Cycle Superhighway (CS11): Supporting local residents
Abbey Road Ward Councillor Lindsey Hall joined protesters at the Anti-CS11 march at Swiss Cottage recently following the Major of London's announcement in August of his intention to push ahead with the CS-11 cycle superhighway through St John's Wood including the closure of most of the gates to traffic in Regents Park saying "CS-11 will play an important role improving the quality of our toxic air, improving Londoners' health and make thousands more people feel comfortable cycling."
Whilst we support efforts to improve the safety of cycling and wish to encourage a greener city, we do not believe the proposals as they currently stand will achieve this, particularly as they do not take into account localised pressures of traffic on the Finchley Road with major developments such as the Barracks and confirmation that HS2 will now go ahead.
At a packed local meeting we secured a powerful mandate from our residents to explore constructive alternative safer routes for our cyclists that will ensure Regents Park remains open for ALL to share and that our local streets will be protected from worse congestion, rat runs and pollution. To that end we are working closely with local stakeholders and Cabinet Members to lobby Mayor Kahn and ensure that alternative proposals are properly considered and that TfL does not ride roughshod over the 4,500 local people who signed the Anti-CS11 Petition delivered by Cllr Lindsey Hall to City Hall last spring.
We are also calling on TfL to properly assess the impact of other Cycle Superhighways such as the Embankment and in Hyde Park before imposing more schemes in other parts of the City particularly in light of the extra pollution caused by gridlocked traffic. We believe the key to safer cycling and improved air quality is the better utilisation of 'quiet-ways' rather than the expensive reduction of arterial road space. A decision will be made later this year.
Eruv planning application
Many residents will already be aware that a planning application has been submitted to Westminster City Council (WCC) for the creation of a North Westminster Eruv which effectively is the construction of a boundary made up of 26 sets of poles and wires on the public highway to enable Orthodox Jews to travel freely in this designated area on the Sabbath. Whilst there are no actual poles proposed for the Abbey Road Ward, the proposal will enclose St John's Wood and part of Maida Vale enabling freer movement for those attending our Abbey Road Synagogues.
Your Ward Councillors would encourage you to make a comment on this application which will go before the Planning Sub-Committee in November. The consultation period has been extended to the end of October, but it would be helpful for our planning team to collate feedback as soon as possible. The link is http://idoxpa.westminster.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=O7N0RARPGR700 or click the below button to go direct to the application. See also a map of the area covered by the Eruv.
Barracks re-development & St John’s Wood adventure playground
With the start of this major redevelopment postponed to next Spring, we can confirm that Ward Councillors led by Cllr Peter Freeman continue to drive hard for the best possible solution to the problems of demolition and removal of spoil. Working closely with the developers, local stakeholders and our planning and transportation department at City Hall, we believe we have found an alternative route to access the site from Finchley Road that will avoid Queens Grove and reduce any temporary loss of residential parking. We will report back as soon as details are confirmed.
We are also thrilled to learn from the developers that our suggestion of a £100,000 Section 106 donation to our highly valued St John's Wood Adventure Playground has now been agreed, meaning that the future of this wonderful local community resource can now be assured. We have supported the Playground with our Ward Budget considerably this year but were always concerned about long-term viability; so this announcement is great news.
William Court development
We have been lobbied by many residents in the vicinity of William Court following an application to redevelop part of the grounds. This it at the early stages of assessment by our planning department and we are working closely with all parties to ensure every response is fairly considered in preparation for the Planning Sub-Committee hearing, most likely towards the end of December.
St John’s Wood post office update
Your Ward Councillors are keeping a close eye on the difficulties surrounding the expiry of the Post Office lease on Circus Road and the complex renegotiation's for a new lease. In spite of Westminster's offer to the Post Office to remain in the unit on their existing rent and terms (below market value), this was declined. A counter offer from the Post Office for a further reduction of 12% is likely to be resisted because it does not represent best value for taxpayers especially as the proposal allows the Post Office to sub-let, with the risk that not only would the Council be losing money on the property (against its legal obligations) there would be no guarantee it would even remain as a Post Office.
We continue to work hard with the WCC Property Management Team and with our Cabinet Members to try to secure the best possible outcome in the hope we may be able to keep our Post Office for the community, but hope residents can see why it is not straightforward and ultimately remains a commercial, independent decision by the Post Office.
Additional waste & recycling bin collections
To ensure that the emptying schedules for the waste and recycling bins in our Ward accurately match the times when residents mostly use them we have recently undertaken a ‘bin fullness’ review. As a result of the review, for the last few weeks we have been increasing the recycling bin emptying frequencies at the following sites:
1. Springfield Road junction with Boundary Road MRC site
2. Townshend Road junction with St Johns Wood Terrace
Predicting when bins will be filled up is not an exact science and if any residents do find bins overflowing could you please report it using www.westminster.gov.uk/report-it. As well as immediately getting the bin emptied this data will also help us make any further adjustments to the emptying schedules. Collection days/times for individual streets can be checked at www.westminster.gov.uk/recycling-and-rubbish.
If you have any issues for us here in the Abbey Road Ward, please get in touch.