Churchill Matters October 2016

Have Your Say on our Queen Mother Sports Centre

Many of our Churchill Ward residents enjoy the facilities provided by the Queen Mother Sports Centre. You now have an opportunity to comment on the future of the QM and the surrounding area. 

There is a growing and significant amount of developer interest in the area with companies buying up buildings near to the QM. In response to this situation, Westminster City Council has produced a ‘Development Opportunity Framework’ (DoF). This is a policy framework, which outlines to developers guidelines as to what the Council will expect from applications to benefit the wider community and area. The DoF is not a master plan but rather a vision setting out the priorities for the area. An outstanding sports facility must be one of these. 

The QM is now over 30 years old. Those of us who regularly use it recognise it is in need of updating. However, nothing is likely to happen for 10 years but we need to protect the area. You can find out more and have your say by going tohttps://openforum.westminster.gov.uk/development-op-framework-UVBR. The deadline for responding is 28th October.

Pimlico Neighbourhood Forum Launched

Warwick Ward Councillor Nickie Aiken joined Tachbrook and Vincent Square colleagues and residents from across Pimlico at the inaugural meeting of the Neighbourhood Forum, which took place at St Saviours Church. It was a well-attended meeting where we learnt of the major tasks in front of us. The area covered by the Pimlico Neighbourhood Forum will not include Churchill Gardens or that part of Churchill Ward in Belgravia, which have their own Neighbourhood Forums.  

The Forum has been set up following the Localism Act 2011 that gave local communities, like ours, the right to shape development through the making of a Neighbourhood Plan. This plan will outline what residents want to see to improve their local areas. The Plan doesn’t override the Local Authority’s Local Plan and cannot block developments but it can influence the look and feel of future ones.

A working party has now been set up to begin scoping out the plan. There are still plenty of opportunities to get involved with the Pimlico Neighbourhood Forum. To learn more and subscribe please go to www.5fields.org

Churchill Ward Conservatives Push for Action on a New Dangerous Drug

We have sadly had reports of increased drug use in and around the streets of Pimlico including Churchill Ward. We are working with police and Council officers to address this worrying development. One of the reasons for the increase of blatant drugs use is the major problem of a new very dangerous drug on the street, commonly called ‘Spice’. It has been taken up by a growing number of rough sleepers. 

There are a number of different strains of the drug which either comatose the user or makes them very violent. It is also incredibly cheap. A bag of Spice can be bought for as little as an hour of begging on the street.
 
Councillor Aiken, as Cabinet Member for Public Protection, has launched a public awareness campaign to highlight the real dangers associated with Spice to persuade the public not to give to beggars but instead to donate to the homeless charities that work in Westminster.  

Commenting, Councillor Aiken said: “The most vulnerable in our society are being targeted with this drug. A number of drug addicts have told me it is the worst they have ever experienced but it is cheap and accessible. The horrific side effects of Spice are making it increasingly difficult for our services to work effectively with the homeless because of the adverse effect the drug is having on them. I can assure everyone that there is a bed for every rough sleeper in Westminster who wants one and outreach teams are out on the street every night of the year.”
 
If you do come across rough sleepers in your area you can alert streetlink.org.uk who will send outreach workers to make contact with them. If you are suffering from street drinkers in your vicinity please let us know and we will liaise with the Council and the police on your behalf.

Anti-Social Behaviour in Pimlico Road and Ebury Street

Churchill Ward Conservatives have been working with Westminster City Council on addressing the increased anti-social behaviour in Pimlico Road and Ebury St (including Orange and Ebury Squares and surrounding streets) over the summer months. Following our interventions, Westminster’s city inspectors and outreach teams have been engaging with rough sleepers at these locations to establish who these individuals are and urging them to accept in-door accommodation. Regrettably some of the individual rough sleepers would prefer to stay outside. 

We have had reports of increased rubbish in the Squares, possibly connected with the rough sleepers. Westminster City Council has confirmed to us that the area is swept daily. However, if you feel this is not happening, then we would encourage you to report any waste concerns through to https://www.westminster.gov.uk/report-it-street-cleansing so that it can be logged and picked up by the relevant teams. 

A further area of concern in Orange Square is the underground disused toilets. These are secured at the bottom of the steps from the Square but there is evidence that this area is used for drug taking. We are urging Westminster City Council to place a barrier at the top of the steps to stop people entering. We understand this would be consistent with other disused toilet sites across Westminster.

Crossrail 2

On 10th October, Warwick Ward Councillor Jacqui Wilkinson chaired the Crossrail 2 Community Engagement Panel. There was a good turnout from Pimlico residents, including Churchill Ward, concerned to hear what this project might mean for the area. There was discussion about the likelihood of the Victoria Coach Station being used for the works and implications for residents. It will be interesting to see how this is dealt with in the next consultation, which is due to take place by the end of the year.

Silver Sunday

In our September E-Newsletter, we mentioned that ‘Silver Sunday’ would be taking place on the 2nd October. Silver Sunday was started by Councillor Christabel Flight as a special day to celebrate older people. This wonderful initiative goes from strength to strength. We had 53 Silver Sunday events in Westminster this year and 611 throughout the rest of the UK.  

On the Friday beforehand, Councillor Flight and a wonderful singer Lucy Clark visited all Westminster’s care homes. In the afternoon, Churchill Ward residents were among the excited audience for a Music Hall event run by Jan Hunt and the Player’s theatre, which was held in St John’s Smith Square. Silver Sunday certainly has an event for every taste, from the Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace to Lord’s Cricket Ground, dancing classes with the English National Ballet, singing, sport and of course eating!

The best though is yet to come. There will be the annual free Tea Dance for 1000 Westminster residents aged 65+ in the Great Room of the Grosvenor in Park Lane on 6th November. Tickets for this event have already been allocated but it is always worth trying for a returned ticket. Councillor Flight said: “Silver Sunday is a wonderful occasion to provide special activities for our older residents. However, none of these events would happen without our fantastic volunteers to whom we owe a huge debt of gratitude.”

Handel's Messiah in Pimlico

Churchill Ward Conservatives are again participating in Handel’s Messiah on 13th December at St Gabriel’s Church, Warwick Square. Come and join us. Rehearsals began on Monday 17th October from 7pm-9pm and will be continuing weekly until the performance on Tuesday 13th December. This is a joint initiative between two Westminster Charities, the Pimlico Musical Foundation, which gives primary school children within Pimlico, including St Gabriel’s in Churchill Gardens and St Barnabas in Pimlico Road, the opportunity to learn an instrument and indeed to sing, and the Sir Simon Milton Foundation which is the umbrella under which Silver Sunday, the Tea Dance and the Simon Milton University Technical College specialising in Engineering (opening September 2017) sits. If you would like more details about Handel’s Messiah, please contact Councillor Flight oncllrflight@candhflight.com and she will be delighted to help. 

Conservatives Out and About in Churchill

Over the past month, local Conservatives have been out and about across Churchill ward, listening to local people and responding to your concerns.  We’ve already had a huge response to our 2016 Churchill residents’ survey, but if you haven’t yet completed a form then please do so online by clicking here.  We will report back on the issues raised in future newsletters.