Don’t let the Ravenscourt Park lavatories go down the pan

Here is some recent correspondence I have had with the Council’s Parks Manager Ian Ross concerning the state of the public lavatories in Ravenscourt Park:

Ian,

I attended the Friends of Ravenscourt Park AGM this evening. Concern was expressed about the state of the lavatories – both the ones by the paddling pool and the ones by the cafe.

Please advise what the current opening hours are and whether these could be extended.

Please detail the current arrangements for cleaning and what checks are put in place to ensure a high standard is maintained.

Also please advise what is being done to ensure they are generally good condition.

I must stress that the feeling of the meeting was that they are in a disgusting state.

Furthermore the minutes for the meeting a year earlier showed that the same concerns had been made – yet no progress has been made.

This is particularly disappointing given the substantial unallocated Section 106 money for property developments near the Park.

Best wishes,
Harry

He replied:

Dear Councillor Phibbs,

Thank you for your email regarding the public toilets in Ravenscourt Park.

The toilets by the cafe are open all year in-line with park opening/closing times.  The toilets by the paddling pool are open while the paddling pool is in operation from 8am until 4pm – the remainder of the year they are closed.  Cleaning is carried out by Quadron as part of the grounds maintenance contract.  Inspections are made by officers on a random basis.

While every effort is made to keep them in a good condition we have to accept that the toilets are now ageing and this does impact on our ability to keep them clean; likewise we cannot mitigate for misuse and vandalism – it is amazing what some people think can be flushed down toilets.

I am aware of the Friends views of the toilets; this is a topic for discussion on our regular walkabouts.

I note your comments on unallocated S106 funding but the final allocation is approved by the Cabinet.  To this end we have a number of bids in for S106 funding in our parks across the borough.  We have also submitted a bid for money from the Planned Maintenance budget.  The latter also includes looking at the sewage outlets.

I am hopeful one of our bids will be successful.

When we have any news we will update you and the Friends.

Kind regards,

Ian

Ian Ross

Parks Manager

Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham

I responded:

Thanks, Ian.

The checks by officers on a “random basis” seem to be completely failing to resolve the problem. Please provide details of how often the checks take place and what has been reported.

The lavatories are frequently filthy state as I presume would have been discovered by these checks.

Please provide details about the requirements on Quadrant to maintain minimum standards and what penalties are in place for their failure to meet those requirements.

Best wishes,
Harry

He then replied:

Dear Councillor Phibbs,

Please accept my apologies for the delay in responding.  The checks by officers happen approximately every 2 weeks but this can vary.  The vast majority of reports have been in relation to block toilets and urinals, and vandalism (damaged locks, etc.).

Quadron are scheduled to clean the toilets daily, in reality they are done more than once a day.  However we cannot mitigate for misuse, vandalism and theft – this is a major problem and only needs one person to misuse the facility, which then creates an issue for everyone else.

In terms of penalties for non-compliance; the penalty clause element of the contract was removed as part of a £220k saving negotiated in 2011.

Please be assured that refurbishing these facilities is a priority for us as it take up significant time dealing with issues and complaints, time that could be used to better effect.

Kind regards,

Ian

Ian Ross

Parks Manager

Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham

Let’s us hope that since this a “priority” there will some improvement in the coming months – and we won’t have the same complaints repeated at the next Friends of Ravenscourt Park AGM for the third year running.

Clearing up the Ravenscourt Park rubbish yard off Paddenswick Road

Over on Hammersmith Today, Madalyn Roker writes:

“Why can’t the “recycling”‘ be collected from the yard off Paddenswick Road on a regular basis?

“The problem is worse when the weather is good as more people use the park but the recycling bags (which are obviously not just full of
recycling but actually mixed rubbish) are just piled up and not collected.

“This mountain is a few metres from the kitchens of the cafe and is attracting rats and insects as well as being an eyesore.

“I have sent regular reports via the” report it” app but they don’t appear to have had any effect. I also have a series of photos but don’t know how to add them to my post.”

I have raised this matter and had the following reply:

Apologies that you have had to get in touch regarding this issue.

Serco visited the depot this morning and all the bags have been collected and removed from site.

There was a massive increase in the amount of the recycling that the street sweepers collected last week, which is good news in one sense.
They filled all their allocated containers and about another 2 bins’ worth. However, black bag waste was fly tipped which exacerbated the situation.

The majority of this excess was cleared on Sunday with a cage vehicle, and the containers and the balance of excess from the weekend collections was cleared this morning.

Serco are increasing their collection of these bins to prevent reoccurrences of this type of incident. Officers are also discussing the matter of anticipation and prevention with Serco, so that situations such as this can be avoided in the first place and to prevent the need for reporting.

