ECS CHAIRMAN’S REPORT Jan 2021
Since our last meeting on 7th October 2020 you might have believed that not much has, or could, happen, due to all the Tiers of restrictions and Lockdowns we are all faithfully and responsibly following. However, much has been progressing and much business continues as normal through ZOOM and TEAMs meetings etc on line.
I hope all members and families and neighbours are keeping well and safe. If you need any kind of help, support, (shopping, medicines or even just a chat) please let me know or the chairman of your local street Residents’ Association. In these isolated days it’s good to keep in touch, as much as possible, as in normal times.
ECDC (Earl’s Court Development Company)
The new Earl’s Court Development Company, set up by Delancey to manage the Exhibition site development, has appointed its new CEO Rob Heasman. Rob has accepted out invitation to meet the Executive Council at our next meeting on 14th January. He and Nathan will continue to work a new masterplan and planning application over the next year, and will be keen to consult the ECS and all the community about the revised plans, completely replacing the existing consented scheme.
ECDC knows it has a good precedent to follow, if it matches the levels of consultation we enjoyed with CapCo. I have met Rob personally, and then again at a regular meeting with the three ward Councillors. We have set out our basic aspirations and red lines for the site, based on your long discussed and well recorded wishes, and have asked for the ECS Neighbours Group to be re-established once spades hit the ground again.
We will have to work hard on iterations of the planning application, before it eventually goes to Planning Committee.
I attended a review of licensing policy for the borough, where we hope to reinforce our policy of closure of venues and shops, selling alcohol, by midnight. However, to support businesses where and when possible, we have encouraged a relaxation of the rules about outside seating for premises that can offer safe spacing and fresh air in keeping with Government guidance on the pandemic
On particular cases, I attended and spoke against applications by Jimmy’s Grill and Earl’s Court Food & Wine, who applied for all night off-sales 24-licence. In both cases we persuaded the Committee to set a closing hour limit of 01.00am for off sales.
ASB (Anti-social behaviour)
During various stages of lockdowns it became more obvious that our itinerant street population was growing and causing extra outbreaks of ASB and crime. This was not helped by the fact that many of our cheaper run-down hotels started accepting homeless nominations paid for over Christmas by the Government Rough Sleeping Initiative (Homeless Reduction Act 2018). As well as our own Borough’s use of empty hotel beds, the concentration of issues here was magnified by several other London boroughs housing their homeless here, and then the Home Office billeting illegal immigrants locally. There has also been an increase in ASB and nuisance problems caused by inappropriate placements of mentally-ill patients, drug addicts, drug-dealers and alcoholics into normal residential housing, or into recovery hostels with inadequate support, control or management.
We are supporting our stable and law-abiding residents with their very justified complaints about these issues, through helping them to ask questions at full Council meetings, speaking up for them at Select Committees, engaging with the Lead Members responsible, Senior Council Officers, conducting site visits where possible, and my Councillor’s "Call to Action" (see below).
I have held meetings with the Lead Member for Housing Cllr. Kim Taylor-Smith about the long-term future for housing locally. We also held a meeting with senior Housing Officers, housing allocations, mental health Officers, CCG (primary care & GPs) NHS, homelessness Officers, …..and the new Lead Member for Policing & Community Safety, Cllr. Emma Will.
At last we are beginning see that there may be an emerging recognition that Earl’s Court has severe problems caused in some cases by well-meaning Council action gone awry, coupled with lack of resources to support the vulnerable and fire-fighting the issues resulting.
The Society has submitted detailed and lengthy technical responses to the call for consultation on the Borough’s new revised Local Plan (NLPR). This followed a lot of hard work by our Planning & Licensing Group who formed a working party to address the technicalities.
We also took the same approach in submitting our consultation response to central Government about the prosed new National Planning policy – Planning for the Future. Both responses were submitted formally on time, and copies are available from me if you wish to have one.
I have also met with Cllr. Taylor-Smith (Lead for Housing) Cllr. Thalassites (Lead for Planning Policy and Cllr. Will (Lead for Community Safety) and senior Planning Officers about the council’s policy reforms regarding housing and hotels in Earl’s Court
ECHWC (Earl’s Court Health & Wellbeing Centre)
Your three ward Councillors were invited to an introductory meeting with AT MEDICS the new operators of the ECHWC and GP service at Hogarth Roped. In addition to discussions about the GP service, we asked then to look at reopening the community spaces presently unused, as soon as the pandemic is over, so that classes and services for residents can recommence.
