CHANGES TO MIXED USE POLICIES

We’ve mad a comment regarding Westminster’s proposal to change mixed use policies in the city plan.

Our general concern is the proposed relaxation of the requirement to provide an increase of residential use as part of larger commercial developments in the Core CAZ and Opportunity Areas such as Tottenham Court Road. The West End and central parts of the City are characterised by a mix of commercial and residential uses adding variety, interest and enhancing interaction between different sized businesses and residents. The proposed change in wording will lead to more large scale, single use, ‘iconic’ developments which, although highly profitable, add very little and often detract from the quality of the built form in the City as a whole, or indeed in areas such as Fitzrovia.

 For the full text go to: EXTERNAL CONSULTATION

 Please add your comments if you agree or disagree with our response.

It’s not rubbish; it’s serious.

04.12.14 (2)

The forum receives more complaints about rubbish than almost any other topic.  In response to this we have set up a sub-group to focus of the problems of rubbish disposal, dumping and collections in our area.

We’ve devised a questionnaire and we would be very grateful if you could fill it in for us, giving us your views.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/190rmWoVZjnJ-8IuVYafRcta49kBJ-22QpS7v99ycEWE/viewform

If you have any further comments please feel free to add them in the comments box below, or if you are reading this on our home page use the quotation icon at the head of this article.

Thank you.

Delivering the Green Oasis

market place

Market Place could be a much greener oasis than it is today. Do we really need this wide delivery bay?

Now that our public consultation exercise is coming to an end we are delighted to report that we are in a position to start delivering one of the most popular aspects of our proposals ahead of time. Many of you supported the idea of greening small oases that would bring some welcome calm to our busy city as well as provide opportunity for pollution busting planting and locations for wildlife to flourish.  In fact new green oases in the streetscape received the most votes when we asked what community Infrastructure money should be spent on.

Fitzrovia is one of the least green areas in Central London.  The only public blade of grass in FitzWest is the new development at Pearson Square.  That pocket handkerchief, delightful though it is, cannot hope to serve all our needs.  It is our intention to recommend to Westminster City Council that more spaces like this are built as part of developments.  But what about the concrete jungle we already inhabit?

Regents Park Hotel

Consider places like this above. It is the pavement on Great Titchfield Street, right outside the Regent’s Park Hilton.  It’s the view that people living in the sheltered housing across the street view daily.  Now we have some hope of doing something about such spaces (where development might not happen for years)

FitzWest Neighbourhood Forum is delighted to announce that we have been selected as one of the areas to receive Tesco’s BagsofHelp funding.

Tesco has teamed up with Groundwork to launch its Bags of Help initiative in hundreds of regions across England and Wales. FitzWest applied for a grant and we are the lucky recipients of a regional award.  How large the funding is will depend on votes cast in our local Tesco.

The scheme will see three community groups and projects in each of these regions awarded grants of £12,000, £10,000 and £8,000 – all raised from the 5p bag charge.  The public will now vote in store from 27 February until 6 March on who should receive the £12,000, £10,000 and £8,000 awards. To learn more about the initiative please look at www.tesco.com/bagsofhelp

Bags_For_Help

Making it easier for you to comment

credit dmitry 9

Credit Dmitry just.photo.lab@gmail.com

We’ve had a few complaints that the web version of our consultation is not as easy to follow as the exhibition itself.  So we re-arranged the pages for you and hopefully, made it easier to follow and to comment.  Click here to go to the exhibition pages

We had an amazing response at the exhibition, but we still need your comments if you didn’t have a chance to go. You can download the questionnaire and send it to us, or you can browse through the panels leaving, your thoughts on each page on the website.

Thank you for taking the time to comment.  We hope to be able to show you very soon that we have listened and are responding to your ideas.

You can also email us at info@fitzwest.org

The Exhibition Panels

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Copyright FitzWest Map drawn by Lydia Bevan hand-drawnmaps.co.uk

Thank you to everyone who came to the exhibition.  It was a great success and we were particularly pleased to see so many new faces.  Go to the exhibition pages to see the panels and download a questionnaire in order to have your say.  The consultation ends 16th February 2016.

