Have your say on important issues in the area: Fly Tipping/Anti-social behaviour ~ Possible Closure of Soho Square NHS Walk-In Centre ~ Air Quality ~ Busking

Reporting Fly Tipping and Anti-Social Behaviour

 Did you know that Westminster City Council has introduced a new and improved “Report It” service?  The mobile friendly tool, powered by FixMyStreet, uses location-based technology or a postcode to show an interactive map of that area with all current reported issues.  Residents can then report their own issue, such as dumped rubbish or faulty street lighting.  The report is then sent to the relevant Council team to investigate and respond.  You can find out more using the following link:

https://report.westminster.gov.uk/

You can continue to report missed refuse or recycling collections, as well as things like anti-social behaviour, here:

https://www.westminster.gov.uk/report-it

Have your say on the plans to close the Soho Square NHS Walk-In Centre

There is a consultation taking place about the future of this popular service. See below to give your views in a survey and there are also public meetings that you can attend.

https://www.centrallondonccg.nhs.uk/news-publications/news/2020/01/have-your-say-the-future-of-soho-walk-in-centre.aspx

Have your say on Air Quality

This is a topic that is often raised by local residents and continues to be an important concern for residents and businesses.  Westminster City Council want your opinion on their new Air Quality Action Plan.

https://www.westminster.gov.uk/air-pollution

Have your say on Busking and Street Music

Concerns have been raised by residents and businesses about the location (impeding pedestrians near Oxford Street tube station) and the use of loud amplified music.

There is a consultation running until 24th February 2020. Have your say here:
https://www.westminster.gov.uk/busking

REMINDER – IMPORTANT- please support the re-designation of the Forum – deadline 13th January 2020

Just a quick reminder of this important request! If you have not had the chance to do so already, could you please give us your support.

Please allow the Forum to continue to work towards developing the Neighbourhood Plan and support the re-designation before the 13 January 2020 deadline – the current designation expires on 05 February 2020.

We would ask you all to support the re-designation and to  encourage all local residents and businesses to do so which they can do by sending an email to neighbourhoodplanning@westminster.gov.uk or in writing to:

Neighbourhood Planning, Policy and ProjectWestminster City Council City Hall,

17th Floor 64 Victoria Street, London SW1E 6QP

Here is an extract of the email from the Neighbourhood Planning Team at Westminster Council:

The Fitzrovia West Neighbourhood Forum designation expires on 5 February 2020. The forum has applied to the council to formally renew its designation in accordance with the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 the Localism Act 2011 and the Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012.

The Fitzrovia West Neighbourhood Forum is required to demonstrate that their written constitution describes the purpose, membership rules and how officers are elected. The legislation states that Forums should have at least 21 members who either live or work in the in the neighbourhood area. No change to the Fitzrovia West Neighbourhood Area boundary is proposed and remains identical to the boundary that was designated in March 2014.

Copies of the application documents can be viewed on the Council’s website at https://www.westminster.gov.uk/neighbourhood-forums. Hard copies will also be made available for inspection during normal opening hours at the Council’s offices at City Hall 64 Victoria Street, SW1E 6QP.

Representations on this application should be received by no later than 5pm on Monday 13 January 2020. They can be made by email to neighbourhoodplanning@westminster.gov.uk or in writing to:

Neighbourhood Planning, Policy and Projects

Westminster City Council City Hall,

17th Floor 64 Victoria Street, London SW1E 6Q

Refuse and Recycling Update

Representatives of the FitzWest Forum met with  Francis Keegan from Westminster Council before Christmas to discuss the ever problematic issue of refuse collection and dumping in Fitzrovia. He is the person now dealing with refuse collection and streetscape in the FitzWest area. We shared our observations and those of FitzWest Forum members who have been in touch, as to what works and what doesn’t,  and to continue to press for improvements.

We made the following points:

  • There are some constant street dumping hotspots and we sent a map of ones we have identified. Please let us know if you think we have missed any. Map of dumping hotspots.
  • There continue to be issues with Veolia not collecting recycling with this often being left for whole days and entire weekends.
  • The Ward Councillors have been very supportive in pressing the refuse agenda and street collection arrangements have as a result improved.
  • We continue to encourage both businesses and residents to use the Council’s online service to report missed collections and street dumping. Click below to do this:

https://www.westminster.gov.uk/report-it

  • Compared to neighbouring boroughs, Westminster has many more collections with some streets daily and some twice a day. However the transient nature of the community and the lack of rubbish storage areas within some blocks of flats means that there are still problems with on-street dumping.

