Housing Association offers Bassein Park Road house for sale at £1.2 million

basseinparkrdA housing association is offering for sale a house in 19 Bassein Park Road (currently split into three flats) in Shepherd’s Bush for sale at auction. The guide price is at £1.2 million plus.

We are not told the condition the property is in or the name of the housing association.

What is obvious is that £1.2 million is a lot of money. Some will attack the housing association for selling the property claiming that it means the homes (with a total of five bedrooms) will be “lost”. That is the position of the Labour-run council.

But if the housing association can use those funds to provide more replacement housing then that would benefit some of those in temporary accommodation – often overcrowded.

Some of these auction sales go for even higher prices – I wrote earlier about one in Shepherd’s Bush Road for £2 million.

Housing associations are taking a practical approach to maximise their resources to do as much as possible to ease housing pressures. The council’s policy – refusing to sell regardless of the value – is ideologically driven and does the homeless no favours at all.

 

Woman swallowed as pavement collapses in North End Road

pavementnorthendAn alarming incident of the pavement collapsing outside the Marrakech Cafe in the North End Road near Fulham Broadway.

A woman was swallowed as the pavement collapsed and was rushed to Charing Cross Hospital. I am pleased that according to reports she was not seriously hurt.

I have written to Mahmood Siddiqi, Hammersmith and Fulham Council’s Director for Transport and Highways, asking for his comments.

UPDATE

Mahmood responds:

Dear Cllr Phibbs
Officers are still investigating the matter which is clearly very serious. However the information that we have is:-

– the hole in the footway was caused by the basement roof at 352 North End Road (the Marrakesh Express Restaurant) collapsing,.
– the incident involved a woman pushing a trolley (no push chair)
– apparently the hole appeared a few minutes earlier and the restaurant owners were trying to protect the area with a table
– when the Council were informed we sent out an emergency response team to secure the site
–  whilst the pavement is public highway and maintained by the Council, the property owner is responsible for maintaining the underlying basement structure underlying structure is the responsible
– we will serve a notice on the owner to carry out repairs to our satisfaction before reopening the footway

Mahmood Siddiqi
Director for Transport and Highways

 

 

 

Unlocking the garden on the Peabody Estate

peabodyestI have been canvassing recently on the beautiful Peabody Estate, off the Fulham Palace Road.

What I found disappointing was that the garden was locked. I made enquiries and there had been some problems with youths (including non residents) embedding drugs there.

Of course this could not be ignored. Imagine if we applied the same principle to our parks and had them completely locked if there was an incidence of drugs being found in them? It is a counsel of despair.

Anyway I agreed to pursue the matter on behalf of the residents who raised it with me and I am pleased that Camilla McBrearty the Council’s Community Safety Officer has been in touch with Peabody to see what help could be offered and that the garden will be opened a bit more.

peabodylockKayode Ogundamisi the Neighbourhood Manager for Peabody says:

I attended the Hammersmith Estate Tenant and Residents Association meeting yesterday evening and discussed the issues raised by Councillor Phibbs. Although there has been a decrease in reported anti-social behaviour on the estate, drug related anti-social behaviour, joy riding and abuse of the sunken garden still remain a concern for the residents.

Residents representatives after careful deliberation agreed a process of controlling the perceived anti-social behaviour on the estate. One of the agreed  measure is the opening and closing times for the facilities on the estate which is as follows.

Winter:

Sunken: 10am – 5pm

Football cage: 10am – 5pm

Children Playground: 10am – 5pm

Summer:

Sunken: 10am – 9pm

Football cage: 10am – 9pm

Children Playground: 10am – 6pm

The following areas on the estate have witnessed increase in young people from within and outside the estate congregating and most times constituting nuisance and suspected drug dealing, the areas of the estate mostly affected are Blocks P Q R and Blocks M N O, Pathways on the Estate and the Archway between blocks 41-48 and 33-46 Ha areas on the estate, the presence of CCTV do not seem to deter the perpetrators. The Safer Neighbourhood Teams in Hammersmith have been involved and are consistently patrolling the estate and responding to calls from residents.

Residents would appreciate any assistance or support that we can get from the council to curb anti-social behaviour  as it appears this is a wider local issue as residents alleged that most of the perpetuators come from outside the estate.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

 

£7,705 of Council Taxpayers money spent on Labour election propaganda

labelectionHere is a picture of some Labour supporters displaying some of their campaign literature. Nothing unusual about that at the moment, of course. Except that the material they are displaying was not paid for by the Labour Party but by the Council Taxpayers of Hammersmith and Fulham. The printing cost alone was £7,705. It was also posted to every household – saving Labour supporters the bother of distributing it. No wonder they looked so smug.

