Temporary public realm improvement works proposed for Oxford Street

Westminster Council are asking for your views on their plans for temporary works designed to support social distancing and enable the safe reopening of Oxford Street when restrictions are eased. You can comment directly to the Council: oxfordst@westminster.gov.uk

Letter from Cllr Melvyn Caplan, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for City Management:

“It was agreed at the meeting on  Monday, 25th January, with Amenity Societies and Neighbourhood Forums that Westminster City Council would share further information and invite comment on our plans for temporary public realm improvement works, proposed to begin towards the end of this month.

The first phase of the overarching Oxford Street District (OSD) strategy involves our proposals for installing a temporary scheme on Oxford Street itself, to showcase innovation, sustainability, culture and diversity.

We think quick-win interventions could be delivered by late Spring 2021 and present an exciting opportunity to test and experiment, as the first potential step towards the longer-term revitalisation of the district.

The temporary scheme would be delivered via a Temporary Traffic Order (TTO) for 18 months.  We would plan to start these works at the end of this month.

These temporary proposals would see increased footway space on Oxford Street to enable safe, socially distanced access to the district, complemented by streetscape changes designed to improve the look and feel of the area. These plans are designed to enable the safe reopening of Oxford Street, when permitted, following the easing of national regulations and ensure visitors will be able to successfully socially distance. It has recently been reported that social distancing may remain in place until 2022, although there is no current guidance as to when that rule may change.

We will ensure that any works that take place are Covid secure and we think it would be beneficial to carry out these works during lockdown to ensure that any disturbance would be kept to a minimum. As with all schemes, we would keep it under constant review once established to ensure it is working effectively.

Our proposals for temporary improvements include:

  • footway enhancements: extended pedestrian space and footways
  • ‘street dressing’: a significant increase in plants and green areas, new contemporary seating, particularly in ‘pocket’ spaces along the street, colourful, themed banners which will be designed to create a sense of place and continuity
  • ‘urban theatre’: spaces for outdoor performance, features that create a sense of enlivenment, with ‘smart’ technology-based installations, and concept lighting

Initial locations for the temporary scheme including footway widening have been identified for the following locations:

  • West Oxford Street: Marble Arch islands, Bird Street junction, Davies Street junction, outside Selfridges
  • Oxford Circus: Hills Place junction, Great Titchfield Street/ Market Place, Winsley Street junction, Old Cavendish Street junction, Holles Street junction
  • East Oxford Street: Newman Street junction, Rathbone Place junction and Soho Square (north).

You can see further details of the proposed works at www.westminster.gov.uk/osd and we would be grateful if you could share your views on our plans or ask us any questions via our dedicated e-mail

oxfordst@westminster.gov.uk

We will also be launching our full vision and framework document later this month that will set out all of the ambitious and complementary improvements we wish to deliver with our partners for the benefit of residential communities, businesses, workers and visitors.”

More greening and less rubbish dumping?

More greening and less rubbish dumping?

We want your ideas

The problem of on-street rubbish dumping and the need for more greenery are frequently mentioned by our members as important issues for all of us living and working in Fitzrovia.

The FitzWest Forum has supported various schemes to improve waste collection and deal with fly tipping. There is still a lot of progress to be made in this area and discussions are on going with Westminster Council on ways to deal with this.

One way to combat dumping is by improving the street scape – and a relatively quick way to do this is by planting and greening. The hope is that this will both deter dumping and also bring some much needed greenery into the area.  We are planning to apply for funding from the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL)  which is a levy that local authorities can choose to charge on new developments in their area. The money is used to support development by funding infrastructure that the council, local community and neighbourhoods want.

We are very keen to for our members to suggest where potential planting could take place. With the help of the wider membership last year, we had previously identified various ‘dumping hot spots’ which you can see on the map. We have two questions for you.

  1. Which of these do you think would be best suited for adding planters and greening?
  2. Are there any other places you would suggest? Several sites have been identified in the central area of FitzWest – but what about the North and South?

Please comment on this page or email your ideas to us at info@fitzwest.org. We will collect all the suggestions together and select the most popular locations for our application.

Fitzwest Street Dumping Hot Spots

 

Have your say on important issues in the area: Fly Tipping/Anti-social behaviour ~ Possible Closure of Soho Square NHS Walk-In Centre ~ Air Quality ~ Busking

Reporting Fly Tipping and Anti-Social Behaviour

 Did you know that Westminster City Council has introduced a new and improved “Report It” service?  The mobile friendly tool, powered by FixMyStreet, uses location-based technology or a postcode to show an interactive map of that area with all current reported issues.  Residents can then report their own issue, such as dumped rubbish or faulty street lighting.  The report is then sent to the relevant Council team to investigate and respond.  You can find out more using the following link:

https://report.westminster.gov.uk/

You can continue to report missed refuse or recycling collections, as well as things like anti-social behaviour, here:

https://www.westminster.gov.uk/report-it

Have your say on the plans to close the Soho Square NHS Walk-In Centre

There is a consultation taking place about the future of this popular service. See below to give your views in a survey and there are also public meetings that you can attend.

https://www.centrallondonccg.nhs.uk/news-publications/news/2020/01/have-your-say-the-future-of-soho-walk-in-centre.aspx

Have your say on Air Quality

This is a topic that is often raised by local residents and continues to be an important concern for residents and businesses.  Westminster City Council want your opinion on their new Air Quality Action Plan.

https://www.westminster.gov.uk/air-pollution

Have your say on Busking and Street Music

Concerns have been raised by residents and businesses about the location (impeding pedestrians near Oxford Street tube station) and the use of loud amplified music.

