are being determined. This would be a small but significant step forward in the process of restoring public confidence in local democracy in Westminster.

Superfast Broadband

Karen Buck is putting pressure on BT to speed up the local rollout of Infinity. It does not seem sensible that neither BT Openreach’s fibre network nor Virgin Media’s hybrid fibre coaxial system are available in large parts of Westminster, leaving many residents without access to superfast internet. Chris Bryant, Shadow Minister for Culture, Media and Sport outlined his views on this important subject in Parliament recently. http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2015-02-03e.237.0 Karen very much agrees with his comments and believes that the next Government must act on this.

The Clifton pub – what you say

“This was purchased some while ago by an investor and due to local people objecting planning to build a private house was withheld for a year so that a tenant could be sought in order to keep it as a local amenity. I am aware that an experienced local tenant applied but to no avail apparently. It would be a shame to see another large and probably empty house appear bearing in mind that the Clifton has been a pub for many, many years.”

20mph speed limit – what you say

“I strongly believe there should be a Westminster-wide 20mph speed limit: it would reduce accidents, reduce traffic noise, and make the streets more pleasant for pedestrians. It would be the single most important step to improving quality of life for Westminster residents”

Harrow Road pubs – what you say

“As you know, the Elgin Avenue/Harrow Road/ Chippenham Road area has lost three pubs (the Neeld Arms, the Prince of Wales and the Chippenham) over the last few months, after the closure of another two pubs (top of Elgin avenue and Harrow Road – Windsor Castle and Elephant & Castle) in the last two years or so. The only pub left in the area is the Squirrel (formerly the Red Squirrel). I did not grant my custom to any of the closed pubs but, clearly, these closures must result in a considerable impoverishment of social life/social exchanges. Is there any way that the Council could tempt a chain of reasonably priced pubs, say Wetherspoon, to open a venue in our area? There is, definitely a need for a pub – preferably a ‘not posh’ pub.”


Basement/garden excavations – what you say


“As a resident subjected to a living hell for almost eighteen months by an adjacent excavation I was encouraged to see that at last some controls are being introduced over the alarming increase in this activity causing some areas in London to be likened the wild west seemingly often motivated by financial gain rather than need. Excellent M.P Karen Buck also deserves praise for her efforts in working with Westminster Council to introduce some restrictive guidelines and although her 2014
Private Members Bill for this to be given statutory backing did not become law due insufficient time it was nevertheless important in highlighting the problem.”

What you say

“Thank you very much for all your hard work on Westminster residents’ behalf”

“Great stuff, thank you”

“Many thanks for your report, as ever”

“Thank you very much for the constructive, informative and supportive actions and reports! You have managed to keep us the Dibdin House community alive!!”

“Thanks for writing this newsletter, it’s very informative. “

“Many thanks – interesting and informative as always. The work you and your colleagues do is greatly appreciated, regardless of party inclinations.”

“This is a wonderful service. It is so good to read about local matters and to see what is being done by our Labour representatives.”

“It’s good to see action being taken and the fact you are clearly interested in the neighbourhood”

“I find your action report very good”

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

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg
Leader of the Labour Group
Westminster City Council

Printed and Published by Andy Whitley at Westminster North Labour Party at 4g Shirland Mews, London W9 3DY

WESTMINSTER NORTH ACTION REPORT – MARCH 2015

NEWS FROM WESTMINSTER’S LABOUR COUNCILLORS

Plympton Street

We have reported this to the Church Street Warden:

“We have a regular ‘deposit ‘ left by the garage doors and no. 7. This alley is regularly used by dog walkers who do not bother to clean up”

Harewood Avenue

We reported to the Council that there were no street lights on Harwood Avenue at the junction with the Marylebone Station approach road for nearly two months. This was extremely dangerous given the concurrent extensive pavement and road works at this exact location which has narrowed the available road space for cars, taxis, buses and bikes and made it very difficult for pedestrians to cross the road safely – in the dark.

Prince of Wales pub, Harrow Road

We have started an on-line petition to save the Prince of Wales pub on Harrow Road from becoming another betting shop. You can sign here: http://petitions.westminster.gov.uk/PrinceofWales/

The petition reads:

We the undersigned petition Westminster City Council to bring in an Article 4 direction preventing the Prince of Wales pub on Harrow Road becoming a betting shop in order to protect local amenity and the wellbeing of the area.

This stretch of Harrow Road already contains 3 betting shops, including one directly next door. We believe that the Harrow Road and Prince of Wales junction need a wider and better range of shops and facilities, not a greater concentration of fast-food and betting shops.

Walterton Road

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

“Operations were undertaken focusing on Big Black Bin sites at Warlock Road junction with Walterton Road on 28th and 30th January with further operations taking place on 3rd and 5th February. We are also arranging for the bins at this site to be taken to the Veolia depot and searched through to look for evidence of commercial dumping.”

Shirland Road junction with Walterton Road

• Twice daily inspections continuing.
• Due to increased demand another recycling bin has been placed at location.
• Wardens are reporting reduced levels of dumping at this location

Harrow Road Police Station

We are making enquiries about this issue:

“I live adjacent to the Police Station on Harrow Rd that has been closed. I am particularly alarmed that I am looking out my window and I am watching the police are over there right now as they are in the process of evicting squatters. I hope that the developers that have purchased the building are required in the future to maintain a higher level of security. Losing the police station was unfortunate, but having it turn into a security issue is unacceptable.”

Castellain Road

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

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

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

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

Braemar House, Maida Vale

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

“Our contractors have attended today and have identified the source of the problem. The issue has been as a result of a faulty ball valve on the Braemer House roof which meant that the tank was over flowing slightly. The contractors are attending to replace the ball valve and this should hopefully eradicate this problem.”

Elgin Avenue

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

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

Elgin Avenue – Big Black Bin sites

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

Pindock Mews

We have reported this issue to the Council:

“We have a few problems here in Pindock Mews. Sometime ago you helped in getting the worn away yellow lines in the Mews (Castellain Road entrance/exit) repainted promptly, thus stopping the illegal parking that was going on and which, in turn, prevented our getting in and out of the mews, made it impossible for the refuse or delivery trucks and would have obstructed any emergency vehicles trying to gain access to the mews. However, they have faded away once more and need to be re-done. Can you poke the department you poked before, please?”

We have been informed that an inspection was carried out by the Council and a works order has been raised to repaint the Yellow Lines and Parking bay lines within the mews. This will happen within by the end of March.

Warwick Avenue Tube Station

We have reported this issue to the Council for investigation:

“For the last few months there has been an individual sitting outside Warwick Ave tube station (main entrance) during the evening week day rush hour (say 5 – 7pm) most nights, asking for money. I reported this individual to the police twice last week but tonight, he’s there again so whatever they have done so far does not seem to be working. I thought begging was an offence? Anyway I’m sure this is not considered a priority by the transport police but having lived here for 20 years without the blight of such anti-social behaviour it is a disappointing development. Is there anything else which can be done? If nothing else, as an unaccompanied female I find it unnerving – as if my daily routine is sort of being monitored.”

Wellington Road Estate

On behalf of residents of Elgood House on the Wellington Road estate we contacted City West Homes about a disputed parking ticket from CWH’s private parking contractors. CWH has agreed to cancel the parking ticket and refund the parking fine.

Bridgeman Street

We have asked the Council to investigate the following issue raised by a local resident:

“Every day cars go down this street the wrong way. The no-entry sign at the junction with Allitsen Road should be duplicated on the other side of the road and that the “No Entry” inscription, currently on Allitsen Road should be moved back to be on Bridgeman Street itself to make it more visible. There should be a road hump there, too. Consideration should be given to installing pedestrian crossings at the junction of Barrow Hill Road and the High Street as many schoolchildren cross there on their way to and from work.”

Allitsen Road

We are making enquiries in to this issue:

“There is an illegal advertising board sticking out of the corner of a building at the junction of Allitsen Road and Eamont Street. This is an estate agents board which once advertised a property for rent, but for many weeks now it is a general advertising board stating “landlords wanted”. This now constitutes general advertising for which permission is normally required.”

Bronwen Court

Karen Buck MP continues to receive complaints from concerned residents and leaseholders from Bronwen Court about several issues, ranging from concerns about the recent burglaries in the block, the quality of major works, the costs and the lack of flexibility with regards to payment schedules for the two sets of major works. After several months of chasing, CityWest Homes have finally said that they are willing to consider residents on a case by case basis for the payment of the major works bills, but have failed to elaborate any detail regarding this.

Carlton Hill Estate

It has been more than half a year since Karen Buck MP first contacted CityWest Homes on behalf of concerned leaseholders at Carlton Hill about the severely delayed major works, as well as other concerns, but no response has been forthcoming! Karen has registered a formal complaint with the Council about the wholly unacceptable delay in responding to these complaints.

Carlton Hill/Carlton Vale junction with Maida Vale

We have contacted Transport for London about this issue:

“At the junction of Carlton Vale you have St George’s School. The interval between the green and red lights is of the order of a few seconds. This means crossing from one side to the other is potentially hazardous, if not for the young, then certainly for the less nimble elderly. If a regulated set of lights is not possible could thought be given to lengthening the sequence?”

Carlton Hill

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“The builders at 23 Carlton Hill have an excavating machine working on a basement excavation with no attempt at sound proofing and making a terrible racket with diesel fumes permeating our house, and which the builders say will continue continuously 8 hours a day for several weeks. Is there anything that can be done to force them to take steps to suppress the noise and contain the fumes? I called Westminster Council on Monday and again on Tuesday but as far as I am aware they have not even visited the site yet. For most of the day they also illegally block off 2/3 parking spaces with sandbags”

We contacted the manager of the noise team at Westminster City Council asking for this to be investigated and for a site visit to take place. We also contacted parking services regarding the blocking off of spaces with sandbags.

Abercorn Place/Abbey Road

We have asked the Council to investigate this problem:

“The road in Abercorn Place where it meets the Abbey Road looks like it has sunk a bit and you can see the water main square cover protruding a bit. My guess is that all these heavy cement mixers and trucks are damaging the roads around here not to mention the pavements cracking. The sign for Abercorn Place at the Abbey Road end needs straightening too!”

The Council say that the defective patch around the Thames Water valve was reported to Thames Water and it will hopefully be repaired soon.

Bourne Terrace

We were shocked by the poor condition of a number of CWH properties in Bourne Terrace when we visited last year. We were even more shocked to find that, despite a promise of urgent action, these properties were immediately forgotten by CWH again. Now we have a new timetable and we will be visiting the properties to be sure residents won’t be let down again.

Westbourne Park Road/Aldridge Road Villas

We have reported this ongoing issue to the police:

“Just to say that although the instances of prostitution on Westbourne Park Road near the junction of Aldridge Road Villas do seem to have been slightly less frequent over recent weeks, the problem is starting to creep back in again.”

Durham Terrace

We are making enquiries about this issue:

“Number 8, second floor flat on Durham Terrace has a missing/broken window that risks freezing pipes of neighbours – it’s not a building sight but rather negligence/neglect/abandonment that adversely impacts neighbours and risks damage/degradation to other properties. I reported it to the Council at “Report it” but no response. It has been this way for weeks and lowers the quality of life in the neighbourhood.”

We contacted City West Homes regarding the property at 8 Durham Terrace and they confirmed that it is managed by them and agreed to look into the concerns. They have carried out an inspection of the window and have requested a repair to be carried out.

Artesian Road

We are investing this issue;

“What is going to happen to our lovely pub on the corner of Artesian Road? Is it going to one of those up market wine joints? i hope that won’t be the case, it will spoil our lovely little corner”

We made enquiries and found out the following:

“The Cock and Bottle was taken over a year ago by The City Pub Company who want to put a greater emphasis on food and have decided to make the ground floor into a restaurant, where there is no bar service and people will only be served alcohol at their tables. They also will have a bookable room upstairs for private functions and an outside area.”

Orme Court/St Petersburgh Place

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

“There is still a problem with the cubby holes belonging to Orme Court backing onto St Petersburgh Place. The rubbish appears not to be the job of the council to remove and just remains, it is very unsightly and a rat focus. The street is used a lot by people going to the park.”

We contacted the local warden regarding the Cubby holes and confirmed that waste collections are being carried out as usual per the scheduled collection times for Orme Court. He believes that residents are using the cubby holes for waste storage throughout the day and as a result the waste is attracting vermin or getting blown about by the wind. He explained that as recent as three months ago, these cubby holes were attracting rough sleepers and residents were advised to manage their waste properly and keep all waste secure until collection has taken place. The warden also arranges for the removal of waste on an ad hoc basis, when the rubbish is causing environmental concerns. The cubby holes are flushed clean on a regular basis to eliminate any smells, stains or attraction to vermin. Residents have been asked to secure these cubby holes to prevent rough sleeping and waste. One property has complied with this request.

Junction of Porchester Terrace/Porchester Gardens/Leinster Gardens

We have reported this issue to the Council:

“Almost every day it is chaos with cars and vans and coaches unable to pass due to parents parking across double yellow lines and on the junctions. The wardens do nothing but watch and cannot manage the parents’ behaviour at all. They are very good at giving tickets later in the day to cars parked for five minutes over their due time in bays where they are causing no problems to traffic flow, but completely unable to perform a useful function at school drop off and collection time. It is nearly always the same parents leaving very large vehicles on the double yellows, across drop downs etc. making it not only inconvenient for any driver trying to get around the junction but dangerous for the children and their parents who are on foot as they cannot see oncoming traffic or use the drop-downs.

In addition to this, the minicab drivers regularly park in the residents and pay and display bays (without paying or having a permit) and sit or sleep in their cars for hours waiting for a fare. Again, the wardens do nothing.”

The Council say:

“We will meet with the head of Hallfield School and invited parents with a view to educating them on the rules surrounding parking near schools and also help them to understand the importance of ensuring the safety of their children and other road users. These meetings have yielded improvements at other schools where there have been issues with parents dropping off and picking up their children.

With regards to the mincab/private hire vehicles parking for long periods of time, I will work to identify which company or offices they are working from and speak with their management to advise them of the parking rules. The kerbside operations team manage the enforcement aspect of the parking contract and they will then take this forward with the Marshall team.”

Bathurst Street/Westbourne Street

We have asked the Council about this issue:

“I’m a resident on Cleveland Square with a request to lower the pavement where Bathurst Street meets Westbourne Street so that bicycles can easily access both byways. Not sure why but the pavement was raised a few years ago and this causes a lot of consternation for the casual/leisure bicycle rider who has to get off and lift their bicycles to access both streets.”

The Council say that Bathurst Street is a no-through-road and this is why there is a kerb. The Council says if it wasn’t like that they would run the risk of pedestrians being hit by speeding cyclists.

Westbourne Park Villas

We have reported this issue to the Council for action:

“This week work started on the removal of the railway building near the Westbourne Park Villas footbridge over the railway line to the Harrow Road. To enable the work to be done the pavement and one half of the road on the north side of the Villas has been blocked off for contractors use. Traffic lights have been installed outside no 60 Westbourne Park Villas. No resident parking suspensions have been put in place. The road is now extremely narrow at this point. I have observed lorries trying to get past the parked cars and the contractors hoarding with difficulty. There was an incident this morning when cars were jumping the lights and causing chaos. There is also a building site further down the road which has constant traffic action with large lorries arriving every day. I would like to suggest that a warning notice is placed at both ends of the road so that traffic can take an alternative route down Westbourne Park Road. Also that some residents parking is suspended directly opposite the footbridge works so that there is adequate room for vehicles to navigate down this, now, restricted road.”

The Council say that these works are being carried out by Network Rail under the Crosssrail Act. They have suspended three resident parking bays (one for these works and two for the building site at no.76). Council staff are looking into whether advanced warning signs would be of any benefit and they will continue to monitor the site.

Pedestrian crossings to the south of Royal Oak station

We have heard from residents of their concern about the poor quality of the pedestrian crossing lights at the junctions of Westbourne Park Villas, Westbourne Park Road, Porchester Road and Gloucester Terrace. These are all immediately to the left of Royal Oak station as you came out. There is clearly insufficient lighting for some and we have asked the Council to investigate if this is a maintenance issue or one of replacement altogether with new systems of crossing at this dangerous road junction for pedestrians.

Leinster Square

We have asked the Council to investigate the building works at 37 Leinster Square. Residents say;

“This is a building owned by MARA, a Malaysian government agency. It has apparently been leased to Mara Incorporated London, a company wholly owned by MARA. The house has been used since the 1970s as a hostel for students from Malaysia, on government scholarships from the MARA Foundation. If one manages to get through by phone to Westminster City Council, then they will look this address up and say it is the “Mara Hotel”. But the building has never been a hotel, just a student hostel housing some 30 students at any one time. I mention this, because of a fear that they will try to change its use to a hotel (or serviced apartments).”

It is clear to us that what is going on there. It will be a major project, possibly involving conversions and extensions and a change of use. They have not applied for any planning permission. We are concerned about the lack of information, the lack of planning permission, the seeming sporadic and highly unprofessional way that they have been going about work so far – with no regard to rules and regulations – the likely disruption of months of building work, and the future use of this building.”

Holiday lets

We were very disappointed that the Government has ignored the concerns of many residents by pressing ahead with legislation that will make it easier for homes in Bayswater and Lancaster Gate to be used as short term holiday lets. In particular;
• Long term residents will experience a loss of privacy and amenity of their own homes, increased anti-social behaviour and noise and other unneighbourly behaviour such as dumped rubbish.
• More property owners will rent their flats out to tourists or business travellers, rather than long term tenants. This will do nothing to alleviate the housing shortage and could well make it even harder for people to find local accommodation in the private rented sector.

Karen Buck MP has been campaigning strongly against this legislation and you can read her speech in Parliament about this here http://www.theyworkforyou.com/whall/?id=2015-01-07a.136.0

Cuts to children’s services

Westminster Council is in the middle of a further round of cuts to the Children’s Services budgets, with ‘planned savings’ of £3.3 million next year. This will include a quarter of the entire Children’s Centre spend (£500,000), together with £125,000 from the youth service and £150,000 from the play service. Specifically, this means ALL £80,500 funding will go from the Queensway (Hallfield and Bayswater) Family Centre, around half of the funding from Paddington Green and all funding from Essendine. Parents at a number of centres are mounting campaigns against the cuts. https://labourwestminster.wordpress.com/

Westminster’s Safer Neighbourhood Teams

A full list of Westminster’s Safer Neighbourhood Teams together with their contact details can be found on the following link:
http://content.met.police.uk/Page/TeamFinder?scope_id=1257246669692

Elgin Avenue speeding – what you say

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

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

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

Abercorn Place – what you say

“Double yellow lines the east side of Abercorn Place at the junction with Nugent Terrace, to make it easier (possible) for motorists turning out of Nugent Terrace to see the traffic along Abercorn Place: YES YES YES! It would improve visibility for pedestrians, too. “

Basement Developments – what you say

“Thank you for publicising again the problems that basement developments pose for neighbours. It isn’t just the disruption while the work is going on (18 months or more generally) but also the threat to the long-term structural integrity of adjacent buildings. We have a basement going in on one side and another opposite. The teams doing the work are courteous and clear up thoroughly when the finish for the day, but traffic is often obstructed by large vehicles delivering building materials or taking away the subsoil and the fabric removed from the houses. And the boards around the properties, though neat, do nothing to enhance the appearance of the street.”

“In Carlton Hill many neighbours are currently protesting to the planning committee against planning permission for a vast double basement extension in the road. However, unlike previous years, only neighbours immediately adjacent to the property seem to be receiving a letter about planning requests. Only three doors from me, another basement development began last week, and I had no idea as I had not been notified by letter or email, so had no opportunity to look at the plans or object. I know they affix a notice to the lamp-posts, but I do not walk that way. “

“The term ‘conservation area’ has become a mockery and the implementation of the new basement guidance rules is far too slow meaning that the WCC is helpless to control them. The possibility of such rules has resulted in a spate of new applications. Where I live I have four applications in one to the left, one to the right and two to the rear including the monstrous overdevelopment proposal at 40 Ryder’s Terrace now in the hands of an Appeals Inspector.”

“Basement excavations are a disaster. At the SE and SW corners of Hall Road and Hamilton Terrace, in the heart of a conservation area, two have been going on for well over a year. The large freestanding houses were reduced to shells – the backs removed, and the interiors gutted. At the one on the SW side, the entire very large garden has been excavated to the boundary, right up to the poor little house further W. The noise in the summer was very dreary for the whole neighbourhood. I strongly believe that all basement excavations should be banned. But failing that, they should certainly be banned in terraces, where they make life hell for the neighbours and threaten their houses.”

Prince of Wales pub – what you say

“It would be good idea if the pub can run by the community and get funding for it to give local people work experience in how to talk to customers and hold local events for the community”

What you say

“I enjoy, and find very useful and readable, your regular newsletter about local issues – keep up the good work.”

“Thank you for this report – always a good read.”

“Thank you for what have always been fascinating updates”

“Thank you as always for your newsletters and for the work you do”

“Brilliant! Thanks. Keep up the good work”

“I find your newsletter on local issues very interesting and useful and am very impressed by the action you are able to take on some local matters. I know Karen Buck has been very helpful on the basement issue”

“As ever, your report is impressive, and interesting even on areas I don’t know, though I’ve lived in Hall Road for 50 years”

“Thank you for your help regarding the rubbish. They have now placed a bin on Drayford Close and situation is much better.”

“Thank you for the updates, I like hearing about our area.”

“Thanks for this update. It is good to read that people are taking an interest in their community”

“Great to receive this regular update newsletter and appreciate all the work you do to make our area a better residential area”

“Thanks for the sterling work in keeping us all updated and for your prompt action on many issues on our behalf”

“Thanks very much for update, mostly very good works”

“Very interesting, it’s so good things are getting under control”

“Thank you for the hard work you do for us in Bayswater”

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

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg
Leader of the Labour Group
Westminster City Council

WESTMINSTER NORTH ACTION REPORT – FEBRUARY 2015

NEWS FROM WESTMINSTER’S LABOUR COUNCILLORS

Broadley Street

We have made enquiries following reports of continued dog fouling in the area. The local warden has recently added a new bin on Broadly Street and there have also been 7am patrols of the area to check on this problem. There will be more signs in the area discouraging people from not picking up after their dog. They will also be conducting regular patrols.

Church Street Neighbourhood Police

We were very disappointed to learn that Sgt Ian Rowing is being transferred to Newham by the Metropolitan Police. Councillor Barbara Grahame has written to the Police to say;

“There is no doubt that Sgt Rowing has an in depth knowledge of the Church Street community, garnered over many years, which would be wasted in a backroom job in another Borough.”

Another resident has written;

“Sergeant Rowing has proved during his time here that he has a deep understanding of the various tensions which exist in this very mixed inner city community of about 12,000 residents and has been successful in providing police protection for the ward in all circumstances and has obtained the confidence and high regard of the residents.”

Burne Street

We are continuing to follow up this unsatisfactory situation with BT and the Council after receiving this update from a resident;

“Can you ask Westminster to chase BT on again – the space around their building on Burne Street and Marylebone Road has not been cleared over the Xmas period by the looks of it. I think we need to ask for an enforced schedule as leaving it to their discretion is clearly not working for local residents and people who work in the area. It really is a disgrace and a shameful blot on Westminster’s landscape. Why do they allow it to remain so filthy?”

Wandle House

Residents in Wandle House were experiencing serious problems with the water supply to their block recently, which went on for nearly 5 weeks! Several residents got in touch with Karen Buck MP to raise their concerns and she immediately contacted both CityWest Homes and Thames Water. Unfortunately, however, there was a lot of back and forth as there was a dispute regarding whose responsibility the issue lay with and what the contributing factors were.

It was only after several exchanges that the cause was finally established and thankfully the problem was resolved soon afterwards. The residents that were in touch have informed Karen that their water supply has resumed as normal and that they haven’t experienced any problems since. It is unfortunate, however, that the problem took so long to resolve and that residents were left without such a fundamental necessity for an extended period of time, and that the dispute inevitably caused delays in getting the issue rectified.

Church Street

We have reported this issue to the Council:

“Outside Tescos at the junction of Venables Street and Church Street there is a massive puddle which has been there for approx. 4 weeks. After many phone calls nothing has been done as the weather is now so cold this puddle is now freezing making it very dangerous under foot if you could please find out what’s happening”

Lydford Estate

We have reported this issue to the Environmental Action Line at the Council:

“I’m tired of complaining about lack of bins on the Lydford Estate. I moved here in March of last year and everyone dumps their rubbish outside the front of my house four steps from my door. I have complained to City West Homes and environmental health but with no success. I would appreciate your help with this.”

The Council say they have identified solutions to the issue, including the installation of a household waste bin in the street. In the meantime, the local warden will supply educational literature to all the residents of Drayford Close, informing them of the correct time and place to present their waste. He will also post anti-dumping signage in the vicinity.

You can report issues like this to environmentalactionline@westminster.gov.uk

Lydford Estate Play Area

We are making enquiries about this issue:

“This playground is very well used – you only have to go past there to see. For at least two years we have been asking City West Homes to replace three broken swings – one at least of which was a swing which a child with a disability could use. I would also like to see the green moss removed from the playground surface. We are not talking about a lot of money here to replace the swings and make the playground nice again”

Walterton/Warlock Roads junction – rubbish dumping

We have asked the Council to investigate these suggestions from a local resident:

“I would like to suggest ways to possibly change the situation on this spot of Walterton and Warlock intersection. Apart from the fact that having such a quantity of rubbish so often there is a disgrace, the constant glass and wood debris are indeed a health and safety hazard, not only for people walking by but also for the staff collecting the rubbish. The quantity left there and the large nature of the items leads me to believe that this must often come from builders with vans dumping their litter there. I believe that a very visible CCTV camera located nearby with a clear sign to warn people they will be fined if they litter would be an important tool to fight this serious matter. It would enable to read the registration numbers of the vans stopping there to dump their rubbish and allow prosecution. I could also imagine a sign on the bins that would be up-dated with the number of prosecutions to try and deter everybody. I appreciate the fact that budgets are really tight but think that the cost of mounting a CCTV could be absorbed by the fines and the progressive reduction in lorries sent to collect rubbish allowed by the reduction in the number of offences.”

Botts Mews

We have supported local residents who took the initiative to carry out their own traffic study/count in order to gather factual information for the planners about the traffic flow along the southern end of Chepstow Road near the Artesian/Botts/Bridstow intersections. Residents monitored the traffic flow on Wednesday 21st January.

Bayswater Burglaries Update

The Council and Police tell us;

“We are developing a comprehensive action plan to drive down burglary further. The action plan will cover a range of policing and partnership activity. To start with, we will need to focus our available resources on the highest volume areas for best chance of success, particularly in terms of apprehending suspects and designing out crime. That said, there will of course be wider activity across the area, including predictive patrolling and joint operations with neighbouring boroughs.”

We also received these comments from residents in Talbot Road and Durham Terrace:

“You can also add mine at Talbot Road, followed by 2 other flats in my block of 5 flats 3 weeks later, in addition to two others in Talbot Road, before and after ours. A guy from the council told me that our area seems to be a hot spot at the moment, I’ve seen no evidence of increased police in this area.”

“I live in Durham Terrace and we had an attempted break-in in the summer. They were unable to get through the front door, but it was badly damaged. More recently, between Christmas and the New Year our building was broken into (front door possibly not properly shut) and they broke into one flat and damaged the doors of two other flats. In the 20 years I have lived on this street, this is the first time this has happened. I agree there should be more police presence and possibly CCTV.”

Talbot Road

We have reported this matter to the Council;

“A silver Peugeot 205 Registration has been illegally parked outside 39 Talbot Road since the beginning of December 2014. It is covered in parking tickets. This car is obviously abandoned with splayed front wheels some two & a half feet away from the kerb. It is in a residential parking place and urgently needs to be removed. Please can you advise what action needs to be taken. I live in Moorhouse Road and pass this vehicle every day.”

We have reported the car to both the local warden and the Westminster Road team and was pleased to receive this update:

“Thank you for successfully removing the vehicle on Saturday”

Prince Bonaparte, Talbot Road

We have been supporting residents who are very concerned about the unauthorised extractor. Residents say:

“The new manager from the pub built, without authorisation, about one year ago a new extractor which is huge and very shiny. It doesn’t fit at all with the conservation area. We have a direct view on the chimney from our windows, we think that this new chimney is very detrimental to the neighbourhood. Moreover, the new extractor is very noisy and emits additional smells which are very damaging to those living even closer to the pub. The Pub had 6 months to appeal the decision but I haven’t heard from Westminster Council since. It seems they gave them a “temporary” authorisation” to go through the Christmas period and I fear that this temporary authorisation might become de facto definitive.”

Following strong representations from residents the planning application has now been withdrawn and hopefully the pub will come back with more appropriate proposals.

Gloucester Terrace

Karen Buck MP has received a number of responses highlighting concerns with repairs, maintenance charges, ASB and other issues in the Gloucester Terrace area. She is putting residents’ concerns to CityWest Homes’ and will update constituents when she receives CityWest Homes response. If you are a resident of Gloucester Terrace and would like to tell Karen Buck MP of your experience, please feel free to contact her at buckk@parliament.uk

Royal Oak Station

Transport for London has told us:

“The staircase between the ticket hall and the platforms at Royal Oak Underground station (on the Hammersmith & City and Circle lines) will be replaced between 4 April and 3 May 2015. It will be necessary to close the station during this period. The existing staircase is in poor condition. It requires complete replacement, as maintenance and partial repairs are no longer sufficient to prolong its use. Because it is the only access between the ticket hall and platforms, it is necessary to close the station fully during the work. Use of a temporary staircase was considered, but there is no safe location for one to be installed.

Nearer the time we will be advising customers about the closure and alternative travel arrangements through a full programme of communications including emails, Metro articles, posters and announcements in stations, and via social media updates. Bayswater, Warwick Avenue, Paddington and Westbourne Park stations are all within 15 minutes’ walk, and there are frequent buses between Royal Oak and Edgware Road or Paddington stations (via routes 18 or 36 respectively).”

Toilet at the corner of Queensway and Westbourne Grove

We have asked the Council to take urgent action to improve the cleanliness of these toilets after receiving this message:

“It’s really in a terrible state…..the cleaner is never in attendance…the smell is awful,, I am sure the people in the new block will be able to smell the urine etc etc…”

The Council say;

“Unfortunately, as this is an unmanned facility the site is cleaned once a day but there are no attendants on hand to ensure that the facility is kept as we would like it and it can be subjected to vandalism etc during the course of the day. Upon receipt of your message though, we have instructed the mobile team to provide a thorough deep clean and to ensure the removal of some graffiti that we have found on site. Also, the urinal flush system was not operational due to a fault with the battery, a replacement battery has been ordered and I am pleased to advise that this is being fitted today. Carlisle have recently appointed a new supervisor to our WCC contact and they have taken the necessary steps to speak to our staff, who when completing their weekly checks will include all batteries and flush systems as part of this process. We will continue to monitor this site and would hope that standards are immediately improved going forward.”

