Archive for January 2012

Berwick Street Market - 1935

Whilst the Council are reviewing options for Berwick Street Market I thought I would share the interesting video of Berwick Street from 1935.

To visit the website for further information please click this link.


Former Middlesex Hospital - Newsletter 2

Please see below the latest newsletter for the development of the Middlesex Hospital site which provides the latest news and progress.

Middlesex Works Newsletter Jan 2012 -

Crossrail - Installation of Building Wrap - St George Street

Please see below the latest Information Sheet from Crossrail which provides details of works starting today on St George's Street.

installation of building wrap-st george street welfare facility -

Operation Impact

This week sees the launch of Operation Impact, a joint operation between Central Operations and Westminster borough which will use a targeted approach to tackle serious violence and crime in Westminster.

The month long operation will see an array of Central Operations resources joining colleagues from Westminster borough, from the firearms unit, who will be carrying out operations to tackle armed criminality, to drugs dogs who will sniff out drugs secreted away by criminals. Gangs will be a particular focus of the operation and a range of covert and overt tactics will be used to track activity and prevent crime.

If you have any questions relating to this or any other matter please contact the Mayfair & St James Safer Neighbourhoods Team on 020 8721 2419.

To report a crime dial 101, in an emergency dial 999.

London 2012 Games - Transport

TfL have released a very comprehensive and detailed presentation providing an in depth view of transport and travel in London through the games period.

Please follow the link to the website or click here to be taken straight to the presentation.

Competition - Name Crossrail’s Giant Tunnelling Machines

Tunneling is due to start soon and in tradition of such projects the tunneling machines will be named.

Crossrail is challenging you to name the machines that will tunnel under London in 2012. The winners will receive prizes and join a select group of people around the world who have named tunnel boring machines.

Please follow the link to the Crossrail Website for your chance to become a part of Crossrail history.

149 - 151 Oxford Street - Public Exhibition Boards

Now that Crossrail is becoming a reality which will lead to the major over station developments, both at Tottenham Court Road and Dean Street, large areas east of Oxford Street are now likely to be redeveloped.

East Oxford Street is probably the most exciting area of Central London where such developments can take place and the opportunity to transform it from its current down market and shabby appearance has been recognised by developers.

An application to redevelop 149-151 Oxford Street and its return frontage at 59 Berwick Street has now been made which proposes to replace the existing property with a new mixed use building allowing better retail office and residential elements.

The developer’s plans are now up to consultation and here is your chance to comment of their proposals a copy of which is attached. Please have your say.

Exhibition_Boards-[2].pdf -

New scheme will make affordable housing available for West End workers

Today, I have launched a new scheme that will provide help to low wage West End workers access property in the heart of our city.

Young worker who would not be prioritised for social housing will be able to apply for affordable accommodation in the thriving centre of the capital, thanks to this pilot flagship scheme launched today (Friday 13 January 2011) by Westminster City Council.

As rent, transport and living costs continue to rise across the capital, workers that form an integral part of the West End’s economy, such as market traders, performing artists, Special Constables and hospitality sector workers, are left with ever fewer affordable housing options. To reconnect the West End’s exceptional diversity of markets, theatres and hotels with its workforce, Westminster’s Fair Share Housing Scheme will provide high quality sub-market rent accommodation in central London on a shared basis, with rents at a third cheaper than private sector rents.

The scheme is a working example of the proposals set out in the council’s Civic Contract, launched in November 2011, which sets out how Westminster will foster strong relationships between work and citizenship. The Fair Share Scheme will help those people working in vital parts of the city economy to forge bonds with the area and wider community by cutting down on commuting hours, giving people more time to volunteer and contribute locally.

The aim of this innovative scheme is to highlight and address the housing needs of London’s dynamic workforce.

With recent changes to housing benefits for single occupants and with living and transport costs increasing, local authorities must come up with alternative ways to accommodate those on a London Living Wage who keep our local economies thriving.

In Westminster, we are working to provide fairer and more affordable housing options to lower-earning individuals who do their fair share to support the economic life of the West End.

wcc_fairsharehousing_005 -

Crossrail - Borehole Works Near The Eastern Ticket Hall

Please see the Information Sheet below for the latest information and updates from Crossrail.

borehole_works_near_the_eastern_ticket_hall -

Plan to tackle social housing fraud

I very much welcome the announcement today by the Housing Minister that he will be taking action to tackle social housing fraud, which costs Westminster taxpayers thousands of pounds every year and prevent those with the greatest need accessing social housing.

