Broadband in Fitzrovia

Broadband in Central London. (Downloaded September 2018)

Some of our members have asked us to address the issues of poor broadband speeds in our area.   So, we have written to the MP Mark Field and to Theo Blackwell to appeal for their help.

This is what we said;

I enclose an image showing how poor download speeds are in the West End.  The received opinion seems to be that the West End is a business zone that can afford to go it alone.  However in Fitzrovia we have the highest residential density in the West End and the lowest wealth scores.
On behalf of residents and small businesses/start-ups who can’t afford private fibre services we appeal for your help.
Surely the centre of a dynamic city like London should have digital infrastructure that is second to none – not third rate?
Is there anything practical that can be done? This is stifling small business opportunity in an important centre of creative and digital endeavour.
Ironically both Google and Facebook have chosen to locate offices in this zone.  How can smaller firms and individuals hope to share if they can’t even download a medium sized pdf?
As a community neighbourhood group we are willing to help and support new initiatives.  We’d love to be super fast guinea pigs!

 

 

 

 

 

 

AGM MONDAY 25 JUNE 2018

AGM MONDAY 25 JUNE 2018

We held our AGM on Monday 25 June 2018 at 6pm at Fitzrovia Centre. For more details, see http://fitzwest.org/wordpress/meeting-notes/executive/executive-committee-agendas-and-notes/

The Pavement Project

We are consulting on a proposal for greening the East side of Great Titchfield St between Clipstone St and Carburton St.

The project

We have ward funding to prepare and consult on a plan for the pavement on the East side of Great Titchfield St between Clipstone St and Carburton St. We want your views. This will not cost you anything. Images of the proposals can be found below

The consultation

To keep it simple, we are just asking four questions which are set out below. The deadline for responses is Thursday 29 March 2018.

How to respond

There are four ways to respond:

  • Complete our surveymonkey survey
  • Email us with your answers at gwilymharbottle@gmail.com
  • If you receive one of our flyers, complete it and leave it at the Fitzrovia Centre, 2 Foley St, London W1W 6DL
  • Come to our exhibition on 19 March 2018 at the Fitzrovia Centre, 2 Foley St, London W1W 6DL between 12 noon and 2pm and between 6pm and 8pm and fill in the form there

Here are links to images of the plans and a PowerPoint.

PowerPoint

The questions

These are the questions:

1. Are you in favour of turning the pavement on the East side of Great Titchfield St between Clipstone St and Carburton St into green space?

2. We’re not able to dig into the pavement so have used containers.  What do you think about our plan?

3. What is your name and are you a resident, business owner, worker?

4. Would you like to help with planting and maintenance of the green space?

All comments will be held by Fitzwest and may be made public. Your personal information, such as your postal and e-mail address will not be published, but your name and organisation (if relevant) will.

OXFORD STREET CONSULTATION: FITZWEST’S FINAL RESPONSE

Following the public meeting on 21 November and numerous discussions with local residents, workers and businesses, we have finalised our detailed response to the Oxford Street consultation: see the final response here. This was submitted to Transport for London on 1st January 2018.

People and businesses in Fitzwest are not against change but do believe that the consultation process involves a lost opportunity to transform the whole of Oxford Street and its surrounding area into a vibrant public realm.

The consensus is that the proposals as they stand are likely to have serious adverse consequences for Fitzwest in terms of increased traffic and congestion, increased air and noise pollution and reduced accessibility (not least because of the loss of bus routes and a failure to provide alternative cycle routes).

The response also includes detailed comments on how Oxford Street West would look and operate if the proposals were implemented.

The consultation can be found at https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/roads/oxford-street/

New Collection Times for Rubbish and Recycling – Pilot Scheme Feedback

Here are the results from the online survey that Westminster Council (“WCC”) instigated to obtain feedback from residents in the pilot area. (Great Titchfield Street, New Cavendish Street, Gosfield Street, Langham Street, Hanson Street, Middleton Place, Riding House Street and Ogle Street).