Cleveland Square

We have followed up an earlier report about the lack of pavers at the corner of Cleveland Square where it meets Chilworth Street and Devonshire Terrace. The Council tells us:

“With respect to Cleveland Square, I was informed last week that the conversion of mastic asphalt replacement to flagged paving will not be possible due to the number of shallow utility ducts and the presence of shallow cellars/vaults. Therefore, the City Council will replace the existing mastic asphalt with new mastic asphalt”

Hall Place

There have been recurring issues in and around Hall Place over recent years, and Karen Buck MP has been in frequent contact with the local police, council, CityWest Homes and Westminster College in response to these. Here is the report on the action being taken:

• Overview of ASB in the Area – There are historic issues with youth related anti-social behaviour in the Paddington Green area with issues centred around the City of Westminster College, Parsons House and John Aird Court.
• Cuthbert House security/repairs – CityWest Homes have looked into the possibility of installing an intercom at Cuthbert House but this was found to be an unviable option. Due to the entrances being an open access design, so there is no communal entrance, foyer or entry door to put an intercom on.
• Westminster College – Work with the College has also resulted in changes being made to staff protocols around incident handling and student guidance with regards to acceptable standards. College security conduct regular patrols of the estate and they have recently updated their Working Together Policy and made loitering on the estate by students a breach of their disciplinary process. In order to promote this policy CityWest are having signs put up around the estate over the next few weeks.
• Waste, broken railings /Phone box – The local Westminster Warden has delivered education letters to residents in Hall Place and confirms that daily monitoring of the area is taking place. His findings to date are that the area is generally clean, however there have been a few occasions where he has found the Big Black Bins opposite Cuthbert House to be overflowing. These issues were raised to Veolia and cleaned up at the time. An inspection of the phone box on Edgware Road was also completed to ensure that the repairs had been made, but no railings could be found outside of the motorbike shop.
• Other actions taken to reduce ASB in the Paddington Green area – The Community Protection Team has obtained a 3 year ASBO against a problematic individual which prohibits them from entering the area. Early intervention plans for other individuals involved in ASB have been implemented and led to no further incidents related to them. Tutorials have also taken place at the College with Year One and Two students on anti-social behaviour and joint enterprise to highlight the impact that this has on themselves and the local community.

Warwick Avenue/Pindock Mews

We are continuing to press TfL to compensate residents in the Warwick Avenue/Pindock Mews area whose homes are being damaged by the diverted buses passing by. So far, TfL has refused to accept any liability, but as one resident told us:

“More or less every time a double decker bus passes up Warwick Avenue towards Sutherland Avenue there is a crunch/shudder in my house, with a door or two rattling. Interestingly during the low period of traffic between Christmas and New Year when buses have little other traffic on the road and can race from Formosa Street to Sutherland Avenue the shuddering got worse as they travelled over the relevant trigger point in the road even faster than usual. Do we have to put our own roadblock in the street to slow the buses down before TfL take this seriously? Imposing a 20mph limit on the double deckers for a 200 metre stretch really does not seem a lot to ask even if these people at TfL are too lazy to come and monitor the vibrations as we have been asking for months.”

Elizabeth Virgo honoured in New Year’s List

Little Venice resident Elizabeth Virgo received a British Empire Medal in this year’s New Year’s Honours list. This is in recognition of her years of (continuing) service in such roles as Westminster Safer Neighbourhood Panels, Paddington Waterways Maida Vale Society and as an ‘Appropriate Adult’ support for vulnerable, mostly young, people in police stations. She is truly a local heroine.

Dibdin House

Hopefully the new Residents’ Association will be up and running shortly, and this will help ensure that the community gets the access to the hall that Grainger’s have now promised.

In light of the news that Westminster’s Dolphin Square Foundation have stepped in on the controversial New Era Estate in Hackney, Karen Buck MP has now written to Westminster’s Head of Housing and Development to ask (again) why that fund can’t be used to buy properties in Dibdin House when they become empty, rather than see them lost to ‘open market sales’ at a time when there is such a desperate shortage of affordable homes’.

Spiralling rents for Dibdin House tenants are another major concern – with the rise being 14% over this period.

Kilburn Park Road

We are continuing to report household rubbish dumped in the street by a number of anti-social residents and have asked for action to be taken against those responsible. The Council says;

“Please let me reassure you that I have been patrolling this road every day this week and the state of cleanness has been fair with occasional bags and litter on pavement. Kilburn Park Road has received various educational measures in the last few years therefore decreasing considerably the amount of waste presented outside collection times but occasionally a minority of residents will not follow the Council’s time band for waste collection. Therefore due to the history of warnings, letter drops and signs on lamp posts on this road, any evidence found on bags left on public highway outside their collection times will be used for enforcement actions – Fixed Penalty Notices – against the alleged offenders.”

Ashworth Mansions

We have asked the Council to remove the graffiti from Ashworth Mansions following a recent attack. This is how to report it if it happens near you https://www.westminster.gov.uk/graffiti-flyposting

Biddulph Mansions

We have asked the Council to remove rubbish dumped outside 30-39 Biddulph Mansions on Biddulph Road.

Castellain Road

We have again asked the Council to remove a long-standing abandoned vehicle in front of the entrance of block 1-11 Castellain Mansions (left hand side of the street).

Essendine Play Centre

We are supporting parents who are campaigning to keep open the Essendine play centre. You can find out more at

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

Crossroads of Hamilton Terrace and Abercorn Road

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“There are huge potholes and spilt concrete all over the road as you approach this junction from Maida Vale. The pothole at the junction itself is now some 3″ to 4″ deep and over 2 ft long. Also the concrete companies whose lorries regularly spill concrete at this steep junction from the rear of their “bottle lorries” should be made to clean up. I have reported a couple of lorries direct to the council with the number plates and never heard anything back about holding these companies to account. They charge their clients £880 per load plus VAT and are well able to afford cleaning up their own waste.”

“I am sure others have notified you of this dangerous crater at the junction of Abercorn Place and Hamilton Terrace. Cars have to swerve to avoid it and it’s getting bigger by the day. From time to time it gets repaired but so ineffectively that it reoccurs so costing the borough/ tax payer more than it should. I would be grateful if you could ask for this to be looked into and resolved.”

We contacted the head of road management at the Council and he says that they are aware of the situation and a job had been raised to permanently repair the road a few weeks ago. There were some issues and this didn’t get done, so he followed it up and will reorder the works. A make safe was completed at the weekend in order to tide it over until the full repair.

Parking in the Abbey Road/Abercorn Place area

A resident has sent us a plan showing where he considers there is an opportunity to increase the number of on-street car parking spaces for residents and for visitors by about 20 in the Abbey Road/Abercorn Place area. This would decrease the pressure on existing residents’ bay and increase casual parking income for the Council. We have asked the Council’s highways and parking officers to let us know what they think.

On a related matter, it has been suggested that the east side of Abercorn Place at the junction with Nugent Terrace, where there is a single yellow line, should be considered for a double yellow line. Currently, when cars are parked there at weekends cars travelling up Nugent Terrace have difficulty seeing on-coming traffic along Abercorn Place which is travelling fast and there have been many near misses.

Hill Road

We have asked the Council to repair a number of potholes in Hall Road.

Match Day volunteering at Lord’s

Here’s a unique opportunity to combine a love of cricket with a desire to volunteer. It’s a great way to meet new people and gain an insight into the running of major cricket events. In 2014 there was a wide range of volunteers; from university students to those who’ve retired. The closing date to apply this year is Monday, 2 March. More information and an application form can be found here http://www.lords.org/mcc/the-club/our-community-work/lords-outfielders/

Online Advice Service

A new online service means people living in Westminster can now receive advice by email. Advice Westminster’s Online Advice Service allows residents to submit a query using a simple online form, which will be answered by email within five working days. Applicants will receive a one-off response from a trained adviser who, wherever possible, will provide advice or information, or give details of other organisations that may be able to help. Residents can ask for advice on a range of topics, including benefits and employment rights, as well as having access to health, debt and housing information. Get advice here.

Elgin Avenue Rubbish dumping – what you say

“Many (if not most) of these various blocks of mansions have not made arrangements to rent paladins from the council in which they can store their daily waste nor have they created areas in which these paladins can be stored. Indeed, some of the mansions blocks were built with areas for this purpose which have been converted to other uses and now the residents use the big black bins to dump rubbish which are cleared at least twice a day at great cost to the council and the council tax payers. On the other hand, some mansion blocks have spent considerable sums of money creating rubbish storing areas and pay annual rent for each of the paladins. Those who have not bothered to find ways of storing their daily rubbish (until the 3 x a week collections), use the big black bins to dump their rubbish and this means the residents of Westminster are subsidising these blocks. So it is a very complicated issue which cannot be solved by “the council”. Why should everyone have to pay more and more in tax to subsidise residents and release them from their responsibilities. Whether the council has powers to oblige all blocks / houses to store their rubbish in ways which are not anti-social is not so clear. “

Prince of Wales pub – what you say

“I would like to make a comment about “The Prince Of Wales”, this Irish based pub. It was used by many in our community and we went on to organise “Harrow Road goes Irish” Sunday afternoon festival at the Market place supported by hundreds from the Harrow Road. We don’t want another Yuppie pub like the Elgin or Squirrel we want OUR PUB BACK used by our community and enjoyed.”

The Chippenham pub – what you say

I saw recently that the Chippenham pub has closed and I would be interested in hearing what development plans there are, if any for the site. I feel like that area of Shirland/Chippenham Road has FAR too many shisha cafes/chicken joints, so it would be lovely to hear that something like that isn’t proposed. It would be lovely to have an independent business like a restaurant or florist or something to add a bit of lift to the area”

Abbey Road/Belgrave Gardens – what you say

“I endorse this complaint. Yesterday I could easily been knocked off my bike as I could not see what traffic was travelling north in Abbey Road. I was coming out of Belgrave Mansions and parked vans and cars blocked the view.”

Basement developments – what you say

“We can’t emphasise enough how the horrendous build of basements and swimming pools needs property legislation. We need to set up an online petition and get many, many signatures to stop this continuing. We have in Marlborough Place an enormous project major works for the last 18 months!! The constant drilling affects the foundation of surrounding houses.!! This work is far from complete and the planning permission is given far too easily. This has to stop! We feel for all of you who are being subjected to this where you live.”

“Living on Hamilton Terrace for over thirty years, we have remarked a notable increase in recent years in both the rate and scale of massive developments on the road, which include huge basement excavations. We find it unacceptable that such huge scale work is permitted to be carried out in a Conservation Area. Furthermore, it is worrying that huge basements are being carved out in areas where there are subterranean water systems and where there is likely to be a detrimental impact on terrain and properties. Finally, being surrounded by huge scale construction means that there is constant noise, dust and lorry traffic in an area which used to be renowned for its serenity. “

Planning Applications Committee – what you say

“We have objected but never been listened to. The whole process is a mockery for those objecting. We have been ignored, not allowed to speak at meetings. No matter what, it seems there is only a semblance of democracy by letting us object…. pat us on the head…. and then go ahead and do what the planners/developers want. It is not a fair process and one begins to wonder what is going on between developers and WC. We have to live with the consequences or move.”

“Turning the planning meetings into open forums would be a retrograde step. The planning system is already under huge pressure and the time taken to gain a consent is very prolonged. Opening these meetings for consultees to state their positions would create extensive additional delays as objectors and supporters lobbied in the meetings. “

What you say

“Good to see the Burne Street issue is being monitored.”

“Thank you for another excellent Westminster North Action Report. The detailed responses to residents’ enquiries by our Labour Councillors and MP makes the world feel a better place. I am particularly interested in the ‘planning gag’ issue. (Once I got over the idea it might be a comedy spot)”

“I would like to express my gratitude for emailing these reports. It’s really good to see the concerns of the local community are being heard. I’m also a local resident and take pride to be part of this diverse community. “

“Thanks for all your excellent work and updates”

“Another very interesting newsletter. I don’t know what the residents would do without you and your colleagues taking on all of these problems. Keep up the good work.”

“Many thanks for all the good work you do for us”

“We thank you for your continued efforts”

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

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg
Leader of the Labour Group
Westminster City Council

WESTMINSTER NORTH ACTION REPORT – JANUARY 2015

NEWS FROM WESTMINSTER’S LABOUR COUNCILLORS

Burne Street update

The Council has updated us on the latest situation in keeping this small street clean:

“Renee, the local Warden, has been in direct contact with the local area BT manager and through her daily inspections is managing the area and ensuring its clearing of any loose waste that accumulates in the area. Renee will continue to monitor this area daily as part of her daily patrol and should the area deteriorate to an unacceptable level we can review our position in the new year. There have been no recent reports of rough sleepers therefore we shall monitor for any resurgence in this area and make either support legal referrals as appropriate.“

Harewood Avenue

We have reported a number of broken street lights at the Harewood Avenue/Harewood Row junction with Marylebone Station‏.

Maida Hill Market area

We are following up the suggestions in this response to last month’s report:

“I wanted to echo the comments around the pubs at the junction of Harrow Road and Elgin Avenue. I was never a fan of the Prince of Wales as it was quite a blight when they painted such a prominent building in the area bright yellow and green. I’m wondering whether there is any way to enforce a vetting system for businesses at this junction? Given that so much money has been spent on the Maida Hill market and that Sainsbury’s have added a much needed positive face to the area…what we really need are the following:

1. A new pub on the site of the Prince of Wales, perhaps managed by the excellent management of the Elgin pub near Maida Vale station. They have taken a mediocre spot and added a genuinely pleasant facility for locals.
2. A major intervention to replace the Costcutter at the corner to add a shop and/or restaurant or cafe that adds to the local amenities. It’s an attractive building at the centre of the area on a pleasant square and yet we have the least aesthetically pleasing eyesores there, and this serves to further blight the Harrow Road area. There is nothing positive about this shop and it drags the whole area down. Beautiful windows looking onto a new decent terrace could really transform the whole area with a little help from government.
3. Direct intervention to attract a few decent cafes to open, since a Pret, Costa or Cafe Nero would do wonders to transform this area. I’m not ‘pro chain’ and would prefer an independent like Daniella’s Lounge…but anything that can help unify the area is desperately needed.

Personally I would like to see inclusive places that can cater to rich/poor, and the culturally diverse population…but which can move it away from becoming a men’s-exclusive and increasingly down at heel ghetto. We don’t need posh, just decent. Progress has stopped and things are going backward quickly…how can a high street 3 minutes’ walk to Westbourne Park station and next to wealthy Maida Vale be left to rot with so little planning?”

Riverton Close

We have reported problems with recycling collections at Riverton Close.

Westbourne Gardens

We are supporting residents in the Westbourne Gardens area who have called on the police and the Council to take action following a number of recent burglaries in the area. There have also been a number of burglaries in the Sunderland Terrace and Westbourne Park Villas area. Residents have called for CCTV in Westbourne Gardens. The Police say;

“Extra resources have been deployed to the W2 area and extra funding has been obtained to tackle the problem, allowing extra patrols and targeted work to be undertaken. Methods of entry are known, mainly kicking the doors in, and potential suspects are being targeted by the police utilising all tactics available to us.”

Inverness Terrace

Three applications to turn a hostel into 15 flats at 2, 4 and 6 Inverness Terrace W2 have been approved by the Planning Committee. Councillor David Boothroyd supported the proposal as the hostel was obviously causing a lot of problems for residents. He also welcomed the fact it was policy compliant in terms of affordable housing.

Queensway public toilets

We are making further enquiries about the dreadful state of the public toilets after receiving this information:

“I just got back from a walk in the park, and I visited the public toilets at Queensway to see if there had been any improvement. Sure enough, what used to be a free facility in a free public park now costs 50p, which is shocking enough. Really appalling. But what is far more appalling is the state of the (men’s) facility! When it was free it was usually quite clean. Now it stinks of high urine and faeces. It is a disgrace.”

Cleveland Square

We are making enquiries about this issue;

“For years now many of us have complained about the lack of pavers at the corner of Cleveland Square where it meets Chilworth Street and Devonshire Terrace. We were very hopefully when we saw indications of progress (construction equipment and pallets full of new pavers) a couple of weeks back. Unfortunately a couple of days ago everything disappeared including the pallets of new pavers. No work was done. Do you know what’s going on, or where we might raise this as an issue? This is the only part of Cleveland Square without pavers. “

Artesian Road

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

“I have a problem with a neighbouring bicycle parked permanently on the pavement in Artesian Road. Dirt is accumulating under the bicycle, and is obstructing pedestrians moving freely from both directions on the pavement. The worst time is when a mother with a child in a pram is passing, the other pedestrian coming from the opposite side has to go into the street to pass. “

We contacted the local warden and he has let us know that he will take a look at the situation and will arrange for it to be removed if he deems it to be obstructing the public highway.

Leinster Square

We have asked the Council to take action to deal with this continuing abuse:

“Once again, the developers of the buildings along the north side of Leinster Square are making use of parking spaces without seeking parking suspensions. In this case, ‘residents only’ spaces opposite the old Umi Hotel building have barriers across them with unofficial notices asking people not to park there. I assume this is so that lorries can be positioned under the conveyor belt removing waste from the subterranean excavations. Alchemi continue to prevent the use of more parking spaces than have been suspended. They are already getting away with not providing affordable housing or adequate compensation. How much more are they going to get away with?”

Northumberland Place

We will continue to support residents in Northumberland Place and elsewhere in their battles against the continual onslaught from basement proposals. Karen Buck MP is trying to get a change in the law to restrict the scale and nature of basements being proposed and we are supporting her efforts at Planning Committee meetings whenever the applications come up:

“I live on Northumberland Place, a small street in your constituency where there has been an increasingly alarming number of “sub-basement” projects. Not only are they extremely disruptive and distressing to neighbours (noise, street disruption by huge vehicles delivering supplies or removing debris, etc.) but they also have dangerous effects on the terrain and the houses – of which there are innumerable examples. Our street is extremely close to the Westbourne River and the water table is continually fluctuating. When the deep foundations necessitated by these projects are randomly imposed – at odd intervals – on the flexible terraces of houses, are they not going to inevitably have a de-stabilising effect over time? I realise that it is most unlikely – unless damaging evidence is collected in the future – that permission for the construction of these “sub-basements” will be withheld. However, I would very much like to urge those with a say in these matters to restrict the frequency/density of these disruptive works in a given radius – particularly when they occur simultaneously. – not just for the sanity of neighbours but also for the safety of the terrain!”

Big Black Bin issues on Elgin Avenue

We have received the following report from the Council after we reported regular rubbish dumping in Elgin Avenue;
• Twice daily inspections carried out local wardens, and additional early morning checks by Veolia management
• A total of 200 letters delivered around Elgin Avenue
• Request in for additional resources to monitor these sites at the weekend and in the evening
• A number of bins at the Elgin Avenue junction with Morshead Road have been removed by the Recycling Team, as they belong to Westminster College, following complaints raised from residents.
• 15 Fixed Penalty Notices and 5 Warning Notices have been issued to individuals dumping rubbish at this location

Lanark Road

We have asked the Council to respond to this bulky household rubbish collection service issue:

“The Council says they can only do this on Mondays through their contractors Veolia. I paid Veolia for a collection of up to 5 bulky items initially to be collected yesterday. I called the company last week and asked them to postpone that to next Monday. They didn’t call to pick up the items yesterday so they must have received my voicemail. However, despite further messages to Veolia (and the council) no one has come back to me to confirm they will still be calling next Monday. To be honest they don’t seem either a very efficient or helpful company. That’s all I’m asking. Just a call from either Veolia or the council to verify they have scheduled a visit next Monday. These are very bulky items and I need them removed.”

Fleming Court

We have requested an update on the long-awaited entry-phone system at Fleming Court.

We have also reported a number of items of dumped furniture outside Fleming Court.

Sutherland Avenue/Warrington Crescent

We have reported this issue to the Council:

“There is concern from residents around the roundabout at the Sutherland Ave/Warrington Crescent axis. Communal bins have been moved from a convenient spot – away from residential buildings and by a patch of garden – onto the zig-zag lines leading to the pedestrian crossing outside St. Joseph’s School. Complaints have met with no response and no explanation give why the bins have been moved.”

The Council says;

“The bins were moved due to residents’ complaints, but however they have had many more complaints since they were moved therefore, they have now been returned to their original site.”

Northwick Close

We have alerted the Council to this issue:

“Our street light at the bottom of the cul de sac end has been out of service all week. Could it be fixed?”

Hamilton Terrace/St John’s Wood Road junction

We have asked the Council to investigate this suggestion:

“I have frequently had to step back to avoid an accident as vehicles from St John’s Wood Road swerve into Hamilton Terrace frequently without indicating. There is a pedestrian crossing over St John’s Wood Road. It may be argued that it is unusual to have two zebras so close together, but the position at Hamilton Close/St John’s Wood Road is similar to that by Warwick Avenue where there are two crossings at right angles.”

Scott Ellis Gardens and Hamilton Close

We are making enquiries about this issue:

“A major part of the fairly tall boundary wall between Scott Ellis Gardens and Hamilton Close fell down in the storms at the end of January 2013. City West Homes who are responsible for the blocks of flats bounding Scott Ellis accepted responsibility for repairing the wall and collected the old bricks together. At first they put up a temporary wire barrier, but this proved most unsatisfactory. Eventually a wooden fence was erected. This has ensured that Hamilton Close is not used as a short cut into Scott Ellis, but it is not a long-term solution. I was led to believe that rebuilding work would start in November but my latest information is that the work is ‘on hold’ pending discussions with Westminster Council. The wall was built in Victorian Times and lacks modern foundations. Part of the remaining wall is displaying damp and one section is bulging as a result of a tree. Please can you please press for rebuilding to begin soon? It is now a year since the storm.”

Abbey Road

We contacted the Council about this problem:

“Can anything be done about the minicabs and drivers who park on the double yellow lines in Abbey Road at the corner of Belgrave Gardens to sit in the café or pretend to be loading by putting their boot lids up thereby obstructing visibility for pedestrians and traffic exiting from Belgrave Gardens and restricting the traffic flow along Abbey Road which is also a bus route? This needs urgent attention before a serious accident occurs.”

Grand Union Close

Karen Buck MP held another meeting with residents at Grand Union Close last month to hold Genesis to account for their broken promises about the maintenance and upkeep of the Estate. Residents expressed their frustration that action promised at the start of the year has still not been taken. Genesis agreed to follow up each report of disrepair once again and arrange for another round of pest control. A decision about the Estate’s problematic windows will also be taken by January, when residents will know whether they will be repaired or replaced altogether.

Meanwhile, responses have been flooding in to Karen’s survey about Genesis. Hundreds of residents have contacted me about ignored complaints, delayed maintenance and incorrect service charge demands and she is working hard to get Genesis to finally address these issues. If you are also having problems with Genesis, there is still time to complete the survey at http://www.karenbuck.org.uk

Another advice session for leaseholders

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

‘Community Champions’ – what do you think

A resident has suggested that the Council invites residents to become ‘Community Champions’ to help improve the local environment. He says:

“I was thinking a little like neighbourhood watch, but focusing on the local environment, and supported by the Council. People could be invited to take responsibility for an area.

I see them as taking an active interest in their local area, report issues or problems as they arise and providing a point of contact for local residents, and in certain circumstances perhaps local services such as police and health agencies, say in disseminating information about activities or issues.

A simple example for me is with our local rubbish and recycling bins; I’m very happy to put any offending materials that are dumped on the streets into them, but more often than not they are locked and so I am unable to do so. Simply having a key that would allow me to do so would allow me to do that, and thus to help with keeping my locale that little bit tidier and cleaner.

I think giving people the power to make little changes like that would help improve Westminster as well as generate some degree of community engagement; it’s a similar scheme to the ones that many of the housing associations run, and it may well be that some of those operating in Westminster may be happy to support such an initiative”

What do you think? Would you be interested in being a ‘Community Champion’ for your area?

42 Westbourne Park Road – what you say

“I am shocked to hear about the dementia centre land being sold. Westminster should not be selling off land at all – and should do much more to create enough social housing for the people who live in Westminster.”

“Very sorry to hear that council land is to be sold to developers rather than supplying much needed social housing”

“I was very concerned when I read that Westminster council had decided to sell of the site in Westbourne Park Road and my understanding is that they did not have any public consultations. I have lived in Westminster for over 40 years in social housing – Hallfield and I have been very grateful for this. But over the years Westminster council seem to not want to build any more affordable housing stock for less well-off residents especially the younger generation. Which I feel is very sad and I am angry that land owned by Westminster – us the tax payers – is being sold off for profit and no doubt Westminster council will say it’s to benefit the residents. In my opinion good social affordable housing would benefit residents more and enrich our community.”

“Selling off the Dementia Centre land instead of building affordable housing there is a scandal. But it fits with the rest of the Tory ‘plans’ for Westminster: their idea of planning seems to be dictated entirely by market forces. Market forces are exactly what planning is supposed to temper and check and resist. Neighbourhoods that become all one thing -for instance, street after street of empty houses flats owned by absentee landlords who buy them as places to park their money from the former Soviet Union or elsewhere in the world, or even houses and flats inhabited by banker and nothing but bankers- quickly die. They become mere addresses, not neighbourhoods. The cultural strength of London has always been highest in its most mixed neighbourhoods, with people from all walks and many backgrounds. The current drive to monetize London property to an absurd degree, to use it as an alternative world currency, is destroying our neighbourhoods fast, especially here in Westminster. Couple that with the drive to eliminate council housing, and then de-fund housing associations so that they must pander to the market to stay solvent, is destroying the very fabric of this great city. “

“This is quite a large site which would accommodate a few social housing units or a few luxury residences. If the social housing units are built, the Council retains the site: luxury housing the site will be sold forever. Social housing would seem to me to be preferable on every count.”

Botts Mews – what you say

“The proposed development at Botts Mews is an extreme example of a developer attempting to increase square footage to an absurd degree by use of double basements. And of course they don’t even intend to build the absurd project themselves, they just want to get the permission and then flip it, based entirely on the square footage figure. It is a request for planning that is all to do with the market bubble and nothing to do with building living space in which any human being will ever wish to inhabit.”

“Basement mania must also be kept under control – this has caused endless noise, mess and general disruption for neighbouring houses. “

Maida Hill Market/Prince of Wales pub area – what you say

“I fully agree with comments about the drinking situation in around the market area. It is a real shame that this is happening and I also think that the closure of the pub is a real shame, there needs to be some urgent development in this area. Would it be an option to remove the seating area here and perhaps when the market is on, seating can be provided? It was a shame that I walked past the other day and there were a few stall holders having to try and put up with the drunks far outnumbering the shoppers! Would really like to see the market as a permanent thing as I never know when it’s on.”

“I’m a bit alarmed by the view on the Prince of Wales. It wasn’t my kind of thing, but it was popular and clearly served an important part of the community. It didn’t close because it wasn’t a viable business, to my knowledge. So it was serving a purpose. When you say “The best thing would be for it to be taken on by a new landlord who has the capacity to improve the pub and offer something better”, I suspect that there are many regulars of the PoW who might not share your views? We have a gastropub on Carlton Bridge, two blocks down. We don’t need a bunch of copycat gastropubs. We may need something a bit more ‘real’? PoW was certainly unique…Just a thought.”

Planning Applications Committee meetings – what you say

“I wish to support a move to persuade Westminster City Council to allow the public to express their views at Planning Application Meetings. As things stand the Council members are largely reliant on the Planning Officer`s summary of the objections to an application and on his or her recommendation on that application. Having attended such a meeting recently I felt it would have been more democratic if interested parties had been given the opportunity to speak. Why not?”

“I completely agree with the ending the “planning gag”. I recently attended a meeting regarding the development on Edgware Road/ Orchardson Street. It was a complete sham. All objections were steam-rollered over to suit the head of planning’s agenda. Even public safety concerns, despite having a professional witness agree, were completely ignored. This is an issue that I believe needs to be made public, so everyone knows what is happening at the council. It is completely un-democratic and I fear even worse.”

“We entirely agree that the gag should be rescinded. It damages fair process and allows the council planners to ride rough shod over objectors.”

Social Housing – what you say

“The huge empty space/car park off Edgware Road by Church St and Paddington Green has been empty for decades. I often wonder if it was originally a bomb site. I presume it is not being developed because the owners are waiting to get even more money if they can build luxury flats for absentee landlords on it. Or are they just not prepared to pay for any social housing or towards infrastructure? The Council should explain clearly what the position is about this site.”

Basement excavations – what you say

“All of us who have been plagued by the excavation of unnecessary basements especially for underground pools and gyms must welcome the new rules which are a step in the right direction. But anyone who walks along Hamilton Terrace can’t avoid being struck by the number of large houses which have been gutted and are being rebuilt as luxury palaces (almost certainly for absentees). The pavements are cluttered by building awnings and building materials and pedestrians inconvenienced. Let us hope that the various new tax rules and the threat of a mansion tax will help to ensure that St John’s Wood does not become a total ghetto for absentee oligarchs.”

Parking – what you say

“Too much emphasis seems to be given to meeting the needs of car owners in Westminster rather than those of the pedestrians and cyclists who also live in it. The main issue for WC always seems to be how to increase the numbers of parking spaces thus accommodating more vehicles in the area. Dense parking is, like driving, a hazard to pedestrians because it obscures the view of the roadway. What about those of us who don’t own cars – the walkers and cyclists?”

What you say

“Thank you much for the update and got all your hard work and concern “

“Thank you once again for a comprehensive report. A terrific practical example of seeking out what matters to constituents, acting on it, then reporting back.”

“You people are heroes!”

“Thanks as ever for your excellent reports!”

“Thanks for your hard work”
“Thank you for these newsletters and for your dedication. It is so good to be listened to! A grateful Bayswater resident.”

“Good to hear at least someone is voicing concerns about the lack of social and affordable housing in the area. It is already less diverse than it was when i started renting ten years ago much to the detriment of the area.”

“Thank you for your pithy and informative updates. I always read them, and read them through to the bottom. They are my best source for knowing what is really happening in my local government.”

“Thank you for your support over Botts Mews”

“I really have a lot of respect for your concern for our local people, and by putting a lot of effort into your Action Reports, to make Bayswater a better place to live!”

