Archive for January 2011

Crossrail - Davies Mews - Utility Diversion Works

Utility diversion works will be taking place form the 7th February 2011 until June 2011 to allow for the construction of a grout shaft. For further details on the works please see the information sheet provided below.

Utility diversion works in Davies Mews -

Great Marlborough Street - Public Exhibition Boards

A major Planning Application is in the process of being made and going out to Public Consultation which will provide for the demolition and reconstruction of 54-57 Great Marlborough Street and the substantial rebuilding of 49-50 Poland Street and 47 Poland Street.

The scheme, were it to be consented, would provide a new commercial building on Great Marlborough Street to replace the two buildings built respectively in 1927 and 1953 on the Great Marlborough Street frontage with the architecturally architectory integrated design evoking the great town houses which were built on the street when originally laid out.

Apart from office use on the upper floors the developers are proposing to put in retail and restaurant use on the ground floor and to create new open spaces to the rear hopefully linked to other buildings and creating a space for planting thereby improving the visuality of the surrounding buildings that look into the area.

The proposal is that the Poland Street properties will provide a range of residential uses with a mix of 1-4 bedroom units with their own street entrance.
Once more as this is an important development within this area and I would urge you to go and see the development if you are likely to be affected by it or are otherwise interested in it. A link below shows the scheme.

The consultation process with Westminster will be open shortly and, should you wish your views to be taken into account, you should participate in that process.
Great Marlborough Street - Exhibition Boards
(This is a large file and may take a few minutes to load)

Mount Street - Upgrade Complete

Works on Mount Street are now complete and the full extent of the scheme now visible.

Hopefully the disruption caused to traders and residents is now behind us and has been worthwhile.

Mount Street Newsletter -

Crossrail - Dering Yard - Utility Diversion Works

Utility diversion works will be taking place form the 31st January 2011 until April 2011 to allow for the construction of a grout shaft. For further details on the works please see the information sheet provided below.

Utility diversion works in Dering Yard -

Bond Street West - Crossrail Station Over Site Development

Grosvenor Estates have now produced detailed drawings of how they anticipate the over station development to look following completion of the railway works beneath.

The building is designed to provide a station entrance with offices above.

Unlike the work that has been undertaken by Crossrail itself the over station developments are part of the normal planning process upon which full consultation takes place.

Grosvenor are planning an exhibition and consultation for the Scheme prior to its Application for Planning.  The dates are 27th & 28th January 2011 from 3:00p - 8:00pm at 29 Davies Street, which provides an opportunity to see and comment on the plans at this early stage.

The building is designed to comply with high standards of sustainability both as to its design and use of materials but also its likely energy use.

Furthermore the design incorporates a green wall which could become a feature of the area and help to soften the building and further reduce its on going environmental impact.

Bond Street West - Exhibition -

Bond Street East – Hanover Square Over Station Development

Great Portland Estates have now produced detailed drawings of how they are proposing to redevelop the site which was formerly 18 and 19 Hanover Square following completion of the Crossrail works. They are proposing to use the opportunity to redevelop not only that side but also 1a Tenterden Street and much of the frontage to New Bond Street to provide a comprehensive redevelopment incorporating a new public space, new and better retail outlets to improve the retail offering on New Bond Street and office accommodation above the new station itself.

The work will involve the complete refurbishment of the listed building at 20 Hanover Square and access will be provided from the rear of the building into the new public space.

Unlike the work being undertaken by Crossrail this development will be subject to the normal planning process upon which full consultation will take place. Great Portland Estates are putting on an exhibition and consultation for the scheme prior to the formal application for planning.

The exhibition is being held at Medici Court, 67/69 New Bond Street and the dates and times are listed below:

Today (Jan 20th) 2pm – 6pm
Tomorrow (Jan 21st) 5pm – 8pm
Saturday (Jan 22nd) 9am – 12pm

This is an opportunity for a major redevelopment to take place and the upgrade of a site the size of which rarely becomes available in the West End. It will be a once in a life time opportunity and it is important that the views of the local community are heard. I would therefore encourage you to go to the Exhibition and to review the boards which are also accessible via the link below, so you can have your say at this stage of the consultation.

(Large file so please wait while it loads)

Police Update - Soho Group Dispersal Zone

The new Soho Group Dispersal Zone (GDZ), effective form 16th January 2011, has now been agreed to deal primarily with the concerns of the police in respect of on street drug trading.

This replaces the former joint Dispersal Zone with the London Borough of Camden, who have slightly different issues and has been put in place following lobbying undertaken by me, to the police to ensure that the unique problems of Soho are recognised and that the additional powers given to the police are available to them to address the concerns of local residents.

The power also allows dispersal for other reasons such as pick pocketing or other crime organised by groups and is a valuable weapon in the police armoury to ensure that residents and businesses in Soho are suitably protected

Soho Leisure - Marshall Street

The recently reopened Marshall Street baths, leisure centre and facilities are now settling in as part of the Soho scene.

