Knightsbridge and Belgravia Matters November 2016

9,000 Trees and Growing as Westminster Plants More Trees

The number of trees planted by Conservative-run Westminster Council is up by more than a third in a decade, helping to make our city greener every year.

Over the last three years an annual average of 200 extra trees have been planted, going well beyond just replacing the 40 or so which die or have to be taken down for safety reasons. Councillor Heather Acton, Cabinet Member for Sustainability and Parking said: “Westminster Conservatives know that trees are vital to our city and help contribute to the physical and mental health of our residents and visitors. As well as this, they help to reduce on-street flooding.”

Under London’s previous Conservative Mayor, Boris Johnson, Westminster received assistance with its tree planting programme. Labour Mayor, Sadiq Khan, by contrast, does not plan to keep his promise to plant 2 million trees by 2020, having reduced the commitment to a 5% increase by 2025.

Trees on urban streets provide shade in hot weather and contribute to better air quality. They improve the beauty and liveability of our neighbourhoods. Research shows people prefer to live in areas with more trees and greenery and are prepared to pay more to do so.

Westminster now has 9,000 trees on its streets, from the magnificent planes of The Mall to smaller fruit trees and dogwoods in residential areas and the Council continues to plant more.

Westminster Council Wins Award for Animal Welfare

For the fourth year running Westminster has won the Gold Stray Dog Footprint Award from the Royal Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA).

This award recognises councils for professionalism and excellence in providing good customer service that enhances animal welfare. The council also received a bronze award for its work promoting responsible pet ownership on its estates.

Councillor Jacqui Wilkinson, Westminster City Council's Animal Welfare Champion, said: "The awards are well-deserved. I am delighted that the work of our dedicated animal wardens has been recognised by the RSPCA.

“Westminster City Council is committed to promoting responsible pet ownership and works closely with local and national animal charities. We are currently arranging free microchipping events which I know will prove popular with our residents. It’s all a part of our efforts to create a greener and safer city for all.”

Animal wardens regularly deal with stray or lost dogs, complaints about other people's dogs, barking, fouling and other nuisances in Westminster. To contact them, go towww.westminster.gov.uk/animal-warden-service. The service is open Monday to Friday from 8 am to 5pm. Animal cruelty should be reported to the RSPCA.

Nine Million Investment in Westminster’s Sports Centres Underway

Westminster’s sports centres are benefitting from a £9 million investment thanks to an innovative contract. The Queen Mother Sports Centre in Pimlico will receive £1.6 million to refurbish the spa, add a new yoga studio in addition to the recently refurbished changing rooms already delivered. Funds will also go towards a new entrance and a refurbished state-of-the-art gym, with work starting in December.

Cllr David Harvey, Cabinet Member for Sports and Leisure, said: “Investing in the future of sport and leisure centres across Westminster will help to more people to keep healthy and active. More people than ever before are taking part in physical activity and it’s vital we offer the facilities and opportunities they need.”

Money will also go towards improvements at Marshall Street Leisure Centre and the Porchester Centre. Little Venice Sports Centre on Edgware Road and Jubilee Sports Centre in Queen’s Park have already reopened their new gyms following refurbishment earlier in the year.

A consultation on a plan for the upper Vauxhall Bridge Road area, which includes the Queen Mother Sport’s Centre, is currently taking place. This work aims to ensure that future developments in the area involve local people and are in keeping with the character of the area.

Councillor David Harvey said: “Despite what the Labour Party have been trying to insinuate, we are committed to retaining and improving the much loved and popular Queen Mother Sports Centre, which will remain at the heart of the area and any future developments.”