“I welcome reading these updates on our neighbourhood, thanks”

“Thanks again for these excellent updates that show how hard you are working and that you really are responsive and solution orientated. I think this should be a model for best practice! Well done and a Happy Christmas from a very grateful local community that you serve beautifully!”

“I would like to say that I think these newsletters are great.”

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

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg
Leader of the Labour Group
Westminster City Council

WESTMINSTER NORTH ACTION REPORT – DECEMBER 2014

NEWS FROM WESTMINSTER’S LABOUR COUNCILLORS

Penfold Street/Church Street junction

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“A vast number of vehicles travelling via Penfold Street, across Church Street, fail to stop at the junction, often speeding. Is it possible to have Stop/Halt signs, situated on both sides, of Penfold Street?”

Lilestone Estate

We have taken up this matter with the Council;

“I read, with interest, the concerns over unsightly rubbish being dumped on our streets by the public. On the Lilestone Estate in Church Street bwe suffer terribly from rubbish being strewn across the courtyards – even more unfortunately, this is caused by the bin men with their complete disregard for residents and pride in their work. This is a common occurrence, especially on Sundays, and I would welcome your comments on how to move forward with this”

We contacted the Waste Management team and the local warden. Veolia say their collection crews have been informed if there are any complaints of spillages from residents/members of the public that they are to be sent back to clean and can possibly face disciplinary action. Residents can report the incidents by emailing the environment action line at environmentactionline@westminster.gov.uk and detailing when and where the incident of left rubbish took place.

Marylebone Road crossings – update

We have received the following update from TfL:

“We face an unenviable task of balancing the competing demands of all road users – on the one hand we need to move significant volumes of traffic and on the other, provide pedestrian crossing facilities in Marylebone Road. Typically there are two types of signal controlled crossings – the first being ‘staggered crossings’ and the second is known as ‘straight across’. Staggered crossings are where pedestrians cross in two (or more) movements, and will cross to a central island in the road and may have to wait before completing the crossing. By contrast, the straight across crossing is where pedestrians complete their movement in one go.

As you know, Marylebone Road is a wide road consisting of three lanes of traffic in each direction and there are several signal controlled junctions and crossing points along it. By inserting a staggered crossing, we are better able to manage the movement of pedestrians while at the same time, affording us the ability to operate a more efficient flow of traffic than the straight across crossing would offer. By doing this, traffic is only held on red for approximately 18 seconds in one direction, whilst the other direction is free flowing, as opposed to both directions being held for a period of 28 seconds. The staggered crossing is the best all round – it keeps journey times to their optimum, reducing emissions from queuing traffic, and ensures pedestrians have the least amount of time to wait in between crossing periods. If a straight across crossing was adopted, the number of invitations pedestrians would have to cross per hour would reduce.

However, it is not a case that “one shoe fits all” and this is why we are looking at the feasibility of converting the crossing at the junction with Harewood Avenue to a single straight crossing. This would have the benefit of being able to accommodate cyclists as well as pedestrians. We are currently working with your officers and design teams to see if this is a viable option, and if so, we will of course make you aware of this prior to a public consultation. If all goes well, we are aiming to implement a scheme within the next two to three years. Notwithstanding this, I can confirm there are no current proposals to amend the crossings at Lisson Grove or Cosway Street. “

Frampton Street/Edgware Road crossing

Traffic Management have told us that they will look into the timings of the lights. If the timings are too short they will be able to increase the length of the green light.

Glarus Court

We are continuing to press City West Homes to deal with this problem:

“We are still having effluent coming down the wall from Glarus Court into the garage of Waterford Court. The garden of Glarus Court floods every time it rains and so pours down into the aforementioned garage. This has been going on for over 3 years and although, due to pressure from Barbara Grahame’s office, some works have been carried out this year but the matter have still not been resolved. On reporting the problems to CWH I was told that it would cost too much to put right and therefore would not get done but I could try contacting the Service Improvement Team. I have also been told that any work to the general state of disrepair of Glarus Court may not be carried out until 2020. I cannot believe that not painting woodwork but letting it fall into disrepair can be a sensible approach to maintenance.”

City West Homes have told us:

“The foul drainage at Glarus which is partly located in the underground car park has had the gully traps cleared along with the drainage pipe runs. A section of the pipework has been re-lined following the CCTV survey, identifying possible joint displacement which would have been the cause of the leaking sewage. It is my belief that the reported leak is a result of the heavy rainfall leaking into the garage area and not the foul drainage. Regrettably, there is no quick fix for solving the damaged waterproof membrane and the only viable solution would be to installed a new membrane or carry out patch repairs. But, this would involve removing the existing garden materials to expose the membrane, alternatively harvesting the water that is leaking through is a possible a solution although does not fix the issue.”

Church Street Market toilet

We are concerned about the state of the toilet which is run by Carlisle and is very neglected. It no longer has a full-time Attendant and the disabled loo is locked. It needs upgrading and we are asking for it to be included in the Futures Plan.

Burne Street

We have again asked that small street between Bell Street and Marylebone Road be cleaned regularly.

New Elgin Doctors’ Practice

We are supporting the GPs at the New Elgin Pratice to make sure they are not forced either to close or to move out of the local neighbourhood. Karen Buck MP is working with them, NHS England and the Council (responsible for any future planning issues affecting the building). Please get behind this campaign. We have already lost 2 General Practices in North Westminster recently and we need to keep our GPs!

Here’s the patients’ petition http://www.scribd.com/doc/247736319/Elgin-Practice

Even if you are not a patient, an email to show your support would help greatly.

Harrow Road pubs

We are acting on the concerns expressed in this email:

“Can I share with you my alarm about the loss of pubs along Harrow Road near the Elgin junction? Elephant & Castle gone; Neeld Arms boarded up; Prince of Wales suspended; Bad rumours about the Flora further up. It feels like we’ll just be left with Kendrick’s soon. None of these would exactly win prizes from CAMRA but they did serve this ward and I fear lack of licenced premises will just drive street drinking further. So is there any way to at least press for the return of the Prince of Wales? I know there have been at least two awful incidents there, so I guess it would need tight managing & a new licensee. But its permanent loss would be a local disaster.”

Given its impact on the junction we think the Prince of Wales is the one to focus on. The best thing would be for it to be taken on by a new landlord who has the capacity to improve the pub and offer something better, perhaps introducing a restaurant. We will be working with the Harrow Road Town Team to look at all the opportunities to find solution

Walterton Road /Lydford Road junction

We are continuing to press Thames Water for action on this issue;

“Please do continue to press Thames Water on the longstanding issue of the stench around Walterton/ Lydford junction. This has been going on for years not months or weeks. I find it hard to believe that not only can it not be rectified but also that it is not a health hazard. Sewage in the air? I appreciate efforts have been made to solve the issue but that is little consolation when we are no further forward years down the line – the outcome is the same as if they had done nothing! No change in stench. “

Maida Hill Market area

Along with Karen Buck MP we have repeated our request to the Council and the police to tackle this growing problem:

“My windows are looking to over Maida Hill market, since I moved in I have noticed that there are a lot of drunk people sitting and drinking on the benches by the market using a very bad language and they get very loud too. Can you please help us to sort this problem which we are facing every day?”

Botts Mews

A decision on this controversial planning application was deferred at the Planning Committee on 26th November. The Construction Management Plan (CMP) proposed by the developers was rejected and they will now have to submit a new plan. In addition, the Planning Committee will visit the site to see for themselves the problems that will be caused. Councillor Barbara Grahame, the only Labour Councillor on the Committee, expressed her support for residents’ concerns about the impact on the community, and she will continue to do so as a Planning Committee member until a new satisfactory solution is offered by the developers.

42 Westbourne Park Road

Last year Westminster Council spent £40m of tax payers’ money on housing Westminster residents in expensive temporary accommodation and hotels due to the acute shortage of social housing. Yet, Westminster Council now plans to sell the land next to the Dementia Centre site at 42 Westbourne Park Rd, rather than building much-needed social housing. There was no public consultation on this.

Councillor Guthrie McKie said;

“Selling this land will not reduce the Council’s £40m temporary accommodation bill or help local residents in anyway. We want genuinely mixed communities in Bayswater and Lancaster Gate. We also believe in saving money for tax-payers. We believe selling council land to speculative investors is wrong.”

Let us know what you think

Time to lift the Planning gag

With the current onslaught of development facing the area we believe it is critical that the community can voice its concerns directly at every level of the decision making process. Unlike most UK planning authorities, Westminster Council does not allow its residents to speak at planning committee, thus depriving council tax payers of their right to exercise free speech.

Labour Councillor Ruth Bush said;

“We will continue to challenge the Council’s refusal to allow residents to have their voice at Planning Committee meetings. It is time to change this undemocratic and archaic practice.”

What do you think?

Chepstow Road/Talbot Road

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue;

“I would be interested if there are any records of how often this piece of road is dug up? – seems like every 3-4 weeks (possibly more) this crossroads is having works, gas, water….you name it. Today it’s Virgin Media’s turn – starting at 9.30am. I know ‘building work’ is banned in Westminster on Sundays and is ’emergency only’. Does the same apply to digging up the road – not sure how much of an emergency it is to get cable television?”

Queensway public toilets

We asked a question at the last Council meeting after receiving this information:

“I made a complaint to Westminster about the state of the loos near Queensway in Kensington Gardens. All of the loos were stopped up and in a disgusting state. And they charged 50p for this!! I made a complaint to Westminster and they told me Carlisle only had a number to call so I called the number they gave me, which didn’t work. I asked them again, and they gave me a different number, which also didn’t work! I presume these are the same numbers in the loos themselves – to call in case of a problem. Finally Westminster said they would contact Carlisle on my behalf, to pass on my complaint. I never heard from them after this. It sounds like Carlisle, as well as overcharging for their loos, is completely inept, both in taking care of said loos, but also in any form of customer contact. Westminster really should use a different provider, and also ideally change the price – as 50p is too much – for this you would expect a very posh and extremely clean loo!”

Blomfield Road/Delamere Terrace

We have asked the Council for information on this issue:

“As a regular cyclist in the area, I wondered if there are there any plans to formalise cycle paths or establish cycle exemptions to go against the traffic along the one-way sections of Blomfield Road and Delamere Terrace? Just that given their importance in connecting the canal cycle path that ends by St Mary’s Church and restarts at Lisson Grove, and judging by their current use, these roads are already de facto cycle paths against traffic.”

Edgware Road

We have reported the following issue to the street lighting officer:

“There is a stretch of Edgware Road in front of Parsons House and extending beyond the nearby bus stop where the pavement is very wide and shaded by some mature trees. There is one street light at the pavement edge, part concealed by a tree. There are four lights some fifteen feet from the pavement edge which have not been working for several years. Is there any good reason why they cannot be restored to service? The deep pavement is very dark and an uneasy place to have to cross especially in the winter. If the faulty lights were working it would be so different. Is there some major problem which has kept them from working for so long?”

We contacted the lighting department at the council and they then passed this onto Transport for London as this section of the street is under their responsibility. The next day the resident who reported this to us said;

“All four lights working fully tonight. Cannot tell you how many YEARS these have been unlit. Makes such a difference. Most grateful”

Elgin Avenue

We have reported the following issues to the Council:

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

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

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

Kilburn Park Road

We are making enquiries about this issue:

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

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

‘Maiden of Maida Vale’ mural

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

“‘Splash 2′ by renowned urban artist FinDAC is a piece of art which was commissioned by the leaseholders of 128 Elgin Avenue in Maida Vale. The Council are referring to this stunning artwork as ‘advertising’ and having a ‘negative visual impact upon the building and the Maida Vale Conservation Area’.In our experience, this is far from the case. Our intention was to enhance the local area we consider as ‘Shirland Village’, and to bring a smile to the faces of the local community. We have had an incredible amount of positive feedback from people of all ages about our beautiful ‘Maidens of Maida Vale’, and how they feel the mural really enhances the area. Please help us fight to keep the mural by signing this petition!!”

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

Bronwen Court, Grove End Road

We have contacted City West Homes after residents expressed their concerns about many aspects of the major works currently being carried out there. These included the cost to lessees, standard of workmanship, length of time being taken to carry out the work and security issues.

Violet Hill House and Abercorn House, Hamilton Terrace

We have reported the following issues to the police:

• Numbers 16 and 14 have both been broken into recently.
• The parking area at the back of the block is subject to groups congregating to take drugs or have sex.
• There were previously gates to the car parking area and residents have been asking for six years for these to be replaced.

Harrow Road/Chippenham Road Junction

We are delighted that the new (Pelican) pedestrian crossing at the junction of Harrow Road and Chippenham Road is now up and running. After some delays caused by legal issues, we kept pushing Westminster Council and TFL to ensure the work was completed, after the tragic accident in the area. The new crossing will help improve safety for pedestrians on this busy stretch of road.

We have asked the Council to investigate this further issue:

“The road has been left in a deplorable state for traffic at the top of Chippenham and also as you turn left onto Harrow. At the top of Chippenham there is a deep channel where the workmen dug across the top of the road plus a pothole. Around the corner on Harrow is another rough channel. I can’t believe that there has been a final inspection of this work by any supervisor. It really is a shocker. Anyone using this section of the road regularly will need suspension repairs to their car pretty quickly. . A notice went up last week to say there would be resurfacing but those notices have been taken down – so are they going to leave the road in this mess?“

Warwick Crescent

We have called on CityWest Homes to take action to resolve the persistent problem of anti-social behaviour in the Warwick Crescent garden, caused by people climbing over the wall from the fire-station. We are working with CityWest Homes, the police and the council’s public protection team to improve security here.

Mini cabs problems

We continue to put pressure on the council about the mini-cab problems on Marylands Road, Sutherland Avenue, Amberley Road and connecting streets. We’ve raised an objection to the extension of a local mini-cab office licence as the council has yet to get the problem fully under control.

Elmfield Way Games Area

Together with Karen Buck MP, we are working with Westminster Council to try and ensure that local young people will have proper access to play space when the development of the site of current multi-use games area takes place next year. Westminster have committed to provide some supervised access to the Bluebell Lodge games area but have yet to spell out how much time will be made available or how they will fund staff to oversee and organise this.

Torquay Street

We have picked up local residents concerns about London Hostels Association builders encroaching on the green space around Brinklow House. LHA have promised to tell their contractors not to go onto this important area for Brinklow residents.

Bourne Terrace/Harrow Road

We have been raising concerns with Thames Water about further delays to them delivering on their commitment to landscaping ‘the Pit’ on the corner of Bourne Terrace and Harrow Road. This work was due to be completed in the summer to help partially off-set the loss of green space caused by the works on Westbourne Green. Thames have said that the work will now be completed by Christmas but time is getting tight. We will continue to put pressure on them to deliver on their commitments to local residents.

Lockbridge and Ashgrove Court security

We have supported efforts by Catalyst Housing Association to improve the security around Lockbridge and Ashgrove Court, writing to the Planning Committee to back the plans in response to rising anti-social behaviour in the area. We have been working with local police, the Council’s anti-social behaviour team and the estate office to push the police to keep the area under review.

Genesis Grand Union and Woodfield Road

Following the public meeting with residents earlier this year, We and Karen Buck MP have been putting pressure on Genesis ahead of the resident’s meeting on at 6pm November 27th at Paddington Arts. Genesis have been slow to deliver on the promises they made at the previous meeting in the spring but have committed to improving some of the worst kitchens and bathrooms.

Notting Hill Carnival Feed Back

We have been raising residents’ concerns about particularly high-levels of noise at the sound system on Tavistock Road, where there was a clear breach of agreed decibel limits on the Sunday (before being rained off on Monday). We’ve also picked up issues around noise from shops and from the judging point being loud, starting before Carnival begins and continuing after it has finished. This is in addition to the long-standing concerns around garden clean-up. We are continuing to push the council for a public meeting, now much delayed, so residents can have their say about their experience of Carnival 2014 and to find out what more Westminster Council can do to reduce the impact on residents while maintaining the uniqueness of Carnival.

Wessex Gardens Major works and anti-social behaviour

We have been picking up residents’ concerns about problems with the major works programme on the Wessex. This includes not only the longstanding problems about the suitability of the new windows for certain families and the cost to leaseholders, but also the failure of the repairs to the walkways on the estate. Along with local residents we are putting pressure on CityWest Homes to address these problems and have raised concerns about the loss of the project manager, despite previous commitments that he would stay until project completion. CWH have promised that senior staff will be actively monitoring the completion of major works to address outstanding concerns.

We have also been working with the police, community protection officers and CWH to respond to a rising number of complaints about security and anti-social behaviour on the estate.

Brunel Youth Club

We are working with CityWest Homes and members of the local sounding board to find ways to improve the current small youth club site and make use of the ‘dead space’ around it. We are hopeful that CWH will come back with new plans shortly.
Network Stadium Repairs.

Following a site visit to Network Stadium’s properties on the Brindley Estate and Eaton Plaza (Elmfield Way) over the summer, a number of repairs jobs were raised to tackle problems that had not been previously resolved. However we are continuing to put pressure on Network Stadium to tackle the longstanding problem in some Brindley blocks where extractor fans are blowing damp air into flats rather than helping remove moisture, where NS have been slow to find a solution.

Torquay Street

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

“I’d like to draw your attention to the dreadful state of the area under the Westway at the end of Torquay Street. The skate park and volleyball courts are used by local kids a lot and is a really good local resource, but the area is isolated from the main road, made significantly worse by the Council installing railings across the walk through area from Harrow Road/Royal Oak. The area smells of urine and faeces is often present, and it is really unpleasant to have to walk around the back of the volleyball courts to get through. When the railings were not there, there was a regular flow of pedestrians. I often see people climbing over the railings to get through. I believe the railings were installed to stop people walking through the refuse depot, but there must be a better way of preventing this. It is very unpleasant, certainly a health hazard and conducive to local crime.”

Basements – what you say

“I too was pleased to see that some progress has been made in dealing with basement development, though of course the current paper does not deal at all with the extent of works, and most of the guidelines for developers are not enforcible. I was a bit shocked to note the statement on Energy Issues of basements in the supporting document:

“11. ENERGY MEASURE IMPLICATIONS
11.1 There are no significant energy measure implications. When constructed basements tend to perform better in environmental terms than above ground construction which can result in lower heating or cooling loads. Lighting requirements will be higher, although low energy lighting can reduce the impact of this.”

Aside from the fact that’s not proper English, where has the provision for ventilation gone in their thinking? That’s a HUGE energy cost, especially for mega-basements.”

St John’s Wood station area – what you say

“I have no doubt that for many motorists their determination to get somewhere, even to the next red light, as fast as possible, trumps road safety and observing the rules of the road. Westminster Council can’t change the culture, but it can take steps to curb some behaviours and to make the roads and pavements a bit safer for others. Restricting parking around John and Lizzie’s is a very good idea. I suspect that another zebra crossing in Grove End Road might be counter-productive and lead even more motorists to tear down the road and ignore pedestrians at the crossings at the junction with Abbey Road. As it is, it is obvious that lots of drivers have no intention of stopping for pedestrians at the crossing, at least until they are aware that the pedestrians are looking them in the eye.”

What you say

“I wanted to say that these newsletters are amazing, I wish that all Council Groups could communicate local issues this effectively”

“Thanks for the Westminster North Action Report. Useful as ever.”

“Thanks for all your hard work, it’s these efforts of the local councillors that keeps up our faith in the political system at grass roots. Pass on my appreciation to you all”

“As usual, I’m getting all my local information from you, not from Westminster!”

“Thank you for another informative newsletter. Always full of interesting news and, crucially, always answers the questions put by residents.”

“Another busy month from you and your colleagues! Keep up the good work”

“Good as always to know that you and your fellow councillors are on the case”

“Thanks for the latest report, informative as always and good to see local problems being addressed”

“Thank you. Lots of news and lots to do, many small things and some major.”

“It seems that something was done about the traffic signal at Loudon/Marlborough intersection. Well done!”

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

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg
Leader of the Labour Group
Westminster City Council

WESTMINSTER NORTH ACTION REPORT – NOVEMBER 2014

NEWS FROM WESTMINSTER’S LABOUR COUNCILLORS

Marylebone Road/Cosway Street/Lisson Grove junctions

We have heard back from Leon Daniels at TfL about the crossing points at Cosway Street, Lisson Grove and Harewood Place. He tells us;

“Since our onsite meeting in June, we have programmed the traffic signals to ensure the green invitation to pedestrians to cross appears at all crossing points at the junction, regardless of whether the pedestrian call button is activated or not. As a result, pedestrians now have regular opportunities to cross.

I also recall discussing the feasibility of installing pedestrian countdown. As you know, this facility is relatively new for London and our current guidelines preclude installing it at staggered crossings due to the risk of ‘see through’ issues of far side indicators. Our concern is with the potential that this will falsely indicate to pedestrians that it is safe to cross when conflict is present.

Notwithstanding this, we are reviewing the guidance to see if there is scope to relax this rule for staggered crossings where the staggers are sufficiently segregated to eliminate the potential see through issue. As part of this, we will assess whether any of the crossings can have pedestrian countdown installed.

Very shortly, we will carry out some tests to see if the pedestrian green times can be increased now that traffic levels have returned to normal operation following the conclusion of the summer holiday period.”

We have responded as follows;

“The key issue for pedestrians is summarised by the following comment from a local resident with whom I shared your reply;

“He also refers to ‘staggered crossings’. Though I am not familiar with this phrase, it might indicate only allowing pedestrians (many with small children) to cross one lane at each change of lights, thus condemning them to being bunched together at the traffic islands for the long time it takes for the traffic lights to change again, breathing in the fumes of one of the most polluted roads in the entire UK. Is this really the negative (and highly unsatisfactory) position they want to achieve?”

What pedestrians want is the ability to cross the road safely in one go at these crossings. This means giving enough time to do so. Surely this is not too much to ask?

It is possible to cross Marylebone Road in one go at other places along the road – for example, at Baker Street and opposite the Parish Church – so why cannot it be possible at Lisson Grove, Cosway Street and Harewood Avenue?”

Marylebone Road/Underpass route across Marylebone Road

We have reported this issue to the Council

“Happy to report the underpass to the tube seems less of a problem on recent journeys. However, and maybe I should have raised it before, but the same issue arises (and has done for a long time) at the rear of the big BT building i.e. the walkway around it to Marylebone Road, and the underpass, as one goes from Penfold Street.”

Daventry Street/Bell Street

We have reported problems with rubbish dumping by the bins at the corner of Daventry Street and Bell Street.

Glarus Court

We are making enquiries about this issue;

“I, and others, for several years have been communicating with various Westminster staff and City West Homes about the deterioration over the past 5 years of Glarus Court Sheltered Accommodation. The lack of repairs and action by City West Homes has caused damage to the block of flats adjoining Glarus Court. After three years we have had some action from CWH but not without a lot of fight. During the six years I have lived in Waterford Court, the external and internal fabric of Glarus Court has deteriorated greatly. External painting and window frames have not been touched in this time, the garden floods whenever it rains thus flooding the underground garage beneath this garden. “

Burne Street

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue;

“Who do we need to speak to about the consistently awful state of Burne St NW1. I only have to walk through it twice a day and it is usually full of rubbish bags, detritus and sometimes people sleeping in bags. Today was the last straw so much rubbish piled everywhere no one takes care of this handy passageway between the underpass and Church Street market. I believe British Telecom have a building there. I have never ever seen it presentable and it stinks of urine. What can be done to get Westminster to clean it up or get BT to take responsibility? There are flats there with families and children and the rubbish must attract rats it really is not fit for human habitation and a huge blot on Westminster’s landscape.”

Saltram Crescent

Alongside Karen Buck MP, we have been supporting the campaign to reduce traffic speeds in and around the ‘Saltram triangle’. Harrow Road Ward Councillors met with Cllr Argar, Martin Low and other traffic officers from Westminster Council on 18th September to take forward options for improvement – the idea is for a series of ‘give way’ bays along Saltram Crescent. We have said that the residents must be consulted on this and a meeting is being held at
St Luke’s Church, Fernhead Road, W9 3EH on Wednesday 26th November 2014 from 6:30pm.

Fernhead Road

We have organised a petition calling for a 20mph speed limit after receiving this information;

“I live in Fernhead Road between Carlton Vale and Shirland Road junctions and I have witnessed daily over recent years the increasing breaking of the 30mph speed limit. The speed indicator alerting motorists to when they are over 30mph travelling towards Shirland Road is obscured by a tree for traffic towards Shirland Road. It is clear from SLOW markings on road and notice about traffic calmed area at Carlton Vale junction that 30mph should be limit. However I have frequently observed light warning sign being repeatedly triggered. I would support 20mph limit in Westminster as this would dovetail with surrounding boroughs, however it needs enforcing, as even with 30mph limit drivers completely and deliberately ignore. I look forward to your response and any useful information for me as a resident of this stretch of primarily domestic road with a nursery one end and a school the other. Its great having buses here, and I understand emergency vehicles need clear route, but ordinary traffic needs to be safer.”

Please find the link here http://petitions.westminster.gov.uk/fernhead20mph/

Elgin Avenue – speeding

We have asked the asked the Highways Department to investigate the following issue;

“I am concerned about the repeated reckless traffic behaviour at peak times seen on Elgin Avenue at the junction with Shirland Road. At the Shirland Road junction one can observe speeding cars approaching the traffic lights and continuing through regardless just when the lights have changed to red. Sometimes there is crazy overtaking at the last minute by some drivers overtaking cars that aim to stop. Yesterday morning a succession of three vehicles, just now another succession of vans and private cars continuing through red without hesitation. It is often quite stunning to observe the complete disregard for these traffic lights.”

Maida Hill toilets – update

The Council tells us that they “are working with Carlisle who manage the Westminster toilets contract, to ensure the standards of the public conveniences are adequately maintained going forward. Carlisle are contracted to clean the toilets at least twice a day. The regular cleaner has been away on sick leave and the rise in complaints seems to have coincided with his absence. Unfortunately, he has decided to retire due to on-going health problems. The Council will be meeting with the Managing Director of Carlisle to discuss a range of issues which are to include management, cleaning standards, a replacement for the regular cleaner and the rise in the number of complaints.”

Lanhill Road

We have asked the Council to deal with this problem;

“We now have a 5 foot high pile of rotting rubbish that has been building for outside Octavia House at the corner of Lanhill and Chippenham Roads. For some reason the Council refuse collectors have continued to ignore what is now becoming a health hazard. They are not clearing this mess and ignored it all yet again this morning. Residents at that end of the street are contending with the stench and the vermin and their calls to the refuse department appear to have been ignored on several occasions. It appears that the problem is down to the dumping of rubbish – not in – but around the wheelie bins by non-residents of Octavia House. This includes the dumping of containers full of used cooking oil from the ‘Big chicken’ takeaway further along Chippenham road. Why has this rubbish not been cleared? What is the council’s problem with our street that they allow all this to happen? What do we have to do to get it cleared?”

We contacted the local wardens about this and the rubbish has now been removed.

The Council says;

“The wardens are very keen to look into more permanent strategies of discouraging rubbish build up in the area. The Senior Warden in Westminster North commented that the main issue here seems to be that there were three bins at this location which have been reduced to two. He was not sure who had reduced the number however stressed that Octavia Housing who are responsible for this property needed to increase the frequency of collections or go back to three bins.

He let us know that the new Harrow Road Warden starts on Tuesday and can liaise with Octavia and Veolia to ensure this problem does not persist. He will put up new Don’t dump signage and monitor the waste at this location to determine if there is illegal commercial waste dumping as well as residential waste being illegally left at this location. Veolia have instructed one of their officers to install a 940L Chamberlain bin here, on top of the 2 Household bins. Hopefully this will also discourage waste dumping.”

Elgin Avenue – rubbish collection

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

• Elgin Avenue, between Ashworth Road and Biddulph Road

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

• Rubbish and Recycling Collection Point at Elgin Avenue and Biddulph Road

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

We have pressed the Council to take action and this has led to an improvement. The resident who reported this to us has told us;

“I was on the street today, and it looks very good. I appreciate your persistence in getting this taken care of”

Basement Developments

We are pleased that the Council has now adopted new planning policies in respect of Basement Developments. Here is the link

Basement Development in Westminster: Adoption as a Supplementary Planning Document

Aquila Street

At the request of residents in flats in Aquila Street we have spoken to City West Homes about the dangerous state of the common parts. CWH have confirmed that carpets that have been identified to be in disrepair or a hazard are due to be replaced very soon.

Cochrane Street

We have asked the Council to check whether the street lighting is adequate, following concerns expressed by residents.

The Council say that they “will assess the site but from an initial assessment from the GIS mapping the lighting appears relatively new and should meet standards but the trees may be causing a negative impact on the illumination”.

Abercorn Place

We have asked the Council to investigate reports of speeding traffic along Abercorn Place.

St John’s Wood station/Circus Road area.

We are making further enquiries about the following;

• The need for a zebra crossing opposite St Johns and Elizabeth or at the least clear the parking opposite the hospital so the sight lines for approaching traffic are improved.
• The poor state of the garden area outside St John’s Wood station
• The timing of the pedestrian crossing outside St John’s Wood station
• The drainage on the west side opposite St John’s Wood Tube where there is a muddy lake and people have to stand well back to avoid drenching by traffic.

Clifton Pub, Clifton Hill

We are concerned and the continued closure of the Clifton Pub. The Council’s Planning Officers tell us;

“Whilst press reports earlier in the year indicated that the new owner intended to let the premises again as a public house it has not re-opened as such and is currently vacant with estate agents’ advertising boards on the premises which indicate that the property is being marketed. Its current condition appears to be acceptable and there are no obvious grounds for planning enforcement intervention in this respect. There have been no formal planning applications to date but it does seem likely that applications for alternative use may come forward and residential, or possibly a form of bar/restaurant use, are most likely to be proposed. The current marketing exercise may be underway to demonstrate demand for/viability of the current pub use. We are aware of local sensitivity to the issue and any planning application would be the subject to notification of neighbours, amenity society, local Ward Members etc.”

Marlborough Place/Loudon Road

We have asked the Council to fix this problem;

“The traffic light on the corner of Marlborough Place and Loudon Road is skewed 45% degrees out of true and cannot be seen from the north west corner so that I was almost run over unaware it had changed. It has been like this since the Spring. Must have been hit by some truck”

Lodge Road/Park Road junction

We have asked the Council to investigate these two issues;

• In the pavement at the northern side of the junction there are dangerous potholes adjacent to Thames Water service covers
• In the road and on the pavement at the southern end of the junction a very large puddle always forms after major rainfall

The Council tells that “an order has been raised order to clear the gully. This should hopefully stop the large puddles forming at the southern end of the junction.”

Blenheim Passage

We have reported one light missing in Blenheim Passage, NW8 which has affected the overall lighting of this pedestrian passage.