I also attended the first session of Covid inoculations at the Centre on Tuesday 22nd December to witness many local residents, aged 80 and over, very happily getting their doses of immunisations.
On 4th January I attended the Covid testing sessions at Kensington Town Hall and transported elderly residents. (My own test was negative) It is painless and quick and freely available without appointment. Results by text 30 minutes later
I will be requesting our annual walkabout with TfL as soon as pandemic regulations allow. in the meantime the redundant barriers have been removed from EC road, and 20 mph limits have been introduced on RBKC roads, 30 mph on TfL roads. We are lobbying for more green planting on the ECOWS (EC one-way system), more trees, green lanes (including for bicycles and electric vehicles), roadside greening by raised beds, city trees, two new pedestrian crossings, seating and countdown signs at bus-stops on hospital routes, and removal of the bus-stop build-outs which cause tailbacks of idling and polluting vehicles.
TfL have now responded by confirming they will undertake a thorough review of both roads, although we have yet to see details of any public consultations.
The campaign to get more tables and chairs out on the pavements haves been quite successful outside about three or four new restaurants and all of our pubs.
The Earl’s Court Food Festival was a modest success with about 10 restaurants participating in the first trail venture. We will now commence the rebranding exercise with lamp-post banners etc and introduce more business-sponsored planting, including the flower baskets we arranged to be sponsored by Delancey, and increased street cleaning by power washing. We are also looking to increase the amount of collections and deliveries which are harmonised and made more economic for local businesses by joint procurement, utilising where possible electric goods vehicles. Minutes of the Forum are attached in the business section.
We are concerned that a couple of ASB hotspots have arisen which need extra CCTV coverage.
These re at the Philbeach Hall. Where the Refettorio Felix lunch service cannot be delivered indoors, so clients are now queueing up outside for a few hours every day to get their take-away lunches. As reported elsewhere, there have been many new groups brought into the area who need this service which has grown. There have also been additional problems in Kenway passage area, and Earl’s Court gardens. ASB and crime has spread into the evenings, so we have requested extra Policing, and installation of demountable mobile CCTV. Our Community Wardens and RSL-pilot Wardens have also been tasked with extra patrols in these areas.
CALL TO ACTION
My Councillor’s Call to Action was accepted by the Adult Social Care and Health Committee, supported by all three ward Councillors.
This is aimed at finding the sources of all the housing, ASB, crime and public nuisance problems we endure (begging, street drinking, open drug-taking and drug-dealing, crime, prostitution and severely mentally-ill patients wandering the streets causing alarm and fear). We will be taking evidence, writing a report, presenting this to Scrutiny with recommendations for Leadership to adopt new policies, processes and actions to mitigate the problems.
We have held our first couple of meetings, and started report writing. Please send us your complaints, evidence and reports of nuisances. Our Call has been escalated by the Council to be heard by the main Overview and Scrutiny Committee which deals directly with the whole Leadership Team and the Leader, since we are covering cross-cutting themes of Housing, Adult Social Care & Health, and Community Safety. We are determined to get to the root source(s) of our residents’ complaints in order to find effective and lasting solutions.
The EARL’S COURT SOCIETY
RBKC Gold Standard
The EARL’S COURT SOCIETY
AGM 17 June 2020
There have been eight meeting of the ECS Planning & Licensing Group. About 25 objections to various major and minor Planning Applications have been sent in. There have been four meetings of the Health, Housing and Welfare Group. There were two meetings of the Environment Group with RBKC Environment Officers and the RBKC Lead Member. There has been one meeting of the Business Group (Forum with the Means). There have been two meetings of the Transport & Highways Group. We need to reform the Police Group and align with the SN Ward panel
Since our last meeting we have pursued several Licensing and Planning cases across the Ward which gave concern to residents. These have included Pescheria Assunta, Elements, Kung Fu, Jollibee’s, and 5 Child’s Street. Following our representations and gathering of objections, at last one of the illegally run massage parlours has been refused a renewed Licence. The fish factory was refused an alcohol Licence, following very robust objections made by ward councillors. Jollibee’s was deferred by Committee pending further research and advice to the applicants by Officers (Aircon ducting poorly installed without permission). 7 Kramer Mews was refused Planning Permission on the grounds that we raised of overdevelopment, over-massing, overlooking, failing to preserve important sightlines in the conservation area and being out of keeping with surroundings. 5 Child’s Street was refused by Officers, without need for a Committee hearing.