After examining the results the executive at FitzWest Forum have made the following comments and recommendations to WCC:

  1. WCC should now proceed to the next stage, which is implementing the pilot permanently with the proviso that a further consultation should take place six months after this happens.
  2. Many people feel the collection times are too early in the day. Can these be adjusted to, for example, 8.00 a.m. on street?
  3. Temporary signage could now be made permanent, with the old signs removed. The presence of both signs is still causing confusion. Add more signs where necessary.
  4. Foley Street was excluded from the pilot by WCC despite running directly through the middle of the pilot area. It would be helpful for consistency and clarity if Foley Street was included in the permanent changes.
  5. Some residents have highlighted missed or late collections so can we make sure the new collection times are clearly understood by Veolia. And we will encourage residents to report any problems.

All missed collections etc can be reported via ‘Report It’ section on the Westminster website www.westminster.gov.uk/report-it or call 0207 641 2000.

Several residents requested the reinstatement of the large black bins. This has also been raised with the Forum directly by some residents and is the subject of a petition. We have passed on these views to WCC. The background to this is that late in 2015, almost two years before the pilot began, WCC removed almost all the black bins in the pilot area (and beyond) on the grounds that they encouraged dumping around them. WCC told us at that time that the very limited number of bins that remained would only be left if there was a proven need for them. This has remained WCC’s position.

Within this context, the aim of the pilot was to increase frequency and efficiency of collection of rubbish and recycling. Whatever decision WCC reaches with the black bins, our aim at the FitzWest Forum is to continue to support more frequent and efficient rubbish and recycling and to keep reminding WCC to be consistent and efficient with collections and street cleansing.

Waste Collection in Fitzrovia – Survey Closed

Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to fill out the survey. The results are currently being collated by Westminster Council and we will post the results once they are available.

Waste collection in Fitzrovia

As you will be aware the Council has introduced new rubbish and recycling collection times in your street.

We are looking for feedback on this scheme and would appreciate your responses to the survey below, including any further thoughts and comments you may have concerning the scheme.

To take part in the survey please click here.

Pilot Scheme – Recycling and Rubbish Improvements

Everyone in Fitzrovia has noticed the rubbish and dumping that unfortunately seems to have become a daily blight on our streets.

One of the significant problems identified by residents is that there is a general confusion on collection times and days and signage is inconsistent with what happens in reality. As a result of this confusion many residents have a become accustomed to putting our rubbish out at any time which has led to the rubbish-strewn streets. Also there has been a more general call for the number of recycling collections to be increased.

The Fitzrovia West Neighbourhood Forum, in consultation with local residents, has worked with Westminster City Council over the last two years to agree simplifications and improvements to recycling and rubbish collection times. These are now being trialled in a limited area of Fitzrovia as part of the pilot.   A map of the pilot area is below.

The pilot improves and simplifies the collection arrangements, including an increase in recycling for all streets and an increase in rubbish collection in some streets. Our area is fortunate, unlike our neighbours Camden and other London Boroughs where refuse and recycling is often only once a week (with reviews in hand to move this back to fortnightly) we will see an increase in general and recycling collection.

It is acknowledged that restaurants and businesses contribute to the rubbish problem and they also have been informed of new collection times in order to reduce the amount of time rubbish sacks are on the streets.

People have complained about dumping, especially by builders and house clearers.  Westminster hopes to place more officers on the street during the pilot period, to enforce this and other contraventions.

As a part of the Neighbourhood Forum, we as residents and local businesses can all work together for the greater good of our environment. We do want to make sure that all residents understand the pilot arrangements and the new and improved collection times and days. The Council is contacting all households to explain the new arrangements first and providing letters to identify collection times in the particular streets in the pilot area.

We are all looking forward to seeing cleaner streets as the pilot progresses.

We would very much like to hear residents’ feedback to the pilot and the improvements to the service.

Please comment below or contact us by email at info@fitzwest.org. Feedback can also be provided to Tom Walsh at Westminster City Council His email address is:

twalsh@westminster.gov.uk

Details of the pilot

From Monday 4th September 2017 please put out your recycling and rubbish for collection at the following times:

Please leave your tied recycling and rubbish directly outside your property for collection. Apart from pedestrianised streets such as Middleton Place rubbish and recycling is not to be piled up at the ends of streets.

Please do not leave recycling and rubbish out on the street outside of these times or overnight. This is considered to be fly tipping and you could be fined by Westminster Council.  It also encourages seagulls, pigeons, rats, mice and other vermin.