Tavistock Crescent

We have reported these problems to the Council and to City West Homes;

“Again there are some problems with lights on Tavistock Crescent W11 as there is two very dark spots along Tavistock Crescent for quite some time and the Council is well aware of it but does nothing. It’s very dangerous especially for ladies walking at nights. There’s also one light not working on Fallodon House block. I reported it to the estate office quite some time ago still nothing has been done to sort it out. Also, the drains at the rear of the block next to the playground have been blocked for over a year now and the kids play in the dirty water whenever it rains.”

Free Legal Advice

Solicitors Ronald Fletcher & Co give free legal advice every Wednesday at 5.30pm at their office at 243 Elgin Avenue, W9 1NJ. Contact Derek Rosenblatt on 020 7644 7209 or derek@rfclaw.co.uk.

Maida Hill Market area – what you say

“Even though this area has improved considerably in the last 10 years, it definitely feels as if it is slipping back. This junction used to a godforsaken place – it was I believe one of the top 10 most dangerous locations in the whole country! – it got better but, since the closure of the Harrow Road police station, it feels now as if it is deteriorating. There used to be a steady stream of police and Community Support officers coming and going on foot which was, if nothing else, reassuring – screaming police cars are no substitute. Rumour has it that a new, smaller police station is to be opened in either the old police station or the old town hall next door, is that true? And if not, can we have one?”

Walterton Road/Lydford Road – what you say

“On the sewage odour issue at the intersection of Lydford and Walterton roads the information from Thames Water shows that a lot has been done and much more will be. One question which is still pending is when the remaining works will be carried out as the odour is still very much there.”

Rubbish dumping – what you say

“My firm belief is that we are indeed dealing with anti-social behaviour, mostly from builders, but also from local residents too and this ought to be tackled in the right way, with a mix of education/prevention/review of current rubbish collection procedures and strong law enforcement.”

What you say

“I was very impressed by your quick and meaningful response to my query, thank you as always for providing an excellent portal for community involvement in the governance of their affairs.”

“Thanks for the up-date, as always very useful”

“Thank you- as always a very helpful bulletin of your and your colleagues’ great work across the Borough”

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

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg
Leader of the Labour Group
Westminster City Council

WESTMINSTER NORTH ACTION REPORT – OCTOBER 2014

NEWS FROM WESTMINSTER’S LABOUR COUNCILLORS

Underground walkway to Edgware Rd tube from north side of Marylebone Road‏

We have asked the Council to clean this underpass after receiving the following message;

“I used this underpass this afternoon. You probably know at the best of times it can have a bad smell, but now it is like an untreated urinal. It is embarrassing to be taking friends/relations along that route, and I wonder if you can raise it please with the appropriate people.”

The Council say;

“This subway system is currently swept on a daily basis and a small flushing vehicle visits to wash it clean every second night. Sadly this night-time wash down has to be conducted with police support on some occasions. The vehicle can be called in for further wash downs between these scheduled visits in response to specific reports. We are experiencing a significant increase in street urination and similar issues across a range of locations outside of the West End at the present time. We are working closely with the police and other agencies on the broader issue of rough sleeping and will continue to adjust our washing schedules in response to the changing patterns we detect.”

Lisson Green Sheltered Housing

Following Karen Buck MP’s recent visit to CityWest Homes sheltered accommodation blocks Missenden House, Hughenden House and Chequers House she was concerned about the number of people who complained about the poor quality and incomplete contract works affecting the buildings. She has written to CityWest Homes to raise residents’ concerns and to put pressure on them to resolve these issues as soon as possible.
Rossmore Road

Karen Buck MP has also written to the Council following contact from residents about a crash that occurred at the junction of Rossmore Avenue and Harewood Avenue (not an isolated incident I understand) to request that traffic lights are put up to ensure pedestrian safety.

Boscobel Street

We have asked the Council to investigate these issues;

”I wonder if you could ask the council to look into a traffic management problem on Boscobel Street, NW8; this short street off the Edgware road is blighted by cars trying to pass each other on what is a narrow street. It is difficult to get traffic flowing both ways as there are so many cars parked on either side of the street. Therefore double yellow lines need to be used on one side to allow proper flow of traffic. There are often queues of traffic trying to pass each other. Grid lock occurs and drivers start honking their horns for extended period in frustration. Quite often you get irate drivers getting out of their cars shouting at each other and frankly if you had proper traffic management here you could stop this road-rage.”

“The other issue in the street is the sometimes unruly behaviour from people leaving the Dar-Marrakech pub/bar and nearby cafe late at night. It would be better if their licensing hours were shorter so the place closed down a bit earlier.”

Lisson Grove Knife Bin

A knife bin will be located on Lisson Grove to the right of the ramp outside Chequers & Varney Houses. The knife bin is being installed by a charity, Word 4 weapons, and paid for by the police. The bin will be regularly emptied by the charity (in liaison with the police). The bin will be there for a time limited period (for 2 years) with periodic reviews to assess its effectiveness.

Lisson Street

Lisson Street

We have reported rubbish dumping outside 49 Lisson Street.

Cosway Street

We are making enquiries about this issue;

“Now that the main entrance to Christ Church Bentinck school has been permanently closed, the “no parking” markings should be removed and replaced with much-needed extra spaces for residents, not unnecessarily and expensively renewed as they have just been. Also, the street is now often littered to the extent of sometimes blocking the pavement, especially at week-ends, when sweeping seems to have been suspended.”

Maida Hill Market area

Many residents have given a welcome to the Maida Hill Market – one of several steps taken to improve this area, which was previously plagued by drug-dealing and other problems. Unfortunately, we have recently seen a worsening of anti-social behaviour in the area, including a particular problem with street drinking. This is bad for the market and bad for the community. We are working with Karen Buck MP to look for solutions, but feel we have not been helped by the closure of the Harrow Road Police Station last year, and reductions in Safer Neighbourhood policing. Serious efforts are needed to deal with the problem, but resources are clearly very stretched. It would be very helpful indeed to get feedback from residents to help us keep up the pressure.

Also, following tweets from a local resident we reported these issues to the Council;

“Maida Hill market mens toilet filthy. Needs a deep cleanse. Water tap running continually. Entrance post full of rubbish!”
“The pillar post at the entrance to the Maida Hill men’s toilet full of rubbish. Has to be emptied from the top. Special skill”

Lydford Road/Walterton Road

We have asked Thames Water and the Council to re-investigate this long-standing problem;

“I would like to report a long standing problem with sewage odours at the intersection between Lydford Road and Walterton Road. This is not new. I remember plans to erect a ventilation column when we moved in to Lydford Road, some 6 years ago. But nothing happened, I don’t know why and the odour, especially during the summer time is simply horrible. I would appreciate it if you could make the relevant enquiries to let us know what could be done to permanently get rid of this issue.”

Chippenham Road

We reported the following incidence of rubbish dumping to the Council;

“A lot of rubbish has been dumped between 48 and 52 Chippenham Rd, just opposite St Peter’s church. This area backs on the estate where I live. From time to time we see stuff dumped here.”

The Council says;

“The local area warden has agreed to do a leaflet drop in the area before the end of the week, the leaflets will remind residents where they are meant to leave rubbish, which days the collections are and state explicitly that resident are not to dump rubbish on the pavement.”

Ernest Harris House

We have asked the local warden to investigate this issue;

“You’ve helped me with information before so now I have another question for you! Ernest Harris House grounds are becoming a dump for discarded rubbish and a hideaway for smokers. Yesterday I tried to clear it but the job is way too big for me. I understand the area belongs to Age Concern but they’ve not been using the area for ages. Do you know of any Groups who may be able to smarten up our grounds?”

Harrow Road

Harrow Road tree cage

We have asked the local warden to ensure that the tree cages are cleared of rubbish on a regular basis.

Royal Oak Station

We are making enquiries with TfL after receiving this enquiry;

“What are the future plans for this station As an older person I find the steep steps very difficult, especially carrying a case”

Leinster Square

We have asked for this issue to be investigated;

“For several days in the last week it has been impossible to use a large proportion of the parking bays that aren’t covered by the current suspension. If I were to park my car in any of several bays that are not covered, I fear it would be damaged by the numerous heavy lorries visiting the site, and the work on-site would certainly be constrained. At this very moment my car has barriers around it whilst a mobile crane carries out deliveries, effectively blocking the road (without any prior notice) and preventing me leaving”

Westbourne Park Road

We have reported this issue to the Council for investigation;

“DHL vans seem to have started using this street as a convenient point to stop and exchange packages; today at about 2.15 there were five vans parked on yellow lines on both sides of the road outside and opposite the flats (Clifford Court and Elsie Lane Court) while their drivers were using hand carts etc. to move boxes between the vans. This seems to happen quite often. It isn’t a major nuisance, but I thought it was worth bringing to your attention, if only because they occasionally obstruct the pavement.”

Notting Hill Carnival

We have asked the Council what can be done about this issue:

“Last year was the first year in which my property was paint-balled in red. I had to spend at least 3 hours scrubbing it away, luckily it was water-soluble but it was still hard work. This year, we had purple blotches on our stucco and, out of principle, I have asked the council to clean it up. It’s enough already, that I have to clean up the food waste the vomit and the excrement (each night) so I refuse to clean the paint off and I have demanded that the council clean it up instead. Simultaneously, I don’t see why the council should have to do this at the expense of the tax-payer. As I understand it, the Notting Hill Carnival is now run by a private company; shouldn’t they have to take responsibility while raking in huge amounts of money at the residents’ expense and distress? The real joy of the carnival seems to have disappeared, to make way for the barbarians. It is very sad and disturbing and I am sure that the originators of the carnival would not have wanted it to develop like this.”

Randolph Avenue

We are making enquiries about this issue;

“Earlier this year a private car park was established, without permission, next to 32 Randolph Avenue (near the junction with Clifton Gardens). In response to residents’ complaints, the owner, Parking Eye, was forced to apply for planning permission which I presume was granted retrospectively. Now a corner of the car park next to the pavement is being used as a rubbish dump. Can something be done to prevent people from dumping rubbish there? Incidentally, the charges are much higher than local pre-paid parking. “

The Council has told us that;

“We recently granted consent at 28-30 Randolph Avenue for the following – Installation of parking ticket machine, communications box and replacement lighting pole with fixtures attached including lights and an automatic number plate recognition camera, including a reduction from 27 car spaces to 18 car spaces – The parking is long established and lawful. If they are using it as a dumping ground I will inspect the site and get it cleared up.”

Abercorn Place

We have reported a number of sites where builders had started work before 8am and action was taken by the Noise Team to get the builders to abide by the regulations.

Eamont Street

We have reported incidents of rubbish being left and uncollected in Eamont Street near the junction with Allitsen Road, following enquiries by residents.

Queen’s Grove

We have reported this issue to the Council;

“I am sorry to have to bring this to your attention again but the paving stone directly outside my gate in Queen’s Grove come loose again and is a real serious danger to anyone walking by. When I last emailed you about this matter a few years ago, it was most swiftly attended to and I hope that you can bring this to the attention of the appropriate people again for their swift action.”

Prince Albert Road

We have asked the Council to investigate this problem;

“Exiting by car from North Gate block has become extremely perilous and the residents of North Gate would like to do something to improve the situation. The problem is caused by two factors: (a) The large number of vehicles parked (legally) on the North Gate side (opposite side to Regents Park), (b) The concave bend in the road at this point and (c) Vehicles accelerating and speeding once they enter Prince Albert Road from the Lord’s roundabout. As a result of these factors it is usually necessary to creep forward beyond the line of parked cars in order to see whether any traffic is approaching from the Lord’s roundabout direction. The manoeuvre is particularly difficult for the relatively large number of older people residing at North Gate. I believe North Gate would, if given permission, be willing at their expense to place mirrors on the park side in order to assist people exiting.”

Marlborough Place

We are making enquiries with Thames Water about this issue;

“We have been trying to get Thames Water to make good the paving outside our house since they dug it up nearly 2 years ago to replace a water meter… they have done nothing,,, any idea who could get this work done?”

Alfred Road

We have asked the local warden for the Alfred Road area to arrange for the tree cages to be removed of litter.

Rubbish dumping epidemic?

MV flytipping

Reports have been coming in to us and to Karen Buck MP of a worsening fly-tipping and rubbish dumping problem affecting many parts of North Westminster- and getting worse in recent months. We have collecting examples of this and reporting them to the Council, and residents have been adding their own views. Bins are often full to over-flowing, and bulky items like mattresses have piled up in places like Shirland Road and Marban Road, W9, Chippenham Road, Carlton Vale, near the Jubilee Centre W10, and in Church Street. Westminster Council say this is not because of reduced collections or the higher charges for collecting large household items- but what else explains why things have got worse recently? What do you think?

Air Pollution

We have asked the Council to consider following Islington Council’s example after receiving this enquiry;

“I’m the parent of 3 young children and am seriously concerned about Air Pollution in Westminster, in particular caused through drivers leaving their engines running (idling), especially taxis. I understand Islington Council are enforcing some regulations regarding idling (with on the spot fines). Could Westminster follow suit? http://www.islington.gov.uk/services/parks-environment/sus_pollute/air_quality/Pages/Vehicle-air-pollution.aspx – with a particular focus on black cabs? I am also very concerned about drivers idling as they wait to fill their cars with petrol at the ESSO petrol station on Sutherland Road, as it is 50 yards from a children’s school.”

Help for families

Save the Children’s ‘Eat, Sleep, Learn, Play!’ programme provides essential household items to families that are living on a low income and have a child under 36 months or if a mother is 28 weeks pregnant or more. Eligible families can access brand new, high quality items, including cots, buggies, cookers, fridges, high chairs, books and toys. To apply, a family must be referred by a professional who has registered as a Referral Partner. You can contact the Westminster Family Information Service on 020 7641 7929 to discuss your eligibility.

Warwick Avenue/Pindock Mews – what you say

“I live on Warwick Avenue just opposite Pindock Mews, in a Victorian house converted into three flats. We had the building maintained recently but I must also report that cracks have appeared to walls in my property, and also around some of the architraves to newly installed sash windows. The house also shakes when the diverted buses pass.”

“I have been complaining about this for a long time and the damage to my house caused by the buses. Westminster council will not even fix the holes in the road that are causing much of the problem. My house shakes like crazy when these juggernaut buses go past. I have attached a picture of the damage to my building.”

Don’t lose your chance to vote!

Every year, many local people come off the Electoral Register without realising, and new people moving in miss out on their chance to vote. Now, though, you can register on-line! Its quick, it’s easy, it’s here:
https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

Abbey Road ‘Beatles Crossing’ – what you say

“I’m in the camp that says ‘Let It Be’. The annoyance is small, and it is nice to be reminded that I live in a fabulous and famous little neighbourhood, part of an even more fabulous city. I can sacrifice 20 seconds when I pass. I do not perceive that crossing as a great safety risk, either for drivers or pedestrians.”

“Several years ago, when hundreds of visitors turned up for the anniversary of the Abbey Road cover, the police supervised the crowd. They allowed those who just needed to get to the other side to cross safely, tourists were permitted across four at a time, given time for photos but not for capering around, and traffic flowed more easily and without irritated drivers revving up and shooting off at dangerous speeds. A lollipop lady (or gentleman) would need authority and confidence, but their supervision could make for a better and safer experience for all. True, there wasn’t one in the album cover photo, but a lot of other things have changed since then, including, I understand, the exact position of the crossing!”

Bulky Refuse collection charges – what you say

“That reference to the collection of ‘Bulky Refuse’ with the aim of not dumping gave me a wry smile. Having had recent occasion to contact the bulky waste collection service, there is charge of £21 for a maximum amount of 5 items (or, put another way, £21 for 1 item!), with an extra £5 payable for each additional item. Whilst admittedly those on benefits will not be charged, this charge is exorbitant, especially when compared with what used to be charged i.e. £20 for 10 items. We have a problem with dumping around the recycling centre in the middle of a residential area in St John’s Wood….is it any wonder?”

“Regarding bulk collection it would be really useful if:
i. The website included details about the likely time before collection
ii. The website included details about how collection occurs (e.g would you have a collection require you to stay inside from 8 am until 8pm as is the wont of some delivery companies, would this be on a weekday)
iii. The arrangement didn’t require phoning people and waiting for replies”

Bike hire scheme – what you say

“I have been wondering for a while about why there are no docking stations for the TFL cycle hire scheme in Maida Vale. Looking at the map it seems they go further north than us in many areas but there is a dip down to Warwick Avenue. It seems there are plenty of wide pavements in Maida Vale where docks could be placed and I would have thought Paddington Recreation Ground might be a useful destination for people on bikes. “

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

Black Cabs – pollution – what you say

“Black cabs have a distinctive engine sound, and I often here them idling for 5 minutes or more outside my house in the mornings. Always wondered why they don’t shut off their engines when waiting for their pre-arranged fare. Surely there must be a reason (it’s not even cold out), it’s a waste of petrol and creating pollution.”

Chippenham Road traffic – what you say

“Thank you for your efforts in trying to control the Tarmac Batching works traffic through Chippenham Road and other residential streets to and from the Westbourne Park Depot; life is so much more pleasant now that it has been demolished and the heavy goods vehicles have ceased their anti-social hours deliveries. I trust that when the new facility is reinstated there will be restrictions on the hours that the cement lorries will operate. I understand that it is planned to deliver bulk supplies by rail again. In the meantime the amount of dust generated by the works settles all over the area.”

Postal Services – what you say

“Since the Lanhill Road Sorting Office closed our delivery service had deteriorated dramatically, and the failed parcel deliveries involve a long haul up Harrow Road to collect from a busy understaffed office beyond Ladbroke Grove. Why do they insist on trying to deliver when most residents are out at work during the week?”

Westbourne Terrace – what you say

“Westbourne Terrace used to be a residential street. But If you are a resident of Westbourne Terrace, your life has been made absolutely miserable by more than five years of constant heavy traffic, noise, pollution and vibration. Honestly my house vibrates for 12 hours a day largely due to all the heavy buses. The residents have been fighting extremely hard to preserve some of the residential nature of the street, and have as a result been given numerous assurances by all levels of government that there would be no buses on Westbourne Terrace going forward, as has always been the case prior to Crossrail. Westbourne Terrace is the street in W2 with the most numbers of flats and residents. It would be greatly appreciated if respect and recognition were given to this fact, and that you would therefore stop asking TFL for more buses and bus stops. It goes against everything all the residents on the street have been fighting for years. It is already difficult enough to get the bus drivers to use Eastbourne Terrace when it is opened after all!”

What you say

“Very many thanks, as ever, for this most informative bulletin that evidences how thoroughly you investigate and pursue issues raised by residents. Perseverance and continuity are much appreciated.”

“Many thanks for your report and your and your colleagues’ hard work”

“Many thanks for these useful updates”

“Thank you very much for your regular and informative letter. It is genuinely reassuring to see councillors caring about the neighbourhood.”

“This is always a good read- great to know our councillors are on the case across a broad range of issues affecting the neighbourhoods”

“Thanks for your news email I always find it a useful way to catch up with things in the area”

“Although not a natural Labour supporter, I applaud the hard work you and your team do on behalf of Westminster residents, especially in the “forgotten” wards of Church Street and Queen’s Park.”

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

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg
Leader of the Labour Group
Westminster City Council

WESTMINSTER NORTH ACTION REPORT – SEPTEMBER 2014

NEWS FROM WESTMINSTER’S LABOUR COUNCILLORS

Marylebone Road/Cosway Street crossing

We are chasing TfL for a response after a recent site visit where they promised to take action to address this issue;

“The Marylebone Road/Cosway Street lights are still nightmare! Running is dangerous and the lights need to be corrected so we can all cross the road in one go without any problems!”

Currently, the green man signals are now coordinated so there is enough time to get across from the Cosway Street side to Edgware Station. However, there is not enough time to go the other way from the south.

Cosway Street

We are making enquiries about this issue;

“I would be grateful if you could let me know why two trees have been cut down in Cosway Street. They were by no mean the loveliest of trees but they did provide a welcome splash of green.”

The senior Arboricultural Officer has told us that the trees in Cosway Street were inspected in June as part of the Council’s cyclical inspection and maintenance. Two were found to be in poor condition and one was dead. Therefore they needed to be cut down. In order to keep the area green he has promised that three new trees will be planted in the autumn.

Harewood Row – Taxis

We have asked the Council to consider this suggestion from a resident;

“I see that Islington Council is warning off diesel drivers (presumably of taxis) who loiter with engines running. Is there any chance that Westminster might follow suit and that the taxis which still queue on Harewood Avenue might be dealt with? 22 this morning in a line, 23 the day before … plus ca change … Nobody seems to care.”

Blandford Estate

We are making enquiries about this issue;

“We have recently had a pedestrian gate security system installed on our estate. We are always charged for Major Works on a bed-space basis. It transpires that we will be charged as usual on the amount of bed-spaces we have however, been informed that it is a Westminster wide policy to only issue 3 fobs to each flat and any additional fobs have to be purchased at an additional £15. We have been informed by the Marylebone Village office that the reasoning is that only 3 fobs per flat are factored into the cost of the major works and any additional fobs residents required must be purchased. This seems to most residents extremely unfair, as Westminster always charges major works on the amount of bed-spaces. Therefore, surely they should issue the equipment required on the same basis.”

Saltram Crescent

Following the petition to the Council to take action to reduce vehicle speeds in Saltram Crescent, we have received the following update from the Council;

“The Council has allocated £150,000 for resurfacing and redesign of Saltram Crescent, including consultation with Ward Councillors and residents on all options that have the potential to address issues of rat-running, inappropriate speeds and road safety at this location.”

We are looking forward to the consultation and will update you with further details as soon as we get it.

Maida Hill Post Office

We have started an on line petition to urge Royal Mail to locate a post box outside Maida Hill Post Office on Harrow Road. As many residents have said, it makes no sense to have a Post Office with no post box outside! The petition reads:

“We the undersigned petition Westminster City Council to urge Royal Mail to locate a post box outside the Maida Hill Post Office on Harrow Road”

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

Leinster Square

Following our enquiries on behalf of a resident who was concerned about construction lorries parked on residents’ parking bays, the Council has made investigations and told us the following;

“The parking bays in question have now been suspended for traffic flow and a total of £20,580 was invoiced and is now awaiting payment that will be added to the “unauthorised” account.”

Eastbourne Terrace

We are making enquiries with Transport for London about this continuing problem;

“Eastbourne Terrace is now closed again resulting in all the same problems that TfL couldn’t be bothered to do anything about last time including no bus stop between Paddington Station (Circle Line entrance) and the Gloucester Terrace stop in Bishops Bridge Road. Why can’t the two permanent but disused bus stops on the west side of Westbourne Terrace be used? Buses are again held up because vehicles travelling north along Westbourne Terrace waiting to turn right into Bishops Bridge Road block the left hand turn into Bishops Bridge Road that the 7, 23, 27 and 36 buses make”

Castellain Road

We are making enquiries about this issue;

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

The Council says;

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

Shirland Road

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

Falling Trees Update

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

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

Warwick Avenue

We are making enquiries with TfL after receiving the following information;

“A crack has appeared in the wall of my house in Pindock Mews, which I am certain is caused by the buses that have been diverted down Warwick Avenue for the past year. There is one particular point in the road near the junction of Warwick Avenue/Pindock Mews which when a bus runs over it results in the house shaking (I think it might be connected to a drain or something that runs under Warwick Avenue and Pindock Mews). This is clearly damaging our property (and I am certain those of others too).”

Little Venice parking

We have asked the Council to investigate the following concerns raised by a resident;

“There are 10 vehicles, displaying White badges only, at Paddington Green, outside the college, Cuthbert Street Crompton Street, Hall Place, Adpar Place. Is it, an offence to only, display a white badge in Westminster, without a Blue badge? Do wardens have the power to report said vehicles?”

Clifton Hill

We are making enquiries with the Council about these two issues;

“Do they intend to do anything about the dreadful state of the pavement in the section of Clifton Hill between Abbey Road and Greville Road and the disaster which is pending outside 68 Carlton Hill?, a house newly decorated and the most awful mess of the pavement. Can you chase up what’s happening to 104 Clifton Hill? It’s been in an unfinished state for many years.”

Wells Rise

We have contacted Thames Water about this issue;

“There is a water leak and ground subsidence at the corner of Wells Rise and St. Edmunds Terrace NW8. Despite repeated calls to Thames Water no action seems to be being taken.”

We have also made enquiries about this issue;

“For about two years, when construction of the development of the flats at the top of St Edmund’s Terrace started, the residents of Wells Rise have experienced a constant stream of very big lorries, danger from the traffic, inconvenience, disruption, reduction in parking spaces, noise, dirt and pollution. This was compounded significantly when work started on Barrow Hill in May 2013. Wells Rise has moved from a quiet and pleasant road to an abomination filled with dirt and potholes, with water leaks as well. So far we have not heard from Thames Water or the developers of the flats, as to how much compensation the residents of the houses in Wells Rise will receive. I expect this to be substantial as well as re-painting all of the houses as they have become very dirty as a result of the constant passage of lorries up and down the road.”

Pavement on the corner of Park Road and Clarence Gate‏

We were contacted by someone who tripped on a raised paving stone with a sharp corner close to the bike hire stand and man hole cover. We have asked for this to be investigated and repaired.

Westbourne Bus Garage – Graffiti

We are taking up this issue with the Council;

“The graffiti on the bus garage has increased tremendously and when the Canal side Urban Gardener’s group cut down the blackberry bushes it created fresh areas for graffiti.”

Ascot and Windsor Estate

We are raising these issues with City West Homes brought to us by Ascot and Windsor Estate residents;

“We require urgent works to stem the tide of ASB. We require door entry, security gates, cameras and further security works. We do not wish the money to be wasted on cyclical re-decoration of the exterior.”

Free transport to and from Health appointments

Do you live in the postcode areas indicated below and have problems accessing public transport due to age or disability?

Queens Park (W10 – W9), Harrow Road (W9), Westbourne (W11 – W2), Church Street (NW1 – NW8)

Do you need help to get to GP and hospital appointments, or health & wellbeing classes? – Then call Westminster Health Link on 020 8968 4056

Westminster Health Link is FREE & offers daily trips to main hospitals in or out of the borough (long distance journeys are subject to availability) as well as your doctor’s surgeries or other key places in your local community. The service is door-to-door in fully accessible vehicles. (NOTE: the application form will need to be countersigned by your Health Professional)

Bulky Refuse

Please contact the Environmental Action Line on 0207 641 2000 if you need to dispose of bulky refuse please contact. Please do not dump mattresses, furniture, builders’ rubble, cookers, fridges etc on the street.
For further details see https://www.westminster.gov.uk/bulky-waste-collection-service

Registering to Vote

The way you register to vote has changed. The new system is called Individual Electoral Registration. Previously, the ‘head of the household’ was responsible for registering everyone who lived at an address, but now every individual is responsible for their own voter registration. This is the biggest change to the voter registration system in 100 years.

The new system means that for the first time you are now able to register online at gov.uk/register-to-vote. You will need to provide a few more details, including your National Insurance number and date of birth to help make the electoral register more secure. Most people who are already registered have been transferred automatically to the new register. However around 26,000 people will need to re-register in Westminster.

There are also people in the area who are not registered to vote at all and so need to register to have their say in elections. If you weren’t registered previously, you can register under the new system at gov.uk/register-to-vote. Door knockers from the council are visiting homes in October to answer questions from people who need to register. Find out more at westminster.gov.uk/register-to-vote.

Underground ticket offices – what you say

“Bravo for fighting this! signed the petition, and want to add this – At Baker Street Station, very busy with locals and with tourists – Madame Tussaud’s and Sherlock Holmes – not long after the intention to do away with ticket offices I found at the upper level that one of the few automatic ticket machines was out of action and there was a long queue at the ticket office. Westminster would seem to have a particularly good argument, since there are so many non-residents using the Underground system.”

187 bus – what you say

“A definite yes PLEASE to a bus or the 187 running along St. John’s Wood Road”

“I would like to ask that the 187 bus route is NOT changed. I use this bus regularly and its route from Maida Vale is a good, direct one.”

“I did not know that the bus even went down St John’s Wood Road. I use it frequently from Hall Road. Would not like to see a change in route.”

“In the stretch of Circus Road between Grove End Road and Wellington Road there are two bus stops very close to each other, (for the 187 going to the O2 Centre) both near the Wellington Road end. The one before is a long way away, right up the hill in Hall Road. Is it possible to move the one between that closest to Wellington Road and the one up the Hill in Hall Road closer to the junction of Hall/Circus Roads and Grove End Road? Going the other way, there is one in Hall Road very close to this junction, why not put it opposite? Or just across Grove End Road, outside South Lodge? There is plenty of room at both points and it would save people in Abbey Road wanting to make the journey walking an unnecessary extra 100 yards or so to the stop and finding there’s another one about 30 yards further on.”

“I note on your newsletter that someone is suggesting that the 187 bus is re-routed down St Johns Wood Road as there elderly residents live they. Elderly residents also live down Circus Road/Hall Road so by moving the route someone, somewhere along the line will suffer. Simple solution, every alternate bus on the 187 route goes down St Johns Wood Road, that would mean 2 an hour down that road and 2 an hour down Circus Road keeping everyone happy.”

“Many of us elderly residents in the Hall Road, Grove End Road, and surrounds also use the 187 bus and are glad of its route via Circus Road and Hall Road”

Abbey Road Beatles crossing – what you say

“Regarding the Beatles crossing why not put traffic lights a little way before and after the crossing this would give traffic and fans doing photos both time and safety, at the moment it’s pot luck for everyone.”

“One way of making it a lot safer for the general public and tourists alike would be if a limit could be allowed to the size of the ‘Beatles Walk’ guided tour. These walks are often 70-80 strong and terminate at either the studios or the zebra. This is far too many people for one group and they cannot be passed on the pavement, one has to walk in Abbey road itself to get around them. Can’t the tour be split into smaller groups of about 20/25 people? That’s ample for pavements of this size. The tours are so big now that a lot of the punters can’t hear him properly and often shoving and jockeying for positions in the group take place, with people again spilling into Abbey Rd or getting angry if locals try to go through them.”

“I would also love to see the back of the more recent outfit who set themselves up as ‘official photographers’ at the crossing, wearing high viz jackets. These idiots form the tourists into queues in a direct line facing the zebra, and if you try to go through the line the tourists think you are queue jumping or trying to get into their photos! The photographers think nothing of waving the traffic on even when people are in the middle of the road trying to cross it. Surely the council can get rid of them?”

