Archive for November 2010

Crossrail - Dean Street/New Station

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Dean Street
(Image courtesy of Crossrail)
The Tottenham Court Road Station for Crossrail will have two entrances.  Apart from the main entrance at the corner of Tottenham Court Road, Charing Cross Road, New Oxford Street and Oxford Street there will be an additional station entrance at Dean Street.

The properties on Dean Street fronting Oxford Street and Great Chapel Street as well as those on both sides of Diadem Court were acquired by Crossrail under compulsory purchase powers and have now been demolished.  They included the old Bath House pub (a listed building) which was demolished together with offices and homes.

The new development is going to reflect both the properties that have gone and a balance between this site and the Tottenham Court Road site under Westminster City Council’s policy of providing mixed use developments.  Dean Street will have not only the station entrance in a newly pedestrianised Dean Street Piazza but shops at ground floor and then residential accommodation above.  It is anticipated that new flats will be created on both sides of Diadem Court and will include both private and subsidised housing.

Unlike the Crossrail process itself any over station development will have to go through a full planning process requiring approval by Westminster after consultation with all the usual statutory consultees.

Although work will not be completed until 2017/2018 preliminary plans are now being put forward to allow people to have their say as the construction methodology will need to take account of the work taking place below ground.

An exhibition of the plans can be seen at Crossrail’s Visitor Centre in St Giles Circus.

To view an information sheet about the demolition works taking place at Dean Street please click here.

Soho - Special Constable(MSCs) Official Launch

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On Friday night the work of the team of Special Constables who help the regular Police in providing a uniformed presence in Soho on Friday and Saturday nights was formally  recognised by a visit from Kit Malthouse Deputy Mayor for London and Chairman of the Metropolitan Police Authority.


Left to right - Kit Malthouse, Superintendent Loxley,
 Me and Superintendent Alan Horton (in charge of MSCs)

After giving Awards to various outstanding individuals Kit and I, together with the MSCs, went out on patrol with the teams including a specialist dog team looking at the on street drugs market in Soho.  We saw at first hand how the presence of significant numbers of uniformed police officers act not only as a deterrent to crime but provide an effective way to allow the concerns of residents to be addressed and sufficient manpower to undertake on -street operations of this kind.

Every weekend the Specials give their own free time to patrol the streets of Soho putting themselves in harm’s way.  They are volunteers who are unpaid and provide a wonderful example of contributing to society in a practical and meaningful way.

There are currently 4000 Specials in London of whom 350 are working in Westminster.  The target is to achieve 7000 by the time of the Olympics in 2012 and if you are interested in volunteering to help and are able to give up 25 hours per month on your time then you can contact the Recruitment Office www.metpolicecareers.co.uk/specials.

Mayfair - Oxford Street & Regent Street - VIP Day November 27th.

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On Saturday Oxford Street was closed so that shoppers could take over Oxford Street and Regent Street as the latest VIP (very important pedestrians) proved to be a huge success.

All along the streets entertainment was provided and exhibits and special offers to encourage people to come to the West End and enjoy their shopping without worrying about the buses and taxis which habitually clog the streets at other times.

Hundreds of thousands of people came and it is estimated by NWEC (who helped to organise the day) that some £200,000,000 was taken by the shops on that day proving the enduring popularity of the West End as a shopping destination second to none.

At the opening ceremony Dame Judith Mayhew Jonas (Chairman of NWEC) and Robert Davis (Deputy Leader of WCC and Deputy Lord Mayor Locum Tenens) praised the co-operation between the business owners and organisations, who are so vital to the prosperity of the West End and the local community who have worked together to provide visitors with memories of a great and enjoyable day.

Crossrail - Bond Street - Gilbert Street Utility Works

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Utility works on Gilbert Street will be taking place from the 1st - 4th December 2010. Please see the information sheet below to see how this could effect you.