Important – please support the re-designation of the Forum – deadline 13th January 2020

Please allow the Forum to continue to work towards developing the Neighbourhood Plan and support the re-designation before the 13 January 2020 deadline – the current designation expires on 05 February 2020.

We would ask you all to support the re-designation and to  encourage all local residents and businesses to do so which they can do by sending an email to neighbourhoodplanning@westminster.gov.uk or in writing to:

Neighbourhood Planning, Policy and ProjectWestminster City Council City Hall,

17th Floor 64 Victoria Street, London SW1E 6QP

Here is an extract of the email from the Neighbourhood Planning Team at Westminster Council:

The Fitzrovia West Neighbourhood Forum designation expires on 5 February 2020. The forum has applied to the council to formally renew its designation in accordance with the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 the Localism Act 2011 and the Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012.

The Fitzrovia West Neighbourhood Forum is required to demonstrate that their written constitution describes the purpose, membership rules and how officers are elected. The legislation states that Forums should have at least 21 members who either live or work in the in the neighbourhood area. No change to the Fitzrovia West Neighbourhood Area boundary is proposed and remains identical to the boundary that was designated in March 2014.

Copies of the application documents can be viewed on the Council’s website at https://www.westminster.gov.uk/neighbourhood-forums. Hard copies will also be made available for inspection during normal opening hours at the Council’s offices at City Hall 64 Victoria Street, SW1E 6QP.

Representations on this application should be received by no later than 5pm on Monday 13 January 2020. They can be made by email to neighbourhoodplanning@westminster.gov.uk or in writing to:

Neighbourhood Planning, Policy and Projects

Westminster City Council City Hall,

17th Floor 64 Victoria Street, London SW1E 6QP

Recent Developments

We had a good response to the questionnaire and exhibition held on 13 May 2019 and the link below summarises all the responses to the questionnaire:

Results from FitzWest Neighbourhood Questionnaire

Other documents relating to the AGM can be viewed here:

We have also carried out a full consultation on the draft Neighbourhood Plan which you can find with supporting documents by following this link to the website:

We now intend to seek a ‘health check’ to ensure we meet all the requirements and will then formally submit the Plan and supporting documents to Westminster City Council.

Please get in touch if you have any further comments at info@fitzwest.org

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

 

 

 

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/

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

Oxford Street

PEDESTRIANISATION OF OXFORD STREET

COPY OF RESPONSE FROM Fitzrovia West Neighbourhood Forum

I represent Fitzrovia West Neighbourhood Forum.  Our forum is a 200 strong group that represents both residents and businesses in Fitzrovia. Our mailing list covers a further 500 small, medium and large businesses in the area.   In our area both residents and businesses are united in wishing to improve the environment, making it a pleasant place to live work and visit.

We have already been in touch with Val Shawcross, officers from TFL and our local councillors to share our concerns for an unbridled pedestrianisation scheme that we feel would put far too much pressure on adjoining streets and communities.

We were gratified to learn that a simplistic approach was unlikely to be pursued and that any scheme that comes forward would consider the whole of the West End and not simply Oxford Street.

We support the careful consultation that TFL/WCC are establishing. Our chairman, Wendy Shillam and treasurer Yoram Blumann have been invited to attend meetings so that the views of local people and local businesses can be included in the work.  However we recognise that these meetings are convened by Westminster’s PR department and we are concerned that consultation should continue to be just that – dialogue.