I note the attempt to log these issues through the ‘Report It’ app without much success. This is being investigated separately and we will report back to you with the findings.

Thank you once again for bringing this to our attention.

Kind regards

Kathy May
Bi-borough Head of Waste and Street Enforcement Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and Hammersmith and Fulham

Let’s see if the situation improves.

Ravenscourt Park Ward e-bulletin

Dear Resident,

Charlie Dewhirst, Lucy Ivimy and I are delighted to have been re-elected as the Conservative councillors for Ravenscourt Park Ward after a keenly fought contest. Thank you to those who voted for us and we will do our best to represent all  residents for the next four years.
Some of our Conservative colleagues elsewhere in the borough were less fortunate and Labour gained control of the council. There are now 26 Labour councillors and 20 Conservatives.
At a Conservative Group meeting Cllr Greg Smith was elected Leader of the Opposition and Lucy the Deputy Leader. Charlie is the Conservative candidate for the Hammersmith constituency at the General Election next year. For years the Labour MP for Hammersmith, Andrew Slaughter, has blamed everything on the council. Now he will have to find something else to complain about.
I have written more about the election results here.

CHARING CROSS HOSPITAL
Labour’s campaign was dominated by two straight lies – firstly that the hospital will cease to exist, and secondly, that what happens to it is a decision for Hammersmith and Fulham Council. The constant repetition of those lies constituted Labour’s election campaign and was crucial to their victory.
In fact the NHS are responsible for Charing Cross Hospital. Their plans are for a phased £200 million rebuilding. A full Accident and Emergency service will be retained – with 24/7 emergency care and full range of diagnostics and recovery beds.
The hospital will also become a leading centre for elective surgery. 90% of  patients will still use Charing Cross Hospital in the same way. Some will be taken elsewhere – in order to receive better specialist treatment. Charing Cross will be a smaller hospital with fewer beds – but it will be a better hospital.
The NHS point out that the mortality rate is much higher for patients admitted at weekends than week days – as they are more likely to see junior doctors rather than consultants. They estimate the reorganisation of stroke care in London is saving 500 lives a year.
The proposals apply the same logic – a shift away from general hospitals towards specialist hospitals. Given the Labour scaremongering I do feel the NHS need to do more to justify their changes. I support the changes as I believe they will save lives – even if they may have lost me some votes.

OUR RECORD
The Conservatives achieved a lot in our eight years in charge of Hammersmith Town Hall. Your Council Tax is lower. The streets are cleaner, the parks greener. We helped the police reduce crime. School standards have improved – and the Hammersmith Academy and West London Free School opened. There are fewer empty homes and more new homes. These include far more “affordable homes” than Labour managed – including those for “shared ownership” to help people get on the housing ladder.
I wrote more about this on City AM.

But we did not get everything right. Planning policy for example. There is no reason why new buildings should not be beautiful and traditional. Yet most planners, architects and developers have a presumption in favour of ugly, modernism – with a particular enthusiasm for brutalist tower blocks. They must be resisted. Parking is a complicated subject but again we could have done better in that area.  Some feel that after eight years we become too close to the bureaucrats and didn’t listen to residents enough. Going forward we will be holding regular “Councillors Forums” – really old fashioned public meetings – across the Ward to hear your views.

PLEASE HELP

  • Ravenscourt Park Ward has more Neighbourhood Watch schemes than any other ward in the borough. They help reduce crime – especially burglary. If you would like to start one in your street please email our Safer Neighbourhood Team on RavenscourtPark.SNT@met.police.uk
  • The Hammersmith Society is a non-party political group which works for a better urban environment. It’s AGM will be at 7.30pm on 19 June in the Small Hall of Holy Innocents church in Paddenswick Rd, W6 OUB with guest speaker William Burdett-Coutts, Artistic Director of Riverside Studios. Membership only costs £6!
  • There is a proposal for Farmers Market in Ravenscourt Park on Saturday mornings. (In any event there will be a bit more room in the park as some of the arches are being cleared out.) Please let me know your views.
  • If you would like the Conservatives to regain Hammersmith and Fulham Council please consider joining the Hammersmith Conservatives or making a donation. You can do so via our website or by sending a cheque to Hammersmith Conservatives, 4 Greyhound Road, London, W6 8NX. (office@hammersmithconservatives.com 020 7385 1002.) Or if you don’t want to join but are willing to campaign or come to our events let us know. The International Development Minister Alan Duncan is coming to a party in Hammersmith Grove on July 2nd. Details here.

Best wishes,
Harry

Councillor for Ravenscourt Park Ward

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