Following the £11 million refurbishment the pool, gym and health suite are now providing much needed leisure services to residents and visitors alike.

Run by Nuffield Health the gym has state of the art equipment and weights and the health suite provides sauna and steam rooms for various sessions for men, women and mixed.

The pool has been restored to its former glory and provides women only times and swimming classes.

Deals are available to Westminster residents on production of their ResCard, which give significant discounts on individual use.

I would encourage everybody to use the facility and suggest to their friends, neighbours and co-workers that they do so too.

Crossrail - Bond Street Station - Update on Utilities Diversions

Following the meeting of the Bond Street CLG (Community Liaison Group) on 13th January 2011 Crossrail have now issued the latest bulletin in respect of the proposed works to Oxford Street and their ramifications for buses, utilities and traffic movements.

Crossrail have agreed that vehicular access will be maintained to Stratford Place at all times even though this will involve a significant detour passing over Oxford Street. They have also confirmed that ordinary vehicles (i.e. not buses and taxis) using this route will not be enforced against if they are travelling for this purpose.

Their plan is to show the requirements for the removal of 6 semi mature trees in order to undertake the diversions. I have sought and received their assurance that if possible these trees will be removed rather than felled and put into alternative locations and further that if this is not possible they will be replaced with trees of a similar age and species in order to restore the streetscape following completion of their works.

Crossrail will be applying for power to undertake the works between the hours of 06:00am and 10:00pm. This followed suggestion in relations to the utilities work at the eastern end of Oxford Street that the works could have been done more quickly and the overall inconvenience minimised. They were not able to give any assurance or estimate as to how long the works programme would be shortened if they were successful in their application to lengthen working hours.

Westminster Council Environmental Health Department have confirmed that any such application would be reviewed on its merit taking into account the concerns of any residents affected.

Crossrail also gave their assurance that the proposed lengthening of the work schedule until 2018 means that they will have the opportunity of removing more spoil from the tunnel works via the tunnel portals rather than through the shafts to be sunk on each of the station sites. They have said this will significantly reduce the number of lorry movements in and around West End Ward although we await final detailed figures as to what such reductions this will entail.

Below are the detailed slides, which show the work and the likely phasing for them.

Phasing Plan Key -

Police - Safer Neighbourhood Teams - Have your say

The Police are currently undertaking a review of their policy concerning Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNTs) and are looking for input from the local community as to how these can work going forward.

West End Ward is, as ever, unusual in as much as instead of having one Ward Committee with Ward Boundaries which are congruent with those of the Police and SNT it in fact straddles six SNT areas. 

These are listed on the right hand side of the toolbar together with a map showing the central area, including West End Ward and the various SNTs.

If the Police are to serve the local community guided by the SNTs going forward then this consultation and input is of great importance.

A link to the consultation is attached and, regardless of which SNT represents your particular area of residence or work you can complete the questionnaire with comments and suggested priorities.

The Police have a difficult and challenging job dealing with the requirements of West End Ward.  Those requirements differ greatly between the various parts of the Ward and your input on this will help them to marshal the resources available to them in the future for the benefit of the local community.

Crossrail - Bond Street Station Upgrade

Forthcoming overnight works will be taking place along Oxford Street in preparation for the upgrade of Bond Street underground station. On the attachment below are dates and times of the works taking place and a map is also included showing which areas are to be affected.

London Underground - Notification of overnight work on Oxford Street -

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: 

No.5, 5 Cavendish Square W1
The team passed by this premises and noted the presence of an ambulance parked outside. The team met with the manager who explained that a customer suffered an epileptic fit in the premises. We explained that an Environmental Health Officer would be in touch regarding RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurances Regulations).

The Loop, Dering Street W1
Visit to premises in relation to obstruction of pavements by the use of barriers. At the time of visit, the barriers were in place and the pavement was not obstructed

Cirque De Soir, New Burlington Street W1
The team had a joint visit with the Police in relation to invalid TEN (Temporary Event Notice). At the time of visit, the premises was closed.

Jalouse, Hanover Square W1
Visit to premises in relation to alleged smoking inside premises. No offences detected.

100 Club, 100 Oxford Street W1
The premises have been widely reported to be threatened with closure. The team visit to check on licensing status. The premises closed at time of visit. A Further check on their website reveals ‘forthcoming events in 2011. The team are to check on the next set of nights when events are planned.

G-A-Y, Old Compton Street W1
The team visit to check for compliance with LA03 licence conditions. No issues found and premises well run at time of visit; staff appeared familiar with their roles and responsibilities. Venue operating at capacity (i.e. 400)

Automat, 33 Dover Street W1
Visit to premises in relation to alleged public nuisance. At the time of visit, premises on the Dover street side were closed and no music could be heard from the outside. Inspectors also went to the Berkley street side and also found the premises to be closed. No other issues found at time of visit.