From 07:00am on the 6th December, both Gilbert Street and Weighhouse Street will be closed for 24 hours. For further detailed information please click here


Utility works - Gilbert Street -

Soho - Golden Square - Proposed Garden Improvements

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A number of recent changes have been made to the redesign of the gardens in Golden Square. Following the consultation procedure with residents and local businesses, proposals have been developed to retain the statue of George I, open out the spaces for lunchtime use during the week, and provide a leisure space for local residents with additional seating, planting, and potential for sculptural works. Please take a look at the information below. There is still time to comment on the revised proposals by sending your views to Rebecca Cloke at rcloke@westminster.gov.uk.


Golden Square Public info board. pdf -

Mayfair - Oxford Street - Park House Redevelopment

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Real progress can now be seen on the re-construction of Park House as the below ground works are progressing and the building works now coming out of the ground. Over the last month, levels 2 and 3 have been reached as construction commenced on the West and East service cores which will house the lift shafts and staircases. Please see the link below for further updates and pictures in the latest newsletter.
Park House Newsletter - November 2010

Crossrail - Tottenham Court Road - Station Designs

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Entrance Hall at Tottenham Court Road
(Image courtesy of Crossrail)
The £1bn transformation of Tottenham Court Road will be the biggest transport investment in the West End for decades. As this is a mixed development there are also plans for a new studio theatre on the site of the old Astoria.

Tottenham Court Road tube station was not designed for, and struggles to cope with the almost 150,000 passenger journeys that are now made through the station every day. Once Crossrail services begin to operate, passenger numbers are expected to rise to over 200,000.

Crossrail has released new designs for Tottenham Court Road Crossrail station, one of the biggest stations on the Crossrail route. The updated designs not only provide Londoners with a first glimpse of the new station but also an indication of the scale of the station's eventual size. The new Crossrail station will be integrated with the Tube station to form a combined station that will stretch from Soho to Centre Point.

The new development will have a mix of uses including retail office and leisure and envisages the creation of a new open space between the buildings and fronting the theatre. The style and materials of the works will be closely coordinated with the works envisaged on the other side of Charing Cross Rd (which is in the London Borough of Camden) so as to create a feeling of a new destination worthy of the location.

Planning Applications will be submitted as the project further develops so keep following for more information. Resident's views and queries are a key part of the consultation process so please comment or contact me to get your points heard.

Follow the link to the latest Tottenham Court Road Newsletter or for more information on the new design and anything else Crossrail related please click here.

Mayfair - Oxford Street - Regent Street - 27th November 2010

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The Starlight Fairiesz
This weekend sees the West End preparing for the biggest shopping day of the year. Oxford Street and Regent Street will both be completely traffic free as they expect to welcome over one million festive shoppers.

The Starlight Fairies will also be out in force encouraging shoppers to add a Starlight wish for serious and terminally ill children to their Christmas shopping list.

For more information on the event please click here.

Green Issues - Drinking Fountains

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Drinking Fountain in Hyde Park
 I have been working hard to either by restoration or introduction a network of publicly accessed Drinking Fountains. This serves the needs of both residents and visitors to the area, and provides a green alternative to bottle water. Drinking water from a fountain is 3,000 times greener than doing so by means of bottled water. The bottled water involves wasteful use of resources, pollution caused by delivery, disposal and collections, litter and encourages people to drink unhealthy sugar based drinks, when a drop of water would suffice.

I have campaigned via London Councils for this and Firmdale Hotels have agreed to put a drinking fountain into their new development. This will form a model of how we can move forward. The proposal has the support of various national bodies and was well received at the Conservative Party Conference by the relevant Ministers.

Soho - Get Home Safely Tonight

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A public handout from the City of Westminster, the Metroplitan and British Transport Police provides information on night buses for those who miss the last tube service around the soho area.


Soho Safer Map -

Fitzrovia - The Berners Hotel

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Plans from Marriott were unveiled on the 8th November 2010 to bring a luxury boutique brand to London.