“The poles have been cleaned/replaced and the beacons are now working properly. This is the only listed crossing in the country and it is only right and proper that it is kept in a tip top condition. Thanks for your help in getting this sorted which will no doubt be appreciated by the thousands who visit it every week. In respect of the council’s idea to put a lollipop lady on the crossing I don’t think tourists will appreciate having a lollipop lady in their pictures as there certainly wasn’t one on the Beatles cover!”

London Underground Ticket Offices – what you say

“Thank you for starting the petition to save the closure of the London Underground Ticket Offices. It’s bad enough that most are only open for a couple of hours a day. Boris Johnson has been completely hypocritical in his pre-election promise to keep them open.”

Pollution – what you say

“I appreciate that Westminster and the GLA have taken various steps to address the air pollution problem, but it seems to me that none has been sufficiently decisive to deal with this life and death matter. Diesel fumes in particular are the main culprits. I believe that Westminster should take a much stronger lead on the problem. It could start by using the Respark system to discourage the use of heavily-polluting vehicles. The DVLA licensing system provides vehicle-type differentiation by registration number to introduce the necessary change; I think Westminster already uses it to operate its parking permit charges, and RBKC uses it to scale its permit charges to a greater extent. It seems to me that the paltry differentiation in the present Westminster Respark system is indefensible in light of our population’s death rates from air pollution, and needs urgent review to send a strong message to the public. “

What you say

“My warm thanks, and I appreciate as always reading about areas I do not see every day but are part of our local area and affect life for the neighbourhood.”

“Thank you very much for your wonderful update and to let you know how grateful I am for your hard work!”

“Thank you for another interesting report”

“Thank you for your fantastic newsletter”

“Many thanks for your activity update- it’s always an excellent read and thank you for all you and your colleagues do”

“This is the only thing published by Westminster I actually look forward to receiving and actually read!”

“Many thanks for your excellent newsletter and many thanks to all of our Labour councillors who work so hard on our behalf.”

“Thanks for the interesting and informative newsletters. I do enjoy reading about what is happening in our areas, even places I am not directly connected with, and I do like to follow the problems mentioned by residents, by studying their areas in the A to Z and then noticing when problems are resolved. You and your colleagues do a great job!”

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

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg
Leader of the Labour Group
Westminster City Council

WESTMINSTER NORTH ACTION REPORT – August 2014

NEWS FROM WESTMINSTER’S LABOUR COUNCILLORS

Poynter House, Aberdeen Place

We are making enquiries about the new gate which has been installed to the left entrance to Poynter House which is now as heavy as the right one. Residents say that it is making it very difficult for residents to get in and out.

187 bus route

We have received the following suggestion;

“Really hope that the 187 bus running between O2 Centre (Sainsbury’s) and the Central Middlesex Hospital can be re-routed to go along St. John’s Wood Road as many of us elderly residents use this bus frequently at the Junction of Lisson Grove.”

What do you think?

Saltram Crescent

We are continuing to press the Council to take action to slow down cars speeding along Saltram Crescent;

“We have made numerous complaints and completed petitions about speeding traffic and collisions along Saltram Crescent W9 which has a high number of families with young children living on the street. Please can we have an update on what steps are being taken to prevent speeding cars using it as a short cut to access Shirland Road.”

We have also reported this long-standing problem to Tony Crisp, the local Warden;

“We have contacted the council regarding the constant dumping of rubbish outside on the tree outside 20 Saltram Crescent – they told us that that would put up a sign affixed to the tree but so far not action has been taken.”

Shirland Mews

We have asked the Council to take action against illegal parking on the pavement, following concerns raised by residents.

We have also asked the Council to take action to remove the proliferation of estate agents’ signs at the entrances to Mews.

Lanhill and Grittleton Roads

We are making further enquiries after receiving this information from residents:

“Many thanks for the quick response to the traffic problem relating to Lanhill and Grittleton roads, your efforts were much appreciated. Now that the barriers are in place it has eased the problem of the two streets being used as shortcuts to avoid the Shirland Road works. The problem now is that many cars are ignoring the barriers either by pushing them aside, driving straight over them, or worse, driving around them by mounting the pavement. My wife was almost knocked over on one occasion by a driver doing so and was abused by another as she attempted to move the barriers back into position later the same day. I’m not sure how this can be prevented other than by installing concrete barriers similar to those currently blocking Shirland Road or parking a CCTV car to record these incidents. I hope something more can be done before there is a serious incident.”

Chippenhan Road – Lorries Update

Following our enquiries the Council says;

“Much of this traffic is using Chippenham Road because of banned turns at the Harrow Road / Great Western Road /Elgin Avenue junction. Chippenham Road is on a signed diversion route for traffic wishing to turn at the junction. Whilst there are no proposals to make any physical changes to the junction, other changes can be made where appropriate. For example, the City Council granted an exemption to the banned right turn from Harrow Road (eastbound) into Great Western Road for lorries carrying the Crossrail tunnel lining segments from the manufacturing site at Old Oak Common to the Crossrail worksite in Great Western Road. This work has now been completed and the exemption resulted in considerably fewer heavy vehicles using Chippenham Road than would otherwise have been the case.

Other Crossrail traffic is permitted to use Chippenham Road, as it is on an approved lorry route under the powers of the Crossrail Act 2008. The majority of this traffic should be during core working hours (8.00am to 6.00pm on Mondays to Fridays, and 8.00am to 1.00pm on Saturdays). I am not aware of any abnormal loads associated with the Crossrail project that have been required to use Chippenham Road. The amount of construction traffic associated with the Crossrail project is likely to fall over the coming months as tunnelling in the central area has now been completed.

Much of the heavy traffic using Chippenham Road is traffic serving the Tarmac batching plant in Great Western Road, adjacent to the Crossrail worksite. I am pleased to inform you that the batching plant is due to close temporarily on 31 July 2014, as the site is required for further Crossrail works, The batching plant is to be relocated further to the east and the new plant will open in 2015. When the batching plant reopens, the City Council will have more control over the number and time of lorry movements than at present.”

Lanark Road

We have made enquiries about this;

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

Following our enquiries we received this message;

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

Elephant and Castle pub site, Elgin Avenue

In response to an enquiry about the future of this site, the Planning Department tells us;

“Permission was issued in February 2014 for the demolition of the existing building and redevelopment comprising erection of a part three, part five storey building to provide 14 self- contained flats (2×1 bed, 9×2 bed and 3×3 bed), with provision of three off-street parking spaces at ground level and ancillary servicing and storage at basement level. Removal of one Lime tree and provision of new hard and soft landscaping. The legal agreement secured a financial contribution £522,120 towards affordable housing provision, works to the public highway to access the site and a financial contribution of £11,000 to mitigate the impact of the development on on-street parking availability”

Leinster Square

We are making enquiries about this problem;

“Once again I find it necessary to complain that the developers of 7-12 Leinster Square are preventing use of far more spaces than the seven that I believe have been applied for (the yellow notice has disappeared again). There is no way that I can use a dozen or more spaces opposite the site at the moment. There is also a very noisy concrete delivery truck parked outside our flat, without any warning or consideration. I work at home, so this is a significant intrusion.”

The Council has told us;

“I have requested for a new Planning Enforcement case to be opened to review the concerns regarding the concrete lorry. I will be attending the site in the coming days to monitor all basement works taking place and also to monitor deliveries, particularly the movement of the concrete lorries.”

Maida Vale bike-hire petition

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

Her petitions reads;

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

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

Queen’s Terrace

We are pleased that the two street parking spaces that are allocated to a private clinic, now long since closed down, have been restored to residents’ parking spaces.

Loudoun Road and Clifton Hill

Residents have reported poor standards of street sweeping in Loudoun Road and Clifton Hill. We called up the environmental team who have arranged a street cleaning for both of the roads and it has been noted that they were not been regularly cleaned for weeks.

Ryder’s Terrace

Residents have continued their opposition to revised proposals for a large house to replace the existing house and garden in Ryder’s Terrace.

http://www.hamhigh.co.uk/news/residents_reject_plans_for_white_monolith_in_st_john_s_wood_1_3696837

Circus Road

We have asked the Council to repair loose paving stones near the Tesco delivery bay.

Marylands Road

We have asked the local warden to take special note of this long-standing problem;

“Dumping at all times and hours continues by the tree outside Txiakos Restaurant on Marylands Road. The Council and the local inspector are aware of the situation. Landlords of no. 1to 9 are being written to so they contact their tenants. Fines are now being implemented I am informed yet the rubbish continues to pile up.”

Lockbridge and Ashgrove Court

Residents in the Catalyst key worker housing at Lockbridge and Ashgrove Court have faced real problems with anti-social behaviour in recent months, and we have been working with the Safer Neighbourhood Police team and the council’s local community protection officer to support the estate office in addressing the situation.

Wessex Gardens Update

We have continued to work with residents and CityWest Homes following a number of complaints about the new windows that have been installed, which some older and less mobile residents are having trouble opening or cleaning. If there are further problems with the major works programme please let us know.

Stadium blocks on the Brindley Estate

We have raised concerns with Network Stadium about a number of maintenance issues and problems with rubbish dumping at their properties on the Brindley Estate. We have also been working with Stadium to address the longstanding problem in Brindley House where extractor fans blow air into properties rather than removing it.

Amberley Estate and Amberley Road – Problem drinking

After complaints by residents of the Amberley Estate and Amberley Road, we have been working with the local community protection officers to address issues where shops were selling high-strength beer and cider to vulnerable people in contravention of their licence.

Sound systems and the Notting Hill Carnival

Residents on Westbourne Park Road and Leamington Road Villas have raised concerns about Westminster Council’s decision to change their approach to licensing the Notting Hill Carnival sound systems, moving from a series of annual licences to a system where the long-standing sound systems are given a permanent licence. We are working with residents and the council to ensure there are safeguards put in place around decibel levels, start/finish times and mechanisms for residents’ concerns to be listened to in future, while retaining this important part of local Carnival culture.

London Underground Ticket Offices

We have started a petition to save London Underground ticket offices from closure. The petition reads;

“We the undersigned petition Westminster City Council to urge the Mayor of London & TfL not to close the many Underground ticket offices in Westminster. For passenger safety & security and general information about the tube system, the ticket offices have been invaluable assistance over the years and long may that continue.”

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

Leinster Square – what you say

“I was very pleased when we got your newsletter to read the Council’s reply to you about the iceberg basement noise: we live on Leinster Square, which was once a quiet backwater in Bayswater, but now appears to have become “Notting Hill”, at least to the developers. The first 16 terrace houses are all being turned from hotels into uber-rich flats, and of course they are digging down 6 metres to do it. We were shocked to find that they were working on Saturday morning from 8am, then relieved to see the Council’s response to you that: “We also restrict the hours of noisy works and in recent years have restricted the works to exclude Saturdays.” Well, unfortunately I’ve just been talking to the Noise Line, and what they told you is simply not true; diggers can indeed work 8AM-1PM on Saturday, as well as during the entire week regardless. I’m not sure why the Council fibbed to you, but could you please challenge them on their response?”

Warwick Avenue – what you say

“I live on Warwick Avenue and we have juggernaut buses thundering past literally every minute. I have asked the council to restrict these vehicles to 20mph but they are not interested. They are shaking the properties there and causing great damage to them. This is compounded by the inept council’s failure to fill in the pot holes in the road which makes the propagation even worse.”

Thames Water works – Lanhill and Grittleton Roads – what you say

“I have to say that I am truly disappointed and upset that it was agreed to temporarily close these two streets. Whilst it may improve the quality of life of very few, it makes it much more miserable for so many more. There is now incredible congestion on Elgin Avenue between Shirland and Chippenham roads. The queue literally extended from Shirland Road to Chippenham road this morning for instance. This not only increases the level of pollution but also the risks of accidents with drivers forcing their way to cross from Elgin Avenue into Chippenham road after a very long waiting time on Elgin avenue. The whole area has been affected for quite some time now by numerous street closures, resulting in much heavier traffic on all the streets that remained opened and I’m surprised that the council acceded to the request of a very selfish individual. I live on Lydford Road and my car is now dented on both sides as a result of the significant increase in traffic this very narrow street has seen with drivers bullying each other to pass first, at the detriment of the cars that are parked. This is likely to cost me between £1,000 and £2,000 to have it repaired. I urge the council or any other competent authority to reconsider this decision that makes no sense whatsoever for most people and the area.”

St John’s Wood High Street – what you say

“Having lived in the wood for over 40 years it appears the High Street is a try out track for would be F1 drivers. We need traffic calming before we have a serious accident.”

Abbey Road Beatles Crossing – what you say

“In hot summer the antics of visitors on and around the Beatles Zebra would not only try the patience of a saint-which I am not; it is amazing that there aren’t serious accidents or even daily deaths! The crowds swell to overwhelming numbers. I think, unregulated, it is grotesque and frightening.”

Westbourne Green regeneration vote – what you say

“It is no wonder people voted against it. The Council cannot maintain what we have here adequately already. I live at Gaydon House and we are surrounded by broken paving stones and unpainted fences. Though the Council spent a fortune on pamphlets and sending out people, even in the shop they took over, there was no one available to answer any questions and worse, not one scale model. The renditions in the pamphlets were downright misleading and not to scale. They stated some flats to be demolished were beyond repair yet they are exactly the same as many other flats they chose not to include in their plans. The Harrow Road shops were almost totally unaware of what this meant.”

What you say

“My thanks as always for this excellent local report and all the detailed work that goes into it. What the Labour Councillors do in our lovely area is a model of representation on behalf of residents.”

“Thank you for your report which I am always interested to read”

“I am amazed at how well you keep us informed as to what is going on in the area. Keep up the good work”

“Thank you for the newsletter Have a good rest this summer – you do a wonderful job in these difficult times”

“Excellent update. Keep up the good work.”

“Don’t know what we’d do without you – thank you so much for being someone who actually listens, and actually cares about society and planning issues”

“Thank you for this very useful action report”

“I voted for you on the basis of this newsletter, your responsiveness to queries raised and the over-developed sense of entitlement of Tory councillors”

“As always your newsletter is informative and of assistance”

“Please keep up your great work for all the community. It’s good to see the range of issues you and your colleagues tackle.”

“Thank you for your informative email bulletin as always. I do read these every time they come out and one of the common themes which comes up again and again is traffic problems, most specifically problems with people who are scared and intimidated by automobile traffic in our community. This common theme suggests it is not just an isolated problem of a few streets but a failure of foresight into the culture of automobile dominance that we have cultivated. I suggest that, if you and your colleagues have not consulted the following website, based in Copenhagen which promotes liveable cities, (http://www.copenhagenize.com) that you should take a look and seriously think about how we can plan and adapt our infrastructure to make our neighbourhoods more liveable for the people who actually call them home”

“Many thanks for your always clear and informative newsletter”

“Your newsletter is excellent in that it provides a forum for residents to address local concerns. What about including a list of results of your successes or correspondence with the council? Certainly for some of the more important issues raised. So many of their responses are weasel-worded platitudes, that it is hard to believe in many cases that they have any intention of doing anything at all. Publishing correspondence with the council, or highlighting inaction in your newsletter, might possibly shame them into a more dynamic approach”

“Another interesting newsletter. You and your colleagues do a fantastic job on behalf of the local residents. Where would they be without you to pursue all these matters?”

“Thank you for this great Newsletter. It’s really good to read about all the projects that have been achieved and the others that are in progress. I’m very pleased I voted Labour. Thank you”

“Thank you so much for these updates of what is going on in the ward and with other residents. I really appreciate the time you take to keep us ‘all in the loop’.”

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

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg
Leader of the Labour Group
Westminster City Council

WESTMINSTER NORTH ACTION REPORT – July 2014

NEWS FROM WESTMINSTER’S LABOUR COUNCILLORS

Capland Street

We have raised this problem in the area opposite Bledlow Close with City West Homes;

“In this area some cars and vans are abandoned, some are parked without road tax, some of the inside spaces are filthy with human urine etc. This part of the area is very neglected and nobody is currently taking any responsibility. We know that future plans will develop this area but does that mean the resident will have to wait until then?”

City West Homes have told us;

“We are bringing these spaces back into use and made available for estate residents and their visitors only, but in the meantime will arrange for the area to be cleaned and abandoned/untaxed vehicles to be addressed.”

Linslade House

We have told the Council about problems outside Linslade House, off Paveley Street which is full of building works rubble. We are concerned that recently the same type of rubbish has been dumped in different places in the estate and this should be dealt with effectively. The Council says;

“Rubbish dumping is an ongoing issue on Lisson Green Estate and we take enforcement action when we know who is responsible. We are currently working closely with Westminster Council’s Street Warden service and serving fixed penalty notices for those residents who are found dumping rubbish. This has improved the instances significantly, but obviously it’s still a challenge changing such behaviours with a minority of residents”

Crossing at Edgware Road/Frampton Street‏

We have asked the Council to investigate this problem:

“More time is needed at the crossing above. I’ve recently had two operations and there just isn’t enough time for people who are elderly or infirm to cross”

Marylebone Bangladesh Society

Marylebone Bangladesh Society is providing free Men’s exercise/gym session with qualified instructor every Friday 3pm to 5pm at MBS Centre, 3 Boscobel Street tel: 020 7724 7427 mbsyouthclub@googlemail.com

Broadley Gardens

We are making enquiries into concerns raised by residents about “the influx of beggars, operating in the area, and living in the Gardens, which is used by local children”

Thames Water works – Lanhill and Grittleton Roads

We have raised the following concerns from residents with the Council;

“We have no objection to the flood alleviation scheme works being carried out currently in Tamplin Mews, however we have received a letter from Thames Water explaining the next phase of the work due to commence in August. They are planning various phases of closures to Shirland and Chippenham roads during the works. Unfortunately they don’t appear to have taken into consideration the impact on Lanhill and Grittleton Roads. Both roads will be used as short cut alternatives thus increasing congestion along two narrow residential streets. The problem could be solved by blocking (temporarily) the end of both streets and placing the necessary ‘access only’ signs at the Elgin Avenue ends of both streets.”

Following our enquiries the road has been closed off temporarily at the Chippenham Road end. A resident told us;

“Thanks as ever for your interest in our comparatively trivial local problems…..it is what makes you such good councillors”

Chippenham Road

We have asked the Council to let us know what can be done about this long-standing problem;

“I am writing to say what a distressing and unpleasant experience living on Chippenham Road has become – between Harrow Road and Elgin Avenue specifically. For the past year or two we have had an increasing and constant flow of huge open trucks, cement mixer trucks and extra-long load-bearing vehicles on this section of the street. The simple reason for this is that they cannot turn left at the junction of Harrow Road and Elgin Avenue to access the industrial area near the bus station. We also have a regular trail of Out of Service buses on Chippenham Road for the same reason. I understand that some of the traffic is related to Crossrail and will eventually cease, but much of it is not related to Crossrail and hence this road has become the highway from hell in terms of noise and pollution. It does not even cease or cut back in the evening. The trucks thunder back and forth every 10 to 15 minutes– full and empty – until after 2 a.m. EVERY week night. These are trucks that can barely make the turn at Elgin Avenue/Chippenham Road – sometimes they have to reverse back and forth. It is madness.

Apparently there are no rules or regulations to protect the public/residents from this daily onslaught. This is not a major highway like Harrow Road or the Great Western Road. Many of us who have lived on the street for years have tried and failed to have these trucks regulated or limited in some way. It seems that residents take last place on this issue. I have lived here since 1987 and this nightmare is forcing me to move from the area. I am so disappointed but cannot afford to have my health and wellbeing further downgraded by this situation, and I am very angry that uncaring commercial considerations have won out here. As I understand it, Kensington and Chelsea council refused to allow these trucks to access their site via K & C streets. Clearly Westminster has less regard for its residents.”

Grand Union Pet shop – corner of Shirland and Walterton Roads

We have asked this issue to be investigated;

“Something needs to be done urgently about the customers of the Grand Union pet shop. They need to warn their customers, when they bring their dogs to the shop either before or after they have attended the dogs tend to use the tree outside 186 Shirland Road as a toilet. The paved area is so small, the mess is unbelievable and the residents of two houses by this tree suffer.”

Edbrooke Road

We are making enquiries into this request from a resident;

“We need a waste bin on Edbrooke Road itself, the bins are all in the little park which is locked at night so there is nowhere to deposit waste. Is this possible? “

St Peter’s Primary School

After much campaigning by parents and residents, the Council has finally agreed to look at measures to calm speeding traffic on Chippenham Mews. New signage alerting drivers to the school is soon to go up and the council are looking at other measures to slow traffic, such as a line of planters along the Mews to force traffic to slow down. Unfortunately progress has been slow, but we are working with Karen Buck MP to push the Council to take further action.

Harrow Road Pedestrian Crossing

We are very pleased to see work starting on the improved pedestrian crossing at the junction of Harrow Road, Chippenham Road and Windsor Gardens. Works are scheduled to be completed by the August Bank Holiday. This should improve pedestrian safety on what was a dangerous section of road and goes to show that when residents come together to push for change, we can get the Council listen to us.

Dog micro-chipping

There will be a Free dog micro chipping event at Edbrooke Gardens, Edbrooke Road on Tuesday 22nd July 2014 between 11am-2pm.

Lanhill Road/Elgin Avenue

We have asked the Council to investigate this problem;

“Every time there is heavy rain the corner at the junction of Lanhill Road and Elgin Avenue is impassable on the pavement.”

The Council says;

“We are aware of the problem here. My Inspector has been keeping an eye on it and getting excess water swept away as required. The crossing has been put in (a few months ago) for alterations to improve its design and we are awaiting sign-off as to whether this can be done.”

Widley Road

We asked the Council to investigate this problem;

“I wanted to contact you about people driving the wrong way down Widley Road. Since Shirland Road got closed off last week, cars have been rushing down Widley Road from the ‘No Entry’ Elgin avenue end. This is becoming a real problem and it needs tackling. I think we need extra signage at the Elgin Avenue end of the road. I drive. A scooter and twice, as I’ve pulled forward from being parked I’ve had cars rushing towards me.”

The Council says;

“Looking at the street our inspector felt that the no-entry signs were not clear to traffic heading east from Shirland Road. He has therefore twisted one of the signs slightly to a more suitable angle to make sure they are more clearly visible. Also, it was felt that the temporary sign opposite Widley Road warning traffic heading west along Elgin Avenue that there is a road closure ahead is misleading. It could be mistaken for a diversion sign sending traffic down Widley Road against the normal flow of traffic. I have passed this to Thames Water to ask them to move it so that it is not so inadvertently misleading.”

Harrow Road/Warwick Avenue

We have asked the Council to investigate this problem;

“At the roundabout where Harrow Road meets Warwick Avenue, there is no ‘Give Way’ or roundabout sign telling drivers approaching the roundabout from Harrow Road (i.e. travelling East) that they need to give way to traffic on the roundabout. It is very common to be going round the roundabout and finding vehicles shooting onto it at speed from Harrow Road without stopping. This is a dangerous situation which could be easily addressed by putting up an appropriate sign, which frankly should already be there. I would be grateful if this could be looked into and dealt with.”

Countdown system at bus stops

We have asked TfL to investigate this problem;

“A number have definitely been on the blink this last week or so and not because of any ‘disturbance to the shelter or location.’ I was out and about today and found two not working. The 18/36 bus stop at Sutherland Avenue on Harrow Road (Eastbound) and the Northbound Marble Arch/Edgware Road stop which is a key interchange for those of us travelling back to Maida Vale from the West End.”

Northumberland Place

We are continuing our efforts to help residents of Northumberland Place (and elsewhere) who are plagued by basement extension works;

“We are extremely concerned by this uncontrolled proliferation of very disruptive and potentially dangerous, destabilising excavations and constructions – from which we have already learned some hard lessons! There are presently two such projects at our end of the street and there will soon be two more – four in all!”

“Is there anything at all that can be practically done to put a halt to the extraordinary amount of construction work that is happening in what used to be a happy and relatively quiet residential street, not to mention a lovely community? Those of us who have lived here for years feel that we are being hounded out by people who look upon these houses as investments rather than homes and are seeking to maximise their potential for monetary gain, as much as anything else. Nowhere is it valid to contest these applications on their impact upon everyday life. There are at least three more of these basements planned for further up the street, one of them next door to us, another opposite and another a little further along. As we work from home a lot of the time our lives are almost made unbearable, as it is impossible to concentrate. The dirt is constant and the noise ear shattering at times and it just goes on and on. We have discussed moving and, indeed, a few of our neighbours are in the process of doing so or have already done so because of this. I am at an age where moving seems like an enormous step, especially since we have been here for so many years and used to love it so much. Also, I rather resent the idea of being hounded out.”

The Council has told us;

“We have introduced construction management plans for those schemes where our consent is required to ease the pain and a new policy is being consulted on where basement extensions might be limited to one storey. We also restrict the hours of noisy works and in recent years have restricted the works to exclude Saturdays. What we can’t do is stop them from taking place under current planning laws.”

Randolph Avenue

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

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

Clifton Gardens/Randolph Crescent

We have asked the Council to investigate this constant problem;

“One thing that is increasingly blighting the neighbourhood is the dumping of rubbish around Big Black Bins. Attached is a typical photo at the corner of Clifton Gardens and Randolph Crescent. I walk past these bins (as well as those at the corner of Warwick Avenue/Sutherland Avenue and Warwick Avenue/Formosa Street) early (0630) every morning and they are always like this. Sometimes I witness what look like builders’ / commercial vans dumping this stuff. I believe that this is illegal behaviour yet it is not obvious anything is being done to stop this from happening. I also walk past a council mobile CCTV car monitoring parking in the bus stop in the parade of shops at Clifton Road – if this vehicle moved 150 yards down the road a couple of mornings a week and photographed the fly-tippers that would be a good start…”

Sutherland Avenue

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

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

Westbourne Crescent

We have reported this to the Council for action;

“I have twice this week seen residents of Westbourne Crescent, w2 leaving their houses and dumping their rubbish bags on the pavement. This is on our route to school and has become known as “Rubbish Street”. There are large black bins around the corner outside St James’s Church which seem to be unrestricted- surely these residents should be using those bins? It’s barely a minutes’ walk away and yet every day there is more rubbish dumped. Please could you investigate? It looks and often smells disgusting.”

Wharncliffe Gardens Major Works

Karen Buck MP has met with the Wharncliffe Residents’ Association to discuss residents’ concerns about the timetabling of the scheduled major works. She is supporting residents in pressing CityWest Homes to move quickly with providing advice on payment options and hardship schemes.

Abercorn Place

We have asked the Council to investigate this matter;

“There is a numbered disabled permit holder’s only bay outside 29 Abercorn Place NW8 that has not been used for over a year. Surely the council should monitor these bays. I suspect the person who needed it has long since gone and the bay should go back to residents permit bays”

Abbey Road

We have asked the Council to do the necessary repairs after receiving this message;

“The Beatles crossing is the most famous and photographed in the world but it is also the most shabby. The road markings are eroded, the poles are all worn and the beacons are dirty and one hasn’t been working properly for many weeks. Would the council consider cleaning it up and thereafter keeping an eye on it?”

Hamilton Terrace

We are making enquiries after receiving this message;

“I am not sure if you are aware but there has been an increased instance of violent mugging and burglary recently in and around Hamilton Terrace. In discussions with the Police, whilst they were gathering evidence, they commented that they had made recommendations to the Council in relation to the installation of CCTV but these recommendations have unfortunately not been acted on. All the Hamilton Terrace residents I have spoken to would welcome extra lighting illuminating the pavement and front gardens. It is very disappointing that the Council have not addressed the concerns of both residents and Police, the consequence of this lack of action means that more residents have suffered horrible injuries that could potentially have been prevented.”

St John’s Wood Underground Station

We have again written to TfL about the garden area after receiving this comment;

“I completely agree with the Resident who commented on the state of St John’s Wood tube station frontage. I have noticed the poor state before, but particularly noticed it yesterday. This is a key point for the area with access to major hospitals, Lords, and the High Street, where shop-owners have set up a Business Group to encourage shoppers to the High Street. Could you please ask Transport for London to address the issue? It is a focal point for visitors and locals and could be glorious.”

Another resident has made the following point;

“I don’t agree about the entrance to St John’s Wood Station – bits of it are like a meadow with lots of pretty wildflowers – some lovely nasturtiums appeared about a month ago. St John’s Wood is full of tidy beds of pelagoniums and petunias – meadows are in short supply.”

Marlborough Place

We have continued our enquiries after receiving this message;

“As a resident of Marlborough Place I am concerned about the lack of progress rebuilding the wall next to the rear entrance to the flats at the corner of Hamilton Terrace. It was mentioned in one of your previous reports. “

The Council says;

“This matter remains under active investigation. We are in dialogue with a planning agent acting on behalf of the owners of the land, Marlborough Lodge. Following issue of warning letters, the refuse and building materials on the land have been removed. The agent has also confirmed that the owners intend to build a new boundary treatment comprising a 1 metre high wall with railings affixed above the wall. These works will require planning permission and a deadline to submit the application of 31 July 2014 has been given. Once an application for planning permission has been submitted and validated, we will notify you.”

Loudon Road

We have made enquiries after receiving this question;

“I would like to know why no. 15 Loudoun Road is such a disgrace to the community.. looks like squatters live there.. any ideas?”

The Council says;

“I understand the owners made a query regarding a proposed rear extension last month. I will arrange an inspection of the property regarding its condition.”

Circus Road

We have reported this long-standing issue to the Council;

“This morning around noon exactly what I have long forecast occurred. A women was knocked down crossing the road from St John’s and Elizabeth Hospital to Loudon Road by a truck. I discussed the matter with the police, who were in full agreement that this site has long needed a zebra crossing. Eastbound traffic careers round the corner until they can see the traffic lights at Wellington Road; westbound traffic is revving up at the change of lights and cannot see a clear line of sight around the kerb opposite the hospital on account of vehicles parked on both sides. It was all acceptable when St John’s and Elizabeth was little more than a cottage hospital. In recent years it has expanded to double its size, with large specialist departments expanded and a big GP health clinic, resulting in many more patients. If the hospital in recent years has found it necessary to have one or even two doormen, as ushers, surely this underlines the situation”

Westbourne Green

We are calling on Westminster Council to listen to residents and learn lessons on what went wrong as local residents of Westbourne Green rejected the Council’s Regeneration proposals by a narrow margin (438 No to 414 Yes – turnout 31.7%). After several years of intermittent consultation by the Council, the proposals clearly split opinion amongst residents of Westbourne Green. The plans created real local concerns about the amount of additional housing, predominantly for private sale, planned for the area on or around Harrow Road.

