Our Response to Local Government Boundary Commission

From FitzWest Neighbourhood Forum
FAO Emily Starkie (Review Officer)
Dear Madam,
Thank you for consulting us regarding the review of Westminster warding arrangments.
We do have some observations regarding our own area that we would like to put forward.  This revolves around the area known as Fitzrovia, which is now commonly marked on maps, such as google maps, but has no continuity in the ward boundaries.
I am a representeantive of The FitzWest Neighbourhood Forum, an active neighbourhood group that has been set up since 2013. On 10th April 2018 our executive group agreed that we should write to you and this letter representes the views we consider our members to hold and those of the executive meeting last night.
I enclose a link to a map which outlines where the area is located.  Our area has been designated a business forum, becasue of the number of businesses in the area.
We would like to see the whole of FItzrovia within Westminster being within the West End Ward.
Evidence:
Historic parish boundary now irrelevant:
Currently most of our area is located in the West End Ward, while a small amount – North of New Cavendish Street – is located in Marylebone High Street Ward.   This is an anomaly reaching back to the days when ward boundaries were linked to parish boundaries.  However today the reality is that the West End with its vibrancy of mixed uses – as opposed to simply residential – extend from Oxford Strreet in the south of our area, right up to Euston Road which forms our northern boundary.
Electorate numbers in FItzrovia:
We note the electorate is expected to rise in West End Ward and Marylebone Ward – much of this expansion is due to large multi-storey blocks of luxury flats which have recently been given permission in Fitzrovia.  This can be confirmed by reference to CIL forecasts.
Different nature of West End and Marylebone:
Fitzrovia is currently split between Marylebone High Street and West End Ward.  We do not feel an affinity with the rest of Marylebone High Street Ward, which is a different area, having an older, more stable population and less commerce.  Marylebone High Street is focused around the local shopping High Street called Marylebone High Street.   While Fitzrovians look towards Great Titchfield Street and Great Portland Street as twin local shopping streets.
It should also be noted that over the years the West End has migrated east.  Current regeneration projects always link Camden’s areas of Bloomsbury and Tottenham Court Road in with the rest of the wider Westminster West End, which includes Covent Garden.  No longer does Oxford Street have the prevelance it once enjoyed.  Bond Street and Totternham Court Road are also now equally, if not more thriving shopping streets.  This reflects a national move away from shopping in department stores, to smaller nich stores and shopping neighbourhoods, which also offer office accommodation, cultural facilties, cafes and restaurants.  This mix of use defines FItzrovia.
Strong community views:
When we set up Fitzrovia West Neighbourhood Forum there was some controvery between our area and Marylebone regarding boundaries.  At a public meeting in 2013 there was unanimous support for keeping FItzrovia as a separate entity to Marylebone and this has been a continuing theme throught our work:
A show of hands revealed that there was a considerable majority in favour of pursuing a FitzWest application, though some people regretted that a Camden/Westminster joint neighbourhood forum seemed unlikely.  There was no support for merging Fitzrovia with the Marylebone proposal.”  Report of a meeting  8th October 2013,
“At this meeting, just like at the first meeting, a show of hands was taken. Only one person, who lived or worked in the area, out of over eighty people present, expressed the view that they would like to consider the Marylebone proposal, while the rest wanted to pursue the Fitzrovia West proposal.” Report of a public meeting, 13 November 2013
Better representation from West End Councillors:
Throughout our work we have received far more support and engagement from the West End councillors than from Marylebone High Street councillors.
This is demonstrated in that West End councillors regularly attend our executive meetings (all attendance is recorded in our minutes on our website)
In addition we have been far more generously funded by West End Ward Budget than by Marylebone:  Between 2014 and 2019, West End Ward has funded FItzWest to the tune of £7300, while we have received only £500 from Marylebone Ward, excluding a £1742 grant for a greening project managed by FItzWest, but not part of the Neighbourhood Forum process.  https://www.westminster.gov.uk/ward-budgets
Kind regards
Wendy Shillam
FitzWest Neighbourhood Forum
For more information or to make your own representation go to www.lgbce.org.uk

Draft Neighbourhood Plan – February 2019

We are publishing our draft Neighbourhood Plan here for residents and businesses to consider it and give their views.

Please have a look and send  us your thoughts and comments.

Click here to see the draft Neighbourhood Plan

 

 

 

Market Place Greening Project

New West End Company (NWEC) presented their ideas at the last Forum meeting for a much needed green space in the neighbourhood around Market Place.

We agreed to be involved  with the consultation and planning and  welcomed this proposal.

You can see NWEC’s presentation in detail here:

Market Place Greening Project Powerpoint Presentation

Oxford Street District Consultation

FitzWest Forum submitted a response in December 2018 to the recent initial consultation. The Oxford Street District detailed proposals will then be available in March 2019 for further response from local residents and businesses.

The Forum welcomes WCC’s commitment to consult local organisations and asks that this is maintained at regular intervals as project planning and implementation progresses.

FitzWest Forum Response

We also submitted an assessment of bus activity in the area in December 2018

Buses in Oxford Street/Fitzrovia area

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.