It will be situated in the former Berners Hotel, a converted residence in London's bustling Fitzrovia media district which has been closed since 2006, and is set to open between 18 and 24 months from now.

An article written in The Independent is available to view here.

Mayfair - South Molton St - Christmas Lights Switch On

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On the evening of the 16th November 2010, The Christmas lights were switched on at Brook and South Molton Street.

This year the lights were switched on by TV personality Gaby Roslin. A number of shops that line the streets were offering a selection of free food and drink throughout the event. The night of festive entertainment took place in support of the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood.


Green Issues - Trees

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Hallam Street
There is a major project which is in the Ward (particularly in Fitzrovia and East Marylebone) to plant additional street trees. This is the WIW Tree Initiative which has successfully planted trees recently and intends to continue to plant further trees to create avenues. In addition we have trees elsewhere in the Ward which we have to fight to maintain. They provide the ability to fix carbon, thereby improving the air and soften behaviour in these tight urban spaces. They also provide a link for birds and other wildlife between the parks.

Green Issues - Vertical Gardens and Green Roofs

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The Athenaeum Hotel (Top)
Anthropologie (Below)

West End Ward has comparatively little open space. I have been working,  both as ward councillor and Chairman of the Go Green Task Force with others to look at ways of improving air quality, visual aspects and sustainability.

I will be encouraging green roofs and vertical gardens. We already have some excellent examples at the Athenaeum Hotel and at Anthropologie of how greenery can be introduced. Proposals to create green roofs at Kemp House in Soho and Howard House in Fitzrovia are in place.

The new development at Ham Yard will include bees on the roof and we are looking at protecting and encouraging bees and birds to live in the parks and open spaces.

Crossrail - Bond Street to Oxford Circus - Bus Diversions

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Crossrail works are taking place around the Bond Street and Oxford Street areas. Inevitably, the works are going to have some effect on the buses that use routes in and around these areas.

Information has been released by TfL. To view the related documents please follow the two links below.


Transport - Olympic Route Network

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2012 will see the Ward at the centre of the Olympic Celebrations. The main hotels on Park Lane will be the home of the Olympic Officials and road closures and road restrictions will result.

Inevitably the people that come to the Olympics will be looking to West End Ward to provide their entertainment before, during and after the games.

2012 will also see the Queens Diamond Jubilee, World Pride and the Paralympic Games, so we can expect approximately 100 days of major celebration to be focused on the Ward.

The Olympic route network (ORN) has yet to be finalised but it will involve closure or partial closure of Park Lane and major restrictions on the timing of deliveries.

There will also be a moratorium on non-essential road works throughout much of 2012, prior to the games.

Transport - Pedicabs

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Recent years have seen the introduction of Pedicabs (sometimes called ‘Rickshaws’) to our streets. To some people they may provide an interesting and amusing way of getting around the West End. However, to others there is a real concern as to the way these unlicensed, uninsured vehicles ply for trade on the Public Highway and block or delay other forms of transport.


Pedicabs have caused particular problems where they park in the bus lane outside Hamley's on Regents Street, and where they ride slowly on Oxford Street where they slow down buses and other traffic.

Also, waiting outside theatres, particularly the palladium in Argyll Street and the Prince Edward Theatre in Old Compton Street.

I am working with the Council, London Organisations, Transport Department of the TfL and our MP Mark Field to help create a legislative and regulatory framework ( because no satisfactory one exists at present) to ensure that any Pedicabs are properly licensed, supervised and operate legally given that they are taking passengers for profit.

Royal Parks - Drinking Water Fountains

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One of the winning designs
An International competition was launched earlier this year by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, to design 'The Ultimate Drinking Fountain' for London's eight Royal Parks.

Two architects from the UK won the competition. The sculptures that double as water drinking fountains for both humans and dogs were chosen from over 150 entries from 26 different countries. The winning designs were judged on aesthetics, robustness for life in a public park, ease of maintenance and installation, sustainability and environmental impact and affordability.

