First Public CIL meeting – Fitzrovia West

First Public CIL meeting – Fitzrovia West

Meeting photograph

Thanks to everyone who attended the public meeting on 15th February 2022 at the Fitzrovia Community Centre.

The purpose of the meeting was to hear ideas and to inform residents and local organisations about the Community Infrastructure Levy and how it works.

We were delighted to see lots of people there and to hear many ideas of how to improve the infrastructure of Fitzrovia West using the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL).

Amit Mistry, Principal Policy Officer from Westminster Council addressed the meeting and took questions about CIL, the kind of projects it funds and how it works.

There were lots of suggestions for projects from people at the meeting and via email beforehand. A summary of the subjects is here:

  • Cycle racks modelled on Banja Luka
  • Planters with cycle racks attached
  • Planting around the tree on Carburton Street
  • Replacing the planters near Holcroft court.
  • Upgrading the cycle racks near the Almost Saturday cafe.
  • A children’s playground (if a location could be found)
  • Green walls
  • Benches with green walls built into them (solar powered)
  • Small on-street waste bins
  • Rain gardens
  • Trees on build outs
  • Cultivation of tree pits
  • Opening up the school for the benefit of the community
  • A corridor through the Fitzrovia Centre to the garden behind
  • Refurbish the old swimming pool behind the Fitzrovia Centre (expensive)
  • Notices on bollards giving the times of collection of rubbish
  • A study for a low traffic neighbourhood
  • An air quality survey
  • Refurbishing local benches
  • Road bollards.
  • Pop ups of various kinds

The full minutes of the meeting are available here – CIL Public Meeting 15.2.22

The time scale to come up with a project and apply for CIL funding is ongoing. The Westminster Council CIL committee meets every 3 months to assess the applications, so there are plenty of opportunities for people to create an application. All details are here:

https://www.westminster.gov.uk/planning-building-and-environmental-regulations/neighbourhood-community-infrastructure-fund/applying-neighbourhood-cil

Any comments or suggestions then please email us on info@fitzwest.org  or leave a comment here.

Greening Consultation – Overwhelming Support – Next Steps

Greening Consultation – Overwhelming Support – Next Steps

Thank you to all the residents and businesses who responded to our consultation about planters in Fitzrovia.
The response was overwhelmingly supportive and included lots of great ideas for other places and greening initiatives. And also many offers to help look after the planters with watering and weeding.

100% of respondents were in favour of greening generally in the area and 94% were in favour of all the suggested sites.   Click here to see the full report.
We really hope that if we are able to successfully achieve this small amount of greening, then we can begin on other projects.
We have made some adjustments to the proposal, taking into account feedback and concerns (for example the corner planters at locations 2 and 5 will be a smaller rectangle shape not the larger square shape in the photographs – which means there will still be space there for people to wait at these spots when the pavement on New Cavendish Street is crowded.)

Funding Application from CIL

We had anticipated having enough money to complete this project using the Tesco funding, but costs have increased because the planters are on the public highway so we now need safety checks, traffic impact assessments etc. As a result we are now applying for further funding from the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) and will know by February 7th 2022 if we have been successful and are able to complete this project.

Greening Consultation – Overwhelming Support – Next Steps

Greening Project for Fitzwest – Please complete consultation survey

After consulting previously with residents and businesses, we identified various locations which either have a lot of pavement space or are prone to rubbish dumping – or both!  The idea is to position planters in these locations to brighten up and green our streets – but also we hope to deter dumping.  We have funding that we successfully applied for from Tesco.  The disruption of Covid has meant all plans were put on hold, but now we are keen to use the money to improve the area. Please let us know your thoughts.

 

 

Westminster Council have agreed in principle to the locations, so this is about making sure that residents and businesses know what is going on and have had a chance to have their say.  Can you help?  We are also looking for anyone who would be able to help maintain the planters, e.g. by watering, particularly in the summer.

We are very much hoping that this will lead to further greening projects as there have been many locations suggested by residents and businesses.

Click on this link here to fill out the survey: Fitzwest Greening Project 2021 Survey

 

Oxford Circus Pedestrianisation Plan

Westminster City Council has launched a new brochure setting out plans to create piazzas on  two sections of Oxford Street either side of Oxford Circus. All traffic going east-west will be diverted northwards through Marylebone and Fitzrovia via John Princes Street, Mortimer Street and Great Portland Street.
Changes to traffic flows are also proposed in Fitzrovia West with part of Mortimer Street being made two-way and the direction of traffic in part of Great Titchfield Street and all of Newman Street and Berners street being reversed. A number of new pedestrian crossings are being installed.
There is no mention of any provision for cyclists nor improved arrangements for servicing and deliveries.
All these changes are being introduced for six months on an ‘experimental’ basis which means the Council is not required to carry out full consultation before beginning work later this year. It will, however, ‘carefully consider input from residents, businesses and other stakeholders’ once the work has been completed.
Full details are set out in the Oxford Street brochure:
The FitzWest Forum has written to West End ward members and Cllr Caplan, Deputy Leader, arguing that full consultation should be carried out now because of the potential impact of these changes on Fitzrovia, as well as Soho, Marylebone and Mayfair.
Reminder: 
FITZROVIA WEST GOES TO THE POLLS ON 2ND SEPTEMBER 2021

Your time has come to vote in a referendum on the Neighbourhood Plan on 2nd  September 2021. Everyone registered to vote will be able to say whether they want the plan to influence planning decisions and create an improved environment for all those living in, working in and visiting the area. All businesses in the neighbourhood which pay business rates will also get a vote. The Fitzrovia Centre in Foley Street will be the polling station but you can also apply for a postal vote through this link:

https://www.westminster.gov.uk/about-council/democracy/postal-and-proxy-voting

For more information have a look at our website Neighbourhood Plan

Greening ideas – next steps

Greening ideas – next steps

Thanks to everyone who has made suggestions and comments on the location of planting and  greening as a means to improve the streetscape and to deter rubbish dumping. There are plenty of locations – we had 15 on the long list – so now we have a great resource to refer to and also to share with other organisations as we work on greening the area. Where we are at the moment:

    • 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 have many suitable suggestions for locations, all over the FitzWest area.
    • It is suggested the greening will have more impact – both visually and practically as a dumping deterrent if the greening areas are clustered together.
    • We will keep all suggestions for a long term greening plan, but in the short term, for this initial CIL project  we suggest the following which has the benefit of being relatively close together and therefore visible:

1. Langham Street/Gosfield St – 2 locations/ 4 or 5 planters A real and visible hot spot with lots of commercial and residential dumping.These three locations would create a real impact and are close enough together to be a noticeable improvement to the greening in the area.
2 & 3 Hanson Street /Foley Street – 2 locations /2 planters Two  planters on Hanson Street/Foley Street corners. One of the corners by the bin is very prone to dumping, and there is plenty of space.
4 & 5 Candover Street – 4 locations/ 4 planters Four planters, one on each corner with Riding House Street and Foley Street. Prone to persistent dumping, would link to and echo existing planting outside local businesses on Foley Street.

These locations would create a real impact and are close enough together to be a noticeable improvement to the greening in the area and will be easy to monitor for rubbish dumping. Let us know your thoughts – by email info@fitzwest.org or by commenting on this post

Local business involvement  We also plan to approach local businesses to see if they would like to be part of the application – we can apply for additional planters  for  businesses  to display and care for on their forecourts (as some do already). If you are a local business with a forecourt or pavement space that is yours and would like to register an interest in acquiring planters then please get in touch at info@fitzwest.org

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.”