CONSULTATION RESPONSE

We have a number of concerns that we wish to raise:

  1. Phasing of the work – reducing the range of the modelling system
  2. Coordinating with neighbourhood plans and ambitions for the wider West End including:

a). Linking Oxford Street improvements to improvements in the Oxford Street hinterland,
b). Great Titchfield Street/Mortimer Street local hub and
c). Closing the Great Portland Street gyratory

  1. Impact on congestion and road safety
  2. Servicing the West End
  3. Impact on local movements (occasioned by reduction/redirection of buses)
  4. Pollution

A detailed response can be downloaded here:

170506 FITZWEST OXFORD STREET CONSULTATION RESPONSE

 

OUR IDEAS
We do not wish to be purely negative about the prospect of improvements to the West End.  We would like to work more closely with your engineers and transport planners to achieve a better result.  We feel that we have knowledge and ideas that could help.  We truly hope that this consultation isn’t hiding a foregone conclusion and that genuine dialogue can occur before decisions are made.  Thus we also include, at the end of our consultation response some ideas that we believe should be entertained.

LINK TO OXFORD STREET EXEMPLAR

CONSULTATION RESPONSE

  1. Phasing of works – reducing the range of the modelling system

Since the pedestrianisation was first announced, we now understand that it is to be made in two sections, from Orchard Street to Oxford Circus and then from Oxford Circus to Tottenham Court Road.  We think phase 1 will adversely effect Fitzrovia, tending to push all vehicular access to this end of Oxford Street. We are also concerned that phase two might simply happen on the back of phase one, without the careful work that needs to be done to establish an integrated solution.

For example, we understand that no detailed junction traffic modelling for phase 1 will be done east of Portland Place and Regent Street.  Thus, there will no way of knowing what the impact of phase 1 will be on major junctions in Fitzrovia or in Soho.

  1. Improvement of The Oxford Street Hinterland
    One crucial aspect of our neighbourhood plan, triggered by strong public support, is to improve the streets where we live and work. There is no public green space in our area, little sitting-out space and hardly any pedestrian streets. We suffer from some of the worst pollution of any residential area in Europe.  Pollution is influenced by traffic, by an intensity of carbon based heating and ventilation systems (we have a lot of development around here) and by the urban heat island effect, which intensifies pollution in the area and works to restrict the dissipation of bad air.

    FitzWest Strategy Diagram – highlights certain streets and spaces to be traffic calmed, where we wish to see better pedestrian facilities, more green space and fewer traffic movements.

    We support the intention to design for improved pedestrian access to side streets, but we are concerned that new bus routes, taxi routes and delivery routes will break the camel’s back.   WQe have heard of no proposals to tackle these important issues:

    • Deliveries
    • Pedestrian movement
    • Parking and Servicing
    • Road safety
    • Improving pedestrian crossings
    • Cycle routes and cycle parking

    So far FitzWest public consultation has strongly prioritised the greening of streets, the reduction and calming of traffic and the improvement of arrangements for pedestrians.  We see three key areas:

    a). The Oxford Street Hinterland – this is the zone of streets and alleyways between Market Place and East Castle Street and Oxford Street itself.  Many of these streets have great potential to provide services that Oxford Street itself cannot offer, like cafes, smaller shops, sitting out space and services like banks, stationers and copy shops.  But in order for these streets to become attractive they would need improving.  We support a grid of pedestrian streets running off Oxford Street and we are prepared to supply the necessary detailed planning policy in order to allow such streets to thrive and take some of the pressure from Oxford Street itself.

    b). As we move further north into Fitzrovia West we come to the Great Titchfield Street/Mortimer Street local hub.  This is a critically important part of our area offering local shops and services to the businesses and residents around us.   This has become a dynamic focus for local and specialist shops, small businesses and provides the area’s vitality.  But it is already stymied by the fact that Mortimer Street is used as an emergency bus by-pass street for Oxford Street.  We are very concerned that current plans for phase 1 will increase traffic in our streets and that a phase 2 would sign the death knell for Fitzrovia.

    c). In addition we have identified the area around Great Portland Street Underground Station as one where improvements and traffic calming could be made.  A lot of people live in this northern sector and there are two hospitals (Portland Hospital and The Royal Orthopedic Clinic) both of which require good pedestrian access)

    We would hope that in deciding on new access streets for public transport and taxis something can be done to close down the Great Portland Street tube gyratory, thereby reducing the conflict between pedestrians and traffic turning south into Fitzrovia.

