West End Matters November 2016

Ensuring our Streets are Clean and Rubbish Free

An appeal by Starbucks against the size of a recent fine from Westminster City Council has been rejected and the Council’s position in enforcing against recalcitrant business operators strengthened.

The initial fine from the Council was £160,000 but Starbucks’ appeal at Southwark Crown Court has resulted in their fine being increased to £175,000.

West End Ward Councillor Jonathan Glanz said: “The action taken by the Council underlines our commitment to fair, and effective, enforcement across West End, and shows the ability of the Council to enforce against companies even the size of Starbucks.

“As one of your Ward Councillors who lives and works in the West End I am committed to ensuring that our area is clean, and that the West End remains an excellent place to live and work.”

The initial fine related to four occasions where Starbucks had left rubbish outside their coffee shop in Berkeley Square outside of normal collection times.

Upon increasing the fine for two of the four offences, the judge remarked that the behaviour undertaken by the company had been deliberate.

Pedestrianisation of Oxford Street

Your local Councillor and West End resident, Paul Church, met with Deputy Mayor of London for Transport, Val Shawcross, to discuss Sadiq Khan’s plans to pedestrianise Oxford Street and to ensure that West End residents’ views come first when it comes to this important issue.

Paul is working with FitzWest, Fitzrovia’s Neighbourhood Forum, to ensure that Transport for London are held to account and that they put the views of West End residents first before any plans are unveiled.  Residents’ concerns, including: freight and deliveries taking place at sociable hours, disabled access to Oxford Street and ‘no go’ areas for pedestrianisation were discussed.

Councillor Church said “I met with the Deputy Mayor and TFL to ensure that West End residents are a priority in any plans they make.  They have agreed to come and take a look at our West End for themselves and I plan to hold them to account and scrutinise everything they propose to ensure that our local residents’ views come first”.

Berwick Street Christmas Lights

The second grand annual Berwick Street Christmas light switch on was an absolutely fabulous success.  

Joanna Lumley switched the Christmas lights on. She was joined by voice of The Simpsons comedian Harry Shearer and jazz pianist Charlie Wood - hot from Memphis - where he has a blue note next to Elvis Presley on the Tennessee equivalent of the Hollywood walk of fame.  

We were especially proud of our Soho Parish school choir who warmed everyone up with their favourite carols to which the crowd sang along. The event was covered live by ITV and BBC.  

Councillor Roberts explained ‘when I got up on the stage, specially built by Interserve, who are helping redevelop the Kemp House site, I couldn't believe the number of faces in the crowd thronging our popular market. In the brief two years since I inaugurated the event to cheer up Soho in the face of many changes, it has grown from a local gathering for a handful of enthusiasts to one attended by visitors from all over the world.’

The lights and huge Christmas tree sourced by the market traders will still be there until 6 January for anyone who would like to visit. Don't forget to shop at the 300-year-old market and nearby boutiques. This year we have expanded the display into Brewer Street using some of Soho's distinctive old neon signs that are so typical of the neighbourhood. Next year we will be able to cover even more of Soho with the promise of thousands of additional lights from a generous donor. 

The event has done great things for the morale of a very special part of our Ward, which people have feared might lose its distinct character. For the first time in a long time Councillor Roberts really felt the Soho she has represented for eighteen years could look forward to its own fabulous future.