We will shortly also publish a copy of the questionnaire about rubbish collection which was also available at the exhibition.

If you’d like to leave a quick message please use the comments at the base of this page.

It’s a New Year and A New Fitzrovia

Happy New Year!

cover crop

Map drawn by Lydia Bevan Hand Drawn Maps

Dear members and Friends of the Neighbourhood Forum,

As a New Year dawns, I thought I’d remind you all of the exhibition that we’ll be holding on 11th January.  We are very grateful to the Getty Image Gallery, 46 Eastcastle Street for hosting us.

It will be open between 11.00am and 8.00pm.  As well as exhibiting ideas and proposals, we will be unveiling the hand drawn map of the area by artist Lydia Bevan. (Detail above)  Everyone who comes along will be able to take away with them a copy of the map, showing many of our houses, offices and landmarks.

Our vision is a vibrant, prosperous, creative and connected neighbourhood; where people from all sectors and communities enjoy wellbeing; where we can work collaboratively to ensure that our living and working needs are met.

If you value Fitzrovia as much as we do and if you live, run a business or work here, we welcome you to come along to the exhibition and help to shape the neighbourhood plan for the future.

As well as inviting Forum members, and anyone in the community, we are hoping to draw those people who might have other types of interests in the area – the press, politicians, developers and landowners.  If you know anyone who you think we should add to the invitation list email info@fitzwest.org

Tea,coffee and biscuits served all day.

We look forward to seeing as many people as possible at the exhibition,

Wendy Shillam
Chairman of the Executive

 

Happy Christmas from Georgina Davies (and Cllr Paul Church)

151218 All Souls Christmas Card Georgina Davies Paul Church

Congratulations to Georgina Davies, aged  nine years, from All Souls C of E Primary School in FitzWest for her stunning Christmas card design.  And thanks to Councillor Paul Church for sponsoring such an excellent competition and turning the winning design into a stunning greeting card.

I can’t help but observe that here is more proof that Fitzrovia is definitely the most creative part of the West End. Georgina’s work illustrates this perfectly.  She has portrayed a London Christmas, as it is; a decorated city with tower blocks, welcoming lit windows and garlanded front doors. What a good idea to put a Father Christmas hat onto top of the Swiss Re tower!

Christmas Cards

151213 Christmas Card from councillor Roe

We have received a Christmas Card from Westminster City Council, signed by the leader Councillor Philippa Roe.  As we have nowhere to display it, it will have to remain on my mantelpiece, but I thought that it would be worth circulating the very pretty picture of ice skating in Hyde Park.

Complements of the season to all our readers!

The FitzWest Exhibition

On Monday 11th January 2016

Getty Image Gallery

46 Eastcastle Street, London, W1W 8DX

Between 11.00am and 8.00pm

We look forward to seeing everyone at the exhibition which will;

  1. Introduce newbies to the Neighbourhood Plan Process
  2. Outline what has happened so far
  3. Present the findings of our consultations, in particular the issues you told us were important
  4. Present the solutions and policies that might provide options for dealing with the important issues
  5. Seek your views and ideas
  6. Present a road map of what happens next

In addition we shall be holding a briefing for  press, politicians, landowners, business  and developers who have an interest in the area.  If you know someone who you feel should be invited to the briefing please send us their details via our email info@fitzwest.org

We are grateful to the management of the Getty Image Gallery for their support.

Those who attend will be able to pick up a free three D map of the area drawn especially for us by the artist Lydia Bevan.

© Fitzrovia West Neighbourhood Forum Committee

© Fitzrovia West Neighbourhood Forum Map Drawn by Lydia Bevan Hand Drawn Maps

Twenty Four Hours on The Street Where I Live

Printed also in Fitzrovia News

Fitzrovia West Neighbourhood Forum (FitzWest) will be holding a public exhibition and consultation entitled  FitzWest Futures – Have Your Say at the Getty Gallery, 46 Eastcastle Street, London W1W 8DX from 11.00am – 8.00pm on Monday 11thh January. This will be an opportunity for people to see the progress we’ve made with the FitzWest Plan and give their views. In anticipation of this event, I’ve been garnering my own thoughts about the area. I’m using this month’s article to highlight public space.

