Archive for December 2010

Merry Christmas & Best Wishes For 2011

Thank you for following my blog throughout the end of 2010. For more news and updates about the West End please keep visiting my blog in the New Year.  

Crossrail - Davies Street Closure - South Molton Street & Stratford Place Diversions

The New Year begins with the closure of Davies Street and traffic diversions for South Molton Street and Stratford Place. Please see the information sheet below which provides important information on the works taking place and how it could disrupt your travel.

Davies Street closure - traffic diversions for South Molton Street and Stratford Place -

Licensing Enforcement Team - Premises Visits

The work of the Westminster licensing enforcement team on behalf of residents continued last week. The team has been to inspect the premises listed below:  

The Shaftesbury
Shaftesbury, 39-45 Shaftesbury Avenue, W1  Premises gave undertaking at a recent review hearing to ensure the smoking area outside the premises was no more than 1 meter deep. No customers were seen smoking outside at the time of the teams visit.
A further visit was made and only 3 customers were seen outside smoking. 
During a follow-up visit, 6 customers were outside smoking and the premises were very quiet. There were also no issues re: the 1 meter undertaking.

Automat, Dover Street, W1 The team walked past the venue which revealed no noise escaping. The venue appeared to be closed for the evening.

No 5, 5 Cavendish Square, W1 Tasking item: The team was asked to check for signs of drunkenness at the Police’s request.
Movida, Argyll Street, W1 The team visited following a newspaper article alleging drunkenness at the venue. Premises were very quiet due to the cold weather. The team met with DPS and had a walk through of the premises. No issues were found.

Mahiki, 1 Dover Street, W1
Tasking item; no evidence of double or illegal parking in the vicinity of Mahiki.

The team also entered the premises with the police, following a recent Evening Standard article about drunkenness.  No evidence of this seen on this (or previous) occasion.

Mayfair - Oxford Street - Park House Redevelopment

Major progress can be seen on the re-construction of Park House. Please see the Decemeber 2010 Newsletter which provides detailed information on the works that have taken place over the last month.

Park House Newsletter December 2010 -

BBC - Portland Place Redevelopment Update

The transformation of the iconic BBC home at Portland Place is now complete. For the latest project updates please view the December 2010 Newsletter.

BH newsletter -

Licensing Enforcement Team - Premises Visits

Hog In The Pound
The work of the Westminster licensing enforcement team on behalf of residents continued last week. The team has been to inspect the premises listed below.

Hog In The Pound, South Molton Street
The premises was visited to check up on alleged anti-social behaviour. Complainant visited during previous week admitted she has no evidence to attribute behaviour to pub and it is just that they are the closest to her property. No evidence of alleged behaviour at time of visit, pub very quiet in accordance to DPS’s claims that they are an early evening pub not a late night venue.

Cirque Du Soir, New Burlington Street
Premises visited due to allegation that there is serious overcrowding on Monday nights. At time of visit, it was found that a failure to complete written records had resulted in premises being overcrowded by 10 additional customers. DPS advised to manage that by refusing attendance until numbers down, and by keeping hourly logs. Some evidence that they were managing capacity between ground and basement levels but no evidence of unsafe performances taking place or drunkenness.

Rocket, Lancashire Mews
Observations of Lancashire Mews due to noise complaints. During the teams visit, a group of up to 9 was found making excessive noise. Enquiries were made as to which premises they had been to and ascertained it was Rocket. Manager advised, and was very apologetic. She them remedied the situation immediately. Manager advised of risk of review if noise complaints continue.

St Mark’s Church, North Audley Street, W1
A noise complaint was received last week, abatement notice served.  The team attended to discuss arrangements with manager who stated that they have now sound—proofed the stained glass windows & are controlling how people leave the premises, to reduce disturbance.There are plans to meet with the managers in the near future.

Hog in the Pound, South Molton Street, W1
Previous complaint of anti social behaviour from the premises customers, urinating & defecating on local business’ doorsteps.  Pub quiet – no evidence that the problems are as result of the premises.  The team spoke to the Street Warden & Police to ask them to monitor area.

Soho Japan
Soho Japan, Wells Street, W1
Premises had applied for a Temporary Event Notice which was invalid.  The team visited to ensure they were not operating under the TEN – the premises closed.

Merah, Wells Street, W1
Premises queue & smokers had no order, blocking entire pavement & causing problems to traffic in the area.  The team spoke to the DPS who appreciated the point made & agreed to rectify immediately.

China White, Winsley Street, W1
Observation of premises to see how the queue was being managed.  Extremely orderly, well managed queue & smoking area.

The Shaftesbury, Shaftesbury Avenue, W1
There is a condition on the licence stating that the smoking area should be 1 metre wide – at time of the teams visit an area of approximately 2 metres was being used. DPSr asked to rectify & he agreed to do so immediately.

