Your latest Churchill Action Report

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Councillors Shamim Talukder and Jason Williams, and Churchill Ward Labour Action Team member Andrea Mann, have been taking up issues on your behalf and standing up for local residents.

We take up individual cases, as well as local issues of concern. Please let us know if we can be of help or assistance on any local issues.

Labour’s Manifesto for the 2018 Council Elections

After decades of the Conservatives taking Westminster for granted, residents have a real chance to change the future of this city. Years of cuts have taken their toll on local services, particularly for the most vulnerable.

The Conservatives have put the needs of developers above the needs of the vast majority of local residents. For generations they have failed to build the Council (social rent) and lower (intermediate) rent homes that Westminster needs to give the City a viable future.

Labour has a credible alternative plan that can be delivered today despite the damage being done by the current government. Our communities are calling out for change, and in this manifesto Labour sets out a vision for how things could be run differently, how we will deliver a Westminster for the many not the few if we are elected to run the council on 3rd May 3rd.

Read the manifesto and our key pledges here.

CityWest Homes

We have been supporting residents over their issues with CityWest Homes. We invited Jonathan Cowie, CEO of CityWest Homes, to meet with residents and showed him and his team around Churchill Gardens Estate, where residents spoke to them directly about the problems they’ve been facing: including issues with CityWest Homes call centre, major works, anti-social behaviour, mould and damp, and delays to repairs.

We have also been visiting blocks affected by major works, and holding special major works surgeries and door-knocking sessions to support residents.

If you have an issue with your housing and/or CityWest Homes that we can help with or raise with them, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Just email info@churchilllabour.co.uk or call us on 020 8354 2617.

Churchill Gardens

We have been following up on outstanding repairs and are chasing CityWest Homes on a daily basis. Here are some examples of the issues we are dealing with. It is particularly disappointing partly because some of the work has been outstanding from last year November and December regarding properties mentioned below (we have not included individual flat numbers);

– Campbell House – repairs outstanding from December 2017.

– De Quincy House – cracked window and their kitchen needs entire facelift.

– Nash House – front door fell off which caused damaged to flooring etc. Kitchen window frames rotten.

– Fountain Court – ASB is a big cause for concern for the residents.

– Gilbert House – a number of issues from repairs to ASB, the family is suffering. CWH is aware of this issues from our email and subsequent home visit.

– Coleridge House – repairs outstanding since last November/December 2017, when we first raised the work with CWH

Victoria House, Ebury Bridge Estate

We have reported the situation on the Ebury Bridge Estate at Victoria House, where the lift is still out of use. There are a number of elderly residents reside at this building and we are concerned about their mobility.

We have also asked the Planning Department to investigate concerns that at least two flats in Victoria House are being let as Airbnb short lets without permission.

Grosvenor Rail Bridge

Following our lobbying, we are happy to report that Network Rail has fenced off the underside of Grosvenor Rail Bridge. We had received many complaints about anti-social behaviour on the site and reports of vulnerable rough sleepers being victimised by others due to the site’s remote location. There were also reports of threatening behaviour and abuse towards outreach workers.

We worked with TfL and Council Officers to identify who owned the site and to get the relevant permissions to enable it to be closed. We also worked closely with the Police and Council Officers to ensure the person currently on the site is given full support. Fencing off the site also meant it could be cleared of debris which could have affected the safety of the rail bridge.

Welcome for extra police on the beat

We have welcomed welcomed the Mayor’s decision to invest an additional £59m annually to support an extra 1,000 police officers by using income raised from business rates. This will help avoid falling police numbers due to Government cuts to the Metropolitan Police budget.

We have also welcomed the Mayor’s announcement that he is creating a brand new £45million fund to help young Londoners who are at risk of getting caught up in crime. The Mayor’s new Young Londoners Fund will see £15m invested in each of the next three years, beginning from April. Of the total new funding, £10million a year will make up a new fund into which local communities, charities and schools will be able to bid for funds, and £5million a year will be invested to scale up existing projects funded from City Hall that are already supporting young Londoners.