How to put out your recycling and rubbish:

For recycled waste please use the clear recycling bags provided by Westminster City Council. You can order recycling bags online via: westminster.gov.uk/recycling-bags

Please put your normal rubbish out in appropriately tied bags, such as black bin bags.

Look for the new signs on your street for exact timings.

 

Bulky waste collections

For items such as fridges, mattresses and tables, etc., please arrange online via:westminster.gov.uk/residential-bulky-waste Please be aware that leaving bulky waste items on street is illegal and can lead to substantial fines. Feedback from our consultation reveals that many residents consider this to be a major anti-social issue. The Council will be inspecting streets to enforce against illegal street dumping.

For further information about Westminster City Council’s waste services, please visit: www.westminster.gov.uk/recycling

Comments

Please do let your neighbours know about these important changes and please look at your local street notices.  The pilot is being arrnaged by WCC and they are responsible for the details.

Working together we can improve our streets; stop fly-tipping and street dumping and reduce the amount of rubbish left on the streets. The increase in recycling provision will also help the environment.

Please comment below or contact us by email at info@fitzwest.org. Feedback can also be provided to Tom Walsh at Westminster City Council His email address is: twalsh@westminster.gov.uk  Because of holidays please bear with us if you do not see your feedback here for a few days.  Rest assured we will be monitoring daily after 5th September.

 

54-62, 66 And 68 Oxford Street And 51-58 Rathbone Place Our planning objections

 

 

 

 

 

 

Application Summary

Address: Proposed Development Site At 54-62, 66 And 68 Oxford Street And 51-58 Rathbone Place, W1
Proposal: Demolition and redevelopment behind retained facades of Nos 54-62 Oxford Street and 51-58 Rathbone Place, including a two storey roof extension and redevelopment of Nos 66 & 68 Oxford Street to provide retail use (A1) and office use (B1) at part basement, part ground and part first floors, and flexible dual use retail (A1) and / or Office (B1) uses on floors two to seven, and associated works. (Linked application – 17/05284/LBC)
Case Officer: Josephine Palmer
Click for further information

Customer Details
Name: Mr Nick Bailey on behalf of Fitzrovia neighbourhood Forum
 

Comments Details
Commenter Type: Local Group
Stance: Customer objects to the Planning Application
Reasons for comment:
Comments: These comments are submitted in my role as secretary of the Fitzrovia West Neighbourhood Forum. This application was discussed at our meeting on 4 July 2017.

We wish to object to the application for the following reasons:

Listed Building
Redevelopment behind the façade of a listed building (grade II). This is an important early work by Percy Adams and Charles Holden and we are concerned that the integrity of the listed building will be lost if redevelopment occurs. This site was designed and has evolved with a series of out-buildings and an internal courtyard in 54-62 Oxford Street which would be lost if redevelopment occurs. This pattern of development is typical of Fitzrovia and enables a variety of businesses to locate in this and similar locations. While the front façade and external appearance will be retained the character of the building and its architectural integrity would be completely lost.
In our view the redevelopment of 66-68 Oxford Street and the insertion of 8 floors above ground level and 4 below ground represents overdevelopment (with a net gain in floorspace of almost 11,000 sq.m.) in relation to the original, human scale of the Hanway Street Conservation Area, as well as degrading the coherence of the listed building.

Loss of 66 Oxford Street
No. 66 Oxford Street is very important in the streetscape of Oxford Street and pre-dates the Holden building. It is also recorded as an ‘unlisted building of merit’ in the Hanway Street Conservation Area Audit and therefore ought to be retained as a whole (and not just the façade).

We note in particular that Historic England say in their evidence that the loss of No. 66 ‘would cause serious harm’.

New Replacement for 66-68 Oxford Street
We particularly object to the 8 storey ‘modern’ development replacing no’s 66 and 68 which we feel bears no relationship to the listed building in terms of overall height, floor heights and window alignment or materials and would be visually intrusive from both east and west perspectives down Oxford Street.

Land Uses
In terms of the proposed uses, we do not object to retail and/or offices in principle but feel that the additional floorspace will introduce a large number of additional visitors and employees which will create further of congestion on surrounding pavements.

The redevelopment will also further reduce the provision for small shops along Oxford Street and accommodation for small businesses which have traditionally occupied buildings on this site and in Fitzrovia as a whole.

