Archive for September 2011

Evening Standard Article: Our Plans To Reward Work In Housing Queue

Article in Today's London Evening Standard on our plans to back employed in council housing queue:

"Unemployed people will be sent to the back of the queue for council housing under a London scheme set to be copied across the country.

Westminster is prioritising those with jobs as it bids to bring down its housing benefit bill. Adults who have been in work for two years- or actively seeking a job - will leapfrog those on the dole.

The Government immediately praised the scheme. Politicians from the three main parties are warning that the multi-billion-pound benefits bill has to be cut.

Housing minister Grant Shapps told the Standard: "Hardworking families instinctively know that the 'something for nothing' culture has to end and so it's right that councils are able to reflect local priorities in their housing policy."

With other town halls expected to follow Westminster's lead, he added: "Local authorities of all political persuasions are introducing measures to ensure that people who work hard, play by the rules and are responsible, get fair access to housing in this country."

In his speech to the Labour conference, party leader Ed Miliband also vowed to end the "something for nothing culture" and wants people who work or volunteer to get priority over benefit claimants on housing lists.

Richard Blakeway, Boris Johnson's housing adviser, said: "The Mayor supports anything which promotes people to get into work while balancing this with the responsibility to help the most vulnerable." The Coalition is imposing new caps of £400 a week on housing benefit and of £26,000 a year on overall benefits per household, though, this policy could be weakened slightly.

Ministers argue that people living on benefits should not be handed state payouts allowing them to live in homes which working families can only dream of buying or renting.... [Full article]"

Starting in 2012 Westminster Council will award 50 points to people who have been in work for more than two years, or at least looking for a job for the same period.

As cabinet member for housing and corporate property, I am delighted that we can introduce this scheme which acknowledges and rewards people who are contributing to the economy.

Westminster has gone from having 48 per cent of people in social housing not working to 68 per cent. We have got so many people not working that it gives worklessness an attractiveness as a way of life.

Crossrail - Bond Street Station Update

For the latest updates and works about to take place in and around the Bond Street Station area please see the attached files below.

Bond St PDF's -

Housing - Westminster - Conservative Home

Below is my article published on Conservative Home which you can find at Conservative Home Blogs.

As Labour debates employment at its conference in Liverpool today Westminster City Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, Cllr Jonathan Glanz looks at the Opposition’s position on social housing allocations and considers how his decision to prioritise employed households might have resulted in tensions at the top of the Labour Party.

I was very pleased to read on these pages recently about the Labour Party’s apparent change of tack on the inclusion of employment status in the allocation criteria for social housing.

As well as awarding points for long-term residency in Westminster, from 30th January 2012, applicants to the City Council will also gain additional points if the main applicant and/or their partner can demonstrate two years of continuous employment. We think this will not only incentivise employment, it will also reward those who work hard for their families and make a big contribution to our communities.

In addition to Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, Liam Byrne’s backing for such an approach, the Shadow Communities Secretary, Caroline Flint recently praised Labour-run Newham Council, for proposing a similar policy, calling that council, and others, (presumably the likes of Westminster and Wandsworth) ‘progressive’ for giving priority to residents in employment.

I have written to both Ms Flint and Mr Byrne asking if they will help me to convince our local MP, and member of the latter’s frontbench Work and Pensions team, Karen Buck, of the merits of our approach. Earlier this year she denounced our policy, telling a local newspaper that it would ‘cause real misery’, before going on to say that:

“Policies like this often sound superficially attractive but unravel in the face of real lives and real circumstances”

Given that this now seems to be Labour Party policy I hope that Ms Buck and the local Labour Party group will work with us to ensure that social housing allocations are fairer in the future and resist the temptation to score political points by preying on the anxieties of some of society’s most vulnerable people

Growth and Localism Report - Now Published

A report on growth and localism was published today to which I contributed. Hopefully this will help the debate on providing for housing needs under the new legislation to be more fully understood. I was happy to contribute to ensure that the particular concerns of Westminster and the West Eend were included.

Please click the link to download the online flipbook.

Mayfair - How Green Is Your City?

An event at the Mayfair Library, 25 South Audley Street which will be hosted by One Mayfair will be taking place on Monday 26th October at 6:00pm. Please see the leaflet below for further details.

How Green Poster 2011 -

Crossrail Update - Bond Street Station

Please see the latest letter provided by Crossrail which helps to explain ongoing construction works.

LU and Crossrail update - Bond Street area -

Mayfair - Oxford Street - Park House Redevelopment

Quick progress is being made on the redevelopment of Park House. Please see the newsletter below to get the latest updates and pictures.

Park House Newsletter September 2011 -

Crossrail - Update

The Newsletter below from Crossrail provides great detail about works that have been undertaken and what to expect from the next phase of works which are set to begin in the very near future.

crl_bond_street_drop_boards_aug_2011 -

Crossrail - Major Works - Soho Square

On the 12th September Crossrail are going to commence the sinking of four compensation grouting shafts in anticipation of the tunnelling works to come. These will require hoarding off areas of all four corners of the Square and to vehicular traffic in the northern part of the Square and the creation of the two way traffic scheme on the eastern side of the square to maintain what limited access will remain.

It will also involve the loss of a motorcycling bay, 29 pay by phone spaces and a car club space.

The details are set out below but I have been lobbying hard to ensure that Crossrail replicate the parking arrangements which are likely to be lost until 2015 when the works are due to be scaled down and complete.

I am also concerned about the affects on future events in the square, particularly during Olympic year and World Pride in 2012.

These works are yet a further inconvenience being placed on the West End by the Crossrail project and related utilities diversions. Whilst Crossrail may have the power, pursuant to the Crossrail Act, to undertake these work it is important that they realise just how inconvenient they are to residents and businesses and that they should work closely with the local community to minimize these adverse affects.

construction_of_four_grout_shafts_in_soho_square -

The Hog in the Pound - Demolition – South Molton St

Demolition is due to start on the old Hog in the Pound to facilitate its replacement with new building inspired by New York’s famous Flat Iron Building. 

However in the meantime this is going to cause a certain amount of additional problems for people in and around the area of Davies Street which will remain closed for utilities diversion work associated with Crossrail. The current temporary arrangement whereby traffic is allowed to go along South Molton Street in two way traffic and which uses South Molton Lane will have to provide for the demolition lorries as well. 

The proposal to upgrade the Public Realm in South Molton Street is also continuing and this will mean that the existing surfaces will have to be removed and relayed. 

The objective of this is to ensure that South Molton Street and the areas around it are in the best condition for the Olympics.

It is likely to lead to a difficult period of up to nine months where the work will be going on in tandem.

Crossrail are now proposing to keep Davies Street closed until the spring of 2012 although the works on the main carriage way of Oxford Street are due to be completed prior to the beginning of December. In order to facilitate this, Crossrail have applied for permission to work 24 hours although permanent resurfacing may be delayed until early 2012.