In addition, over 1,800 people have signed Westminster Labour’s petition to halt the Government’s further £400 million cuts to the Metropolitan Police budget.

The petition to Parliament runs until 27th April.

Labour’s Five Point Plan for CityWest Homes

Residents are angry with the very poor performance of CityWest Homes. Service standards have clearly deteriorated after Conservative council cuts to the housing management budget, the closure of local estate offices and the bungled introduction of a new call centre and repairs contract.

A Labour Council would immediately put CityWest on notice so that if its performance does not rapidly improve it will be stopped from managing the council’s properties.

– From day one, Labour will take action to end the repairs crisis and improve the way CityWest treats residents.

– We will re-establish local estate offices.

– We will urgently look at further ways to improve the failing call centre system.

– We will give residents a greater say over how their homes are managed.

– We will introduce a new leaseholders’ charter to improve support to resident leaseholders and look to limit huge major works bills.

25 more ‘Nightmare Stories’ from City West Homes

In January 2018, we unveiled a dossier of ’20 Nightmare Stories from City West Homes’. The reaction to this from tenants and leaseholders was overwhelming, with many more ‘nightmare stories’ coming to light from all over Westminster. Residents are angry with the very poor performance of City West Homes, particularly following the recent debacles over the new call centre and the repairs contract.

We have followed this up with ‘25 More Nightmare stories from City West Homes’ with details of:

– Continued long waits on the telephone to report problems to the CWH call centre

– Failure to deal with emergencies quickly

– Lack of communication between CWH and its tenants and leaseholders

– Poor communications between CWH and its contractors

– Failure of CWH to return calls from tenants and leaseholders

– Broken appointments by CWH contractors

Building genuinely affordable homes

If Labour win the Council, we will create a new type of affordable housing –  Westminster Key Worker Homes. We will commit that, in addition to social housing, all new affordable housing built on council land will be at rents that are affordable to residents on average and below average incomes. We will ensure that these homes are focused on providing opportunities for long-standing residents of Westminster and key workers such as nurses, teachers, firefighters and the police.

Labour’s pledge on Cleaner Streets

Mattresses and other household objects dumped on our street corners have become an all too common a sight. A Labour council will rigorously focus on fly-tipping and bulky waste dumping and we have made a number of commitments that will help tackle the problem. If elected in May 2018:

– Labour will urgently reform the fees and charges for bulky waste collection, restoring a ‘first time free’ collection and reducing costs for standard collections.

– We will develop a new ‘express collection’ bulky waste removal service.

– We will look further at the use of mobile cameras to help enforcement at fly-tipping hotspots and at ways to increase fines for dumping.

– As part of our support for a new Private Renters Charter we will improve the information provided to landlords, letting agents and tenants.

– We will provide a smartphone App to make it easier for residents to make use of the Council’s ‘report it’ service, helping further target the worst affected areas.

Register to vote

The local Westminster City Council elections are on Thursday 3 May.

If you aren’t already registered to vote, you need to do so to vote in this local election.  The deadline to register at gov.uk/register-to-vote is Wednesday 17 April. It only takes a few minutes. Anyone who is already registered to vote does not need to re-register. If you have moved home in the last few months and have not registered to vote at your new address you still have time to register at this new location.

The other key dates are the postal vote application deadline which is 5pm, on Wednesday 18 April and the proxy vote application deadline is 5pm, Wednesday 25 April.

EU citizens are able to vote in these local elections.

You can get more information by visiting www.westminster.gov.uk/westminster-city-council-election-2018

Find out what we’re doing in your part of Churchill Ward

Check out the new Your Area section of our website to find out more about the work we have been doing, and the projects we’ve helped fund, in your part of Churchill Ward.

Please let us know if there are any matters on which we can be of help.

Councillors Shamim Talukder and Jason Williams, and Andrea Mann

Your Churchill Ward Labour Action Team – Here to Help

info@churchillcouncillors.co.uk

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