Sweatbox, Ramillies House, 1-3 Ramillies Street, W1
This is a Gym which applied for a Temporary Event Notice but a counter notice was issued as they have exceeded the number of dates allowed. The team spoke with the manager who confirmed that they were not operating.

Cirque De Soir
Cirque De Soir, 12 New Burlington Street, W1
Following a visit on Monday night, where capacity was exceeded, the team returned to check compliance. On this occasion we found that the recording of numbers by staff was inaccurate. We walked through the premises with the manager & found no evidence of overcrowding. However, as their methods of recording are ineffective we will need to speak to the manager. The team also asked them to stop allowing new customers in until a recount is undertaken. 

Crossrail - Evening Works at Hanover Square & Davies Street

Evening works will be taking place at Hanover Square on the 15th December 2010. This will be followed by the same works being carried out on the 21st December 2010 at Davies Street. For further information on what to expect, please see the information sheet below.

Evening works at Hanover Square and Davies Street sites -

BBC - Portland Place Redevelopment

Although construction has taken some seven years to date the external works at the BBC are at last nearing completion. 

This means that the local residents and community that have experienced the development can now look forward to less dust and more peace and tranquillity as the remaining works, which are an extensive internal fit-out are confined to the interior.

In terms of the public access to the building the final work on the huge art work entitled The World which fills the space in the cyclorama and under the bridge to Hallam Street is very nearly complete.

The work is inspired by the World Service provided by the BBC and highlights a number of significant cities and towns throughout the world which have an historical or current connection to the BBC.  In addition to the names of the cities speakers are set into the ground which will give the flavour of the languages broadcast by the BBC to those areas.

Gradually the various parts of the BBC which are currently operating from satellite buildings (including those at the Aldwych) would be brought within the main building so that it becomes very much the hub of News, Current Affairs and Language Broadcasts.

New public spaces within the building are also nearing completion.  Public access (subject to security) will allow for a large café with viewing platform on to the Newsroom and Weather area so that the public can see the News as it is broadcast.

The development was overseen by a Community Liaison Group (CLG) which was an innovative idea when introduced to allow for effective inter-action between the BBC, their professional team and the local community.  I have chaired this Group since its inception and CLGs are now a regular part of major developments in the area including the Quadrant (in Regent Street) and Park House (on Oxford Street).  They have proved an effective way of allaying the concerns of residents.

Fitzrovia - Development Plans - Former Middlesex Hospital

Highlighted -  The Former Middlesex Hospital Site
Development plans for the former Middlesex Hospital site have been announced. Kaupthing Bank, Aviva Investors and Exemplar Properties have entered into a development agreement to develop the former Middlesex Hospital Site.

The plans will include a mix of open market residential apartments, affordable homes, retail, Grade A commercial space and amenity for local occupiers including a health centre and an education facility.

To view the press release for further information please follow this link.

Crossrail - Bond Street - Site Changes

Weekends of the 11th/12th and 18th/19th December 2010 will see changes to the site hoarding and the removal of traffic lights on Davies Street. This is in preperation for the closure of Davies Street in the New Year.

For further information on the works please see the information sheet displayed below.

Site hoarding changes and removal of traffic lights on Davies Street -

Licensing Enforcement Team - Premises Visits

The work of the licensing enforcement team continues. Over the last week they have been to inspect these premises.

Maroush Restaurant - 3-4 Vere Street: Inspection of premises. Premises found to be breaching a licence condition; CCTV images kept for only 7 days (instead of the required 31 days). Licence holder has given undertaking to rectify early next week.
Tiger Spice - 32 Old Compton Street: Premises have just submitted application for a new premises licence. Visit to ensure no licensable activities taking place. Notice at entrance informing customers of pending application. No alcohol was on sale and notices displayed on all tables stating that customers could bring their own alcohol (with no corkage charge). Informed by manager that premises closes at 11pm.
The Golden Lion
Follow-up visit. No issues found, premises were closing at time of visit and staff were cashing up.

Golden Lion - Dean Street: Observations on premises following concerns of public safety and public nuisance (patrons blocking footpath).   Barriers were taking up less than half of the public highway. 8 persons seen outside, all were behind the barriers. No issues affecting licensing objectives were witnessed.

Hostess Bar - 1 Tisbury Court: Visit to make sure licensee has received recent letter about touting, but visit revealed concerns about the managers on duty

Two Floors - Kingly Street: Joint visit with Metropolitan Police due to recent crime statistics, again, mainly thefts. Premises are currently engaging with specialist dip team in an attempt to reduce it.

The Running Footman - 5 Charles Street: No pavement overcrowding on this occasion (visit because of Officers’ safety concerns)

The Punchbowl - Farm Street: No pavement overcrowding

Le Rififi Club - 15A Hay Hill: Full inspection of premises, accompanied by duty manager. Premises found to be well managed at time of visit and were compliant with their licence conditions. No issues affecting the licensing objectives were identified.