Our Neighbourhood Plan will include policies to protect existing floorspace for small business users and to ensure it is replaced in redevelopment proposals.

We welcome the fact that no car parking is provided in the new development and the provision of PV panels on the roof. But why not go further and create a genuinely green roof which could be accessed by shoppers and/or employees?

Conclusions
In our view this application raises important principles about the treatment of listed buildings and buildings of merit in a conservation area. We do not find that the applicants make a convincing case for such radical alteration to a listed building, its setting and the wider conservation area. What value is left in the building after such radical surgery even if the façade appears the same?

In particular we do not feel that an acceptable case has been made in relation to policy S25:

Recognising Westminster’s wider historic environment, its extensive heritage assets will be conserved, including its listed buildings, conservation areas, Westminster’s World Heritage Site, its historic parks including five Royal Parks, squares, gardens and other open spaces, their settings, and its archaeological heritage. Historic and other important buildings should be upgraded sensitively, to improve their environmental performance and make them easily accessible.

While the uses may be appropriate to the West End and Oxford Street, the proposed development replaces many small units with one or a combination of major A1/B1 uses including courtyards for loading and unloading which are of particular value to small business users.

For these reasons the application and LBC should be refused.

Ultra Low Emissions Zone

New consultation has emerged from Transport for London regarding central London Ultra Low Emissions Zone:

They would like to hear your views on  proposals to:

  • Introduce ULEZ (and the residents’ sunset period) 17 months earlier in central London
  • Strengthen the emissions standard to also cover Particulate Matter (PM) emissions from diesel vehicles

Please take some time to fill in the online survey and provide your views:

The online survey, https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/environment/air-quality-consultation-phase-2/?intcmp=47032,

It should only take 10 to 15 minutes. Please complete the survey before midnight on 25 June 2017.

Here is FitzWest Response

To Alex Williams
Director of City Planning
Transport for London

Dear Mr Williams,

Thank you for inviting the Fitzrovia West Neighbourhood Forum to provide views on the proposed changes to the Ultra Low Emissions Zone in central London (ULEZ)

We support the zone because we wish to rid ourselves of the polluted air we have to breathe every day in central London.  We, who live and/or work here, know the niggling discomfort of ‘The London Cough’ which seems to effect all of us, which is never documented in pollution statistics. We are also aware of the needless deaths that occur from air pollution and that this level of air pollution is illegal under European Legislation.  We trust that even though we may sever some ties with our European neighbours that will not mean that we relax our standards on air pollution.

Residents and businesses who own diesel vehicles:
The new proposals will have a financial impact to local residents with older diesel cars. We would be particularly concerned if central government proposals to introduce a diesel scrappage scheme do not come forward.  If that were to be the case then we feel that TFL should introduce its own scrappage system for residents and small businesses within the ULEZ zone.  We would support such a scheme even if it were means tested.  There ought to be some low cost means of supporting residents and businesses of modest means to purchase a better vehicle for their personal use.  We have a lot of elderly and disabled residents living in this area for whom a car is still important.  Our small businesses are the life blood of the area.

Increasing need for private transport in central London:
In the light of bus service reductions in central London, (which we don’t support) the we must assume that resident car use will increase.

Need for Low Emissions Public Transport:
We trust that buses and taxis will also be subject to these stringent rules in central London and that TFL will lead by example, introducing zero emissions buses before long.

Emissions are not the full story:
While we support the reduction of exhaust emissions that does not contribute to any reduction in particulate matter, which we understand is caused by tire wear on uneven roads. What is being done about this?  In addition we expect to see similar London wide planning legislation to reduce the use of carbon fuels like gas as a means of heating and air conditioning.  The urban heat island effect is well documented as an added factor in central London, yet the ULEZ policies will do nothing to alleviate these problems.  We understand that emissions from gas boilers constitutes about 35% of the NO2 in central London.

Pedestrians first:
The healthiest and lowest emission form of movement around central London is on foot, yet funding to improve pedestrian ways is very limited.  Another way to improve air quality in central London is to encourage walking and cycling.  We trust that wider TFL/GLA schemes are considering such  improvements to complement planned reduction in polluting traffic.

Wendy Shillam
Chair FitzWest Neighbourhood Forum Executive