    1. Impact on congestion and road safety

    Fitzrovia has a much higher population density than other parts of the West End. There are over 4000 people living in very dense flats in FitzWest alone.  We understand this represents approximately half of the population of the West End   Our population is not dominated by West End Wealthy, but by ordinary people, many of whom have lived in the area for years, whose children attend the local schools and who work in local businesses.  Many people live in social housing, or housing for the elderly.  They cannot choose to move out of the area if it becomes even more devastated by traffic and pollution.

    This week’s announcement that pedestrianisation in Oxford Street shall go ahead leads us to fear the implications for our area, especially Mortimer Street and Newman Street.  While the cross rail project has gone ahead we have had several long term bus diversions through our area, along Mortimer and Newman Street.  This has resulted in lines of jammed busses belching out exhaust.  I enclose a photograph of Newman Street, taken during one of those diversions, to indicate how unpleasant those short term diversions were

    If the pedestrianisation of Oxford Street results in a permanent diversion of taxis, delivery vehicles and bus routes along these streets it would be devastating for the area.

    1. Servicing the West End
      There is a growing problem in this area associated with deliveries, development vehicles, servicing, rubbish collection and public transport. For example rubbish collections have collapsed, the amount of uncontrolled rubbish bags and dumped rubbish has become embarrassing. If we are also to suffer more service traffic the continual degradation of our pavements will be exacerbated.  Despite this our streets are already choked with rubbish collection vehicles, white vans, motorcycle messengers and cycle delivery.  This is all completely unmanaged and unplanned.  Night time deliveries are not the answer in our area because of the prevalence of residential buildings right down to the boundary of Oxford Street.
    2. Impact on local movements (occasioned by reduction/redirection of buses)

    Despite many of us who complained about the proposed reduction in bus services, especially the C2,  these have gone ahead, unaltered. Further pedestrianisation will further reduce bus services.  Cross rail does NOT take the place of local cross West End trips. We do not support the reduction of bus services in the West End. People who live and work here use buses to get about the West End.  We use the bus to do our food shopping, to take our children to the doctors and to hospital appointments, to go to work and to visit our Council Offices on Victoria Street.  We need hop-on, hop-off services which cannot be supplied by tube or Crossrail.  Tourists need this even more than locals.

    We have a high proportion of elderly and disabled people living round here and they cannot use the underground so easily (if at all).  Local bus services are equally important for visitors to the area.  No-one in their right minds would entertain a journey for example from Tottenham Court Road to John Lewis by underground.  So we need some form of local bus system along Oxford Street.

    We support the hopper fares and we support the intention to electrify (de-carbonise) Central London buses and taxis.

    1. Pollution

    We think a diffuse public transport system could work very well, as long as buses are smaller and less polluting (which means changing engines and wheel formats to reduce both NO2 and particulate pollution.)  Trams, guided by rails are, we understand less likely to cause accidents – pedestrians know where they are!  A light rail system running from one end of Oxford Street to the other – running along Oxford Street is the no-brainer solution.  For public transport to work it must be able to deliver passengers closer to the destination than they can travel by private car.  By pushing the busses out and by reducing their number the effect would be counterproductive.  It would mean that a visit to the West End would become more convenient by private car – not less so!  This is especially true as the Congestion Charge (and parking fees) do not apply on late night shopping nights, or throughout the weekends.  Thus during late nights and on Sundays there is nothing limiting private car trips into the West End, for shopping or any other function.

    Unfortunately it is not just Oxford Street that subjects the population of Fitzrovia to life threatening pollution.  The diagram below (taken from the Kings College Model commissioned, as I understand it, by the GLA) identifies Mortimer Street and New Cavendish Street as highly polluted as well.  This pollution is exacerbated in the centre of London because of the urban heat island effect, which can trap a bubble of polluted air, stopping it dissipating, as it might do in greener parts of the capital.  I am sure that enlightened traffic engineers in the GLA have already considered these limitations and are proposing alternatives.  For example a bus hub at Tottenham Court Road and a further hub at Hyde Park Corner would be well supported by our community. (As long as there is some way of getting to them)

    We are especially concerend that All Soul’s Primary School,  our excellent local primary school,  which lies only yards from the Mortimer Street/Newman Street junction.  The prospect of diverting transport onto a minor road and increasing pollution levels so close to an area where children are taught, is not worthy of the new GLA administration.

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.