Articles have been written by The Evening Standard, The Guardian and there has also been a piece on the Horticulture Week Website.

West End Ward Budget Update

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West End Ward has committed funding for six projects throughout 2010-11. There are still funds to be allocated and ideas on how best to use these remaining resources are currently being considered.
 
Updates on the six current projects that have been taking place throughout the year, are available if you follow the link provided below.

 

Regent Street - Christmas Lights Switch On.

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On the evening of Tuesday 9th November I attended the Regent Street Christmas lights switch on and they never fail to amaze.


The Regent Street Association who works with The Crown Estate has a history of attracting some of the worlds most celebrated stars. This year, radio DJs Jamie Theakston and Harriet Scott hosted a festive extravaganza to celebrate the release of the new 3D family film, Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, as Regent Street is transformed into a winter wonderland for lucky Londoners. There was also plenty to keep the crowds entertained before the main event with more celebrity appearances from three British stars of the film, Ben Barnes, Georgie Henley and Will Poulter, X Factor contestant Joe McElderry and live music from singer Alexis Jordan, the cast of the Jersey Boys and the West End Gospel Choir.
 
As well as giving pleasure to local residents the Christmas lights will no doubt attract thousands of shoppers throughout the festive season, making for one of the major tourist attractions in London this Christmas, and is one of the many events which makes this time of year so special in West End Ward.   

Crossrail - Bond Street - Hanover Square Traffic

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Crossrail have announced a detailed traffic management map for the area surrounding Hanover Square. Please follow the link provided below. This forms part of the works required to allow the demolition to be continued.

It will also allow for the sinking of the compensation grouting shaft in Tenterden Street which is designed to work with the shaft in Haunch of Venison Yard to minimize movement and damage to buildings affected by tunneling works.

Licensing Enforcement Team - Premises Visits

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On Friday night and Saturday morning I worked with the Licensing Enforcement Team in relation to their activities for licensed premises.

Although it was pouring with rain the West End was as ever busy and we visited a number of properties where residents and others have complained about issues to see whether compliance was taking place.

Although the teams concerned covered many more premises I was present at the following inspections in West End Ward:-

1. The King and Queen Public House - Foley Street, London W1. There have been ongoing complaints in relation to noise emanating from this property from residents in John Aster House. We undertook an inspection from within those premises and although there was some noise it was not at nuisance level during the inspection.

2. The Punch Bowl - Farm Street, London W1. We undertook a visit to inspect recent alterations to the fire exit doors and to check the general compliance with the license conditions.

The works for the fire door had been completed and there was no evidence of unlawful smoking or outdoor drinking at the time of inspection.

3. The Only Running Footman - Charles Street, London W1. The team inspected the premises to see whether there were any problems with outside drinking causing an obstruction to traffic and pedestrians. There were no problems at the time of the inspection.

4. Mamounia - Curzon Street, London W1. There have been complaints in relation to the breach of the Health Act in relation to smoking at the premises. There were no breaches apparent during the inspection. There have also been issues in relation to CCTV and the license holder said that those had now been resolved and are fully compliant with police requirements.

5. Katies - Lansdowne Row, London W1. A visit to ensure that there were no breaches of the Health Act (relating to smoking) there were no breaches evident on this occasion.

6. Cafe Lazeez - Dean Street, London W1. We visited to ensure that the fire door was not being wedged open. It was not.

7. The Groucho Club - Dean Street, London W1. The premises were visited as there had been a suggestion that there had been a change of management and possible non-compliance with the license conditions. There was no evidence of this but further investigation will be made.

8. DIU - Greek Street, London W1. The premises were visited to ensure that the CCTV was working properly and a test was run. Further investigation will be made. Also the license holder was reminded that they must not "tout" for business as a condition of their license.