Grant Shapps has published a consultation document today on the mechanism to achieve these aims and ensure that access to social housing is not being abused by those who hold a tenancy through fraud.

This change will allow more people with the greatest need to to access a home in Westminster.

The proposed changes include:

• a new criminal offence with a maximum sentence of two years' imprisonment and a fine of up to £50,000 if the case goes to the Crown court

• proceeds of tenancy fraud to be reimbursed to the social landlord in whose stock the fraud was committed rather than being confiscated by the State

more powers for local authorities to investigate social tenancy fraud through better access to data from banks and utility companies. While councils can currently request data, organisations can refuse to provide it. The proposed changes would oblige them to comply.

Full Statement:

The Minister for Housing and Local Government (Grant Shapps): I announced in the Government's Housing Strategy my intention to tackle social housing fraud and I am today launching a consultation that sets out my proposals in this area. These proposals would increase the deterrent to tenants considering cheating the system, enable those who do to be detected more easily and punished more severely, and encourage social landlords to take a more proactive approach to tackling tenancy fraud. This would free up valuable social homes that can then be allocated to those in greatest need.

There is a clear case for reform. Social housing is an enormously valuable national asset, providing essential support for millions: yet while there are over 1.8 millionhouseholds on social housing waiting lists, estimates of the number of social homes in England being unlawfully occupied range from 50,000 to 160,000. The National Fraud Authority estimates that tenancy fraud costs £900 million per year. Replacing these unlawfully occupied social homes - to house those have who effectively been displaced by those who commit tenancy fraud - would cost several billion pounds.

Most forms of tenancy fraud are civil matters rather than criminal offences. This means that while abusing a social tenancy can be extremely lucrative, the consequences for those caught breaking the rules tend to be relatively minor - in most proven cases the legal tenant is simply required to give back the keys to a property in which they do not live. Existing legislation does not allow for a criminal prosecution for subletting or most other types of tenancy fraud.

In addition to the lack of an effective deterrent, tenancy fraud investigators argue that they do not have sufficient investigatory powers, meaning that they can only detect a fraction of the homes being unlawfully occupied. Recent Government investment has seen an increase in the number of social homes being recovered, but it is apparent that stronger measures need to be considered.

My proposals would introduce new legislation so that social tenants who abuse their tenancies could be subject to criminal sanctions with a maximum penalty of a £50,000 fine and two years imprisonment. They would also allow for any profits made from tenancy fraud to be confiscated, a restitutionary payment to be made to the landlord, and would give local authorities the power to prosecute for matters related to tenancy fraud.

We are also proposing to remove the discretion a court has when it comes to evicting tenants of housing associations who have been proven to have sublet the whole of their homes. This would bring housing association tenants into line with council tenants. I will also review the 'intention to return' defence often used by tenants, which has meant that a tenant can live away from the property for a substantial period of time, sometimes years, and still maintain their tenancy by arguing in court that they intend to return to the home.These proposals would be in addition to rather than in place of the existing powers social landlords have, and in my view are sensible and practical measures that would rectify the anomalous situation whereby the incentive to cheat the system is so much greater than both the risk of detection and the eventual penalty incurred.

The Soho Community Party - Friday 13th January

This Friday will see the Soho Community Party take place. Unfortunately the event had to be cancelled on the original date (16th December) due to a power cut throughout the West End. Please see the poster below for what is sure to be a great event.

WECTXmasPartyFlyer v2 new -

Block W4 Newsletter - Redevelopment of 163-185 Regent Street

Please see below the latest Newsletter on Block W4 which will keep you updated on the progress being made at 163-185 Regent Street.

W4 January Newsletter -

New Year's Day Parade 2012

New Year got off to a great start with the annual parade.
Westminster City Council's float was on the theme of Peter Pan and a number of Councillors, together with the pupils of the Sylvia Young Theatrical School manned the float which achieved joint first prize in the inter-borough competition. this led to the award of £7,000 to the Lord Mayor's charity. 

Uunfortunately later in the day the weather turned against us and the parade got drenched which was a shame for the many thousands of participants who came from all over the world to celebrate this special year for London. 

Many of the floats took the theme of the Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee and got New Year off to a colourful start in London's West End.