All of us city dwellers tend to live our lives much more in the public domain, in the streets, cafes and public spaces of our neighbourhood.  My twenty four hour diary gives a glimpse of how I use our streets, not only as a thoroughfare, but as a breathing space and a meeting place.

3.00pm Tuesday

I bump into a friend.  We decide to sit on one of the benches under the trees in Candover Street for a five minute catch up.  It could be a lovely spot, but the parking, the rubbish bins and cars screeching round the corner detract from its potential.  A shame, because Candover Street possesses some of our finest arts and crafts buildings in central London, including Boulting’s Manufactory (1903 by the architect H Fuller Clark).  But if I were to step back to admire the architecture, I’d probably be run down!  The speed limit in our area is 30mph. Should it be less?
candover st

Later:

I’m off to the Yorkshire Grey for a quiet pint with my husband.  We plan to sit on the benches in Nottingham Place, but this building, like hundreds of others in our area is having a refit, so instead of a quiet corner we have builders’ mayhem.   We walk around into Riding House Street which is also full of builders gear and completely blocked off to cars.  I reckon the street cleaners have abandoned it too.
nottingham place

1.00am Wednesday morning

I’m woken by shouts in the street. An arguing couple probably don’t realise that I’m in bed only a few metres from where their voices are becoming increasingly raised. I pull the curtains aside.  There they are, under the lamp post, oblivious to the fact that all my neighbours can hear them. About 4,000 people live in FitzWest. It is actually one of the most densely populated neighbourhoods in the country.

10.30am Wednesday

I’m cycling off to do some shopping.  New Cavendish Street is to be designated as a cycling quietway, but who knows how they’ll manage it.  I take my life in my hands, it is so congested.  I think we need quiet quarters, not just a few so-called quiet streets. Are any of the through routes really necessary in FitzWest?

Some of my neighbours are still putting out rubbish, oblivious of the fact that the collection is long gone and they are all potentially in line for a £50.00 fine.  I’m disgusted when I see two open bags full of food scraps that will undoubtedly attract vermin.  But to give them their due, collections are not advertised on my street. Many people would prefer to take their rubbish to a recycling point.

Turning into Langham Street I have to negotiate another hazard.  The female Ginko trees have dropped their fruit. The council have made an attempt to clean up the pavement, but it still smells disgusting.  My heel slips on gunge.

open rubbish

1.00pm Lunch in a cafe
We all value this area because of the cafes and cosy pubs. I love the independent shops, the quirky businesses, the galleries and college activity.  But the traffic, noise, pollution and rubbish nuisance that this intensity of use causes is something we hate.  This is a beautiful area with huge potential.  I ought to be proud of living and working at the heart of this great city; not embarrassed by the mess.

The FitzWest Forum is taking some short term action.  We’ve asked for the Ginko trees to be replaced. We’ve started a dialogue with Westminster City Council, trying to find solutions to the rubbish problem and we’ve joined with The West End partnership to see if we can make change right across the West End.

Then there are the invisible menaces. Noise is one; pollution another.  The invisible pollutants like nitrogen dioxide and fine particulates are more pernicious than ever the London smog was. They are at their greatest intensity in our area, Euston Road, Marylebone Road and Oxford Street are hotspots.  More than 10,000 people die each year in London from pollution (GLA figures). It affects the young and the elderly disproportionately.   Calming the traffic and planting would help, but really we must consider restricting air conditioning and discouraging diesel vehicle trips.

In our last public meeting the forum made public space issues one of the top priorities for the FitzWest Neighbourhood Plan.  In the January exhibition at the Getty Photographic Gallery, we will be proposing new local planning policies can support this ambition.

Have your say. It’s free to join the forum here: Fitzwest.org/wordpress

By Wendy Shillam Chair of FitzWest

An edited version of this article appearsin the December 2015 issue of  The Fitzrovia News