9. Millennium Britannia Hotel - Grosvenor Square, London W1 and Adams Row, London W1. A visit was undertaken (to deal with concerns with relation to noise nuisance) to residents in Adams Row caused by customers leaving through the rear doors. The matter was discussed with the manager and further action will now be taken to ensure compliance.

10. Korkers - D'Arblay Street, London W1. We undertook an inspection to ensure that the property is now closed and confirmed that it was.

11. Moonlighting - Greek Street, London W1. A visit to the premises was undertaken at the request of the police following concerns as to incidents both in and immediately outside the property. These were discussed with the manager and the CCTV implication reviewed.

12. The Crown and Two Chairmen - Dean Street, London W1. A visit to the premises was undertaken at the request and suggestion of the police. We spoke to the manager at length in relation to the issues concerning a significant number of bag thefts which have taken place. The manager described the methods being undertaken to ensure that such problems are minimised going forward.

13. The British Luxury Club - Following expressions of concern from local residents I visited Brook Street at 03:00am to observe any patrons coming out of the club in New Bond Street and causing nuisance to residents. Whilst the rest of the enforcement team stayed in Brook Street I went to the premises in New Bond Street and apart from the door supervisors did not observe any disturbance taking place whilst I was there.

Mayfair - Mount Street Gardens & Carlos Place Proposals

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Public realm works are taking place on Mount Street and Carlos Place. To view the progression made between South Audley Street and Mount Street Gardens, or for further proposals please follow the link to the latest newsletter.

Mount Street Newsletter - Novemeber 2010

Crossrail: Bond Street Underground Update

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TfL have produced a handout with detailed information regarding utility works on Oxford Street in preparation for the Bond Street Station Upgrade and the Bond Street Crossrail Station. Please follow the link provided below to view the document.

TfL - Marylebone Area Handout

East Marylebone - Marcol House Redevelopment

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Existing Fascia (Left) - Proposed Scheme (Right)
Demolition behind the list fa├žade is taking place to create a large Commercial and Office Building in this location. Details of the proposed plans are attached.
Marcol House - Proposed Plans

East Marylebone - Tree Planting

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Barbara doing the honours
To support my passion for tree planting and 'greening' of the West End, I attended a ceremonial tree planting on the historic Weymouth Street at the corner of Portland Place. The planting is part of the W1W Tree Initiative's work to create green avenues throught East Marylebone. Works have been completed on Hallam Street and further planting is plabnned for Great Portland St, Devonshire St, New Cavendish St, Queen Anne St etc.

The trees help to improve air quality and provide habitat for birds and insects which maintain biodiversity as well as adding to the visual attractiveness of the area.

Miss Barbara Windsor, MBE, actress and local resident, was a guest at the event and planted a tree to mark the arrival of 53 new chanticleer pear trees. Cllr Harvey Marshall as Lord Mayor Locum Tenens unveiled a commemorative plaque to mark the occasion.

Fitzrovia - Cleveland Street - Old Workhouses

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Although this Application is on the Camden Side of the Street it will clearly have a major effect on Westminster. The proposal is to demolish the existing eighteenth century workhouses and replace them with a large block of residential flats. Many of these units will be family sized and clearly there will be an effect on the nearby school (All Souls) and on services in the vicinity.
The application has created a good deal of local controversy and there are many calls for the retention and re-use of the buildings. A Link is provided to the Fugitive Ink Blog and for Anyone who wants to sign an e-petition – please look at http://www.workhouses.org.uk/ homepage and follow the links to Strand Union Workhouse.

Although this is not in Westminster, Westminster and the Council are able to make representations given its proximity to the border.

To view the planning applications please follow the two links below. All of the necessary application documents are available.

Middlesex Hospital Annex - Planning Application 1
Middlesex Hospital Annex - Planning Application 2

Click on the link to view a brochure representing proposal plans for the redevelopment of the former Middlesex Hospital Annex Site.

Middlesex Hospital Annex Site