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!

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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

Keep The Date Free

We are holding another exhibition on Monday 11th January 2016, at the Getty Gallery Eastcastle Street from 11.00am to 8.00pm, where our draft policies and priorities will be exhibited.  Keep the date free in your diary.  We’d like as many people as possible to come along and give us their views.

More information will be published here soon.

Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL)

This Neighbourhood Executive has been concerned for some time that all the processes regarding the charging of Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) have gone ahead without any consultation with the neighbourhood forums.  This is curious because the Localism Bill expressly states that properly constituted neighbourhood forums should be fully consulted and their priorities be used to account for spending of 15% now and 25% of the CIL once the Neighbourhood Plan is agreed by referendum.

Communities without a Parish, Town or Community Council will still benefit from the 15% neighbourhood portion (or 25% portion, if a neighbourhood plan or neighbourhood development order has been made). If there is no Parish, Town or Community Council, the charging authority will retain the levy receipts but should engage with the communities where development has taken place and agree with them how best to spend the neighbourhood funding. Charging authorities should set out clearly and transparently their approach to engaging with neighbourhoods using their regular communication tools e.g. website, newsletters, etc. The use of neighbourhood funds should therefore match priorities expressed by local communities, including priorities set out formally in neighbourhood plans.

The Government does not prescribe a specific process for agreeing how the neighbourhood portion should be spent. Charging authorities should use existing community consultation and engagement processes. This should include working with any designated neighbourhood forums preparing neighbourhood plans that exist in the area, theme specific neighbourhood groups, local businesses (particularly those working on business led neighbourhood plans), and using networks that ward councillors use. Crucially this consultation should be at the neighbourhood level. It should be proportionate to the level of levy receipts and the scale of the proposed development to which the neighbourhood funding relates.

http://planningguidance.communities.gov.uk/blog/guidance/community-infrastructure-levy/spending-the-levy/

We are pleased to have received the enclosed letter from Councillor Robert Davis today, clarifying their understanding of the issue. We welcome the fact Westminster City Council  are aware of the duty to consult fully with the Neighbourhood Forums on the expenditure of the neighbourhood proportion of CIL.  We look forward to fruitful discussions.  Perhaps now some of the local issues like rubbish collection and the state of the streets can be properly addressed.

151127 CIL Neighbourhood letter November 2015

Here is our response:

Dear Councillor Davis,
CIL
Thank you for your letter received today, we have placed a copy of the letter on our website with this reply.
We were aware of the procedures advised by government and thus slightly curious as to why the Neighbourhood Forums were not consulted at the time the council reviewed infrastructure expenditure.
However, we accept that you will now be undertaking a wider consultation process to come to agreement with the new neighbourhood forums as to how that proportion of CIL should be expended.
We assume that you will be contacting us again soon so that a process and programme of discussion can be devised that will lead to a final agreement with the various neighbourhood forums.
I have put forward the suggestion that the West End Neighbourhood Forums have many priorities in common, and that it would be prudent to work together as a group.  We await officers response to that proposal.
In addition I note that government advice supports the involvement of Ward Councillors.  Our Ward Councillors have not yet attended any of our executive meetings, but some of them have been present at our public consultations.  We urge any of them that are not yet formal members of the forum to join, so that they automatically receive information about issues of importance to the community.
We are holding another exhibition on Monday 11th January 2016, at the Getty Gallery Eastcastle Street from 11.00am to 8.00pm, where our draft policies and priorities will be made public.   We do hope that your officers and politicians will want to attend.  In particular we are holding a briefing in the evening and hope that as many as possible can come.
We are looking forward to a positive and productive dialogue, and look forward to hearing more from your CIL team in the not too distant future.
With best wishes
Wendy Shillam
27 November 2015
The response is:

Dear Wendy,

Thank you for your email of 27th November. My apologies for not responding to you sooner, but all of our efforts in this area have been focussed on the recent Westminster Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) public examination and the work arising from.

I am very grateful for your views on the importance of a positive and productive dialogue about the best and most effective way of involving neighbourhoods in agreeing how the neighbourhood CIL funding proportion will be spent. My team will be in touch again when we have developed proposals for discussion and your suggestion of a joint approach for West End neighbourhoods is an interesting one to which we will certainly give thought.

Thank you also for the information about your exhibition on 11th January. I have drawn it to the attention of my officers and Andrew Barry-Purssell, our Place and Investment Policy Manager and the City Council’s lead officer for CIL, will be in attendance.

Yours sincerely

Cllr Robert Davis MBE DL

Deputy Leader and

Cabinet Member for the Built Environment

Westminster City Council

15th December 2015

Chair
Fitzrovia West Executive Committee
info@fitzwest.org
http://fitzwest.org/wordpress
@FitzWestForum
Wendy Shillam MA RIBA MRTPI

Crossrail 2

flyer

Here is an open invitation to visit the Crossrail 2 exhibition and have your say.  We’ll be there too and will share our thoughts via Twitter.  The closest place is St Giles Circus, 30th November and 1st December.  See you there!

Office Space in the West End is dwindling

Gerald Eve have just published their quarter three review of West End Office Space. WestEndFloorReview_Q3_2015.pdf

fGreat Portland Street

This review offers another definition of the West End (that runs right across Bloomsbury and Covent Garden)

The figures for Fitzrovia and Bloomsbury indicate a massive take-up of office space.  The rental values are shooting up as well.

gerald eve image

The report states that

 

‘As well as Facebook committing to almost 230,000 sq ft at One Rathbone Place in Fitzrovia, several game and software developers signed up to West End space during Q3. Proportionately, this was most pronounced in Soho, as the TMT sector accounted for 82% of all space taken.’

Having a quick discussion on Twitter this afternoon with Steve Chambers @respros over in Soho, we both conclude that the rise in residential schemes has started to edge office space out of the picture.  GE report that demand for small spaces is dwindling – but might that be because the rentals are too high right now for any entry level business to consider.