Las Iguanas
Las Iguanas, Dean Street W1
Visit to premises as a result of resident complaints about public nuisance from live bongo drummers. Inspectors met with the Duty Manager who stated that bongo drummers had not played at premises since May 2010. Recorded music could not be heard from outside the premises when the doors were closed.

Wok in a Box, 29 Oxford Street W1
Visit to check for compliance with late night refreshment licence conditions. A number of worrying issues found regarding food hygiene, H&S, especially holes in pipes and drains in the basement kitchen area.

Katies, 23-24 Lansdowne Row, W1
The team visited to check on compliance with the Health Act, i.e. smoking area not being more than 50% enclosed and their Tables and Chairs Licence. The awning and side panels were found in use making it more than 50% enclosed. One extra table and one extra chair set were out in addition to what is licensed. The team met with the owner and stressed that continual non compliance would result in a prosecution. During the visit one side panel was removed.

El Cantara Soho, 45 Frith Street W1
Visit to premises as a result of referral from Health and Safety Team about Shisha smoking at premises. At the time of visit, Inspectors looked at the ‘Shisha Terrace’. Customers were found smoking in substantially enclosed area. The team met with the Duty Manager and advised accordingly.

Café Espana, 63 Old Compton Street W1
The team visited to check compliance with conditions of premises license. At the time of visit, breaches of Mandatory conditions detected. These concerned conditions about smaller measures of alcohol and the requirement to have an age verification policy.

MAYA, 1A Dean Street W1
The team visited the premises which are now under new management. It has a recent history of previous Crime & Disorder issues. Visit to meet new duty manager and to establish if lessons appear to have been learnt following the recent expedited review. Assurances given that staff and management team are determined to ensure ‘errors’ are not repeated. The  management team seem to be more conversant with regard to their role and responsibilities.

Cycling - The Good, The Bad And The Downright Dangerous

Although we welcome the use of bikes in West End Ward as a non-polluting and efficient form of transport, the issue of behaviour of selfish cyclists is often raised at police meetings and community groups.

Some cyclists seem to believe that the rules do not apply to them and that they are able to go through red lights, up one way streets the wrong way, and cycle on pavements with impunity without any regard for other users of highway or indeed, in many cases their own safety.

I recently took a video from the top of Oxford Circus showing just how blatant some of the activity is and as a result of this work and other lobbying, the police have agreed to enforce the relevant elements of the Highway Code and other legislation for the safety of all concerned.

Given the success of Boris’ bike scheme, it is likely that more and more journeys will be taken by bike in the West End Ward where we have one of the highest number of concentration of the bike stands. Hopefully the message will get through that safe and considerate cyclists are welcome but those who put the safety of themselves and others at risk will have to accept the consequences of their actions.

Green Issues - Street Trees

As part of the process supported by the Mayor of London to introduce a further 10,000 street trees by March 2012 throughout London I will be campaigning to ensure that additional trees are available in West End Ward.

We share the Mayor’s view that trees make London and the West End in particular a more pleasant place in which to live and although London is a comparatively Green City compared to other world cities the benefit of additional trees in tackling climate change and improving air quality in the densely populated part of the city is significant.

New proposals for additional trees in West End Ward are being discussed with the City Councils Arboricultural Department and further updates as to where these will be will follow.

Transport - Air Quality

New Taxi Emission Standards are being intrduced which should improve air quality. West End Ward has more than its fair share of black cabs and the Mayor for London has announced new emission standards in order to help the fight to improve air quality in the West End.

From the 1st January 2012 no black cab over fifteen years old will be licensed by the Taxi and Private Hire Office. There are currently some 1200 cabs that are 15 years or older and they are amongst the most polluting.

They contribute significantly to the amount of particulates in the air. These are potentially hazardous to health and a reduction in them is welcome.

The air quality in the West End is amongst the worst in Europe and Westminster supports measures to reduce these particulates and improve air quality.

Further sequential improvements in the air quality through the introduction of less polluting buses and the further tightening of relevant regulations on Taxis and other forms of vehicles should help this process.

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: 

Katies, Lansdowne Row, W1 

The teams visit to the premises was in order to see if they are still breaching their tables and chairs license. The premises had the correct numbers of tables and chairs out, however, noticed buckets of hot coals and chimenees being used in addition to 2 large heaters (only authorised for 2 heaters). The team are to speak to the Food Team regarding safety aspects of the buckets of coals.

Cirque du Soir

Cirque du Soir, 12 New Burlington Street, W1S 3BF

The Company that owns premises licence has dissolved. The company was informed of this and the teams visit was conducted to ensure that they are not operating. The premises was closed, and a legal letter was put through door.

New Year's Day Parade

The New Year got off to a great start in West End Ward with the New Year’s Day Parade which began in Piccadilly and finished in Parliament Square. The Parade, which took place for the 25th year, was viewed by hundreds of thousands of Londoners and millions worldwide via the TV coverage. The Westminster float won first prize in the London Boroughs’ Competition and gained £7,000 for the Lord Mayor’s Charity.