Condemning hate crime and xenophobia

The following statement has been put out by my colleague Cllr Aiken, cabinet member for public protection, and I strongly endorse it. Britain is rightly celebrated for its openness and tolerance and that should continue.

“I can assure you that I and the rest of my colleagues on Westminster City Council condemn racism, xenophobia and hate crime and agree with you that there is no place for such behaviour in our city or country as a whole. As you will be aware, Westminster is one of the most diverse places in the world, with hundreds of thousands of people from different backgrounds living side by side. We have been very fortunate that over the past decades we have seen very little if any tension between communities who live peacefully together. However, we are not complacent and sadly we have seen a spike of reported hate crimes in the borough over recent days. We are working with the police and other partners to ensure each and every one of our communities feel safe and secure.

Westminster has always taken such issues seriously. Our former leader, Sir Simon Milton, launched the well regarded One City Programme in 2005 following the 7/7 attacks. Under our current leader, Philippa Roe, our strategic plan is called City for All. Both demonstrate a clear stance against division and isolation and instead embrace integration, harmony and partnership.

As for the request for a motion to be debated at Full Council, Westminster City Councillors already have done so at previous full council meetings recently, notably following the attacks in Paris. I am also delighted to inform you that we launched our Community Cohesion Commission last week. The Commission is a cross party group which has been set up to better understand cohesion in Westminster, to ensure our city continues to be a place where everyone feels that they belong, whatever their religion or none, their background, their sexual orientation. It will also be considering how we can address any problems of isolation or individuals or communities and how to address the possible root causes of radicalisation and other related issues. Further information on the Commission can be found at www.westminster.gov.uk

I hope I have been able to address your concerns and demonstrate how seriously Westminster City Council takes community cohesion and will continue to work with partners to address any hate crimes reported and will do all we can to prevent them occurring in the first place.

Vice arrests and immigration removals

We have now had 20 criminal arrests and 12 immigration removals as part of Operation Unite 16. It’s noticeable that things have improved – fewer disturbances, less detritus and female residents can feel safer.

Paddington Place community planning weekend

Why not have a competition to produce a better design for the site of the now withdrawn Paddington Pole? The respected thinktank Create Streets has launched just that. Civic Voice, the charity representing amenity societies, and architects JTP teamed up to devise an entry using a “Community Planning Weekend.” They organised a site walkabout and a workshop at St John’s Church to get views from local residents. Next step is to come up with a plan. While it is an ambitious project, including the Mercure Hotel site and part of the hospital sit, neither of whose owners have any obligation to get involved, I think it will promote thought about just how much better a place Paddington could be.

West End Green

Little Venice, Hyde Park and Marylebone High Street councillors were among the many to voice opposition to this proposal. The tower has already been reduced by 8 storeys, but we would have liked to have seen another five taken off it. The scheme does bring over 650 new flats including 126 affordable ones to a site that has lain derelict for years, but we feel it could have offered more in public benefit.

Lighter evenings – more campaigning!

 

 

20160404_194944Knocking on doors for the Zac campaign in Orpington – and it didn’t rain!

Electric vehicle alternatives

An alternative location for EV charging bays to the existing one outside the Bombay Palace restaurant is to be considered.
Nitesh from this well-known local business told me the bays had made it more difficult for his customers to park. Hyde Park Street, which is wide and has no businesses on it, would seem a better location. The council’s contractors are taking a look at this option and will finish their survey in about 10 days. Then we’ll know whether this is indeed the way to go as we seek to improve take up of EVs, helping air quality, without harm to local businesses.

Much needed upgrade in Paddington

Cllr Acton and I had a chance to look at plans from Hermes Real Estate to improve 50 Eastbourne Terrace, at the junction with Craven Road. The proposals for homes and offices would reduce the height and create a much more appealing building with greenery and less scope for anti-social behaviour. The plans will be out for public consultation before long.

Campaigning with West Central GLA candidate Tony Devenish

DSC_0798~2Tony is a Hyde Park ward resident and will make a fantastic member of the London Assembly. Here we are in Westminster North last Saturday.

More campaigning for the GLA

unnamed (2)Tomorrow I’ll be out with GLA West Central candidate Tony Devenish and Zac in Westminster North. Here’s a pic of the kind of numbers we saw in Hampstead earlier this month.

Royal Parks to become a charity

This has been planned for a while by the government. The model is that of the Canals and Rivers Trust, created out of British Waterways to manage – well, Britain’s public waterways. The potential is to attract more charitable giving than is the case at present, with the Parks run by a government agency, alongsideĀ a separate Foundation seeking philanthropic giving. Big donors don’t usual like giving to parts of government, so with any luck this will encourage them to give more, especially as the Parks enjoy so much affection and prestige. We’ll be watching closely from Hyde Park ward!

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.