Many people thought the area around Harrow Road would struggle to cope with so many new homes. The plans involved building extra blocks attached to almost all the blocks around Harrow Road, and some would find new flats built just a few feet in front of their windows. The plans included replacement homes for some council tenants, some new council homes and a few ‘intermediate rent’ homes, which were widely welcomed. But there were far more homes which would have been sold on the open market, so residents were not convinced that local people would benefit most from the regeneration scheme. A disparate package of public realm improvements to Westbourne Green, Harrow Road and the canal-side failed to persuade the majority of residents that the long-term community benefits would be enough to outweigh the length of the building process and the impact of the new homes.

Prostitution in Westbourne Park

Karen Buck MP has sent further reports of activity and an assault in this area to the police and Westminster Council, after residents from Aldridge Road and Leamington Villas contacted her again.

Abbey Road Beatles crossing – what you say

“I have lived near Abbey Road for over 12 years and drive by this crossing almost daily. I agree that the crossing is fun for tourists and I wouldn’t want to see it changed with lights. However, as a driver I am often frustrated with people looking like they are about to cross who wave me to drive by when I slow down for them (or they don’t even wave me on as they are barely aware of the “real” traffic around them). So how about an effective, but unobtrusive solution of painting a box on the ground that says: “Do not enter until ready to cross”?”

St John’s Wood Road – what you say

“St John’s Wood Road needs buses to run through – 46 or 187or 274.”

What you say

“You will be astonished to hear that for the first time in a council election I voted Labour. This is entirely due to your excellent letter. It is a model of what democracy should be about – your local representative listening and responding. Every other politician sends a top down pronouncement which I just chuck in the bin. As for my Conservative councillors, the two times I have written to them, they have not bothered to reply. So thank you very much and congratulations on your new councillor”

“Congratulations to you all on your success in the Council elections. Among the reasons I voted Labour are this newsletter (and you all working together with the MP) and promising to keep the Council tax down as the Tories have done.”

“Thank you for this excellent newsletter which is both informative and easy to read”

“Thanks so much for the super newsletter as usual.”

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for your dedicated efforts in addressing local issues over the years. Keep up the good work, North Westminster needs and appreciates you!”

“Thank you for your most helpful newsletter”

“Many thanks for this helpful update”

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

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg
Leader of the Labour Group
Westminster City Council

WESTMINSTER NORTH ACTION REPORT – June 2014

NEWS FROM WESTMINSTER’S LABOUR COUNCILLORS

Labour’s sixteen Councillors represent all residents in the Queen’s Park, Church Street, Harrow Road, Maida Vale, Churchill and Westbourne Wards. Along with Karen Buck MP and GLA member Murad Qureshi, we take up individual cases, as well as issues of concern across the wards we represent and across Westminster North generally. Below are some of the issues we have been taking up recently, many as a result of residents’ responses to our regular newsletters. Let us know if we can take up a local issue in your area.

Westminster City Council Election Results

Labour won 4 seats in the Council elections – one in Maida Vale Ward and 3 in Churchill Ward. There are now 16 Labour Councillors and 44 Conservatives. The full results are here;

https://www.westminster.gov.uk/2014-city-council-election-results

Queen’s Park Community Council Election Results

We will be working closely with the 12 Queen’s Park Community Councillors also elected on 22nd May. Here are the results of the elections;

https://www.westminster.gov.uk/2014-queens-park-community-council-election-results

Lisson Grove

We have written to the Council about this problem;

“There are two holes in the road surface near a very busy traffic light in Lisson Grove Road, adjacent to Church Street and Lilestone Street, NW8. School children, elderly people and parents with buggies are using this traffic light quite often. Health and safety of this road surface in a busy road is really a serious concern. It will be appreciated if you look through this matter and take urgent action.”

Lisson Grove

We have also reported this problem;

“There is a large pothole in Lisson Grove on the northbound carriageway between Lodge Road and St. John’s Wood Road, just before the bus stop. The cables are clearly visible and a taking pounding from the buses (139 and 189). It was repaired a few months ago but obviously not well enough.”

Church Street

We have reported the following problem;

“In Church Street there are three gullies which are continually blocked; one is outside 101 which is a café were people sit outside to eat and is very unpleasant; there is one outside 88 Church Street and when it rains it fills with water; and the last one is on the corner of Church Street and Venables Street outside Tescos. I just get fobbed of by phoning environmental health”

The Council tell us – “I know that the crew were in Church Street last week to do the market area and couldn’t clean all the gullies due to parked vehicles so are due to return.”

Church Street Market

There is a great short film about the history of Church Street Market made by pupils from Gateway School

church-street-market-london

http://www.stallstories.org.uk/

Walterton Road bins

Tony Crisp, the local warden for the area, has formulated a plan for dealing with the constant dumping of rubbish by the bins;

Residents’ Waste

• Check GPS to ensure the bins are being emptied 3 times a day
• Letter drop to surrounding resident explaining how to dispose of their waste in the correct manner and the consequences if they do not.
• Gain permission to issue fixed penalty notice for first time offenders
• Ask colleagues to check at weekends
• I will change my hours to come in earlier in the morning – this way I can check for evidence before bins are removed.

Large Items

• Investigate the use of CCTV to identify offenders’ vehicles
• Ask the police to keep an eye whilst on patrol

Business Waste

• Establish that the surrounding business have registered waste carrier
• Ensure they are disposing of their waste in the correct manner
• Issue fixed penalties for unpaid for commercial waste.

We hope that this plan is successful and results in an improvement.

Countdown signs at bus stops

We asked TfL why there are so many missing Countdown signs at bus stops at the moment.

TfL has told us;

“There are now more Countdown signs than ever – up from 1800 three years ago to 2500 now with the latest design and technology. The only reasons why signs are temporarily missing is if there is some disturbance to the shelter or location. For example if the shelter is being replaced or re-sited there will be a time when the power supply and communications link is withdrawn and later reinstated when the works have been completed. This can take some time.”

Chippenham Road

We asked the Council for an update on this problem;

“Do you have any updates regarding the heavy truck traffic going to the Tarmac faculty at Westbourne Park and thundering up and down Chippenham Road all day until 0200 some nights? The last news was that the Council were waiting for a planning application from Tarmac to relocate the facility, and that restrictions on movements may be applied then”

The Council says;

“Permission for the replacement concrete batching plant has been given. At the moment the tunnelling works on the site are being cleared away to allow the construction of the new facility which should be in operation by 2017. At that time its hours of use will be controlled by the new planning conditions.”

Northumberland Place

Residents have again raised with us the following issue;

“The appalling density of sub-basement projects being carried out in Northumberland Place. Within a few weeks, we will have four such projects being carried out simultaneously in one end of our small street.”

Elgin Avenue/Shirland Road junction

We have reported this issue for investigation;

“This intersection is increasingly dangerous. There should at least be a green man on the light. During the school run it is so risky to get across I can’t really believe that this hasn’t been seen to. Yesterday a car ran the red light and almost hit a woman. They honked at her! It is hard to see when people are turning and people often drive too quickly. This needs urgent attention.”

Widley Road

We have asked for urgent action to deal with this problem;

“The rubbish is piled at the end of Widley Road at the junction of Elgin Avenue. I am at my wits end with the eyesore that I see every single day, at least 3 times a day. The current bins are ineffective. One rubbish bin for 500 households is woefully inadequate. People walk across from Delaware, down from Elgin and from the whole of Widley. I propose that more bins are situated on surrounding streets. Both sides at the Elgin end of Delaware, at the junction of Shirland and Elgin and more bins on Widley. They should be the foot operated bins too, as I see people approach and they don’t want to touch the bin, so they just dump their bags. If we had more bins, there may be scope to save money on the amount of refuse truck journeys. I know the council has budget issues, but we have health and safety issues. Rats, pigeons and trip hazards – not to mention the smell. “

Castellain Road

We have asked the Council to investigate this problem;

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

St. John’s Wood Terrace

We have asked the Council to investigate this problem;

“There are quite a few drivers that seem to enjoy treating St. Johns Wood Terrace as a proving ground for the acceleration of their cars (often noisy sports cars) in both directions from the speed table equipped junction at Ordnance Hill, and indeed speeding over the speed table often with scraping noises. St. John’s Wood Terrace is a broad, straight road with the houses set well back which may tempt drivers to think that speed would be low risk. However the road does pass a school and accommodation for older people. Excessive use of speed can be observed pretty much daily, particularly in the evenings, but also at other times when the traffic is quiet.

I think an appropriate solution for the St. Johns Wood Terrace would be additional speed tables/speed cushions along the terrace, from Ordnance Hill towards the high street, and especially having speed tables at the junctions of Charlbert Street and Woronzow Road. It is a shame this was not considered when the road was recently repaved.”

St John’s Wood Station

We have asked London Underground to address this issue;

“Take a look at the flower beds surrounding St John’s Wood station. A thicket of weeds 3 foot high and neglect and yet again no properly sized refuse bins. We are about to be inundated by visitors to Lords, visitors to the richest city in the world. What must they think? “

Violet Hill Gardens

We have asked the Council if they will investigate this concern raised by residents;

“Violet Hill garden which used to be a showstopper 20 years ago has declined in maintenance standard year on year. The plantings are no longer innovative and the main north western border has been abandoned to weed and rough shrub growth.”

St John’s Wood trees

We have asked the Council to investigate this problem;

“There has been a tree cut down and not replaced on the pavement southwest side of Blenheim Road and an ugly stump which is a pedestrian hazard on Abbey Road near the corner with Abbey gardens. This has been like this for almost two years and in the old days would have been long replanted.”

Northwick Terrace

We asked the Council for an update on this matter;

“The street sign (north side) for Northwick Close NW8 disappeared a couple of months ago. I know you asked someone to look into it but still no sign.”

northwick terrace

Police Surgeries

Police Surgeries are held each week at the Beethoven Centre in Third Avenue, W9 and St Johns Wood Library on;

• Wednesday 7.00pm-8.00pm
• Thursday 7.00pm-8.00pm
• Saturday 2.00pm -3.00pm

No appointment is required.

36 bus route – what you say

“Re the suggestion to change the 36 bus route. I am totally against this suggestion for two reasons. The writer says that the bus “would only miss two bus stops on Elgin and Harrow” and that there are other buses that serve those stops. Yes there are, but those buses are not going to the same destination as the 36. The other buses along Elgin are going in the Notting Hill direction. What about passengers who wish to board the 36 at Elgin Ave / Harrow Road? They would have to walk all the way to Sutherland avenue to get on the 36, or back down to the bottom of Chippenham Road if they are travelling in the other direction.

Secondly, the upper part of Chippenham Road, between Elgin and Harrow, already has experienced a major increase in volume of heavy road traffic over the past few years. Empty buses turn right into it off the Harrow Road and left at Elgin in order to get back to the bus terminus, plus all of the heavy lorry traffic from Crossrail comes down that road. In addition to that, all the heavy cement trucks come up and down there and turn left at Elgin (or right into Chippenham on the reverse journey) to access the cement making operations near the bus terminus. To initiate a bus route on upper section of Chippenham Road would be a further traffic nightmare but, crucially, it would deprive passengers travelling in both directions at the Elgin Avenue/Harrow Road section.”

“There is enough heavy traffic up and down this part of Chippenham Road as it is, with buses already turning round and going to the Westbourne Park garage into the early hours. The stop at the top of Elgin Avenue and by the old Police station is very useful and used a lot by 36 passengers. Congestion at the Great Western Road and Harrow Road junction is more to do with the traffic lights settings and the narrow road to the canal bridge”

Harrow Road/Chippenham Road – Junction Improvements – what you say

“I do not agree with the removal of the ‘safe haven’ islands in the middle of the roads. I think that the proposed extension of double yellow parking restriction lines extends too far into Chippenham Road. Alternative (non-resident) Parking facilities should be provided to compensate for the loss on both sides of Chippenham Road at the junction. Alternative consideration should be given to removing the heavy Truck Traffic altogether from turning into Chippenham Road from either direction at all times of day, night and week; this causes intense noise and amenity disturbance (dust, road damage etc). An additional move would be to limit the size of the articulated vehicles.”

What you say

“Excellent newsletter – a great way to find out about local issues”

“Thanks for the newsletter. Are there any public places to display these? Maybe we need a few public information boards I think corner of Lauderdale Road would be a good place. I find that customers love to know about what is happening, but some people who are not online would miss out on these types of things.”

“Thank you for keeping us informed.”

“Another great newsletter”

“Very many thanks for this informative and interactive report”

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

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg
Leader of the Labour Group
Westminster City Council

WESTMINSTER NORTH ACTION REPORT – May 2014

NEWS FROM WESTMINSTER’S LABOUR COUNCILLORS

Hughenden and Missenden Houses, Lisson Green

We have written to City West Homes about these problems;

“Residents have complained to me about the building works currently on site at Hughenden House and Missenden House. The work is very disruptive for residents. Today the sole staircase is very dirty with builders dust and debris which gets carried into the hallways and residents’ homes. In addition, workmen drilling the ceiling whilst installing a new fire alarm system are wearing asbestos protection clothing. The workmen say there is a minimal amount of asbestos in the ceiling. However this dust is being trodden into residents’ homes. Why was it decided to attach the fire alarm wiring to the ceiling once the presence of asbestos was known?”

Lambourne House

We have continued to support residents’ concerns about drug dealing and anti-social behaviour in the block. Residents say;

“It is very noticeable that the drug and ASB activity is on the increase and thus it is now becoming even more a threat to the safety of residents. The cameras are obviously not a deterrent as they would appear to consider themselves above the law and under no threat of being stopped.”

Church Street

A Church street resident was injured by a car driving the wrong way up Church Street. We arranged to meet council officers on site and see how to improve the street signs.

Stanfield House

Stanfield House residents have told us about the dilapidation of their block. We have worked with residents to get improvements funded through the Church Street Futures Plan.

Jubilee and Moberly Sports Centres

Council plans to demolish the Jubilee and Moberly Sports Centres in Queen’s Park will be scrapped if Labour wins control of Westminster City Council following the 22nd May Council elections.

The plans to demolish both sports centres and to replace them with a new sports centre in Brent and over 140 flats for sale have provoked a massive campaign of protest from local residents, including a 5,000 signature petition against the demolition plans.

Following the election both existing sports centres will be improved, in consultation with users and residents.

The Council’s plans also include the demolition of 12 existing Genesis Housing Association flats let at social rents. As part of the Council’s plans, these flats would have been rebuilt but the Council planned to include only 5 social rent flats. We will work with Genesis to rebuild these homes for social rent using some of the £100 million available money in the Council’s Housing Revenue account.

Harrow Road/Chippenham Road crossing

After receiving this enquiry we asked the Council for an update;

“Just read your excellent update today which has prompted me to contact you to ask about what is happening with the crossing that was supposed to have been put in place in March at junction of Harrow Road and Chippenham Road. If you recall, there was a fatality there last year which prompted a petition for better safety at this crossroads. Do you know what is happening? My son goes to St Peter’s and the road is dangerous to cross even for adults, let alone small children. “

The Council say;

“The Council gave approval to the proposals for the junction of Harrow Road with Chippenham Road and Windsor Gardens on 25 February 2014 for capital expenditure of up to £411,000 being spent for the design and implementation of the scheme being met in full by a grant from TfL. The report is available on the City Council’s website via the following link:

http://transact.westminster.gov.uk/committee/index.cfm?c_docs=Cabinet%20Member%20Decisions/City%20Management%20Transport%20and%20Environment/2013-2014/37%20-%20Improvements%20at%20Junction%20of%20Harrow%20Rd%20with%20Chippenham%20Rd%20and%20Windsor%20Gdns

TfL’s Traffic Signal Team has approved the scheme in principle and formal approval is imminent. TfL has also confirmed that it will fund the cost of the traffic signals as the site is due for traffic signals modernisation. I will let you know when the remaining funding has been secured from TfL.”

Fernhead Road/Carlton Vale/Kilburn Lane junction

We are making enquiries about this issue;

“The lack of any pedestrian crossing at the Fernhead Road/Carlton Vale/Kilburn Lane junction is a real problem. Every day, 100s if not 1000s of pedestrians are forced to cross this busy highway, which can be really dangerous, especially with cars racing down from Queens Park and into Carlton Vale. The only pedestrian crossing in the entire vicinity is located 150 yards west of the junction at the start of Kilburn Lane. The next nearest is 300 yards to the right, across Carlton Vale. The vast majority of pedestrians are trying to get to Queens Park station, so they simply take their life into their own hands and cross onto one of the two road islands in the southern part of the junction and then use the third island in the northern part of the junction. This is a situation where the pedestrian really is a second class citizen to the domination of the car. Is the reason nothing has ever been done here because at some point there might be a major new development built here? Or are the two councils simply waiting for there to be enough serious accidents?”

Chippenham Road/Shirland Road junction

We have asked the Council to investigate this report from a resident;

“The open flouting of the anti-smoking laws in the shisha cafés that now dominate the Chippenham/Shirland junction continues. Mumtaz continues as it always has, despite various warnings and assurances that the council is ‘working with them to become compliant’. Now the newest one, Talk of The Town, is doing the same thing.”

The Council say;

“An enforcement notice was served in respect of Momtaz on 13 December 2013. No appeal was lodged against the enforcement notice and the City Council’s Legal Department have confirmed that the notice was served properly, despite claims to the contrary made by the business owner’s Solicitors. The period of time allowed for the unauthorised use to cease has passed and the business owner is now committing an offence. Prosecution action is likely to commence shortly; however, a planning application seeking consent to continue the use as a mixed restaurant/shisha smoking place was received by the City Council before the enforcement notice was served (ref: 13/09328/FULL). This application was originally invalid, but was validated in February this year, and as such must now be formally considered by the City Council, with a right of appeal against any refusal of planning permission.”

“My colleague is dealing with planning enforcement matters relating to ‘Talk of The Town’ and an evening inspection was carried out at the site approximately 2 weeks ago. The use of the site appears to be in breach of planning control and warning letters were sent to all parties with an interest in the site last week, which have allowed 6 weeks for the unauthorised use to cease. If the unauthorised use does not cease within this timescale, then it is likely that an enforcement notice will be served.”

Walterton Road bins

We have asked Tony Crisp our local Warden to investigate this problem;

“I believe the problem is a combination of lack of policing and sheer laziness. I have witnessed again and again people walk up to the bins and sling their refuse against them, without making any attempt to raise the lid and put the refuse inside. In all my years living here, whenever I have needed to use those bins there has been plenty of room inside. They are also abused by local businesses who should be paying for business collections, but since this isn’t enforced, they don’t do it.”

“In 10 years of complaining, working with Westminster street environment officers and also taking positive action like joining clean up groups, there is no visible reduction in the daily dumping of refuse against trees on Fernhead Rd (Shirland Rd to Shirland Mews) and on Shirland Rd, from Chippenham to Elgin. Double standards again; this is not tolerated on Elgin Avenue, or in Pimlico or Marylebone, so why is it allowed to continue in this part of Westminster?”

Tony says;

“Those Walterton Road bins are a problem. I have taken enforcement action against residents who have left waste around the bin. We also get some cross border dumping. I have encouraged residents to petition for their removal if they want them moved. I am happy to support with evidence – photos, observations etc”.

Edbrooke Road gardens

We have asked the Parks Manager to investigate this suggestion;

“The recent re-landscaping and gardening of the park has vastly improved the space but there is still the presence of individuals meeting and smoking drugs. They also seem to appear to be dealing in illegal substances. I did not get close enough to verify this but one individual arriving to meet two others drove their moped through the park on the path whilst I was walking my 18 month old son along it. I believe that the bench at the bottom corner allows them to convene in a ‘private’ space. It really is such a shame that such a pleasant open space in this residential area feels unsafe to use with children on a sunny weekend daytime. May I suggest introducing swings for babies or planting colourful bedding plants could be a solution? Or entice more people to the park on a weekend by hosting a fete/flea market/farmers market or something to make it too busy a space for private meetings to take place?”

What do you think?

36 Bus route

We are making enquiries about this suggestion;

“The 36 bus route is absurdly convoluted. Why not simply allow the 36 to continue north up Chippenham Road, before turning left onto Harrow Road, instead of the current situation where it turns right onto Elgin Avenue, then left at the end onto Harrow Road. With this simple change to the route, 36 bus journey times would be cut by at least 5 minutes, and up to 15 minutes in rush hour. The only bus stops that it would miss out are the 2 on Elgin Avenue, both served by two other bus routes and less than 5 minutes’ walk away, and the same with the two on Harrow Road. This simple change would have a radical effect on improving journey times and reducing traffic. (It would, furthermore, reduce the congestion at the Elgin Avenue/Harrow Road junction with currently 4 different buses converging.)

“Similarly, the current road works in Chippenham Road have highlighted how having the 4 bus routes all converging down this narrow road is crazy. The 31, 36, 228 and 328 mean that there is nearly always a traffic jam here – bad for passengers, for pedestrians, for local people’s health, for other road users. One or more of the routes could use the current diversion route in place along Shirland Road and then right along Elgin Avenue. Just diverting one of these bus routes that way would have a very positive effect on improving traffic flow in the area, without any loss of public transport amenity for locals.”
What do you think?

Westbourne Grove

We have reported this matter to the Council for investigation;

“I wanted to bring to the Council’s attention a concern for animal welfare at the Off License known as Caspian at 67 Westbourne Grove. Over the last 2 weeks, the store has displayed at least 2 caged birds on the outside of the store. These small birds are being kept in tiny cages. Each time I have walked by these caged birds, they are clearly in distress and seeking a way out of their cages. They jump aimlessly and frenetically around their cages while make excruciating noises. I can no longer support a business that would treat animals in this manner, especially when those animals clearly suffer in their captivity. I urge you to investigate the business for the appropriate licenses and mandate that they treat these creatures – which should be flying freely – in a respectful manner.”

The Council has told us;

“I will ask an inspector to visit to ascertain if these are for sale and therefore the premises might need a pet shop licence and the animal welfare provisions that go with this. If not licensable we will liaise with RSPCA”

Gloucester Terrace

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue;

“Please can you ask the council to change the road signs so that the upper part of Gloucester terrace is less of a main route to the A40? The section of Gloucester Terrace north of Bishops Bridge Road is a residential street with houses both sides very close to the road. There is a narrow pavement and no front garden to set us back from the noise and pollution. Additionally there is a nursery on the street so there are a lot of very young, slow moving children who have to cross the road as they go to and from the park.”

St Petersburgh Place

We have again asked the Council to investigate this problem;

“There is still dumping in the large cubby holes at the backs of the houses on Orme Square. I did hope that the council would make the residents of Orme Sq put doors with locks upon their waste cubby holes, or any other manoeuvre that would stop the rubbish building up in them. We now have a smart hotel opposite, and people sitting outside, to be faced with garbage”

Leinster Square

We are making enquiries with the Council after receiving the following concerns;

“I write with regard to the ongoing anti-social behaviour and criminal incidents that residents of Leinster Square face living alongside the Look Ahead Hostel. As a local councillor we hope you will be able to act to help us work with the Look Ahead organisation towards a long-term solution to the frequent problems we face. We want action to restore a situation where we can live side by side the hostel – with respect, without fear.”

Ashworth Road and Grantully Road – Traffic

We are taking this issue up with the Council;

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

Braemar House, Maida Vale

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

Clifton Road

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

Blomfield Road

We have received on the proposed cycle contraflow along Blomfield Road. The Council tells us;

“The scheme is on hold whilst we develop an alternative that responds to residents’ concerns.”

Junction of Wellington Road and Grove End Road‏

We have asked TfL to investigate the situation at this location following a serious accident;

“There was a serious accident at the junction of Wellington Road and Grove End Road. I am not sure if the motorcyclist survived. People have been complaining to TFL about the ludicrous 8 second warning for pedestrians to cross Wellington Road opposite the LT station. It should be at least 11 or 12 seconds. Why do we have such a short time? Regardless of representations TFL does not even reply. Worse still, traffic on Wellington Road heading south and wishing to turn onto Grove End Road does not have a filter arrow. Instead the northbound traffic light turns red for about 30 seconds but filtering traffic has no warning of a change. This is how this accident happened. It is a potential or actual death trap. Not to have a filter arrow and a reasonable time for turning traffic as there is on Maida vale into Carlton Hill is senseless and irresponsible.”

“I have lobbied for several years for a zebra crossing opposite St John and Elizabeth hospital on Grove End Road. The road curves and the line of sight is poor. From the hospital you have to come out from behind parked vehicles and risk being hit by cars coming up the street round the curve at 30mph. Neither pedestrian nor driver has warning. This is after all a hospital! Again, no response from TFL.”

Westminster fibre-optic cable network

We are making enquiries about this issue raised by a resident;

“Westminster seems to be lagging behind the rest of the world in availability of high-speed broadband via fibre-optic cable networks. We have been waiting for this holy grail for at least 20 years, and we have expected more from companies which have passed through over the years, such as Videotron, Cable & Wireless, Westminster Cable, NTL, Colt, BT Cable and Virgin Media. Despite all the talk, Westminster post codes are still not eligible for high-speed fibre-optic broadband. If I am not mistaken, the now-defunct Westminster Cable even installed underground cables for this purpose, but these are no longer used for some reason. Maybe this is the price we have to pay for privatisation, but it has certainly clouded the present situation, so that many individuals and companies are struggling with insufficient bandwidth for present needs. Aware that this seemingly simple problem may be obscured by misty technical issues, I wonder if Westminster City Council is doing all in their power to ensure that their citizens have the latest technology at their disposal.”

Labour Manifesto for the 2014 City Council Elections

We attach a copy of our Manifesto for the City Council Elections for your information and comments. 2014 Council Election Manifesto

Marylebone Road/Cosway Street – what you say


“If crossing the Marylebone Rd from North to South and no-one on the south side pushes the crossing button, the westbound traffic is not stopped so one cannot get straight over the whole of Marylebone Road. If crossing from South to North and having pushed the crossing button one really has to set off immediately you notice the traffic has stopped and often has to run to be able to cross the whole road due to the road furniture making the cross more time-consuming. “

“My wife uses it multiple times a day, and has not noticed any improvement. Are the pedestrian crossings on both sides of the road also being looked at in conjunction with this work? Right now, on the north side, there are no crossings, just pedestrians running across traffic, and on the south side, there are visibility issues from a telecoms box causing risks even with the traffic light. Finally, cars at that crossing are frequently confused. People turning left from Marylebone Road onto Old Marylebone Road frequently do so from the second lane rather than the left lane (due to confusion over bus lanes); people turning left from Old Marylebone Road onto Marylebone Road frequently accelerate through the pedestrian crossing despite a red light; and people turning right from Old Marylebone Road onto Marylebone Road frequently are impatient and block traffic, or end up accelerating across oncoming traffic, causing hazards for pedestrians. Overall, it’s a pretty shoddy crossing, and it’s only a matter of time before an accident.”

“Everything that is written about the above crossing applies to the crossing at Marylebone Road and Lisson Grove/Seymour Place intersection at the Marylebone Magistrates Court crossing – when crossing South to North. You can get from the South part of Marylebone Road to the middle without issue. But the light from the middle to the North side of Marylebone Road changes too quickly to allow a safe crossing. The only way to get across the Marylebone Road in one go is to leave the South side just before the light changes to red and race across the middle of the road and keep going across. Very few people take the chance. Can you advise what we can do to get the lights which control that crossing to delay for a few seconds or so on the part of the crossing between the middle and the North side of Marylebone Road? That should be enough to allow a somewhat relaxed dash all the way across from the South to the North.”

St Johns Wood Park – what you say

“I strongly support the complaint in your last issue about the way traffic uses it as a rat-run. It is not just a question of noise but of safety when crossing the road. Could the two councils –Camden and Westminster-be asked to work together to regulate the traffic preferably by installing speed humps?”

Abbey Road Beatles crossing – what you say

“I think (I’m convinced!) that the frustration created (on both sides) by this situation, makes this crossing an accident waiting to happen. The problem could be addressed by (1) installing pedestrian lights with long gaps between possible pedestrian green lights (to prevent traffic chaos from constant crossings); or (2) removing the pedestrian crossing and installing railings to prevent people trying to cross the road in this location. Failing some remedial action, many drivers are likely to continue putting their hands on the horn and driving through!!!!”

“I live round the corner from it in Alma Square and pass it a number of times daily. Tourists get huge joy from visiting it – it delays the traffic very slightly but you really have to be mean-minded to spoil the tourists’ fun. It is not a danger. I have never seen an even remotely dangerous incident of any sort. As the Beatles would say: Let it be”

“I strongly endorse this resident’s comment. Regrettably, this ritual has been allowed to develop for so long without any form of restraint that it’s difficult to know how to control it. Tourists are attracted in ever-increasing numbers by advice in travel guide books and by organised tours and it’s got completely out of hand. Those standing on the kerb waiting for their chance to pose impatiently wave traffic through as other people try to cross. I have seen an infant placed sitting in the middle of the zebra crossing while its benighted parent stood in the road, back to oncoming traffic, taking a snap. Graffiti migrates from the wall of the EMI studio to adjacent properties. If warning signs were erected they would be quickly defaced or seized as souvenirs.”

“From time to time some young entrepreneurs wearing high-visibility jackets appear who seem to arrange to take photographs of people on the crossing. Presumably they do it for money or tips. Or are they tour guides? Interestingly, they do exercise a controlling effect and are at least aware of the traffic and the need for elementary safety precautions. So – is there an opportunity here for a youth employment programme in which youths wearing ‘official’ jackets impose some order on this chaos? The tourists are not trouble-makers; they are simply ignorant of traffic regulations and, unsurprisingly, think they are taking part in some sort of authorised carnival. I am confident they would quickly fall into line if there appeared to be an official presence controlling the event, at least at peak periods. “

“Please leave things as they are. Most drivers have the necessary patience to put up with this small price to pay for living in the best city in the world. There is no need to be heavy handed; this an innocent enjoyment of a mildly iconic place in London”

Recycling collections – what you say

“Can we please have more than one recycling collection per week? The amount of rubbish a house produces is the same whatever bag you put it in, but at the moment we have to store the blue bags for up to 6 days before collection, or put perfectly good recyclables in the ordinary refuse. This makes no sense when the council is telling us to recycle more but does not seem to understand that this means they need to collect more often. If there is nowhere to store full recycled bags then we do not have any choice but to waste it!”

What you say

“Once again I read with pleasure your monthly report and found it most accurate and informative.”

“I wanted to thank you for getting that blasted hole filled in so quickly. I was astonished at the speed it was filled in (they disregarded the pipe cover and just filled it all with Tarmac) and it’s a lot safer now than it was. Thanks once again. Amazing work!”

“Great work, and it’s good to be kept up to date with your wonderfully informative newsletter, as always.”

