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 Your personal information, such as your postal and e-mail address will not be published, but your name and organisation (if relevant) will.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.

Tall Buildings Consultation

Westminster City Council has launched a wide-ranging public consultation to identify the best way forward to manage the future growth of Westminster entitled, ‘Building height: Getting the right kind of growth for Westminster is seeking the views of all those that live, work and visit the City.’

The feedback received during the course of the consultation, which will run for eight weeks, will help inform Westminster City Council’s future plans for the City which will be set out during the statutory consultation on the City Plan later this year. As part of this consultation there will be a series of public events taking place across the City.

There is a questionnaire on the internet which we encourage members and friends to complete.

Here is FitzWest response to the consultation:

Dear Sirs,
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to respond to your consultation regarding building heights.  We welcome the fact that you publish a wide ranging consultation before bringing out a draft policy.

  • We do not think that Fitzrovia, in fact any part of the Central Activities Zone, can or should be expected to support major growth in heights or bulk.
  • We consider it a fallacy to suggest that economic growth goes hand in hand with increased density and/or height.
  • In fact we consider the opposite is true – that small businesses are the life-blood of the central London economy and would only be damaged by whole scale redevelopment or intensification.
  • We should seek an intensification of quality not quantity.
  • We should respect the height, scale and massing of the conservation areas.
  • We should respect the amenity and qualities of living that current business and residents possess.  It should not be made worse by bulky overshadowing buildings.
  • That the complexity of servicing and managing such diverse uses as exist here is already beyond the capacity of Westminster City Council (in their current economic travails) and that no intensification should be considered, because it is not serviceable.
  • That high rise buildings are not environmentally sustainable.

The premise that growth and tall buildings are one and the same

Economic growth is often equated to growth in construction or density.  Yet in the centre of a capital city there is no evidence to suggest that this is so.  In fact cities like Bangkok, that have undergone uncontrolled growth in recent years, have seen a dramatic fall in economic activity as environmental quality has plummeted.  What happens is that instead of the city thriving, it starts to die. People decide to re-locate to greener and more pleasant suburbs.(i)

Westminster, being located almost entirely in the Central Activities Zone, should not be seen as a place for construction growth, but instead as a place for economic growth.  Economic growth will not occur if Westminster becomes overcrowded with unnecessarily tall and over-bulky buildings.

Pollution in Bangkok Source Bangkokscoop.com

Function of the Central Activities Zone (CAZ) and its Core

The Core CAZ, in general and Fitzrovia in particular, are areas of extraordinary diversity.  Planning policy tends to have seen the Core CAZ as simply a retail hub.  It is not now and given the rise in internet shopping, it is unlikely to become so in the foreseeable future.

It is this diversity that contributes to the economic dynamism of The City of Westminster and to London as a whole.  The diversity includes institutions, educational establishments, smaller offices, hi-tech businesses, residential, specialist retail and cafes.  Most of these uses would leave if the area were redeveloped to a larger scale.

Westminster’s own study (ii) indicate that a majority of Westminster’s businesses are small businesses, with 85% of VAT registered businesses having less than ten employees (IDBR, 2010).  These small businesses are the life-blood of Fitzrovia.

The Centre for Cities states in a recent report;

Small firms trading with other firms in London, nationally and internationally (small B2B firms), are concentrated in two areas: London’s core and to the west, near Heathrow and national motorway links. These firms account for just 18 per cent of all London’s small firms but have the greatest potential to make a significant contribution to future jobs growth. (iii)

A growth policy should be aimed at retaining and supporting this cohort of small businesses.  They do not require tall buildings, or large floor-plates.  In fact, such businesses rarely locate to new buildings, which they cannot afford.  They are far more likely to seek space within the buildings that Fitzrovia already possesses.   They locate to be near one-another – so redevelopment has a negative effect in forcing out small business and bringing into the area larger, less economically dynamic business.

In most cities large floor-plate and high rise offices are located on the outskirts and useful transport hubs.  Compare Montparnasse in Paris and Paddington in Westminster.

