Latest News from Cities of London & Westminster Labour Party

The ‘Evening Standard’ reports:

“Westminster Council came under fire for spending tens of thousands of pounds on chauffeur-driven cars as it prepares to slash funded childcare for primary pupils.

The council was criticised as figures revealed the “unjustifiable” spend on a Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph and Audi A8L. The Lord Mayor, six former Lord Mayors and five Alderman of the City have access to the vehicles for hundreds of “engagements” every year.

Westminster spent nearly £30,000 leasing the Audi over the last three years.

It spent a further £11,800 running it along with the Rolls-Royce, which it bought for £90,000, last year alone.

Thousands more were spent on fuel, congestion charges, insurance and repairs and maintenance on running both in the previous two years.

The Freedom of Information figures came as it emerged last month that nearly 50 play workers and support staff were set to be axed as part of plans to cut youth services.

The staff, who provide after-school and holiday play sessions for hundreds of children at schools and community centres across the borough, look set to lose their jobs as part of plans to save £152,000 this year, and £170,000 next (2016/17), from the Children’s Centres, Youth Provision and Play Provision budgets.

The local authority is cutting £1.3 million overall, meaning spending on subsidies to help working parents pay for childcare looks set to be slashed.

A spokesman today confirmed that subsidies for parents will no longer be offered “universally”.”

http://linkis.com/www.standard.co.uk/n/Cei3S

The story is also in the ‘Mirror’

http://linkis.com/www.mirror.co.uk/new/OhgST

Westminster Council splashes out on £90,000 Rolls-Royce as it cuts childcare

The ‘Evening Standard’ reports: “Westminster Council came under fire for spending tens of thousands of pounds on chauffeur-driven cars as it prepares to slash funded childcare for primary pupils. The...

Churchill Ward’s three Labour Councillors have reaffirmed their opposition to the proposed Nine Elms bridge. At the Environment Scrutiny Committee on 18th January, Councillor Murad Gassanly, speaking on behalf of all three Churchill Ward Councillors, said:

 

Churchill Councillors support residents in opposition to Nine Elms bridge

Churchill Ward’s three Labour Councillors have reaffirmed their opposition to the proposed Nine Elms bridge. At the Environment Scrutiny Committee on 18th January, Councillor Murad Gassanly, speaking on behalf of... Read more

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Great Minster House, Marsham Street

 

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

 

The Council says:

 

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

 

Douglas Street

 

We have asked the Council to again investigate this issue:

 

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

 

Nine Elms to Pimlico Bridge

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Water Tanks

 

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

 

Blocks involved include:

 

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

 

Grosvenor Estate – Rogers House

 

City West Homes say:

 

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

 

South Westminster Centre for Health, Vincent Square

 

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

 

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

 

We were pleased to get this response from the NHS:

 

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

 

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

Vincent Square Ward Action Report - December 2015

Vauxhall Bridge Road/Causten Street, adjacent to the White Swan.   We have again asked Transport for London to investigate this very serious issue:   “There is a concern about the...

Westminster Labour Councillors are deeply 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 newspaper Heritage England have made it clear that they have “very serious concerns indeed” about the proposed projectThey 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.

Labour say 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 Labour is calling on the applicants to work collaboratively with Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust to ensure any new development benefits the hospital and its patients.

Leader of the Westminster Labour Group Cllr Adam Hug said; 

“This project will have a huge potential impact on Paddington and the surrounding area so it is imperative that Westminster Council takes its time to ensure everyone has a chance to have an informed say on the proposals. The scheme must not plough ahead unless everyone is confident it delivers the best deal possible for Paddington residents and businesses. 

At the moment Labour Councillors are deeply concerned that the proposals do not contain any onsite affordable housing, despite planning policy requiring 30%  affordable housing provision. The developers must urgently put forward clear plans for a substantial amount of new social and genuinely affordable housing in the local area if the scheme is to truly benefit the community.”

Westminster Labour Councillors call on council not to rush through 'Paddington Shard' plans

Westminster Labour Councillors are deeply 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...

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