We met with Council officers regarding removal of more redundant phone boxes, and discussed a better location for the K2 ceremonial red BT box on Earl’s Court Road. New World Payphones assured us they would be removing up to seven redundant boxes if they received permission for a couple of their new hubs. We still seek a better location for the K2 ceremonial red BT box.
The Treasurer and I held a meeting with METROBANK to update the mandate details. There was a major Police Operation on 5th April 2019 at the tube station, which I attended as an observer throughout.
Many ECS members were able to attend the Public Conference at the Town Hall on the issue of “Joined-up Enforcement”. There was an Expert Panel and a Q&A session. We are supporting the Council’s ENVIRONMENT SELECT COMMITTEE in holding another large public conference about improving “joined-up” enforcement. CREST and the introduction of uniformed RBKC Enforcement Support Officers should help to improve responses, response times, and feedback to complainants. We are still closely monitoring illegal waste dumping (e.g. the paladins on Eardley Crescent, 312 EC Road, Wetherby Mansions area).
We held a successful visit to the Hammersmith Town Hall CCTV control room in LBHF. This room monitors our 13 CCTV cameras in Earl’s Court. The images are amazingly clear and detailed, and the camera operators have direct radio links to our local ward police team. There were 11 members of the ECS on the visit and tour
The Earl’s Court Litter-free Zone is a campaign originated and devised by Colleen, Clancy and Eleonora. A series of planning meetings were held in June culminating a day of action “Earl’s Court BIG CLEAN-UP DAY” held on 13th July. This was supported by the whole community, by the Council, by the three ward Councillors and by the Earl’s Court Society, who pledged £300 to cover costs.
There was a second big clean-up day from 11.00 to 13.00 on 26th October, and this time we collected 33 bags of waste. There was a third Earl’s Court Litter Free Zone Big Clean Up day, and the new DSL Community Wardens are removing lamp-post stickers. I attended as your rep the Ken Soc “Greener & Cleaner” conference on 17th Feb
We have also held our annual walk-about with Council and TfL Officers looking at the one-way red- route system, which is controlled by TfL, and not RBKC. The Council agreed a planting plan, with new raised beds, trees and a possible city tree. RBKC would consider 50% funding if TfL would enable the scheme, but they are showing reluctance. Hamish as chair of the ECS Environment Group can give more details.
At the AGM on 29th May, the members debated and then unanimously passed a resolution about any new changes on the EC Exhibition development site. If there is to be any new planning application, or change of the current plan, it will have to go through wide public consultation. We will object to any increase in housing density, especially if it results in higher rise buildings, or loss of green space, open space, community use, cultural space or hotel and leisure facilities. We would not object to loss of office space. The Council now requires 35% of affordable housing, but this should contribute to the balance of housing types in the wider Earl’s Court Area. We lack Intermediate Housing for key workers, first-timers, ex-armed forces, and downsizers.
We won the fight to retain a GP practice at the EC Health & Wellbeing Centre. The NHS dentist is staying as well. However, the Council funded independence services and classes on the site have all closed without consultation. I have raised this at the Council, and will now refer it to the Adult Social Care & Health Select Committee. The London CCGs are in financial difficulties, and there will be restructuring in NW London CCG. Linda can supply further details.
On 15th July I responded to the Council call for suggestions about new CCTV cameras. On 31st July the Council held an open consultation with borough residents about the need for, and the locations of, new CCTV cameras and systems. Several EC Society members attended, at Chelsea Old Town Hall, following our visit earlier in the year to the CCTV control centre. The Council has committed £500,000 to new systems in this year’s budget, to be distributed across the whole borough area. We would like to see at least 12 new cameras in Earl’s Court at key strategic locations. Let us know where you think we need more.