“Thank you for your continued hard work to keep our borough running smoothly. I just wish the above long-standing issues could finally be addressed. It is not fair that the lack of care amongst the few should be allowed to impinge so widely upon the rights of the majority of residents who would like to live in a clean, cared-for environment.”

“Thank you so much and I am delighted we now have news from the local police. Could we have more? It would be really great to hear what crime is going on – so we can be alert. Also when the police do bring someone to justice, let’s hear about it! It might cheer them up to be suddenly flooded with congratulations from your grateful readers. “

“Thanks for the wonderful and informative newsletter”

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

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg
Leader of the Labour Group
Westminster City Council

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

WESTMINSTER NORTH ACTION REPORT – APRIL 2014

NEWS FROM WESTMINSTER’S LABOUR COUNCILLORS

Sutherland Avenue/Randolph Avenue

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

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

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

Randolph Avenue

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

Lanark Road

We have drawn this problem to the attention of the police;

“There have also recently been a spate of burglaries at homes on Lanark Road too (flats 160-180). Might be an indication of a marked increase in crime in Maida Vale generally? So if there is a mobile police unit, they need to patrol the whole of the area, not just the posh bits.”

Parsons House

We are investigating this problem with City West Homes and the Council;

“I have a disabled mum who is wheelchair bound and lives in Parsons House and each time we take her out the Paving surrounding the house as well as the Edgware Road is terrible!!!!! We have discussed the issue with the City West Homes Estate Office in Hall Road on several occasions but no joy. Furthermore, there are not enough dropped Curbs for the wheelchairs to be able to cross so this means that each time the cares need to turn the wheelchairs in order to go on the pavements. This action not only it puts a great strain on the carers to manoeuvre the wheelchair, also the disabled whom are on the wheelchair feel a great pain and stress. Not to mention the continuous damages that makes to the wheelchairs.”

Marylebone Road/Cosway Street

Transport for London has finally agreed to look at the traffic light timings following a number of reports like this;

“Please tell me what we can do to get the lights timer at Marylebone Road and Cosway Street to work so pedestrians get across the street in one safe go. The change to the timing means we are stuck in the middle of the road (being polluted by car fumes) or if I run, I’m at great risk of being killed. What a nightmare. I live in Cosway Street and now hate it because of the many changes the council are making like this which are more dangerous and seem to give priority to wealthy car owners before past walking happy citizens.”

Transport for London say;

“Marylebone Road is an important section of the Inner Ring Road corridor and carries significant volumes of traffic. It is particularly busy in the morning and evening peaks and we understand that this may be troublesome for pedestrian users. Following your correspondence an engineer has attended site to investigate how we can improve the signal timings in respect of this enquiry. Changes have been made to the signal timings to improve the consistency of the appearance of the green invitation to cross across Marylebone Road. This will make it easier for pedestrians to cross Marylebone Road in this location. We will continue to monitor the situation and you continued feedback is appreciated.”

Have you noticed any improvement?

Edgware Road Underpass

Karen Buck MP has written to the police as follows;

“I am receiving an increasing volume of complaints about safety in this underpass. I also met with London Citizens, who have been working with City of Westminster students on the issue, and they are mounting a campaign to either improve the safety and maintenance of the subway or get it closed off. As they point out, the contrast with the Marble Arch network is certainly very striking! I am aware that this is a complex issue in terms of police responsibility, since it is the junction of four wards, but that should not mean it ends up not being anyone’s responsibility- especially as it is virtually underneath Paddington Green station. I would be very grateful for your views on what could be done about it.”

Oakington Road

We have asked the Council to investigate this problem;

“I am writing to express the Academy’s concern in relation to the lack of signage and warnings for approaching traffic to Paddington Academy both on Marylands Road and Oakington Road. I know local residents have canvassed the council over the years to address this but have not had any outcome. We also urgently require a safety barrier outside of school to stop students spilling on to the road. From an academy point of view the safety of students and passers-by is a primary concern and it seems strange that new signage or school warnings were not commissioned following the erection of two new academies within close proximity of each other.”

Residents have told us;

“Thank you for this action!! Finally after years of addressing this outstanding issue, the appropriate traffic warning signs at either end, Elgin Avenue and Marylands Road are now in place.”

Hormead Road

We have contacted Westway Housing Association about these problems;

“The doors to the bins in flats between 48 and 56 have been broken for the last 6 months and have not had any attention despite me ringing Westway Housing and reporting it. Also there is a constant build-up of rubbish beneath the flats between 58 and 60. This constitutes mattresses and other inflammables which is open to any flying cigarette. A very dangerous situation.”

Maida Hill Market report from Klaudija Green, Community Protection Officer

• Market – The new market is still up and running with the new Saturday market starting in the Spring. The market has proved to be a useful deterrent for any on site drinking and people congregating who wish to engage in antisocial behaviour.
• Police Enforcement – The Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) when on duty patrol the area, as well as PCSOs (this occurs during day and night shifts). Targeted patrols are put in place to monitor the level of street drinking and ASB. Any on street drinkers with alcohol in their hand has the alcohol taken away. The Sergeant and team of PCs patrol the market in the evening over the weekend when on duty. The Police will continue to keep an eye on proceedings when they are on patrol.
• Assistance – If any repeat offenders are identified and they engage with the Police asking for treatment/support, they will be advised/referred to nearby drug and alcohol centres according to their individual needs. They will be fully supported if they wish to get help with appropriate advice and further support provided.
• Street furniture- In the past the Police have suggested removal of the benches from the area as they are used by problematic individuals especially. Councillors strongly oppose this suggestion as the local community use the benches during day.
• William Hill betting shop – The Community Protection Officer had a meeting with William Hill’s security investigator and the area manager during which a number of strategic tactics have been agreed and put in place to assist problem solving in the area. This includes but is not limited to: refurbishing the shop outside and inside which was completed towards the end of Feb 2014. It has been agreed that all staff will smoke now in their designated areas which will stop them socialising with their customers at the front of the shop. Barring letters have also been implemented which clearly states: “that any persons drinking alcohol, or involved in any other form of ASB inside or directly outside of these premises will be asked to stop! If they refuse to do so they will be barred from all William Hill premises.”
• CCTV – All cameras in Harrow Road Ward are fully operational. There is a parking enforcement camera at Maida Hill Market which is used for parking enforcement purposes only. This is in order to ensure the smooth flow of traffic and any transient vehicle users, delivery vans and visitors to the market.
• Wardens – The local warden Tony Crisp is continuing to monitor the area for any dumping of residential and commercial waste as well as monitoring any litter on the highways being dropped by members of the public.

Artesian/Chepstow Roads

We have asked the Council to investigate this problem;

“There is still a problem here with the bins on the corner of Artesain and Chepstow. Speaking with the caretaker of the adjacent block of flats, it is his view that the major problem is that the recycling bin (as opposed to the general rubbish bin) is only emptied once a week. As more and more people recycle the bin needs emptying far more often to prevent so much recycling material adorning the pavement. Is there a way we could get the recycling bin emptied more often?”

Talbot Road

We have made enquiries about this issue;

“I would love for the council not to replace the big black bins directly outside my bedroom window on a Saturday, usually at 7.00am. It usually takes about 10 minutes of noisy clanking around. The normal emptying of the bins is bad enough to put up with. We have them emptied every day, including Saturdays and Sundays and usually around 7.15am so I never get a lay in (hardly a 3rd world issue but irritating to me as a resident who pays for the council and works hard all week)”

The Council has responded as follows;

“I have asked Veolia to look at rescheduling the collection vehicle so that this particular bin is emptied later on the vehicle route at weekends. This does of course run the risk that other residents may complain if their collection time now comes earlier but hopefully this will not be an issue. I’m sure you will appreciate that these bins are very well used necessitating an intensive collection schedule.”

Barrow Hill Estate

We are making enquiries about the programme for the long-awaited major works and a date when they will start, including security works. City West Homes say;

“A Major Works programme is scheduled to start in April that involves a door entry system. We have installed cameras in both entrances at Robin House which been in place since 12 February 2014. We will write to residents with details of the agreed programme, and invite residents to attend a meet the contractor drop-in. This will be an opportunity to meet the team, discuss access arrangements, and the ways in which we will minimise disruption to residents. We have kept residents updated on the planned major works via our local newsletter which is issued every three months. We have also been keeping residents update by email and sent the latest update confirming that the final stage our procurement process had been completed and the funding agreed. “

Bridgeman Street

Residents in Bridgeman Street say they see cars coming down Bridgeman Street in the wrong direction from north to south although it is a one-way street. Residents fear an accident sooner or later as Barrow Hill School is in this road. We have told the Council that the road marking “No Entry” is very faint and needs repainting, perhaps on Bridgeman Street itself rather than on Allitsen Road. There is a “No Entry” sign on one side of the road and suggested that perhaps this should be reinforced by one on the other side, too.

St Edmund’s Terrace

We are making enquiries about this incident;

“This week the building work on St Edmund’s Terrace has caused serious damage to a mature tree on Wells Rise. During the loading of a crane onto an articulated truck on the hill at the top, the truck was forced out of control, while lacking a driver in the cab, and slammed into a tree on the west side. Photos are available. This sort of unsupervised vehicular activity should be banned.”

Wellington Road

We have asked the Council to investigate this problem;

“At the lights close to St John’s Wood tube, on the main road where it changes its name from Wellington to Finchley Road, very close to the island in the middle of the road in the southbound lane is a ‘pothole’ that’s about a foot long, 6 inches wide and about 6 inches deep. It’s been there for years, and is actually a small, sunken pipe cover. The pipework is too short with the result that the cover is below the road level, this depth increases every time the road is resurfaced without taking off the old tarmac. This is a very busy crossing with short crossing times so often there are too many people on the island. As soon as the lights go green the cars race off at full pelt, so there can be lots of shoving to get from the island to the other side. Recently I saw someone take a tumble after tripping in the hole and it was pure good fortune that she wasn’t hit by a car. I think it’s a miracle that nobody has been seriously injured by tripping into oncoming traffic.”

Queen’s Terrace and Queen’s Grove junction

We have passed these comments from a resident to the Council;

“An application has been submitted to convert the church/ old surgery into a large Pilates studio – Heartcore . They propose 2 studios each with 15 persons in each class. That isn’t 30 people coming into the area but 60 on the hour every hour will be on the move. Our area cannot cope with this – there isn’t the parking.”

Loudon Road/Boundary Road junction

We are following up this resident’s enquiry;

“I submitted an inquiry/request for a cross signal at the intersection of Loudon and Boundary Roads. I cross this intersection with my kids daily and it is very dangerous (cars don’t stop).”

Abbey Road

A local resident writes;

“As better weather arrives so do more tourists determined to have their photo-opportunity on the zebra-crossing outside the Abbey Road Studios. I reiterate my plea for the surviving Beatles to be responsible for “policing” this disruptive, frustrating and highly dangerous mayhem, which often holds up buses and other traffic for long periods. Many visitors don’t know our law and many think the crossing their playground. “

What do you think?

St John’s Wood Park

We are making enquiries about this issue;

“Part of our road is in Camden who put up recently 20mph signs and part is in Westminster. Because the parallel roads – Finchley Road has a speed camera and Avenue road has speed humps – all the regular traffic speeds up St John’s Wood Park because there are no speed restrictions. The noise from some of these cars and motorbikes is unbelievable because the speeds are up to 70 or 80 miles an hour because it is a straight unrestricted road.”

291 Harrow Road/Elmfield Way development

Planning permission has been granted for the mixed housing development which will provide:

• More and improved supported accommodation for people with learning disabilities and physical disabilities and people with autism, providing excellent care in new purpose built accommodation. It will re-provide the 19 existing units currently on the site with fit for purpose accommodation and provide an additional eight units.
• 64 new intermediate affordable homes for rent both general and for key workers in the NHS and other public sector.
• A play area for younger children and a ball games area between two new buildings to replace the temporary facility that occupies a portion of the existing site. Pre-application consultation with local groups indicated strong support for the proposal to include a ball games area to replace the existing temporary facility. A management plan for use of the ball games area was included in the planning application. Due to the phasing of the site development, there will be a gap when no games area will be available so the council is currently negotiating the possible temporary use of an existing ball games area nearby.

The plans are available to view on the council’s website at:
http://idoxpa.westminster.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=MX6PVBRP01R00

Aldridge Road Villas/ Westbourne Park Road/Great Western Road

Karen Buck MP has written to the Council to again request that CCTV cameras located in the area in order to deter prostitutes. Residents should call PC Matt Humphrey on 07843 065925 to report any further problems with prostitutes in the area.

159 bus route

We are making enquiries with TfL about this problem;

“First TfL removed the number 15 bus (without consultation) and replaced the 15 with 159 which only goes as far as Regent Street (without consultation). Then they closed our Westbound bus stop for two years (again without consultation) and made us walk a quarter mile from Praed Street or Gloucester Terrace for the full two year period. Once Eastbourne Terrace was reopened, TfL closed the bus stop down again (without consultation) within two weeks and reinstated the two-year confusing temporary bus routes leaving residents sitting at the Westbound bus stop one weekend and being told by bus drivers they are in fact going Eastbound on the Westbound side of the road! Now there are no buses that take residents to the Paddington Basin at all (without consultation with residents).”

Elgin Avenue speeding – what you say

“I am strongly opposed to the proliferation of ramps as they cause great pain to anyone in a car (or even a bus) who is suffering from back-pain and can cause fractures to people with skeletal problems such as osteoporosis. Also, the ramps do not slow down big cars by very much, because of the wide wheelbase and big wheels. A flashing speed measuring sign would probably help and be a lot cheaper than ramps.”

“Although I am a resident in Elgin Avenue and have lived here for over 40 years, I am very much against the introduction of a lower speed limit. Instead of cars travelling at a fuel efficient speed of 30 mph, they would travel at 15 mph with each car spending twice as long on the road, emitting noise and extra pollutants for longer periods. In addition, if speed humps were to be introduced, there would be resultant braking and acceleration which is costly in fuel, as well as vibration to nearby buildings. Some traffic would divert to alternate routes, which would cause an increased burden on residents on those streets. Please do not go ahead with any scheme unless it is fair to all residents, not just those in a couple of adjacent streets.”

“Thank you for the 20mph suggestion and petition it should also apply to all surrounding streets. I still think that speedcams although more expensive should be introduced and are a far more useful in this situation than on a country lane or dual carriageway. There is no reason at all why anyone should need to drive faster than 20mph in a built up area. Cameras would also catch those cyclists who go straight through pedestrian crossings and red lights and drivers who ignore cyclists and cycle lanes.”

Walterton Road black bins – what you say

“The problem is that these bins are not ‘policed’ and too few people use them correctly. I spoke to the council a few years ago and was told they are specifically for garden and household rubbish NOT builders waste or the type of rubbish collected by the bin men. I have often found the bins to be empty or half full because ‘people’ dump their rubbish around the bins instead of in them. There are not enough bins. Dumps should be created where broken glass from windows, mirrors, light bulbs can be safely discarded; the problem at the moment is no one knows how to get rid of this kind of rubbish. Perhaps an informative leaflet in different languages could be distributed explaining clearly how to use the bins would be a good idea?”

Notting Hill Carnival – what you say

“Keep carnival in my view, but also wonder if the early build up is necessary on the pavements”

“I live on the route and it is misery. What is objectionable is the level of noise from the enormous speakers with a couple of bored-looking people sitting along-side them; there is no vibrancy (though much vibration) engendered by these, their only purpose seems to be for advertising and NOISE. The live music is fantastic and enthusiastic- that is what the carnival should be about. I love the steel-bands and the drummers.

I can’t go away to escape it: I am forced to stay home for the sake of security, to clean my front garden at the end of each day (including washing away urine and faeces from my basement entrance) and to be here for my terrified cats. Many of us feel imprisoned and under siege. It can be very nerve-racking and I usually crave my own holiday-break as a result! Could the route not be varied on alternate years? There are viable alternatives, though I don’t think that the use of the park would be a good idea. Perhaps the carnival could be held every two years?

Please dis-allow the confetti machines, which seem to have started in the last couple of years; the confetti is impossible to clean up and sticks around for weeks afterwards. Though I may sound like a grump, I am not; when it is good, it is highly enjoyable and I do like to watch people having fun.”

“I have experienced the carnival since it began. Then it was much smaller and a really local event. This made it enjoyable for locals. No boarding up, no shops closed and I don’t remember buses being diverted. Now though it does seem at times as though it sometimes gets out of control. Noise levels from the travelling sound systems are horrendous. Like a childish game of “my systems louder than yours”. My whole flat vibrates, not just the windows. It is outrageous to be told that if we don’t like it we should go away for the weekend. For locals the carnival lasts much longer than a weekend. Boarding up for weeks before the event and taking it down, the clean up and removing the metal crush barriers taking weeks afterwards.”

What you say

“As usual, detailed and responsive. Thank you. Also love your new format of action taken and comments made. Don’t know how you do it, but don’t stop. I know it’s mostly a hard, endless slog. It is much appreciated and creates “community”. Thank you again.”

“Thank you for your informative email about the district”

“Lovely read. Thank you, as your concern for us residents and continued updates are appreciated.”

“Thank you for the very informative emails”

“Thank you so much for your report”

“Thank for another good report. I particularly welcome the initiative regarding safety in Saltram Crescent.”

“Thanks for this email, it’s very informative and definitely seems to be a fast track way of sorting out problems.”

“Very good to be kept up to date with these local and relevant issues”

“Thanks for your helpful, informative and useful newsletter.”

“Thanks a lot for the Newsletter, I think is fantastic”

“Please could we have more wardens like Tony Crisp on Harrow Road – he seems to be doing a really splendid job! “

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

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg
Leader of the Labour Group
Westminster City Council

WESTMINSTER NORTH ACTION REPORT – MARCH 2014

NEWS FROM WESTMINSTER’S LABOUR COUNCILLORS

Vacant site on Edgware Road

Edgware Road 1Edgware Road 3

We have argued that the long-vacant ‘West End Green’ site on the corner of Edgware Road and Church Street which has planning permission for a new supermarket and hundreds of new homes should be a priority target for Ed Miliband’s new ‘use it or lose it’ planning regime following the General Election next year. The new ‘use it or lose it’ planning policy would strengthen the ability of councils to compulsorily purchase land with planning permission which has not been developed.

Samford Street

We told the Council that the doors on two of the market lock-up garages in Samford Street opposite Nightingale House are broken and are being used by homeless people to sleep in. We asked if someone could arrange to repair the locks so that these garages can be used by market traders. The Council told us;

“The garages had been broken into and repairs requests have been issued to mend and secure the lock-ups”

Morris House

Following our intervention the entry-phone system at Block C is being repaired. City West Homes say;

“It is correct that the intercom at this block has worked intermittently for a sustained period. We are in the process of arranging for an upgrade… We have ordered the parts for these works and expect these to be manufactured within around four weeks”

Saltram Crescent

car crash 1

Residents are calling for measures to calm traffic on this road. Over the past few years residents have witnessed a number of accidents, countless near misses, excessive speed, and several incidents of road rage (including violence). People drive down this road too fast considering the poor visibility of oncoming traffic and the fact that two vehicles can rarely pass without one pulling in. We have organised an on-line petition at

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

Bradiston Road

We were asked by residents to investigate the road surface. The Council told us;

“The small area outside 8/10 Bradiston Road was completed before Christmas. Other than that there is nothing close to intervention criteria.”

Fernhead Road/Saltram Crescent junction

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue;

“I do feel that the width of both Saltram Crescent and Fernhead Road could and should be narrowed at this junction. With regard to Saltram Crescent, approximately 100 yards prior to the junction the road is effectively single carriageway due to residents parking on both sides of the road but in a short distance there are almost three lanes and at this point drivers tend to accelerate. Vehicles coming in a southerly direction from Queen’s Park often race across Carlton Vale at speed.

Some years ago there was a proposal to make the entrance into Saltram Crescent from both Shirland Road at the southern end and Fernhead Road at the northern end, NO ENTRY. This would stop Saltram Crescent being a ‘rat run’ and would make a major contribution to both restricting the amount of traffic along Saltram Crescent and thereby reducing the speed of travel.

Finally, enforcement of both the single and double yellow lines at the Saltram Crescent/Fernhead Road junction would improve the visibility at this junction.”

Walterton Road

We have asked the Refuse Department to investigate this problem;

“I would like to report that the big black communal bins located on Walterton Road (intersections with Shirland Road and Warlock Road) are a very frequent cause for concern. People indeed regularly dump big items or dangerous ones (like broken glass, etc.). This not only creates a walking hazard for many, especially children and older people but is a health problem as very often these bins are overflowing too. I know that the area is frequently infested by rodents and this just can’t help. I am in frequent contact with the local team that looks after the cleanliness of the area and they are doing a great job, but there has to be a more systemic resolution to the issue created by the use of big black communal bins.”

Lydford Road/Warlock Road area

We have asked the Council to investigate these concerns raised by residents;

“Since Chippenham Road has been closed, most traffic diverts down Warlock Road and into Lydford Road to get north to Kilburn and Queens Park. Cars speed down and have knocked side mirrors due to the congestion sometimes on that road. Litter has also increased on the roads. The increase in cars using this road has trebled. My main concern is that it is no longer a safe road. I have also noticed cars fly pass the give way sigh on the one way road of Walterton Road from Shirland Road oblivious to the traffic coming from Lydford Road. There have been a number of near misses.”

Report from Tony Crisp, Harrow Road Warden

• I had cause to speak to scaffolders working on the post office building in Harrow Road. They were causing an obstruction and people were unable to pass by. They removed the ladders and other items whilst I was present. I had our highways officer conduct a follow up inspection. The builders had also left a large amount of waste on the pavement which I had them remove also whilst I was present.
• There was a large residential fly tip in Elgin Avenue and Chippenham Road which I had cleared after I had gathered evidence at these locations. I then took appropriate enforcement action.
• I reported a tree in Fermoy Road which had a branch hanging down that was a danger to pedestrians.
• I investigated a complaint concerning Half Penny Bridge not being sufficiently lit. My investigation revealed a tree on the K & C side was blocking the lights on the lamp post – I contacted my colleagues in K & C to request a cut back. I also requested a bulb on our side to be replaced.
• I have been working to resolve an issue with our tree cages being used as litter bins. The result is that many are being removed in spring and the rest lifted up so waste cannot collect. I am also hoping to get some green netting to temporary cover the tops. During this time I have discovered and come across a number of items of discarded waste (bagged and bulky) which I have taken appropriate enforcement action and arranged removal.

Chepstow Road

We have asked the Council and TfL to consider this request;

“The Westbourne Neighbourhood Association, shortly to become the Notting Hill East Neighbourhood Forum, is concerned about the continual problems of noise and vibration in Chepstow Road and is unconvinced that the road surface has for many years had a road surface appropriate to the volume of use. We believed it is under engineered partly to save money and partly to ensure future work for what seems to be a monopoly supplier. We also would like to study the extent to which the junction of Chepstow Road with Westbourne Grove might be improved as part of a scheme to make that whole 5 ways junction better suited to all users by having a study of the alternative road, cycle and pedestrian layouts there. I understand that TFL have funds available. We also believe that as Chepstow Road has so many bus routes and has many grade 2 listed buildings has high levels of atmospheric pollution it should have high priority for green buses.”

Vere Court, Westbourne Gardens

We have asked the Council to investigate the illegal use of flats as short-term holiday lets after receiving a message from residents that Vere Court “routinely has non-English speaking persons with large airline tagged suitcases struggling up the stairs. There’s no way that these are all people “returning home”.”

Elgin Avenue

We have started an on-line petition to introduce a 20mph speed limit on Elgin Avenue. The petition can be found at

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

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

Resident have commented;

“Would be good to have it extended into the side roads as well along with speed bumps. Drivers fly down Lauderdale Road.”

“I live in Lauderdale Road and would like to echo the comment from someone else about speed control. If traffic speed is controlled in Elgin Avenue then I agree that neighbouring streets will have increased traffic problems and so I would like a 20 mph speed limit imposed in Elgin Avenue and Lauderdale Road and other nearby streets.”

“I want to emphasise the horrific speeds of some cars racing up and down between the two traffic light intersections of Elgin Avenue an Chippenham and Shirland Road. In the twenty years at our address here in Oakington Road this has not changed, I dare say it got worse. And there have been several fatal accidents. It is almost a daily occurance when shopping locally that one can observe near misses as well as outrageous traffic behaviour by some motorists. One recently could have caused multiple fatalities on the Shirland junction. My personal view would call for one of those solar powered vehicle activated speed detection signs preferably placed in both directions to at least warn drivers when they exceed the speed limit… or else!”

Maida Vale and Little Venice security concerns

Warwick AvenuewstationMV station

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

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

Maida Vale

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

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

Warwick Avenue

We are making enquiries about this problem;

“Now that the buses no longer need to turn the corner into Formosa street (it is closed off for water works) they are racing down Warwick Avenue. This shakes our buildings and I am sure is doing tremendous damage. The new buses are 1.7 times heavier than the original Routemasters that used to perform the route. From my Civil Engineering days, an increase in weight of this magnitude translates to an increase in severity of 50 times. TFL seem to pay no regard to the damage that they are doing to this buildings when they continue to increase the weight of their buses. The buildings in Warwick Avenue (37 – 61) were designed for nothing more going past than a horse and cart but now we have juggernaut buses. Can we at least slow the buses on this part of their route to 20mph?”

Northwick Close

We have asked the Council to investigate this enquiry;

“I know that in recent months residents in Northwick Close NW8 have phoned the Council about ‘dips’ in the cobbles of the mews, but in recent weeks it is getting worse. Some neighbours think this is due to the major basement excavation and the heavy vehicles/skips that have been coming & going. Do you think someone could have a look?”

We have also asked the Council to replace the street sign which has disappeared from the north side of the wall at the entrance by Northwick Terrace.

Crossing at Lisson Grove/Grove End Rd/St John’s Wood Rd

We have asked the Council and TfL to look at this issue;

“I thought I would mention that my most-often-used crossing at Lisson Grove/Grove End Rd/St John’s Wood Rd NW8 is treacherous because the green man lasts such a short time. If it can be extended even by just five seconds more that would be a godsend.”

Marlborough Place

We have asked the Council to investigate this problem;

“I have tried to draw the Council’s attention to the small plot of land immediately adjacent to 73 Marlborough Place, very near the junction with Hamilton Terrace. This is entirely overgrown and is becoming a dump for any passing rubbish. Can this be cleared (leaving the small trees) please?”

Queen’s Terrace and Queen’s Grove junction

We have contacted the Parking Department about this issue;

“We are desperately short of resident parking here. No 27a was a doctor’s surgery which had two “doctor” parking places outside but the doctors have long since moved and the building now has a for sale board on it. It would be so useful for these spaces to revert to much needed “resident” parking now. I have tried to put this to WCC by phone but have been passed around without any resolution and I cannot find any relevant place on the WCC web site where I can put my request. Could you assist in pressing the relevant department to convert these two parking spaces to desperately needed “resident”?”

The Council says;

“Our permits team received information at the end of January that the Doctors bays in Queens Terrace were redundant and have authorised a request to convert the redundant Doctors bays to residents parking. To convert the Doctors bays to residents requires us to change the Traffic Management Order that governs those particular bays (and makes them legally enforceable). Part of this process involves the drafting of a new Traffic Order and then advertising and consulting upon the proposal and it can take up to 12 weeks. However we are already 2 weeks into the process and I would expect that the bays will be converted sometime in mid-April.”

Scott Ellis Gardens

We have asked that loose paving stones outside Block 6 of Scott Ellis Gardens be repaired.

Wharncliffe Gardens

We have reported blocked drains along the upper path above the Regent’s canal alongside Wharncliffe Garden Estate between Cunningham Place and Lisson Grove. Residents say;

“They are completely blocked and large puddles form when it rains”

Newcourt Street

The City Council proposes to convert the police vehicle bay outside the former police station into a residents’ parking bay and recently consulted on the proposal. No objections have been received and the bays should be operational by mid-March.

Westbourne Park Road/Aldridge Road Villas

We have again asked the Police and the Council to take action to remove the prostitutes from this street corner after we received this unpleasant story;

“About an hour ago my 17 year old daughter arrived home slightly distressed. Walking home from meeting a friend she had noticed a prostitute in the usual place on the corner of Aldridge Road Villas and Westbourne Park Road. As my daughter turned into our street – Leamington Road Villas – a vehicle parked on WPR started to follow her. As my daughter speeded up, the car continued to follow her and then turned as if to do a three point turn so that it was facing her. The driver then proceeded to flash his lights at her – clearly trying to get her attention, as presumably he had mistaken her for a prostitute.”

We are working closely with the police and Karen Buck MP who has called for the following action;

“There have been previous periods when attention has been focused on this junction, but the problem returns soon after. One of the long-standing issues that needs to be resolved is how to limit the use of bin rooms on the Brunel estate, and the protected spaces at the end of Dorchester House, as all the evidence suggests that this is where some the prostitution actually happens.”

Your Credit Union

You can join Your Credit Union by calling 020 7605 6341 or by emailing info@yourcu.co.uk. You can visit the website at http://www.yourcu.co.uk

Frampton Street – what you say

“Thank you again for the help with the smoke problem on Frampton Street. The Environmental Health Officer was very helpful and was very concerned at the problem which we hope is now resolved. Nice to get rid of life’s irritants”

Lisson Grove – what you say

“I walk to Green Park every morning so I use the zebra crossings on Lisson Grove around the Ashmill Street level and the one further down Lisson Grove towards Marylebone road and they are both dangerous. I frequently see cyclists and cars not wanting to stop even when the pedestrian is well across. On another occasion a van cut across in front of me while I was on the pedestrian crossing mounting the pavement to do so when I was over halfway across. It was broad daylight so I couldn’t be missed. Given the traffic I was able to follow him walking to give him a piece of my mind but naturally he didn’t care.”

Marylebone Road – what you say

“With regards to the crossings on Marylebone Road around Cosway Street, I confirm that it is possible to get across in one go if you start running the moment the little man on the lights change to green on the first side and then keep on running as the little man on the other side turns red so you can just get to the other side before the cars start to move. Most people don’t manage it”.

