Marylebone High Street Matters October2016

Local Councillors Push for Action on New Dangerous Drug

Rough sleeping, begging and street drinking have been issues your Ward Councillors continue to grapple with.

By its central location and home to so many iconic tourist attractions, Westminster attracts many desperate people looking to raise cash to feed drink and drug addictions.

In recent months a new, very dangerous drug known as Spice has hit the streets and 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.

Your Ward Councillors have lobbied the Council and police to ensure everything possible is being done to combat this worrying new development. We can assure you 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.

However, Spice usage is making it increasingly difficult for our services to work effectively with the homeless because of the adverse effect the drug is having on them.

The Council has just launched an awareness campaign aimed at persuading the public not to give to beggars but to instead donate to the homeless charities that work in Westminster. By ensuring we have the personnel out on the street and preventing the ability to buy Spice we hope we can help those on the street turn their lives around.

If you do come across rough sleepers in your area you can alert 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.

Conservatives Planning to Pilot 20mph Roads

Westminster Council has announced that it plans to introduce 20MPH speed limits in a number of pilot areas.  These will be implemented in streets in close proximity to schools or where there has been a history of speed related accidents.   We will also put up vehicle activated signs to collect data on traffic speeds on these roads.

Westminster Conservatives have been studying the evidence and refusing to jump on the 20mph bandwagon.  Many Labour Councils have designated all of their roads 20 mph and as a result have seen negligible impact from such a policy. Many motorists have not been made aware of which roads required more caution and as a result have ignored the reduced speed limits.

We have always said that such measures need to be part of a package of interventions and areas need to be clearly designated. The overall evidence remains mixed and that is why we believe that the time is right to test whether these restrictions can work on Westminster streets.

The average speed in many streets in Westminster is very low and significantly below 20mph and so we recognise that other measures are required in many parts of the city.  We will continue to use other interventions on our roads as in many cases, a change in the road layout remains the most effective way of reducing traffic speeds.

Cllr Melvyn Caplan, Cabinet Member for City Management explained "Westminster Conservatives recognise that the city is a complex place and that a variety of solutions are needed to keep it a safe place for all its residents and visitors.  We believe that piloting 20mph roads in specific, carefully selected areas is an additional way in which we can alert motorists to the need to drive more carefully and slowly on those roads".