Bond Street Station Western Ticket Hall Tunnelling Update

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Bond Street Station Western Ticket Hall Tunnelling Update.pdf

Redevelopment of 20 Albemarle Street - Public Consultation

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150217 The Royal Institution Presentation FINAL.pdf


The Royal Institution of Great Britain will soon be submitting applications for planning permission and listed building consent to Westminster Council for works within 20 Albemarle Street. Public consultation is sought on these proposals and a public exhibition is being held today (20th February) from 12pm to 5pm at the Royal Institution at 21 Albemarle Street, London W1S 4BS.

Please do visit the exhibition if you would like to view the proposals and have any concerns heard.

Gong Xi Fa Cai / Kung Hei Fat Choi

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Happy New Year to the Chinese community of West End Ward and beyond. Wishing you all a prosperous and happy new year.

Modern Times: Welcome to Mayfair

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This Sunday, BBC 2 will broadcast the latest in its series 'Modern Times' focussing on Mayfair.



The BBC described the show: "From the upmarket resident who dresses in Victorian clothing to the cabbie living in social housing, Welcome to Mayfair offers an intimate portrait of the characters who live, work and play in one of London's most famous areas. The most coveted square on the Monopoly board is a meeting place of fairy tales and conspicuous consumerism - more concentrated wealth than anywhere else on the planet, streets teeming with oligarchs and aristocrats, 20 Michelin-starred restaurants, nearly 4,000 five-star hotel rooms and the world's most expensive retail outlets. It's home to some of the UK's most famous institutions - Claridges, Christie's auction house and the Burlington Arcade - which sit alongside 1,000 social housing tenants and an army of 80,000 workers who service this exclusive enclave.

"This Modern Times film reveals a world full of surprise and deep contrasts - from the estate agent selling multimillion-pound mansions to the NHS doctor whose patients range from billionaires to people on benefits, and the craftspeople who keep the wealthy in their finery to the small café owners hanging onto their livelihoods by their fingernails. With the global super rich clamouring for an address in Mayfair, it is undergoing one of the biggest changes in its long history - but can Mayfair's unique cocktail of eccentricity, affluence and the everyday survive in the face of the relentless commercialisation of the area?"


Audience members wanted for BBC Free Speech

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Audience members are currently being sought for four episodes of BBC Free Speech, the political debate show on BBC Three. Leading representatives of our national political parties will be answering questions from the studio audience and they are looking for anyone aged between 16 and 34 who would like to ask a question and engage in the debate.

The four episodes will be based in London and the dates are:

Tuesday 3rd March

Tuesday 10th March
Tuesday 17th March
Tuesday 24th March

If you are interested in participating and would like to reserve your space, this can be done through the following link: http://www.freespeechaudience.co.uk/ 

More information can be found on BBC Free Speech's Twitter (https://twitter.com/bbcfreespeech) and Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/BBCFreeSpeech).


Patrick Murphy Art Installation

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If you wander through the streets of Soho in the next three months and spot people gawking and pointing, stop and take a look at the lampposts dotted along the route. Colourful pigeons are perched on street lights along Greek Street and Soho Square as part of a new art installation curated by the Sim Smith Gallery. According to the creator, Patrick Murphy, these colourful birds aim to raise questions surrounding acceptance, marginalisation and homelessness in urban environments. The exhibition runs for the next three months and certainly makes this area that much more colourful.

Capital Clean-up campaign

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Mayor Boris Johnson has once again launched the ‘Capital Clean-up campaign’ across London. The campaign calls on all Londoners to roll up their sleeves, get together with neighbours and family and smarten up their neighbourhoods. Groups such as community organisations, charities, small businesses and youth groups can apply for £50,000 worth of grants and tools to tidy up their parks, streets, residential areas and waterways.

The Mayor’s Office announced that last year’s campaign saw over 3,500 volunteers take part in 222 Capital Clean-up events, collecting 3,000 bags of rubbish and transforming an area the size of 104 football fields.


This campaign is a perfect opportunity to get to know your neighbours and help give your local area a sparkling makeover. To apply for one of the £500, £1,500 or tool-kits visit www.london.gov.uk/cleanup. The deadline for applications is 5pm on Monday, 16th March 2015.

Dismantling of Eduardo Paolozzi's Murals at Tottenham Court Road Underground Station

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I was disappointed to hear of the dismantling of Eduardo Paolozzi’s murals above the escalators at Tottenham Court Road Underground station. Despite assurances of the protection of 95% of the mosaics in the station from Transport for London and developers Hawkins Brown three of the four mosaics on the  arches have now been dismantled. Although the upgrading is crucial for the future of the station and the designs required the removal of the arches but I had hoped that  these sections of the mosaics could be saved. Transport for London have pledged to save a mosaic at the Oxford Street entrance which will be relocated to platform level and I intend to monitor this pledge and raise concerns when appropriate.


I will continue to hold relevant parties accountable at the next Tottenham Court Road Community Liaison Panel on 17th February.