We met with City Relay, the local company who service some of our Short-Term Holiday Lettings (STHL). We estimate there are about 500 of such AirBnB-type holiday flats in Earl’s Court, providing 1,000 beds. These are in addition to our 4,500 hotel beds. The main problem is still illegal waste dumping on the streets by careless holiday makers returning home, after their stay with us.
We are asking the service companies to put up notices explaining the waste arrangements within the house or block, with the requirement “DO NOT PUT WASTE ON THE STREETS” We are also supporting the Public Realm Scrutiny Working Group report and all the recommendations adopted by the Council. We would like Earl’s Court to be a pilot voluntary Registration and Licensing area for Holiday Lettings.
The new Business Forum for Earl’s Court has appointed its contracted Consultants (“The Means”)to run the programme for three years, funded by s106 £140,000. All three Councillors have met the team involved, and are now helping to set up the business steering group.
The introduction of new bicycle lanes into Earl’s Court has been proposed. We know that there are problems with the existing lanes, especially at road junctions. There have also been fatalities on Warwick Road, and dangerous incidents on pavements, where pedestrians need better protection.
Air Pollution on EC Road and Warwick Road continue to be amongst the highest in the UK, and give rise to concern locally. Various greening, and anti-pollution planting schemes are progressing, but we need crisis response – more and faster. When the ULEZ (Ultra-Low Emission Zone) comes to RBKC in 2021 drivers of older vehicle will be hit hardest. Any Diesel over 4 years old, or Petrol over 14 years old, will have to pay a £12.50 pollution charge for every day that the owners wish to move their non-compliant vehicles. If you drive every day, that could mean nearly £4,500 per annum in new charges.
There are worrying reports of a growth in Graffiti on private buildings, which the Council Graffiti team cannot remove without permission. This is coupled with renewed reports of drug use and blatant drug-dealing on our streets. Residents are good at keeping the Police informed, and there have been some concentrated Police operations to eradicate the drug gangs, and apprehend their runners, who operate locally, but this is a constant battle for the Police. Both topics will be raised at the council’s EC ASB meeting, held regularly with Police, Council Community Safety Officers and local severe-needs-supported hostels.
We held a morning Graffiti Clean-Up around the station, and one or two other more remote sites. We are still waiting for a suitable time on some corporate volunteers to help with the fruit stall, the Co-op (although the Co-op themselves have now made some effort), Oxfam etc. CapCo and one or two other businesses (e.g. SACHA) have also updated their efforts. We are planning a second Graffiti Clean-Up around the station, and one or two other more remote sites.
We are pressing the Council’s planning department to find ways of bringing the Tournament site forward for development and potentially have some meanwhile use. Malcolm has met with former Council Leader Sir Merrick Cockell, about the Tournament site and the sale of the EC site to Delancey, hoping we can set up a residents’ meeting soon. We will continue to press Delancey to build a good mix of market and affordable housing, green spaces, as well as other amenities including a new cultural venue.
We continue to lobby TfL for countdown signs and extra benches at bus-stops on routes to hospitals, as well as introducing more planting and roadside hedges on Warwick Road and Earl’s Court Road. We are appealing for more planting spaces and projects to come forward, especially on side roads from EC Rd and Warwick Rd which are controlled by RBKC.
The CCTV steering group held meetings in Dec and Feb looking at uses, operational issues, and locations for new cameras, including demountable mobile cameras for deployment at hot spots. Work seems to have stalled to harden Hunter House against drug dealers and related ASB. We are also supporting the installation of CCTV signs and a Neighbourhood Watch sign. ASB and drug-related crime continues to be a major concern for members in at least three major streets.
A new GP practice AT Care (from Kings Rd Chelsea) will take over the surgery at ECHWB Centre. Several members attended the ASC&H Select Committee conference on Palliative Care and the potential closure of Pembridge Hospice. Consultations had taken place in N Ken, so I managed to get another two meetings locally, at the Mosaic Rooms for members, and at Baden Powell House.
The Tournament site has been purchased by Delancey, and we look forward to a planning application consultation soon. We continue to lobby for building, on the main site, a good mix of market and affordable housing, green spaces, and other amenities including a new cultural venue.