Notting Hill Carnival – what you say

“I totally and completely disagree with the comments about Notting Hill Carnival. We are lucky that something as vibrant, (which has developed spontaneously because thousands of people wanted it) should take place in our neighbourhood. It is only 1, possibly 2 days out of 365, after all – and during a holiday period. It is like objecting to Christmas because of the waste of wrapping paper. It misses the point. I love that it takes place and I love the buzz of excitement surrounding it. I would fight very hard for the right to keep it. And so would my children. Yes, it is dirty and noisy, and I no longer go every Bank Holiday Monday. But I can vote with my feet and take a weekend break if need be. I wouldn’t dream of taking away a million other people’s pleasure. Ghetto-izing it in Hyde Park would be a complete sell-out to the commercial faction and a denial of Carnival’s roots. It would wither and die”

“You know my feelings – a local who loved the carnival and who is now excluded by destructive levels of noise and the outsider take-over. But there’s an additional point – the area is blighted for several weeks beforehand by boardings up, installation of railings etc. And for a long while after – in February I’m still finding broken carnival glass around the streets. If it’s a truth that something must grow, otherwise it dies, then it’s time for the carnival to move elsewhere. I think there should be a single parade on Bank Holiday Monday through Notting Hill from Hyde Park to Wormwood Scrubs where it camps for a further day.”

“What must be remembered about Carnival is that a lot of ‘local’ businesses, which provide services to ‘local’ people would lose a large amount of their annual turnover if Carnival is moved. It is tough enough as it is. So they would fold. So the ‘big boys’ would have an even larger share of local trade.”

“Although we agree that it is wrong the Carnival has such a detrimental effect on local homes that people have to evacuate during it, we absolutely disagree with any suggestions to further spoil Hyde Park (or Kensington Gardens) with the Carnival. It’s bad enough already with the loud concerts and other commercial activities which reduce park use as per the Royal Parks’ Constitution – which states they are for the “Quiet Enjoyment” of people. The main issue with the Carnival is to REDUCE NOISE LEVELS.”

Entrance to Paddington Station from the canal – what you say

“There are now steps from the road near the bus stop which go down to join the canal side close to the station entrance (in the newly finished little plaza) near the Hammersmith and City station. This is safer than walking down the taxi ramp but no lift there for people with walking difficulties.”

“I would like to add to the resident who praised the new entrance to Paddington station along the canal which is well designed and very appealing. I now stroll along there most weekends. It indeed has delightful, quirky boats selling unusual things. I was one of many residents who fought to keep the Basin itself serene and uncommercial but it is lovely to have a contrast a short walk away. It is also lovely that these boats are not allowed to stay there permanently so there is always something different going on. You never know what you are going to find.”

What you say

“Thank you for the informative emails – it has helped us feel involved”

“Thank you as always for your excellent and informative ‘Action Report’. It is much appreciated.”

“As usual a terrific report”

“Thank you for another interesting, and encouraging, report”

“Thank you again for your excellent newsletter”

“Another fantastic report. Keep up the good work”

“Thank you for the newsletter. I am mostly impressed by the fact you’ve listened to my concerns -when visiting my building- and you have actually reported them to the council. Keep up with the good work”

“This information, and the comfort that if a report is made, it will be followed up – puts you way ahead of service provided by other parties.”

“Thank you for the continued newsletter which is informative and one which I also forward to various neighbours.”

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg
Leader of the Labour Group
Westminster City Council

WESTMINSTER NORTH ACTION REPORT – FEBRUARY 2014

NEWS FROM WESTMINSTER’S LABOUR COUNCILLORS

Church Street

We have reported this continuing problem to the Council;

“I have written to you previously about Church Street, which is a one way street, but the signage is not clear. At the junction of Gateforth Street and Church Street there should be a clear ‘do not enter’ sign on Church Street at that junction, which is where I was run over and now have to live with the consequences of a broken foot. I am told by various merchants at the junction that they continue to see people drive the wrong direction towards Lisson Grove. The cameras do not seem to be working there to monitor the problem.”

Risborough House, Lisson Green

We have written to residents about the lack of lighting on the balconies, as follows;

“When we visited you on Thursday evening the balcony was in total darkness. Some of you told us that the lights had not been working for weeks, and that you had reported this to the Estate Office but nothing had happened. We contacted the Estate Office on Friday morning and they checked the lighting system. It seems the fault was in the time switch. They have told us they have now re-set the lights and they should come on at 4.00 pm. Do please let us know if the lighting is not now working as it should.”

Lisson Grove

We asked the Council to investigate this problem;

“I’ve previously discussed the safety of the zebra crossing on Lisson Grove around the Ashmill Street level. Raised lights have been installed to make the crossing more obvious to drivers. I would just like to point out that the light on the east side of the crossing, by the school, is not working. If someone could please replace the bulb/fix the light, it would be appreciated.”

The Council say;

“The fault is known and we are currently awaiting the delivery of a replacement unit. This was a recently completed project and unfortunately one of the units has become faulty. The unit is to be replaced under warranty. I do not have a date for the delivery but these items are usually supplied from stock so it should be completed swiftly.”

Residents tell us;

“Last night I noticed that the faulty light had been replaced and is functioning. Thanks for everyone’s help. From anecdotal evidence it would seem to have improved the safety of the crossing and I have only had one near miss recently!”

Morris House, Samford Street

We have reported broken entry phones in Block C, as well as a long vacant flat, to the Council for investigation.

Nightingale House, Samford Street

We were appalled at the state of the common areas at Nightingale House and have reported a number of long-standing problems suffered by residents.

Lambourne House, Broadley Street

We are working closely with residents in this supported housing block to press City West Homes and the police to tackle problems with people congregating in the stairwells and the resulting anti-social behavior.

Harewood Avenue – Taxis

We have made further enquiries with the Council after receiving this message;

“I have regularly counted queues of up to 24 taxis, stretching right up to Rossmore Road and added to constantly. This is not counting the ones on the official taxi ranks on the avenue beside the station and in front of the station. Some of these taxis keep their engines running, spewing out pollution and noise over Blandford Estate. Others stop their engines, but then start again every time they move up the queue, having the same effect on us.”

Marylebone Road

We have again pressed the Council and TfL on this matter;

“Regarding the crossings of Marylebone Road at Cosway Street (and other locations), I want to reinforce the message that they are inadequate for the task of crossing the road, making people wait in the middle for minutes at a time. However, there are three other issues which are related:
• All the East-West crossings on the North side of Marylebone Road lack traffic control, so pedestrians have to take their chances and dodge traffic. This is unsafe.
• Drivers at the pedestrian crossing of the Westwards lane of Marylebone Road at Cosway Street/Old Marylebone Road tend to not see the lights, and frequently drive straight through a red light, despite pedestrians crossing the road at the time. This is unsafe.
• Drivers turning left from Marylebone Road into Old Marylebone Road have a habit of avoiding the left-most lane as they think it is a bus lane. They then turn left from the middle lane, cutting across traffic and cyclists, and frequently surprising pedestrians crossing the road, who cannot see them due to a telecommunications box obscuring their view. This is unsafe.
My wife and I cross this crossing multiple times a day, frequently with our three-month-old son in a pram. We are familiar with the problems, and take special care, yet still don’t feel safe. Others we see are at more risk. It certainly makes me want to move…”

Shirland Mews

We have asked the Parking Department to investigate this problem;

“I’m completely fed up with vans constantly parking at the entrance to the Mews on the double yellow lines or worse mounted on the pavement! They do it so they can pick up from either Brandon Tool hire or Kennedy’s. Today a van just stopped right in the middle of the mews and unloaded causing total chaos. I really want something to be done about this. Perhaps a camera which issues automatic fines for vehicles parked illegally would be a start. It’s not just the inconvenience, it’s also extremely dangerous. I have to walk my children in the road as am unable to walk them along the pavement as often there will be a van parked there. Vans also park on Shirland Road outside the shops which completely block your view of the oncoming traffic when exiting the mews. There have been a number of accidents over the years as a result of this. It’s just pure laziness, as literally 10 meters from where they park, there are pay and display bays which can be safely used blocking no one’s view of the on-coming traffic and leaving the pavements free for their purpose.”

Elgin Avenue

We asked the Council to investigate this problem;

“I should like to report the pavement areas outside the entrances to both Burlington Close – Pedestrian gate and to Marble House. The pavements drop down and as I tried to gain rapid access to my flat today in the heavy rain I got my feet wet. Burlington Close is the worst. The pavements have been out of alignment for some considerable time and 1/2 paving stones are broken. Water just congregates after any heavy rain.”

Proposed Jubilee and Moberly Sports Centre redevelopment plans

Although the official closing date for comments was 15th January, residents’ comments about the proposals will be accepted up to the day of the Planning Committee – which is some months away. This will apply to both Westminster and Brent Councils. You can make comments to Westminster Council online at

http://idoxpa.westminster.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=makeComment&keyVal=MXJHNLRP03500

You can also make comments to Brent Council on line at
https://forms.brent.gov.uk/servlet/ep.ext?extId=101150&reference=114208&st=PL

Chippenham Road

We have brought this matter to the Council’s attention;

“I’ve noticed that at the rear of Burlington Close where it meets Chippenham Rd. adjacent to No. 48 has become a significant dumping ground for rubbish, black bags etc. “

Saltram Crescent

We have had many responses from residents wanting action to slow down traffic on Saltram Crescent including this typical comment;

“If measures were to be introduced, the obvious first move would be to introduce a 20 mph speed limit to include the streets bounded by Shirland Road, Saltram Crescent and Fernhead Road. It could start at the Chippenham junction, up Shirland Road to Fernhead Road and along to the junction with Kilburn Lane (or continue along the Lane). Electronic digital signs that display car speeds could be added possibly to encourage drivers to reduce speed as necessary (such as that on north side of Carlton Vale opposite the top of Fernhead Road).

Another measure that could be considered would be to narrow the mouth of the junction of Saltram Crescent and Fernhead Road to make it a bit less accessible/convenient a turning to short cut to Shirland Road. That could have an unwanted knock on effect for the school crossing, possibly.

Measures I would personally be against include road humps of any kind. They have been proven to damage cars, create vibration which damages buildings, and create noise and unwanted additional emissions from cars braking and accelerating at each hump. (Where I live on the Crescent I hear vehicles rattling and jarring as they hit the humps on Carlton Vale every day.) “

Porchester Road

We have reported this problem to the Council;

“Many of the roads where I’ve been walking lately Porchester Road by the zebra crossing after the Baptist church and before the library are flooding and pedestrians have to walk in the road again to keep dry! Hope you can get this added to list of works.”

Paddington Station

We have asked the Council to liaise with TfL and London Buses on this matter;

“Now that the pedestrian entrance to Paddington station from Eastbourne Terrace is no longer available there appears to be no safe pedestrian access to the station other than from Praed Street. That is extremely difficult for those travelling by bus via Bishop’s Bridge Road. Buses used to turn left into Eastbourne Terrace and stop just by the steps leading to the station before going into Praed Street; but now they stop in Bishops’ Bridge Road near the taxi entrance to the station and wait there until it is time, some 10-15 minutes later, to make the return journey and only then do they go to the Praed Street entrance of Paddington station. This gives pedestrians only two realistic options:

• Walk from the taxi entrance in Bishops’ Bridge Road, along Eastbourne Terrace and into Praed Street to reach the station – a reasonable stretch for those not fully mobile and/or with luggage and one which adds a good 10 minutes for the fully fit
• Walk down the taxi ramp which is much quicker and direct and leads straight to an escalator/lift to the platforms – but may not be the safest!

I have tried to speak to station officials but needless to say no-one knows whose responsibility this is. Could you help, please? It would be so good if occasionally building and road works actually took the needs of pedestrians and those traveling by public transport into account.”

Brunel Bridge

We asked the Council if they could answer this question;

“When Bishops Bridge Road bridge was renewed a few years ago they discovered the original Brunel cast-iron canal bridge underneath and it was dismantled with a view to reinstating it elsewhere locally. Can you tell me what happened and if there are any plans to rebuild it somewhere?”

The Council told us;

“The bridge was carefully dismantled and remains in store with English Heritage. We looked plans to relocate it in Paddington and prepared a draft Heritage Lottery bid, Subsequent changes to British Waterways and English Heritage funding led to that bid not being pursued and we continue to review options for relocating it as set out in our 2004 planning brief.”

Artesian/Chepstow Roads bins

We have asked the Council to investigate this problem;

“The bins on the corner of Artesian and Chepstow are constantly being rummaged by vagrants especially at the weekend. The Bayswater street warden is aware of the problem. I think the location of these bins is too exposed but I am not sure where they should go.”

Chepstow Road

We have reported the following problems to the Council;

“Unfortunately due to volume of traffic (esp heavy vehicles), pot holes and the “trenches” which were covered previously are now reappearing. Result is heavy vehicles are “bouncing” over the damages surface causing vibrations to properties and increase in noise especially early morning ie 5amish.”

Bridstow Place

We have reported the following problems to the Council;

“By my count in the past 60 days there have been two assaults in Bridstow Place (one of which occurred in broad daylight) and the Thai shop was broken into and robbed after hours). From what I understand having spoken to the police is that they do monitor 999 calls and crime incidents. The more people report these sorts of incidents, the more likely the council will consider installing CCTV (which should hopefully act as a deterrent).”

The Council say;

“The first thing I’ll do is ensure this is raised at the local problem solving meeting. I have just appointed a new Community Protection Officer for Bayswater who is an ex MPS Crime Prevention Design Advisor. I’d like him to go and look at the street and liaise with the Neighbourhood Watch Coordinator and explore what might make the street less desirable for these types of activities. I’ll also ask him and the local SNT to look at recent incidents/crimes reported in the area. As I’m sure you are aware CCTV is an incredibly costly intervention that we can of course provide residents information on, but they will need to understand that any costs, maintenance and monitoring would need to be paid for. In most situations we would need to exhaust all other options with partners before looking into CCTV, which has estimated costs of £10,000 (for installation alone).”

Paddington Basin

We have asked the Canal and River Trust to investigate this lighting issue;

“I noticed that 70% of the lights along the canal tow path from Little Venice to Paddington Central have gone off and the bulbs haven’t been replaced. This is a busy route full of pedestrians and cyclists returning from work and who can hardly be seen in the evenings before they are on top of you.”

“On a positive note, the new canal tow path entrance to Paddington Station and the Hammersmith and City + Circle line is lovely, especially with the quirky floating bookshop with the three cats opposite the entrance that entertains passers-by with their music and wood smoke. Sometimes there are craft shop boats stopping by, too. It can be a bit ‘Camden-ish’ and weekends are now busier in the area in a good way. Thankfully it’s not too crowded still so it’s good for residents.”

Maida Vale

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

• There is a long wait for the pedestrian lights to turn green at the junction of Maida Vale and Hall Road. We have tried them out and can confirm that the phasing is certainly not pedestrian-friendly.
• Cars often go eastwards along Clifton Road, which is for buses only. This can cause problems for pedestrians at the junction with Maida Vale. Cars approaching Maida Vale from the Warwick Avenue direction should turn left when they reach Clifton Road. We have asked if better signing here would help.

Marylands Road

We are working closely with local residents to resist the loss of shops and a local restaurant;

“Were you aware of the catastrophic events which threaten to strip Marylands Road of its shops, including a long-standing and much loved neighbourhood restaurant. Landlords are putting in applications, in some cases without the knowledge of the people owning the shop businesses, to change use of ground-floor and basement from shop to flat with, presumably to get round the legislation, what is referred to as a ‘studio space’, a tiny area left in the front. And they are being successful. In particular we are probably going to lose Tsiakkos, the lovely local Greek restaurant which has flourished at 5 Marylands Road since the early 1970s. It has had only two proprietors in that time and has long been a favourite with local families. It would be a shocking loss to the local community.”

Corner of Great Western Road and Westbourne Park Road

We have asked the Council to again investigate this problem;

“There is still a big problem with the drainage by the bus stop on the corner of Great Western Road and Westbourne Park Road. This has been ongoing literally for years now, large yards long + deep puddles form every time it rains. Work has been undertaken however this has failed to fix the problem. It is an issue for pedestrians getting on and off the buses, I have witnessed people with disabilities being unable to negotiate clear passage when alighting and also citizens being heavily splashed by water as cars pass by. The tarmac around the drain is severely damaged and I think Westminster need to get the original contractors back. We need this fixed urgently and properly without having to pay all over again.”

The Council says;

“This is currently with our Service Providers who are investigating the problem here. The works had been planned to resolve the problem but it seems there is (literally) a deeper issue here. I understand there is a blockage in the pipes around 3m down, the extent of which is currently being assessed. A camera survey was recently undertaken and we are awaiting feedback on how this is going to be resolved. In the meantime TranServ have this “on watch” and are regularly undertaking remedial work to clear the water. Once the gully is cleared and operating fully we will see a massive improvement in the water drainage at this point.”

Westbourne Ward Budget

Westbourne Councillors, David Boothroyd, Adam Hug and Papya Qureshi, are using £6,000 from the Ward Budget to pay for extra weekend police patrols in the ward during February and March. The additional police patrols aim to increase the feeling of safety for residents, as well as bring down the level of anti-social behaviour.

The Star and The Clifton pubs, St John’s Wood

We are delighted that the local campaigns to save both these well-used local pubs are going so well. The planning application for the conversion of The Star has been withdrawn and the new owner of The Clifton says that he is looking for a new tenant to run the pub.

Meanwhile, the St John’s Wood Society is applying to register both pubs as ‘Assets of Community Value’, in line with the suggestion from a resident;

“I have read with interest the local campaigns to try and save the Clifton and the Star in St John’s wood –an area which has lost a substantial number of community pubs over the last 10 years or so. Has the Labour group thought of promoting the concept of registering such pubs as Assets of Community Value? Whilst I don’t believe this will completely stop developers, it might raise a presumption in favour of retention of existing use at the planning stages. I find that some of the arguments in favour of retaining pubs such as these two are emotional and merely focus on history or sentiment rather than their current value to the local community (who are not all millionaires!) which I think carries more weight. Registering the two pubs might help –there is information on the Campaign for Real Ale site – camra.org.uk”

Wells Rise potholes Update

“I was so pleased when I turned into Wells Rise tonight, prepared to take any avoiding action possible, but the hole had vanished. They came during the day today and mended the gaping holes in the road, it was about 20 feet by this time, so once again well done for organising this. It was really serious, had filled with water in all this rain, and it was almost impossible to avoid it. It will make such a difference to have the road flat again, so many, many thanks.”

Doctors’ Surgeries

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

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

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

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

Paddington Station/Eastbourne Terrace Entrance – what you say

“There are two other entrances to Paddington Station from the West, which I use all the time but I hardly see another soul there. Maybe “officially” they are for people who use the station car park, but there is certainly no notice to say that only car park users may enter that way. One can walk down into the station car park either at the vehicle entrance on the junction of the Bishop’s Bridge and Eastbourne Terrace, or at the vehicle exit halfway down Orsett Terrace, and thence up onto the very long Platform One, which takes you straight into the station with no barriers and takes mere minutes to walk. I have to say I do not recommend it for those with mobility problems due to the steep steps, road humps and no pavements”

Fernhead Road – what you say

“This is a very minor point I know, but the new directions pillar that was installed at the top of Fernhead Road sometime last year has the N for North on its base with the arrow pointing in completely the wrong direction, i.e. South!”

Essendine/Widley Roads – what you say

“Please can I counter the below request to remove bins from the Essendine/Widley Road junction – these were taken away a couple years ago and we campaigned to get them back. Please do not remove them!!”

Notting Hill Carnival – what you say

“I echo the concern that residents have expressed about the impact of Notting Hill Carnival. There seems to be an unjustified imbalance between the interests of local people who have to resort to evacuating their home each year to escape Carnival, and the interests of those looking for a ‘street party’. By becoming an increasingly commercial enterprise, Carnival has in fact lost sight of the community – the local residents – whose interests are trampled by these temporary crowds and those looking to profit from them, neither of whom you see in the neighbourhood the rest of the year. We have tried in past years to embrace the spirit of Carnival but it is not possible to stay inside our home – throbbing bass, windows rattle and your own music or film/TV is drowned out by the sound-systems at both ends of our street until early evening. Carnival has outgrown itself in the area it grew up in and it’s not right or fair that local residents are forced either to sit it out, or get out, each year. Both RBKC and Westminster councils should act responsibly and find an alternative location, such as Hyde Park, which must have better potential for appropriate facilities and the space and scale to cope properly with a mass event without the same community proximity.”

What you say

“As always reading the Action Report makes me feel better about how things are managed in our lovely area. Knowing that problems I have seen, such as rubbish being left out for long periods or dangerous traffic lights, are reported, and you and your colleagues press the Council to deal with them makes the world a better place!”

“Thank you for this Report and all the work that goes behind it. Clearly effective working with Council. Makes me feel better!”

“Very helpful newsletter as always”

“Thanks for a great newsletter”

“Thank you for this and for everything you do for residents”

“Thanks for action on tidying 41 Abbey Road, now in for planning to extend and convert to apartments.”

“Well done for your good work on keeping us all informed on these issues.”

“Thank you for the latest newsletter to help keep me abreast of developments in the Council and in our City.”

“Thank you as ever for the regular updates – it is fascinating to see the variety of issues with which you are dealing and helping to bring these to a successful resolution. Well done continuing to do such a good job and keeping us updated.”

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

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg
Leader of the Labour Group
Westminster City Council

WESTMINSTER NORTH ACTION REPORT – JANUARY 2014

NEWS FROM WESTMINSTER’S LABOUR COUNCILLORS

Marylebone Road

Many residents have expressed strong concerns about the changes to the pedestrian phases on the lights across Marylebone Road and we have repeated our request to TfL and the Council to make changes to give pedestrians longer to cross the road;

“With regard to the comments about the traffic lights at Cosway Street that, “it is often impossible to cross both carriageways of the road at one setting”. I use this crossing regularly, and have done so for a number of years, and fortunately am reasonably fit. However, your above statement is incorrect as it includes the word “often”. Furthermore, it is a crossing used regularly by parents with children, a school being about 200 metres from the crossing. It is dangerous and unacceptable.”

“With respect to the observations about the short timing of the traffic lights at the corner of Marylebone Road and Old Marylebone Road and Cosway Street, the same is true when crossing Marylebone Road from South to North at the intersection of Seymour Place and Lisson Grove. I refer to the crossing at the Magistrates Court.”

“A similar problem occurs at ALL the pedestrian crossings in the Marylebone Road, certainly as far as Baker Street and possibly beyond. The amount of time allowed for pedestrians to cross both carriageways has been further reduced with the effect that, unless one’s name is Usain Bolt, it is impossible to cross from one side of the road to the other without being forced to spend several minutes at the central reservation breathing in the fumes of what is one of the most polluted roads in all of England.”

Bell Street

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue;

“The junction of Bell Street and Cosway Street, not far from the school, only has a Give Way sign and not a Stop sign. Having lived here for nearly thirty years I have seen a number of accidents there as cars drive, without stopping across the junction. A pot of paint, a sign and three hours’ work, could stop this and save hospital and other costs and injuries. “

Harrow Road Town Team

We asked the Council to put together a working group of residents, local businesses and organisations with a stake in Harrow Road, to look at how we can improve Harrow Rd as a place to shop. The team will commence its work in December, and work with the Council and ourselves to identify the key priorities and help find solutions.

18 and 36 buses

A number of residents have raised the issue of the 36 and 18 buses that are the main buses that run through this section of Harrow Road. They pass through very infrequently and are often extremely overcrowded (particularly in the evenings). We are wotking with Murad Qureshi at the GLA to see how we can encourage TFL to up their frequency at peak times.

Thames Water – works at Tamplin Mews Gardens

We are concerned to be informed that there will be delays in the works commencing, and the date for the park to be re-opened may now be pushed back. We have asked for an urgent meeting with Thames Water and the Council to try and move things forward.

Harrow Road Police Station

When the police station closed in early Summer, we along with Karen Buck MP, urged the police and the Council to at least set up a police contact point on Harrow Road. Despite promises that the new Registrar’s Office (formerly the One Stop Shop) could be used, we have now found out that this will not happen as the police and the Council cannot agree terms. We are not satisfied with this and feel the needs of local residents need to be taken seriously. We will be seeking a full explanation and demanding that both parties look at this urgently.

Edbrooke Road

We met with local residents, the police and Council officers to look at how best to deal with the noise and ASB issues at Edbrooke Gardens. We will be working closely with them to work on tackling these problems.

Chippenham Mews – Concerns over pedestrian safety

We are concerned about reports from a number of parents at St Peter’s C of E School, about speeding cars along Chippenham Mews. We are meeting the school, parents and Council Officers to see what measures can be used to improve road safety. We know that many other areas share these concerns, and we will look at whether we can develop similar approaches for other affected areas.

Former Royal Mail Sorting Office – Lanhill Road

The site is being developed by Dolphin Square Foundation for residential flats. The demolition work has commenced, but the dismantling of this significant structure has caused noise, vibration and disruption to neighbouring residents. We have been working with residents to try and get some agreement on a way forward. Residents are concerned about these problems:

“The noise and vibration has been unbearable and local residents have called in the noise pollution department who seem powerless to stop the demolition contractor from using more than two breakers as officially requested by Westminster’s EHO. Apart from potential structural damage being caused to the adjacent properties there is also a case for damage to people’s health. They have also mostly ignored the EHO’s requests to douse down the dust created by the work meaning that clouds of filth float down the street on a daily basis. Does anyone have any power to reprimand these people or the developer?”

Chippenham Road

We made enquiries about this problem;

“Really good to have the Crossrail update in that we will see the end of trucks removing soil and delivering ring segments. However a much worse problem shows no sign of diminishing – the constant trail of cement mixers bouncing up and down Chippenham Road – at speed – at all hours of the day and night en route to Westbourne Park – and also over a bridge never meant to take their weight. Are these trucks now a permanent fixture? Is there no limit that can be enforced on the number of trucks/frequency?”

The Council says;

“These lorries are not related to Crossrail. They are however accessing the concrete batching plant off if Great Western Road. We do not have any specific control over these vehicles above and beyond the usual traffic controls.”

Bradiston Road

We are making enquiries after receiving the following enquiry;

“The road surfaces in Fernhead, Saltram, Denholme, Croxley and Fordingley Roads were all replaced. Bradiston has been missed out. The surface is uneven and like a patchwork quilt! Why was our road not replaced too? “

Saltram Crescent

We have asked the Council to let us know the situation here;

“There has been a lot of tree damage after the storm in Saltram Crescent. Could we get an idea about what the council plans to do about this. Also the tree on the north side of Bradiston on the Saltram Crescent side has a split near one of the main branches. Can this be looked at and remedied if possible. Thanks for recent tree planting. “

Also residents have asked for measures to slow down traffic after a number of recent collisions;

“Can anything be done to slow down the traffic in Saltram Crescent? Some vehicles are driven around the junctions at anti-social and frightening speeds.”


Oakington Road

We have asked the Council to investigate this recurring problem;

“This is the 7th occasion since I moved to Oakington Road on 12 August that I’ve seen bottles of urine on the street. It is often adjacent to Iceland bags. The mess you highlight doesn’t even take into account all the dog mess, some of which my 5 year old stepped in on the weekend in his stud boots! It really is intolerable raising small children surrounded by such filth. Why is our street not cleaned well and regularly including weekends? Why do I have to call the council about dumped mattresses and carpets after they’ve been there for days? Can’t the street sweepers or the bin men log the problems? I’ve lived the other side of Shirland for 7 years and it was much much cleaner.”

Tony Crisp, Westminster Warden tells us;

• I will conduct a letter drop informing residents of their responsibilities for disposing their waste. And the implications for not.
• I will place up Do not dump signage to reinforce letter drop
• I will do my best to conduct a morning and afternoon patrols daily Monday-Friday
• If any waste is left out at incorrect times I will investigate and take appropriate enforcement action. As well as arranging removal
• I have already spoken to the road sweepers’ foreman who will ensure our standards are met.

Could I ask you to keep me up to date concerning the weekends. If you are noticing it is particularly bad then I can look at tasking our out of hours team. If residents wish to report any issues I would recommend using the Environmental Action Line 0207 641 2000 and make a note of the reference number.

Hormead and Fermoy Roads

Residents have posted the following on-line petition;

“We the undersigned petition Westminster City Council to 20mph speed limit and traffic calming in Hormead Road and Fermoy Road, W9”
The say;

“Both these streets have many families with children. A number of cars regularly drive too fast, given the poor visibility of children coming out from between parked cars. A 20mph speed limit and traffic calming would make the street much safer”

You can sign at http://petitions.westminster.gov.uk/hormeadcalming/

Shirland Road area

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue;

“I live in Maida Vale close to Paddington Recreation Ground. Happily for me, the street is well maintained by the council – road sweepers are in evidence most days so nothing but praise for all of that. However, around a couple of corners, in Shirland Road near the junction with the Chippenham the story is very different. Is it the case that the more affluent a street, the more service it gets? It seems that way to me. Getting off the bus, or walking around near the Chippenham the litter there is unacceptable; virtually every day it is shameful – grubby, smelly copious piles of rubbish left around the trees and on the pavements.”

The Council say;

“The suggestion that the frequency of street sweeping is based on affluence is absolutely not the case. Street sweeping is always determined by need – with retail areas typically requiring a greater frequency of sweeping than residential streets. At the Shirland Road/Chippenham Road junction, customers from the pub, cafe, betting shop, pizza parlour, supermarket etc. alongside those waiting at bus stops will all potentially generate litter. This makes this location a particular cleansing priority for this part of Maida Vale but even with seven days a week sweeping it is equally important to ensure that sufficient litter bins are available in the right places and to take enforcement action against those that drop litter in the first place. I am sure you will recognise that this is a substantial challenge but one that we are fully committed to tackling.”

Hallfield School – parking update

The Council tells us;

“Parents do have a 10 minute allowance to park on Single Yellow and Double Yellow lines, outside and near the vicinity of a school entrance/exit. The school has received a template copy of a concession card and is handing these out to the parents. The school has also advertised the scheme in a recent newsletter. Parents at this school do park inconsiderately and abuse the 10 minute allowance at times and did so on a number of occasions when I carried out my observations. On these occasions a number of PCN’s were issued. The officers have been fully briefed and are aware of the concerns the complaint has highlighted, an increased presence of CEO’s and CCTV car in the past week has allowed officers to properly advise and educate the parents better. Leaflets were produced and handed out to parents previously. My team will ensure continued monitoring of the location and will support officers in directing WCC resident parents to the appropriate bays and operating a more robust enforcement plan outside the school gates and on the junctions ensuring access points are not being blocked for any residents. Priority will be given to any obstruction of the public highway.”

Residents say;

“I am glad that they came and observed and are taking action. I hope that the situation improves for everyone and the junction is safer. Your attention to this issue is very much appreciated by me and other local residents – I will tell people how very helpful and active on our behalf you have been.”

Paddington Station – Eastbourne Terrace entrance

We asked the Council about this enquiry;

“Can I raise the matter of the pedestrian entrance to Paddington station from Eastbourne Terrace; this has been closed to construct Crossrail. For those who live in the middle of either Westbourne Terrace , Gloucester Terrace and even further west, walking, espe