Tottenham Court Road (within Westminster and within Fitzrovia) is not a tabula rasa.  Its is not a blank canvas onto which high-rise can or should be foisted.  It is in fact one of the most historic parts of the City of Westminster, being very ancient indeed and thus should be a candidate for conservation, not annihilation.

Housing in Fitzrovia

There may be some individual sites, on the boundaries of Fitzrovia where higher rise housing is relevant and can be built to redress the gathering imbalance of housing types  and tenures in our city centre.  We have identified sites in our emerging Neighbourhood Plan. But because there is densely packed housing here already the capacity of sites to come forward that would not overshadow and over-bear existing dwelling is extremely limited.

The population of Westminster is said by Westminster City Council to have been underestimated at the last census by 10%.  It is not satisfactory to say (as has been argued in recent planning applications) that people who live in the centre of a city should put up with increasing density, even if their habitable windows are obliterated from daylight.

Conservation Areas

The majority of Fitzrovia West (and in fact the whole of the central core) is located within a series of conservation areas.  It already has a very high residential population, made higher by the inclusion of a very rich mix of activities.  The general building height of 60ft in residential buildings and 80ft in ‘factories’, which comes from the London Building Acts of the 1880s and 90s, is still valid in this area and should not be compromised.

View across the rooftops of Great Titchfield Street looking towards Soho and Mayfair. The consistency of roof-line is remarkable.

Most historic urban centres have a cap to heights.  Oxford is one example.  Paris is another.  Westminster should have its own height cap.  This should not be seen as a restriction to growth, but in fact one of the reasons why the historic centre will always be more attractive than the outskirts. Dynamic, highly profitable, discerning businesses wish to locate here.

Access

The perceived wisdom is that areas of high public transport provision should be the location of high-rise.  That is how Centre Point received planning permission originally.  But in Central London that logic is wrong.  It is a fallacy, because it assumes that there is capacity on the ground already.  But in Central London we would question whether the imminent improvements in public transport are not simply running to catch up.  That the new Cross Rail stations, balanced by reduction in private car trips and bus services may only just cover the current needs, let alone natural growth.  What evidence do we have that such systems will have capacity to support major growth in residential or working populations in the centre?

In addition there is already a lack of cycle parking and disabled parking.  How could large intensive uses occasioned by high rise be supported unless there was large areas of cycle parking and disabled parking around them?

The Servicing of Taller Buildings

The consultation paper does not consider the servicing of taller buildings.  The centre of Westminster can not cope with the servicing it already has.  Rubbish collection, deliveries and street cleaning have all failed in this area.  The level of vermin and mess is embarrassing.

Servicing of tall buildings requires far more hinterland and larger carriageways than is possible in Fitzrovia.  It requires large service bays and a regular stream of heavy vehicles.  We do not think it is appropriate in central London and in Fitzrovia in particular where the densities are already extremely high.

Emergency Servicing

Since the Kings Cross disaster, when the fire brigade is called in Fitzrovia, regardless of the scale of the fire,  four fire engines turn up, from two different locations.  That is because of the impossibility of ensuring a traffic free access for emergency vehicles. Yet the potential for emergency access to larger buildings is never considered in planning policy.  It is taken for granted that the city can cope. We don’t think that Fitzrovia (or other parts of the core CAZ) can cope.  Any further increase in the critical mass of servicing in this part of the centre of London is not sustainable.  This has impacts on the pleasantness of our streets but in these times of terrorism could contribute to a major disaster if left unresolved.

Environmentally Sustainability

High rise buildings are expensive to heat, cool and service.  They use powered systems that are alien to the essentially Georgian structure of our current city, that does not need gas guzzling, air conditioning or complex heating systems.  Any increase in carbon emissions or heat supply from building exhausts will turn an already polluted area into a danger zone.  Unless a large building can show a reduction in such impacts it should not be considered.