Upgrades to London Cycle Network

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With the announcement that London Mayor Boris Johnson is going ahead with the his flagship Cycle Highway linking Hyde Park with Tower Hill (pending Transport for London Board approval on 4th February) the debate surrounding cycling in London has continued to grow. Although there are still a large number of obstacles (adverse weather, dangerous driving, careless pedestrians to name but a few) facing cyclists in the city, cycling is proving to be an ever-growing popular method of transport for those travelling to and around the City of Westminster. This growth is fuelled by the widespread availability of Barclays Cycle Hire throughout the Borough, introducing cycling to a much wider audience.

Within the West End Ward, I believe we have one of the most diverse and accommodating cycling infrastructures in the city, from the chic higgledy-piggledy streets of Soho to the urban jungle of Oxford Street and surrounding streets. The East-West Cycle Superhighway proposal, recently closed to public consultations will see, if agreed, a largely segregated cycle route throughout Central London from Tower Hill to Acton. This segregation from traffic will allow for a much clear and convenient route for cyclists and increased safety for both cyclist and other road users. Coming up Constitution Hill and travelling through the Ward by Hyde Park Corner, users of the route will be treated with cutting through Hyde Park, crossing the Serpentine and back on to Westbourne Terrace.


I welcome upgrades to the cycle network and hope this investment is a big step forward in making London a safer and more accommodating city to cyclists. 

Park Lane Carriage Resurfacing

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Transport for London have announced that Park Lane (A4202) will be resurfaced starting early February. This resurfacing, part of Transport for London's Road Modernisation Plan will eliminate cracks, rutting and pot holes on the carriageway, making this important road safer and more reliable for London commuters. The improvement works taking place between Sunday, 8th February and Thursday, 27th February 2015 will be carried out in stages to reduce the amount of disruption caused, to maintain traffic flow and road capacity.

If you have any concerns regarding this resurfacing please do not hesitate to contact me.


Outcome of Westminster Council’s Planning Committee #SaveTheYard

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I'm pleased to report that at this evening’s meeting of Westminster City Council’s Planning Committee, councillors have deferred a decision, pending a site visit, on the planning application submitted by developers which would have seen the outside courtyard of The Yard Bar enclosed with a glass platform.

As I said in my representation to the committee and blogged yesterday, The Yard is a unique place within Soho and this application is unnecessary, inappropriate and unwelcome.

The decision by the committee to defer this application is a positive one. But means further efforts will be needed to secure a full rejection of the application. 

I hope the strength of opposition to the plans demonstrated by the #SavetheYard campaign, which has received support from all corners of the local community and beyond, will give the committee plenty to think about.

A second application at the site which would see the destruction of the timber roof and development of three flats above the existing first floor has yet to go before the planning committee.

Why I'm speaking out to #SaveTheYard

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Many readers will have heard about the planning proposal submitted to Westminster City Council for redevelopment of The Yard Bar in Soho.

The site an iconic venue and important independent business in Soho, but is also a unique and historic building. For these reasons I am opposing the applications.

Developers have submitted two separate applications, which are a reincarnation of proposals first submitted in 2010 and were rejected by Westminster Council but won approval on appeal. 

The first would see a basement excavation under the existing courtyard to provide storage and staff room facilities, as well as enclosing the existing courtyard with a glass platform which would provide additional space upstairs, consequently removing the unique enclosed outdoor space on the ground floor. The second application would see three flats build above the existing first floor, removing the timber beamed roof.

The first application is due to be considered by Westminster planning committee tomorrow.

The Yard is a unique place within Soho. It is the only remaining stable yard and a place where people from across the communities in Soho can make use of outside space, away from the busy streets. There are 14 years remaining on the current lease and this application is unnecessary, inappropriate and unwelcome.



The proposals would be an unacceptable intensification on the site, would see customers forced out onto a busy thoroughfare to smoke creating a nuisance and would damage the local Conservation Area. There are very few places where customers can enjoy a drink and smoke away from the busy streets of Soho. Westminster seeks to preserve the culture of Soho and that does not mean there should be no development, but any proposed development must enhance the area not undermine it.

I will be speaking on behalf of residents at the planning committee tomorrow against the development and urging colleagues to reject the application.

Work is also being undertaken by the Society Society, which I am supporting, to provide long-term protection for the site with listed building status, given its unique nature. 

The planning committee meets at Westminster City Halll, 64 Victoria Street at 18:30 on Tuesday 27th January 2015. There is a public gallery, but only councillors can speak.

For more information and to support the campaign, please visit http://yardbar.co.uk/savetheyard.

Proposed Redevelopment of Audley Square Car Park Site - Public Exhibition

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All are welcome at the public exhibition of proposals for the Audley Square Car Park and former Ascot Hotel site being held from next week. The exhibition will be held on site, in the car park, and will be open to the public from Tuesday 27 January to Friday 30 January between 3pm and 7pm and 10am to 1pm on Saturday 31 January. Please do visit the exhibition if you would like to view the proposals and have your views heard. 

Grosvenor Chapel Opera Gala - 28th January 2015

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Grosvenor Chapel Opera Gala Flyer emv


All are welcome at a Grosvenor Chapel Opera Gala in Grosvenor Chapel on South Audley Street on Wednesday, 28th January. Beginning at 7:30pm, this gala in support of the Chapel’s Outreach Programme will see performances by professional Soloists and combined Mayfair choirs. Ticket information and contact details for the Chapel can be found on the PDF above.