Archive for October 2015

Volunteers Needed - You Me Bum Bum Train

200-300 volunteers per night are need to make this immersive theatre experience work. No experience is necessary and all are welcome to take part in a unique experience. Please see the poster below for further details:

Night Tube Benefits Should Be Reviewed in a Pilot Scheme

Article for Huffington Post

One of the final major acts of Boris Johnson's Mayoralty will be the Night Tube: a success story for the Conservatives, for London's economy, for Boris himself, and for those who will use it.
London is the greatest City in the world deserves a transport network to match that meets the needs of London as a 24-hour city.
In introducing the night tube, TFL should also be aware of the impact of residents, especially those who live above tube lines and near tube stations that will form part of the 24-hour network. In my role as a ward councillor for the West End, I represent some of the busiest nightlife stops in the Capital which will be most affected by the introduction of the new service.

First let's take a look at what the Night Tube actually means.
Demand for tube services has soared over recent years, with passenger numbers on Friday and Saturday nights up by around 70 per cent since 2000, we all know about the rush to get the last tube at night and the often overcrowded night bus services.
For West End Ward, the introduction of the night-tube will offer an alternative to many who come to the West End for the array of theatres, restaurants, bars and clubs. This will be welcomed by local business, particularly in area like Soho who have faced challenging times in recent years. We have 10 tube stations in or around my ward - some of the most iconic and busiest stations on the network; All 10 of these tube stations will be part of the Night Tube service.
As a councillor, my first concern has to be for the area and residents that I represent on Westminster City Council.
Night Tube unlock the potential for longer opening hours for bars, clubs and other venues, and this must be managed in a way that allows businesses to flourish and customers to benefit without a detrimental impact on local residents. The West End is already a hot spot for nights out, and with longer opening hours comes the potential for more alcohol-fuelled nights out, and the consequences that follow.
This is where the responsibility of license holders will come into play in partnership with the council and police who have the responsibility for public order.
Westminster Council, and indeed any council affected by the Night Tube across London, needs to ensure that those asking for later licenses provide the adequate security to ensure customers can enjoy later hours in a safe and responsible environment, and that ensures the area is not negatively affected by their increased license.
One of the major advantages of the extended tube services will hopefully be improved safety for passengers, with access to later reducing demand for illegal minicabs, making night buses in turn less crowded and more comfortable and improving the safety of taxis at night.
London is the best city in the world, and like other world-class cities it deserves and warrants a night tube, but it needs to be well staffed, and the safety of Londoners, and local residents, needs to be at the forefront of delivery of the new service.
In my role as an advisor to the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC), I know what great work London's Police are doing to safeguard our city.
TFL have already promised an enhanced policing presence during the overnight services, with more than 100 officers to patrol the 144 stations that will be open throughout the night each weekend when the Night Tube services begin. With addition Transport Police Community Support Officers also out on the network to assist passengers, and support police officers. I will be looking to TFL and the Metropolitan Police to take swift action to deal with disturbances both on the network and in local neighbourhoods affected by the night tube.
The other real concern that I have for the West End is not about the people getting home after a good night out but about people arriving in the West End after a good night out. It is not clear what modelling, if any, underlies the assumptions that have informed TfL's predictions as to usage. However many people will now be tempted to go to their local pubs and clubs in the evening and decide, possibly at 2am, to head "up West" to continue their entertainment. This could see large numbers of very drunk people arriving in the West End in the early hours going in search of late night clubs and running the real risk of being refused entry and taking out their disappointment not just of the security staff at the venues but on the West End and its residents.
Safeguarding residents, the local area, and those visiting Central London, is of paramount importance. There are many potential benefits from the Night Tube which will cut late night journeys times and extending London's night-time economy. However, in unlocking these benefits we must be prepared to review and react to the unexpected and ensure the advantages of longer tube opening are not lost by damage done elsewhere. I feel a pilot scheme and more honest figures from TfL are essential if we are to face up to these problems and the implications for the stretched resources of the Council and Police.
As many wise licensees say it is the tenth pint which gives you 10% of the profit and 100% of the problems.

Frith Street Proposals - Public Exhibition Boards

Benesco Charity Ltd will shortly be submitting a planning application to Westminster City Council for the refurbishment of 53-55 Frith Street and 8-10 Bateman Street.

The proposal is to extensively refurbish the buildings to provide improved office, residential, retail and restaurant accommodation.

If you would like further information or a separate briefing on the proposals, please do not hesitate to contact Matthew Richards on 020 3697 4294 or via email