We hope to see “meanwhile” use of the valuable open space, until a suitable new scheme is started.
The EARL’S COURT SOCIETY
RBKC Gold Standard
The EARL’s COURT SOCIETY AGM
Wednesday 16th May 2018
MEETINGS attended for ECS
3 May Trebovir Road redundant BT phones meeting
11 May Nevern Square residents event K+K George Hotel
26 May Philbeach AGM at st Cuthbert’s with URBANISTA
4 Jun EC Sq Jazz event
5 Jun Philbeach Hall reopening and press conference
12 Jun EC ASB meeting at RBKC Town hall
13 Jun ECS Planning & licensing group (3)
15 Jun Licensing Hearing for 44-46 Kenway road
19 Jun Social housing conference
21 Jun ECH&WB Centre
3 Jul Site visit to observe sound mitigations in place around crane
5 Jul COMRES report launch
10 Jul ECS Neighbours Group (2)
14 Jul TfL LU local meeting
17 Aug Meeting with City Relay (MDS DC) to discuss AirBnB issues
22 Aug ASB meeting RBKC Town Hall
30 Aug Site meeting Childs Street
4 Sept Councillors visit to observe large crane (CapCo & Keltbray & RBKC)
13 Sept STHL (AirBnB) RBKC Conference
22 Sept ASB meeting RBKC
25 Sept Neighbours' Group
19 Oct Scheduled Licensing hearing PING and MOONFLOWER EC Gardens (ES report “No Amsterdam red light district in EC”)
26 & 27 Oct Earl’s Court Film Festival
2 Nov Bob Perry AGE UK Art Exhibition 1A Nevern Place
9 Nov Licensing Committee objected to PING. HoC with KCCC & Wandsworth Chamber
13 Nov SNB
30 Nov CAPCO Lights EC Road
9 Dec Community Carol Service
10 Dec EC Square Tree
12Dec Mayor’s Carols
21 Dec ECS PARTY St. Cuthberts Church – 40 members and new members attended.
27 Jan PRA party at St Cuthbert’s
18 Jan Open Age classes ECHWC
23 Jan EC ASB meeting
29 Jan SN Board
30 Jan Schools Forum – spoke for St Cuthbert’s funding
5 Feb Penywern hotels waste & planning application
17 Feb St Cuthbert’s party
20 Feb Police Gold Command Group
28 Kenway Rd Police Office Ward Panel meeting
8 Mar EC Sq RA AGM
10 Mar CapCo Open Day
13 Mar ECV RA AGM
15 Mar Penywern residents’ planning meeting
20 Mar Environmental walkabout Warwick Road
23 Apr Eardley paladins
26 Apr Kung Fu planning and env health
2 May ECVRA planning meeting
9 May NSCARA AGM
10 May Peabody FM residents meeting
SHORT-TERM HOLIDAY LETTING (eg AIRBNB)
The Council has now held all five STHL working group meetings, including a large public conference with Q&A panel on 13th September.
o Illegal waste dumping, collection and enforcement costs
o Use of Garden Squares without contribution
o No Council Tax, No Business Rates, No Corporation Tax
o No rules for Hotels or Health & Safety
o No rules for HMOs.
o Invalidation of House Insurance for other leaseholders
o Security, Safety and Fire risks to leaseholders (9 Trebovir Road)
The final report makes nine recommendations all of which have been accepted by the Council and Officers are working to action them.
BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT (BID).
The Society continues to support this initiative led by local businesses. The COMRES report, commissioned by RBKC and CapCo, was launched at the CapCo project rooms with the ECS Business Group on 5th July. Our summary of the findings is:
RESPONSE IN FAVOUR of BID
Need more BID Information
Physical environment and public spaces improvements
Interest in BIDs linked to business performance - worsened over the past 12 months
BID-type Branding and Marketing to promote the Earls Court area
Proximity to the Earls Court redevelopment may influence interest in a new BID; businesses in the Earls Court ward
Business-owners who say they are interested in joining a BID - more likely to say each initiative tested will benefit their business
Local businesses who say that they would be interested in a new BID as part of the Earls Court redevelopment
We held a meeting with TfL LU on 14th July regarding noise from announcements at the tube station with many complaints coming from Kensington Mansions on Trebovir Road.