French House - Dean Street: No pavement overcrowding

Moonlighting - 16-17 Greek Street: Joint visit with the Metropolitan Police. Visit to premises in response to Police concerns that CCTV was not available on a night in question when there was an alleged assault by a member of security staff. CCTV has since been viewed and Police are satisfied that no crime was committed. Advice given re: possible updating of the CCTV system.

British Sex shop - 8 Green’s Court: Notice check for Sex Shop Licence application dated 22/11/10 in order.

Mayfair Club - 49-50 Dover Street: Visit to premises following concerns regarding crime & disorder. As per Metropolitan Police recommendations, the premises are now using polycarbonate and two members of staff have taken the personal licence holders course. Observations carried out on outside area, no issues affecting licensing objectives were witnessed.

Pulcinella Old - Compton Street: Tables and Chairs inside on time.  Visit because of allegation of late removal
The Roxy

The Roxy - 3-5 Rathbone Place: Joint visit with Metropolitan Police. Visited in relation to recent crime statistics (mainly thefts). A debriefing also took place regarding an apparent assault; premises were fully cooperative with Police on the night in question. Suitable crime prevention advice given and gratefully received.

McDonalds - 291B Oxford Street: Full inspection of late night refreshment premises. Premises fully compliant with licence conditions and were promoting the licensing objectives.

Café Libre - 22 Great Marlborough Street: Visit following invalidation of TEN to provide licensable activities between terminal hour of 00:00 and 02:00. Premises closed at time of visit and last customers leaving. Manager confirmed TEN not to be used.

Movida - 8 Argyll Street: Joint visit with Metropolitan Police. Welfare check and met with Head of Security (Profile Protection Security). Observations on outside area, strong presence of SIA who were managing the patrons in queue/smoking area.

Amalfi Restaurant - 29 Old Compton Street: Visit to meet new DPS. Not there at time of visit, but spoke with assistant manager. General advice given re: licensing objectives.

Automat - Dover Street & Almada (Manray) - Berkely Street: These venues are linked at basement level and owned by the same person. Both venues run tonight in accordance with licensing law. A private party was taking place in the basement of Automat, and music was being played, but it was not audible in the street, or at a level likely to cause a nuisance to residents in flats above.

Hotel Inter-Continental - 1 Hamilton Place: Visit with police who wished to speak to manager about recent incident ( a fight between 2 very drunk customers at an event with a free bar. One of them was taken to hospital. The venue did not call the police, and failed to preserve the crime scene.  When police did arrive, they found the CCTV recordings to be of such a poor quality that they were of no use) The managers met did not fill the Police or WCC with confidence. They could not even produce the licence, and admitted they have not reported the hospitalisation of one of their customers under the RIDDOR Regs.

British Luxury Club

British Luxury Club - 70-71 New Bond Street: This morning’s visit reveals the venue is trading under a TEN till 6am with a permitted number of 200 people.  Only 137 present, so no breach. Event seemed to be well run on this occasion.  Had brief discussion with owner, Mr Engleman, about the recently resolved Review of the premises licence. NFA

Crossrail - Bond Street - Station Transformation

The transformation of Bond Street Station is well under way. Demolition works, road closures and bus route alterations have been taking place since the end of November 2010 and will be lasting throughout 2011. The information provided from Crossrail below includes current updates and what to expect in the future.

Transforming Bond Street station Autumn 2010 -

Transport - Parking Policy Review

Westminster City Council is now going out to formal consultation in relation to its parking policy.

Since the existing policy was put in place some 11 years ago significant changes have taken place in relation to transport within the City.  These include the introduction of the congestion charge, the increase in Pedicabs, licensing of some minicabs and the introduction of the Mayor’s bike scheme, electric car charging stations and a huge increase in investment in public transport.

The objective of the parking review is to see whether measures need to be taken in order to ensure that traffic within the City is properly managed.

Some neighbouring boroughs have different arrangements in relation to controlled hours for parking and its enforcement.

The review may look at ways to free up kerbside space for other users at certain times of the day which could in turn could lead to the provisions of new and innovative public transport solutions such as night coaches to help disperse people from the West End and particularly from the night time economy as the underground stops comparatively early to allow engineering works to take place during the night. 

Westminster would be interested to hear your views on this parking review. You can see the reviews at and also by clicking here. Please make your comments.

This is a matter which will really affect the West End and the more comments that are made the more the views of those living and working in the West End can be included.

Crossrail - Hanover Square Changeover - 5th December

The work site surrounding Hanover Square is being extended. There will be major changes to the traffic flow for both vehicular traffic and for pedestrians. The information sheet below provides important updates that are useful to residents, pedestrians and vehicle users who use the area.

Hanover Square changeover - 5th December 2010 -