There is a consultation running until 24th February 2020. Have your say here:
https://www.westminster.gov.uk/busking

Refuse and Recycling Update

Representatives of the FitzWest Forum met with  Francis Keegan from Westminster Council before Christmas to discuss the ever problematic issue of refuse collection and dumping in Fitzrovia. He is the person now dealing with refuse collection and streetscape in the FitzWest area. We shared our observations and those of FitzWest Forum members who have been in touch, as to what works and what doesn’t,  and to continue to press for improvements.

We made the following points:

  • There are some constant street dumping hotspots and we sent a map of ones we have identified. Please let us know if you think we have missed any. Map of dumping hotspots.
  • There continue to be issues with Veolia not collecting recycling with this often being left for whole days and entire weekends.
  • The Ward Councillors have been very supportive in pressing the refuse agenda and street collection arrangements have as a result improved.
  • We continue to encourage both businesses and residents to use the Council’s online service to report missed collections and street dumping. Click below to do this:

https://www.westminster.gov.uk/report-it

  • Compared to neighbouring boroughs, Westminster has many more collections with some streets daily and some twice a day. However the transient nature of the community and the lack of rubbish storage areas within some blocks of flats means that there are still problems with on-street dumping.

Market Place Greening Project

New West End Company (NWEC) presented their ideas at the last Forum meeting for a much needed green space in the neighbourhood around Market Place.

We agreed to be involved  with the consultation and planning and  welcomed this proposal.

You can see NWEC’s presentation in detail here:

Market Place Greening Project Powerpoint Presentation

Pilot Scheme – Recycling and Rubbish Improvements

Everyone in Fitzrovia has noticed the rubbish and dumping that unfortunately seems to have become a daily blight on our streets.

One of the significant problems identified by residents is that there is a general confusion on collection times and days and signage is inconsistent with what happens in reality. As a result of this confusion many residents have a become accustomed to putting our rubbish out at any time which has led to the rubbish-strewn streets. Also there has been a more general call for the number of recycling collections to be increased.

The Fitzrovia West Neighbourhood Forum, in consultation with local residents, has worked with Westminster City Council over the last two years to agree simplifications and improvements to recycling and rubbish collection times. These are now being trialled in a limited area of Fitzrovia as part of the pilot.   A map of the pilot area is below.

The pilot improves and simplifies the collection arrangements, including an increase in recycling for all streets and an increase in rubbish collection in some streets. Our area is fortunate, unlike our neighbours Camden and other London Boroughs where refuse and recycling is often only once a week (with reviews in hand to move this back to fortnightly) we will see an increase in general and recycling collection.

It is acknowledged that restaurants and businesses contribute to the rubbish problem and they also have been informed of new collection times in order to reduce the amount of time rubbish sacks are on the streets.

People have complained about dumping, especially by builders and house clearers.  Westminster hopes to place more officers on the street during the pilot period, to enforce this and other contraventions.

As a part of the Neighbourhood Forum, we as residents and local businesses can all work together for the greater good of our environment. We do want to make sure that all residents understand the pilot arrangements and the new and improved collection times and days. The Council is contacting all households to explain the new arrangements first and providing letters to identify collection times in the particular streets in the pilot area.

We are all looking forward to seeing cleaner streets as the pilot progresses.

We would very much like to hear residents’ feedback to the pilot and the improvements to the service.

Please comment below or contact us by email at info@fitzwest.org. Feedback can also be provided to Tom Walsh at Westminster City Council His email address is:

twalsh@westminster.gov.uk

Details of the pilot

From Monday 4th September 2017 please put out your recycling and rubbish for collection at the following times:

Please leave your tied recycling and rubbish directly outside your property for collection. Apart from pedestrianised streets such as Middleton Place rubbish and recycling is not to be piled up at the ends of streets.

Please do not leave recycling and rubbish out on the street outside of these times or overnight. This is considered to be fly tipping and you could be fined by Westminster Council.  It also encourages seagulls, pigeons, rats, mice and other vermin.

How to put out your recycling and rubbish:

For recycled waste please use the clear recycling bags provided by Westminster City Council. You can order recycling bags online via: westminster.gov.uk/recycling-bags

Please put your normal rubbish out in appropriately tied bags, such as black bin bags.

Look for the new signs on your street for exact timings.

 

Bulky waste collections

For items such as fridges, mattresses and tables, etc., please arrange online via:westminster.gov.uk/residential-bulky-waste Please be aware that leaving bulky waste items on street is illegal and can lead to substantial fines. Feedback from our consultation reveals that many residents consider this to be a major anti-social issue. The Council will be inspecting streets to enforce against illegal street dumping.

For further information about Westminster City Council’s waste services, please visit: www.westminster.gov.uk/recycling

Comments

Please do let your neighbours know about these important changes and please look at your local street notices.  The pilot is being arrnaged by WCC and they are responsible for the details.

Working together we can improve our streets; stop fly-tipping and street dumping and reduce the amount of rubbish left on the streets. The increase in recycling provision will also help the environment.

Please comment below or contact us by email at info@fitzwest.org. Feedback can also be provided to Tom Walsh at Westminster City Council His email address is: twalsh@westminster.gov.uk  Because of holidays please bear with us if you do not see your feedback here for a few days.  Rest assured we will be monitoring daily after 5th September.