Warwick Matters October 2016

Have Your Say on our Queen Mother Sports Centre

Warwick Ward Councillors are urging residents to take part in Westminster City Council’s current consultation on the future of the area around the Queen Mother’s Sports Centre. 

There is a growing and significant amount of developer interest in the area. We are expecting a planning application from an offshore property developer for a large area of Wilton Road any day now. 

Other developers are buying up bulldings near to the QM with an eye for redevelopment. Therefore, the Council has produced a ‘Development Opportunity Framework’. 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 prorities. 

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

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 task in front of us.

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

Local Councillors Push for Action on New Dangerous Drug

We have sadly had reports of increased drug use in and around the streets of Warwick. 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 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. 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.

Crossrail 2

On 10th October, Councillor Jacqui Wilkinson chaired the Crossrail 2 Community Engagement Panel. There was a good turnout from Pimlico residents concerned to hear what this project might mean for the area. A pressing issue was the possibility of one of the entrances to the Crossrail station being built in Ebury Street. We learnt that planners were now looking at several options for where the entrances might be situated. It is expected that there will be another consultation by the end of the year.  It will be interesting in the consultation documents to see what are the latest ideas for entrances to the station.

Possible Recycling Project

Regular readers of our e-newsletters will know that we are keen to improve recycling within Warwick. This does not just apply to what we put in the blue bags or the recycling bins. We have been working with CityWest Homes to consider the possibility of setting up a project to recycle furniture and white goods for the benefits of the community.  Councillor Christabel Flight has been investigating storage space underneath Glastonbury House that could be used as a recycling workshop, providing experience in restoring items for use by the local community for our young unemployed and those not able to undertake full-time work. She found the storage spacealready contained lots of redundant furniture, which would eventually be sent to the tip. What a waste. Much better if we could give them a new lease of life!

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 was joined by the Lord Mayor Steve Summers and Councillor Jacqui Wilkinson for the first event of the weekend – a performance for residents of Glastonbury House by a wonderful singer Lucy Clark and the choir from St Barnabas School Pimlico. There was also a world first - a song commissioned especially for Silver Sunday was given its 'premier'. It was based on the traditional ballad 'Silver Threads among the Gold'. After entertaining residents of Glastonbury House, Christabel and Lucy then visited all Westminster’s care homes.

In the afternoon, Warwick 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, dancing 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.”

'Parklets' Hit Warwick

Warwick ward is the proud host of two special ‘parklets’ thanks to the Victoria Business Improvement District. One sits outside the Passport Office and the other on the corner of Wilton Road and Gillingham Street. The parklets were part of the Sir Simon Milton Foundation garden at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show. The Victoria BID kindly sponsored the garden and then broke them up into smaller gardens that are now placed across Westminster. We think they make a lovely contribution to the area and provide a pleasant place to sit and watch the world go by.

Handel's Messiah in Pimlico

Warwick Ward Councillors 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 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. 

Thank You CityWest Homes

Your Warwick Ward Councillors aim to ensure that our area is a pleasant place to live and work. We frequently raise issues with those bodies responsible for helping us achieve this. Following a recent street surgery in Abbots Manor, we raised a number of concerns with senior management at CityWest Homes. Among these were the state of some of the blocks including Sherbourne and Tintern. We are thrilled to see these have now been spruced up and looking much better. Thank you CityWest Homes. 

Our Next Street Surgery

We are available to help whenever the needs arrives.  We don’t expect our residents to have to wait for a surgery date.  However, we also think it’s important to be proactive and get out and meet local people

We run our popular 'street surgeries' once a month between 10.30 and noon.  We visit specific streets in Warwick Ward to meet residents and discuss any issues they may have.  We have been gradually working our way around the Ward.
This month, on Saturday 22nd October, we'll be visiting Charlwood Street.