Furthemore the cost is not included against their spending limits. This limit is for the “long campaign” – from December 19th until March 30th and is based on a maximum sum of £30,700 + 6p/9p per elector.

The brochure in question made dishonest claims about police numbers by excluding Special Constables.

It attacked the Government “austerity cuts” as devastating while also claiming the magnificent Labour council had absorbed them without any cuts in services. It then declared – in something of an irony bypass – that the Council had ended spending on propaganda.

Residents may agree or disagree with the various Labour messages in the brochure. What is absurd is to pretend they are impartial. All fair minded democrats will see that it is quite wrong for it to have been put out – especially during the election campaign. But the Labour councillors – posing with Lord Adonis the enthusiast for Earls Court regeneration – do not appear contrite.

 

Andrew Slaughter among the Labour MPs who kept his staff on zero hours contracts

slaughterpicThe Labour candidate for Hammersmith Andrew Slaughter is among 68 Labour MPs to have used zero hours contracts for their staff.

This astonishing hypocrisy came to light after a Freedom of Information request by The Sun to IPSA, the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority.

Steve Turner, Unite regional officer, said:

“Parliament passed the laws that are supposed to protect pay and conditions.

“Our MPs ought to be upholding them, setting a high standard for employers.”

Meanwhile an independent fact checking site has concluded that the Labour leader Ed Miliband’s claim of an “epidemic” of zero hours contracts is false.

Except among Labour MPs it would seem….

 

Labour’s u-turn on Earls Court redevelopment?

adonisThis morning I’ve written for Conservative Home about City Villages. It’s a report from the left wing think tank the IPPR edited by the Labour peer Lord Adonis. He was seeking to be the Labour candidate for Mayor of London but is now backing Dame Tessa Jowell. He was also brought in as an advisor to the new Labour administration in Hammersmith and Fulham.

There is some local interest in the report as Lord Adonis praises the Earls Court redevelopment. In the past Labour have opposed it. The Labour MP Andrew Slaughter made false claim during the last General Election campaign in 2010 that residents would be forced to live in Barking and Dagenham.

But Lord Adonis says:

“As for larger, current city village developments, Gary Yardley, investment director of one of London’s biggest developers Capco, explains his vision for Earls Court, one of the largest development sites in inner London (nearly 80 acres to provide some 7,500 new homes).

“In many ways Earls Court is London’s next ‘great estate’, reinventing their legacy and approach for the 21st century. The site assembly at Earls Court is itself a remarkable feat: partly existing White City council estates, partly large redundant Transport for London (TfL) train storage and repair facilities, and partly the site of the decommissioned Earls Court Exhibition Centre. TfL will retain a stake in the development company for Earls Court.

“The masterplan combines higher density with significant new public amenity, creating new streetscapes and retail/business centres, a site for a new London museum or gallery, new schools, a large new public park, and a car club which every resident will be invited to join.”

Leave aside the shaky grasp of local geography betrayed by his reference to “White City”. This is a positive message about the development.

Then there is Mr Yardley essay which says:

“Major opportunities come with significant challenges – specifically that volumes should not compromise the need for good-quality homes, connectivity or the need for community integration, and the recruitment of good architects is integral to providing vision to sites of this scale.

Essential to getting major projects off the ground are strong relationships with local governments and planners, to ensure the masterplan of the site meets the expectations of local residents and Londoners. In the case of Earls Court, this involves two local authorities, in particular working closely with Hammersmith and Fulham council to ensure all existing qualifying residents of the old estates will be offered a new home within the development. Such major regenerations may transform the landscape, but in order to retain the social fabric and history of places, ensuring the current residents have a place in the new community is critical for building new places around existing social infrastructure.”

The existing West Ken and Gibbs Green estates are rather closed off from the wider area. This is a typical flaw with council estates – very divisive. Restoring street patterns will change this. The new homes will be better than the existing homes.

Not that they will necessarily be as attractive as they could. When Mr Yardley talks about “good architects” he means award winning architects which means bad architects. Trying to ensure that the new housing is attractive is an area where the council could have a positive influence. Unfortunately with the current administrations modernist planning policies – which favour more tower blocks – this is unlikely. But Mr Yardley can hardly be blamed for operating within the design guidance of planning officers.

Still this is a scheme that will offer real improvements. More housing, better housing, a better mix of tenure. It will mean our community is brought together rather than having one section closed off from the rest.