We are supporting three projects to design out crime and ASB and improve air quality etc.
Alerts over potential Garden Square ownership and underground development plans.
Greening of EC as an open fallow site. Investigating air cleansing technology solutions.
BT are proposing 1 new for removing 2 old (OBRd and ECRd) with community benefits. NEW WORLD PAYPHONES are proposing 4 new for removing 11 old.
PLANNING & LICENSING
CAAs for Philbeach, Nevern, Brompton Cemetery and EC Village and EC Square.
CLP revision due Public Hearing with Inspector for soundness.
New World Payphones ECS supported 3 new phones, but RBKC refused because application did not list or agree removal of 11 redundant.
Objected to Blackbird – refused Objected to 5 EC Square Objected to 4 Child's Street
40-42 Nevern Square upgrade 37 grotty bedsits to 20 decent 1 and 2 bed flats. No loss of residential floorspace. Extra provision of Social rented flats elsewhere.
Enforcement illegal Advert Warwick Road entrance to station
Objected to Balance Kenway Road Objected to Moonflower and Ping EC Gardens
We continue to support residents in EC Gardens and Kenway Road regarding the proliferation of “massage parlours”. We spoke as objectors at the Licensing Hearing for a new establishment in Kenway Road, but despite serious anomalies in the application it was granted. There are nearly 20 of these parlours or related licensed premises in EC Ward. MOONFLOWER 6 months provisional
Objecting to EC Food & Wine extension to 02.00am all week Oxford Hotel. Planning application March consultation with residents and neighbours. 4 Child’s Street – new application. ECS objecting. 16-18 Warwick Rd HMOs into self-contained flats KUNG FU lamps without permission.. EC Gardens a/c units. MOONFLOWER new application for after 6 months provisional. PING Licence withdrawn but still operating whilst under appeal. Meeting planned with residents and KUNG FU. Review of Vaudeville due to ASB and stabbing. Meeting with PRA residents re Cluny Mews application
WASTE and ILLEGAL REFUSE DUMPING
“A” boards have been successful, as has mobile CCTV for catching and fining offenders. There was a brief hiatus when some boards were removed as being dangerous, before new ones had been installed. Vermin are becoming a problem in parts of EC Square.
Enforced re 312 EC Road (Waste and Pests) Enforced re 316 EC Road (Waste and Dormer Windows)
Penywern and Kempsford strongly support Paladin Bins, but not mid-crescent next to houses. Support preference for ends of street only. Support all dumping reports
Consulting on final permanent enclosures for Paladin bins (Eardley, Penywern, Kempsford)
Issues with hotel trade-waste in Penywern. Meeting planned
Lobbying to keep local SNT hubs open including Kenway Road plus NHG Police station (ECS petition)
POLICE Major Drug operation 20 Sep - 18th November. Results so far: Arrests: 25 PND : 2 Cannabis warnings: 31 Stop and Search: 75 Intel Report : 57 Drug address closures/evictions: 3 Crime reports: 63 Community behaviour notices: 9 Vehicle seizures: 3 Target hardening Visits on properties :2 Brothel Welfare/Drug checks: 4 Brothel closures due to drugs/ASB: 2 80% drop in email/airspace complaints about drug issues from residents.
Fatal stabbing Logan Place. Major drug operation West London and Nevern Place.
Fatal car accident Nevern Square. What should we do about this poor junction ?
Stabbing at Vaudeville club. Further stabbing at Vaudeville
WLL and ECS response to MTS (GLA Mayor's Transport Strategy) (MB)
Lobbying for 20mph on Warwick Road; moving one pedestrian crossing; removing one loading bay (NW leg). Consulting on new bus route. Requesting new bus stop at Warwick Road outside new school. Temporary seating achieved in EC Rd.Need redesign of Cromwell Rd junctions. Extra new residents parking planned for Philbeach Gardens.
Consulting on two-year plan for Redcliffe surgery and local GP provision. Lobbying for a new Health Hub. MyCareMyWay.Awaiting results of consultation
Earl's Court Society © 2013