New Planters Arrive in Fitzrovia

We are delighted to announce that the long talked about and frequently delayed planters have finally been installed on Hanson street, Great Titchfield Street, and Gosfield Street at the junctions with New Cavendish Street.

Great Titchfield Street Planting

These planters are funded by Neighbourhood CIL  and the Tesco Bags of Help scheme.

Rebecca Heard of Fine Line Garden Design has done a wonderful job of sourcing hardy and attractive British plants and creating a very appealing  planting design. It is designed to look great now, but also to grow and fill in as the months go by.

Lots of volunteers worked hard to get the planting done – including planting  lots of bulbs  which will come up in the spring.   

We are very conscious that maintenance of these planters is incredibly important to keep them looking as good as they do now  and we have a whole roster of volunteers who are watering , clearing rubbish that might appear and doing any other maintenance.

Children from All Souls School will be helping as well and it’s great to see all ages keen to be involved.

If you would like to help out and volunteer, then please do email us: info@fitzwest.org

The various locations for the planters were chosen after a public consultation. They needed to be in places where there was space away from utilities and that  didn’t get in the way of passersby.  It was also hoped they will serve an additional purpose of discouraging on-street dumping. We are aware this may take a little while to settle in but hope that residents and businesses will help by only putting their rubbish out at the time and in the place stipulated by WCC.  The times are available here.

Thanks again to the many people who have helped and supported this project.

Great Titchfield Street Planting
Great Titchfield Street Planting

Various Consultations

There is lots happening in Fitzrovia and opportunities for you to have your say on various consultations.

New Traffic Order – changes to traffic direction in Fitzrovia

WCC are seeking comments on a new traffic order. Towards the end, there are detailed plans about proposed changes to Wigmore/Mortimer St and the junctions with Great Portland St and Great Titchfield Street.Have a look particularly at the proposals for these junctions.
Click to see the traffic order here.

Otherwise, there is provision for new loading bays on Mortimer St, reducing the pavement width. Overall, there will be 4 fewer residents parking spaces and four fewer bus stands (in Cavendish Place). There seems to be only one reference to cycle parking – at the western end of Wigmore St.

We have asked for projected figures for traffic movements after implementation on and around Wigmore/Mortimer St and are waiting to hear about that.

Observations and comments on the proposals should be submitted by 4th October 2023 to TrafficOrders@projectcentre.co.uk quoting the reference PCL/9333/AJ in your response.

 

Proposals for new docking locations for hired bikes

WCC are proposing new docks for all hired bikes in Wells, Newman, Ogle and Bolsover Streets rather than just being left on the pavements.

Any comments to tmo.westminster@wsp.com

CIL News & AGM Date

Successful CIL application for funding

Fitzrovia Community Centre has been awarded £22,583 to fund further developments and refurbishments. The project will cover the laying of new flooring, increased security and health and safety measures, and small furnishings. This project is part of a wider programme to make the community centre more accessible and welcoming, to meet the growing need for community centres and programmes in the local area. The cabinet member report also highlighted that community uses such as a community centre is identified as a priority infrastructure type in local CIL policy.

You can read the full Cabinet Report that includes all Westminster applications here.

 

Update on other CIL projects

New Cavendish Street planters

This project has been extremely slow to come to fruition due to the lengthy road safety assessments and access plans which are being done by Conways on behalf of WCC. Rest assured, the Forum is constantly asking for information as we are keen to get the planters in position as soon as we can.

 

AGM – Thursday 18th May 2023

Our AGM will be at the Sainsbury Wellcome Centre on Howland Street at 6pm on Thursday 18th May 2023.

Full details to follow, but the focus will be on the new WCC plans for Oxford Street. Come and find out plans to change traffic flow and pavement size at Oxford Circus and how this will affect Fitzrovia. Have your say about the plans. There will also be updates on CIL applications for funding plans for our area.

Have a say in how CIL money is spent

As this long, hot summer draws to an end we wanted to update you on the progress of various CIL  (Community Infrastructure Levy) applications and awards.

We also wanted to tell you a bit more about CIL and how important it is for as many people as possible to have a say in how it is spent.

What is CIL?

The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) is a charge paid by developers (not householders) when beginning a new development. FitzWest has access to 25% of CIL generated in our area and this means the Forum can submit projects it wishes to see implemented as well as endorsing projects submitted by other charitable organisations based in the area. Projects should meet the following criteria:

  • They should provide infrastructure which benefits those living and working in the area;
  • They should provide additional infrastructure for defined sections of the population where facilities and services are insufficient or lacking;
  • They should be non-discriminatory and meet all other legal requirements in the way they are delivered and operate;
  • They should meet policy objectives as set out in the Council’s City Plan 2019 – 40 and the Neighbourhood Plan 2020;
  • They should conform to guidance provided by the Council as set out on the website above.

A few projects have already been successfully applied for and accepted by Westminster Council for CIL funding. However, there is a constant supply of cash form new developments and it is really important that as many people as possible – residents, businesses and organisations – have a say in how this money is allocated.

 

This is your chance to be involved in making these decisions!

 

We are looking for volunteers to be on our CIL Committee.  This committee meets every couple of months and members also receive emails and applications to look at and comment on. It is up to you how much you would like to be involved and this is an important way to really influence and contribute how projects are funded.

If you would just like a simple admin role then we also need a secretary for the committee This would involve organising meetings and creating the agendas and minutes.

If you, or anyone you know would like to help make sure this funding goes to the right places, then please get in touch on info@fitzwest.org

Soho Poly

University of Westminster Archive

Successfully funded CIL projects:

Greening Around New Cavendish Street – together with funding from Tesco, a selection of planters will be positioned in areas to deter rubbish dumping and will be maintained by local residents and businesses.

Soho Poly Theatre – a contribution to funding the renovation of the theatre on Riding House Street.

Greening  Carburton Street – a resident-led project for funding to continue planting around this street and the planting will be maintained by local residents.

 

Full details of all CIL projects are available on Fitzwest Forum website

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.

 

Do you live or work in Fitzrovia West (west of Cleveland Street and Charlotte Street) and care about safeguarding our unique environment?

Fitzrovia Map
FitzWest was designated a Business Neighbourhood Forum by Westminster City Council in 2015 and over 200 local people and businesses have joined.  This designation was extended for another five years in February 2020. The Forum  prepared a plan for the neighbourhood, targeting housing, enterprise, transport, air quality – and much more based on consultation with both residents and businesses.

Following a referendum on 2nd September 2021, where all residents and businesses had the opportunity to vote, a majority voted YES which means the plan is formally adopted into planning law.

If you live or work within the red line, or you are part of an organisation that works within the area, you are welcome to join the Forum.  Membership is free and will qualify you to be involved with helping support the plan and to be involved with decisions which will have a positive effect on the FitzWest area.

If you would like to join the forum, just fill in the application form here.

NEWS

Fitzwest-Greening-with-planters-trial

Greening plans - update

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.

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

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