Archive for July, 2015

Cycle Superhighway benefits

As part of the reworking of the Lancaster Gate gyratory to make it safe as part of the East West Cycle Superhighway, we will get a pedestrian crossing from St James’ Church into the green space at the end of Sussex Gardens. My predecessor Anne Mallinson and many other residents had long called for this, as it will make the gardens much more accessible, especially for the primary school children.  There will also be new parking spaces on Westbourne Crescent so churchgoers can park on Sundays even when some of the single yellow line parking higher up Westbourne Terrace makes way for the cycle path. Crossing from Lancaster Gate tube to Kensington Gardens will also be made easier with a straight-across crossing, as called for by Paddington Residents Active Concern on Transport.

All this was revealed by Transport for London officers and contractors at a meeting with residents and councillors at the Lancaster London, following meetings between Cllr Acton and the Mayor’s Cycling Champion. Plans will also be worked up for a pedestrian crossing on Stanhope Terrace, which has always been something of a challenge to cross safely.

Research to shape Statement of Principles on Gambling

DSC_0575cropI attended the launch yesterday of this important research, commissioned by WCC and Manchester City Council and funded by the Local Government Association,  into how gambling-related harm can be related to geographical areas. The impact of problem gambling goes beyond the individual and affects their families and communities. It is also correlated with factors such as poor mental health, substance abuse, low IQ and unemployment. Though often no one-to-one causal link can be shown between these factors and gambling-related harm, if these factors exist, there is an increased risk that harm may arise. In public health, we take note of multiple risk factors even where showing direct causation is not possible. The Gambling Act states that children and vulnerable people should be protected from being harmed or exploited by gambling so this research demands careful consideration. From 2016 the Gambling Commission has stated that operators should conduct local risk assessments for premises and show what measures they propose to mitigate against these risks.

Operation Tranquil Wind and other action against vice

DSC_0569 (2)Residents will have seen the email from PC Sam Hasan detailing the recent cautions, Community Protection Notices and arrests in the Sussex Gardens area for a variety of offences.
An exclusion zone has now been drawn up requiring sex workers who have received CPNs to stay outside it for a period for the courts to determine. Entry will prompt arrest and potentially a custodial sentence. We’ll have more information when the cases come to court.

A model of public service

It was so sad to hear this morning of the death of former Lord Mayor and hugely experienced licensing chairman Audrey Lewis. Already three people have said to me how much they liked and respected her. It is a huge loss not to have her wise guidance as we consider the review of the Statement of Licensing Policy tomorrow. We will have to do the best we can in her memory.

Petition presented

At Wednesday’s council meeting I presented the petition from residents of Radnor Mews, Radnor Place and nearby streets on the continuing problems caused by vice.

Co-incidentally, I had just signed my witness statement that will be used in applications for exclusion orders, and I know many other residents have done the same.

I also understand that vice around Sussex Gardens was included in this week’s general tasking, in addition to the work being done by the Safer Neighbourhoods team – vital as the summer continues.

No Fear of a West End with No End

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Just to demonstrate that WCC has no Fear of the Night, here’s leader Philippa Roe at the recent launch of the West End Partnership’s delivery plan for 2015-2030. With Peter Vernon, chief executive of Grosvenor Britain and Ireland, deputy chairman of the WEP, Cllr Roe celebrated the role of the West End’s night time sector in London’s £22 billion visitor economy.  As they say, there’s no end to the West End.

Fear of the Night

Fear of the Night? Really? When Westminster presides over the biggest evening and night time economy in the country? Professor Frank Furedi, as front man for a new lobby group called the Night Time Industries Association, claimed to have detected paranoia in government about the whole idea of night life.

It’s not really fair.  Westminster council is the Licensing Authority for most of the West End. If it suffered from  collective paranoia about night life, somebody would have shut it down by now.

About 60% of the Night Time Industries Association’s members, who are operators of licensed premises, are based in London. Yet many of the group’s concerns are with areas in the regions which have been regenerated by drinking and music venues, but are threatened by the residential development that has followed that regeneration.

Here in Westminster the wider West End population of 59,000 residents has always been there. And our policy on office to residential conversions in changing. Nor are we proposing to use Public Space Protection Orders to control licensed premises.

We love the night.

We just want our residents to love it too.

 

Antonia Cox

Westminster City Hall,
64 Victoria Street
London SW1E 6QP

0207 641 3411

acox@westminster.gov.uk

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The views expressed on this website are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Conservative Councillors' Association or the Conservative Party.