Pub evening Wednesday 10 October: Neighbourhood forums

The next pub evening on Wednesday 10 October will have as its subject ‘Neighbourhood Forums’.  Tom Kimber, Principal Planning Officer at Westminster City Council, will be our speaker and Nick Johnson will chair the evening.  Tom will speak about the Neighbourhood Forum initiative and its implications for neighbourhood planning.

As usual we will meet in the Upstairs Theatre Bar at the Victoria Pub on Strathearn Place, from 6:30. Normally the speaker will start at 7pm and we aim to finish questions by around 8pm so that there is time for informal chat, drinks and food if you want to stay around!

Nuisance sub-letting in our area

The issue of nuisance sub-letting is a concern for a number of HPEA members. It is a complex issue, with many different groups and organisations involved, and responsibilities are not clear.

The Westminster City Council policy is that you need planning permission to let your property for less than 90 days. Without it you could be fined and have an enforcement notice registered as a legal charge on your property.

The requirement for planning permission exists so that the Council can control the amount of property which is for temporary accommodation, recognising that this can generate more nuisance than permanent residential property – for example: overcrowding, rubbish, comings and goings at unsocial hours, noise, and other issues caused by tenants being unfamiliar with local laws and customs.

In order for the HPEA to support members affected by this issue, and also to evaluate its effect on the area as a whole, the committee has arranged for a brief fact-finding report to be prepared. Research will include face to face meetings with a selection of campaigning and affected members, as well as representatives from key organisations. Sarah Clifford (communications committee member) will be drafting the report during early October. If you would like to input, please contact Sarah via the membership mailbox thehpea@yahoo.co.uk.

BT number to report dirty phone boxes

At our pub evening last week, Jonathan Rowing of Westminster City Council let us know that there is a number to call to report dirty, damaged or defaced phone kiosks to BT.

The number is 0800 661 610 (option 1).

Here is the recommended information to provide:

  • clear location details (street location; ideally the phone number of the kiosk but this is not essential)
  • clear descriptions of the problems in the kiosk (broken windows, graffiti, waste or hazards, defective equipment, or excessive carding)

We need to remember not to over-report problems, in order to retain credibility (avoid “crying wolf”). Please also remember that this number only applies to kiosks owned by BT, and not New World Spectrum or Infocus. The HPEA will research these other companies to see whether equivalent arrangements exist.

Please give your feedback – have you called this number? Did BT come and clean the kiosk, and if so, how soon? Email thehpea@yahoo.co.uk.