Greening

There is a suggestion that a few extra floors on any building might be tolerable.  But we would maintain that the flat rooves of many of the buildings in this area should be used as amenity space.  That means planted and accessible roofs.  Modest increases may be acceptable if such an increase provides much needed public or semi-public amenity space.

i) ‘The increasing density of population (due to population growth and migration) and disorderly urban settlements and together with the rapid economic development have brought an exceeding demand of infrastructure, public utilities and public services, which is unfortunately beyond the capacity of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA), the city administration of Bangkok, to handle alone. This results in the deterioration of urban environment, urban services and also urban quality of life.’  Report by Suganya Boonprasirt, Policy and Planning Department, Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, City Hall of Bangkok Metropolis. http://www.gef.or.jp/20club/E/bangkok.htm

ii) Westminster’s Economy Developing Westminster’s City Plan, file:///C:/Users/Wendy%20Shillam/Downloads/westminster’s%20economy%20CM%20Version1.pdf

iii) The Centre for Cities, Size matters: The importance of small firms in London’s economy Rachel Smith, Dmitry Sivaev and Paul Swinney December 2012 ize matters: The importance of small firms in London’s economy Rachel Smith, Dmitry Sivaev and Paul Swinney December

Draft Plan Published for Consultation 13 March 2017

Press Release:
We are pleased to announce that a draft of the Fitzrovia West Neighbourhood Plan has been published today.  Deadline for comments 30 April 2017

Link to draft plan page

Wendy Shillam, Chair of the Executive Committee says,

‘We have worked very hard to get together a coherent document, that addresses the issues discussed in our consultation meetings and the exhibition we held last year.  We have tried to reflect diverse and sometimes contradictory views, balancing different visions where necessary.  Now it is time for the community, our residents, those who visit, run businesses and work in the area to tell us whether we have the correct balance.

At the back of our minds, as we wrote policies was the prospect of increased access to our area from Crossrail 1 and 2 and HS2, all of which will bring further pressure of development to our area.  This wealth of excellent public transport can be seen as a blessing, but also a challenge.

We’d like to thank everyone who has contributed to this document so far.  It is the work of more than one person, so please point out any inconsistencies that you find.  It is  not yet ready for formal presentation to Westminster City Council.  Over the next few weeks we wish to hold informal discussions with the Forum, the Council, our Ward Members, officers and Portfolio Holders.  We also wish to update GLA and other stakeholders who may wish to make comment.  In addition we are now working with the other four West End Neighborhoods in order to rationalise some policies, where we have very similar objectives.’

Nothing in the plan is cast in stone.  We’d like people to go to the comment page on the website that will allow your views to be made public.  Alternatively contact us directly at info@fitzwest.org

 Deadline for comments 30 April 2017

Berwick Street Consultation

RECEIVED TODAY FROM WESTMINSTER CITY COUNCIL

WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff is the agent acting on behalf of Westminster City Council for a traffic management scheme affecting Berwick Street. In accordance with the consultation procedure, we would draw your attention to the effects of the proposed Traffic Orders of which further details are given in the enclosed documents: showing the existing and proposed layouts; and information regarding single and double yellow lines. WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff would be pleased to receive any observations or comments you may wish to make on the proposals, in writing, by 3 rd February 2017, quoting the reference 7185/LH in any response.

At the end of the consultation period, all responses received by this date will be forwarded to the City Council for consideration. The City Council will then decide whether to proceed with, modify, or abandon the proposals. The City Council is keen that you discuss your kerbside delivery needs with your delivery and courier companies to ensure that their needs are fully understood and conveyed to the City Council when you respond to this consultation. Also if your business regularly receives guests from taxis, private hire vehicles and coaches, then please also advise us of this information in your response.

A public drop-in session, where you will be able to view plans and ask questions about this consultation or the scheme in general, will be held in the upstairs room at The Blue Posts, 22 Berwick Street, London, W1F 0QA on Thursday, 26th January 2017 between 2.00 p.m. and 4.00 p.m. and between 5.30 p.m. and 7.30 p.m. If you should require any further information please contact me on (020) 3116 5996.

Laura Harris WSP/Parsons Brinckerhoff

Link to PDF Berwick Street North Consultation Documents