Pages tagged "St James's"

St James's Labour Team join bid to save the Empire Cinema, Haymarket

Zayna Ali, Dorothy Edwin and Georgina Newson, Labour candidates for St James’s Ward, have given their support to the battle to save the Empire Cinema – formerly the Carlton – on Haymarket. This building is the only remaining major cinema of the inter-war years in London’s West End which is both substantially intact and in use as a cinema and should be listed.

SAVE and the Cinema Theatre Association are vigorously opposing an application from the freeholder of the site, The Crown Estate, for an official Certificate of Immunity from the listing of the building.  A Certificate of Immunity would allow the destruction of the interior of the 1927 cinema. Only the façade on the Haymarket has a measure of protection from the fact that it is in the Haymarket Conservation Area.

SAVE say:

“The Empire is the only grand Hollywood film palace left in the West End where patrons can still experience the glamour and splendour of the 1920s: a large foyer along the width of the whole building with festive neoclassical décor and elaborate stairs lead to the auditorium, bars and upper foyer, also lavishly decorated.

Though the stalls at the Empire have been subdivided into two smaller cinemas, the main screen still occupies the major part of the former auditorium. Its historic ceiling is virtually intact and the opulent decoration ingeniously integrates ventilation installations. Together with the highly ornamental frieze and elegant light fittings the space evokes the monumentality of Renaissance interiors. Hollywood film makers loved grandeur and show.” 

St James Ward Labour Action Report - April 2018

News from the Labour Action Team in Covent Garden, St James’s and Victoria – Zayna Ali, Dorothy Edwin and Georgina Newson.


We are making enquiries about this issue:

I live on Bedfordbury opposite what was Scotts the sandwich shop (corner of Bedfordbury and New Row) which has now closed and is being turned into The Flying Pie. Please could you tell me how to oppose any licensing applications that they may be making? Scotts used to close at tea time and if they intended to stay open in the evening it would not be good news”

Huguenot House

We have asked the Planning Enforcement Team to investigate a number of flats being used for Airbnb short let flats which it is believed are not authorised for short lets. We have also asked City West Homes to investigate. Residents say:

“A few months ago, I emailed on behalf of some of my neighbours at Huguenot House regarding short-lets of council-owned properties. You were able to direct that to the right place for some attention. I am glad to say that we seem to have had some slow-down in those. Unfortunately, some seem to be up and running again. I write today about two council-owned flats which are let out by CWH, and had been on our list earlier. 

This is a secured block owned by the council. We have fob-entry and a caretaker on site, and these fobs have to be handed out to the ‘guests’, some seemingly mailed in advance.  We have had problems in past with ‘guests’ letting in less-desirable elements as well as verbally abusing our own residents.”

John Adam Street

We have asked the Council to investigate this issue:

“As a resident in John Adam Street, I am continually concerned as to the condition of the south pavement. The street is narrow and used by commercial vehicles for deliveries. This causes vehicles to straddle the pavement to pass parked vehicles, resulting in considerable damage. These often get attention, (I suspect to avoid compensation claims) but not properly and remedial works are soon dislodged and broken. This is a significant danger for pedestrians. The answer should be to make the narrow area a no parking / delivery area. There is ample parking and delivery options 50 m further up the road, which are currently used for this purpose.”

The Roadhouse, Covent Garden

A month long campaign has been launched to save Covent Garden’s live music venue the Roadhouse, which is hosting a series of free live events as part of its #SaveRoadhouse campaign, raising awareness of its risk of closure by welcoming up and coming talent to perform. More than 11,000 people have signed a petition urging Westminster City Council to save the venue, which faces eviction later this year. The Rolling Stones star Bill Wyman and London’s Night Czar Amy Lame have given their support. The Roadhouse has entertained music fans from its premises in the basement of Jubilee Hall on The Piazza for 25 years.

Labour’s Manifesto for the 2018 Council Elections

After decades of the Conservatives taking Westminster for granted, residents have a real chance to change the future of this city. Years of Conservative cuts have taken their toll on local services, particularly for the most vulnerable.

The Conservatives have put the needs of developers above the needs of the vast majority of local residents. For generations they have failed to build the Council (social rent) and lower (intermediate) rent homes that Westminster needs to give the City a viable future.

Labour has a credible alternative plan that can be delivered today despite the damage being done by the current government. Our communities are calling out for change, and in this manifesto Labour sets out a vision for how things could be run differently, how we will deliver a Westminster for the many not the few if we are elected to run the council on May 3rd 2018.


We have welcomed the increased on-the-spot fines of up to £150 for dropping litter, including from vehicles.

Problems paying Water Rates?

Thames Water is running a project with Citizens Advice Westminster to help people who are having problems paying their Water Rates. They can help to access hardship funds and apply for grants to pay off water rate debts. They will provide budgeting advice and negotiate regarding other household debts.

Contact the Gateway helpline 03003301191.

There is also an on-line enquiry form at:

Key worker housing – what you say

“I think the keyworker scheme for housing allocation would be a very good idea. Many of the firefighters working from Soho Fire Station live in Bridgend. Accommodating the police has two problems. They tend to feel uncomfortable living in an area where they police because it can cause conflict of interest problems. Often the police are reticent to engage with people outside the force. When I was asked to suggest suitable people for keyworker housing in Covent Garden I approached a police housing association giving them my full contact details but they never got back to me. It is probably hospital cleaners, porters, catering staff and similar who are essential and amongst the lowest paid that need to be those considered.”

What you say

“Thank you for the action report.”

If you know anybody who would like to receive this report please ask them to email and we will add them to the list.

If you do not wish to continue to receive this newsletter you can unsubscribe below.


Zayna Ali, Dorothy Edwin and Georgina Newson

Your St James’s Ward Labour Action Team

Twitter @StJamesLabour

Promoted by Robin McGhee on behalf of Zayna Ali, Dorothy Edwin and Georgina Newson at 4G Shirland Mews, London W9 3DY

Labour would use the Council’s planning powers to help protect Soho and Chinatown

Labour is deeply concerned that some of Westminster’s most iconic areas are under threat and that action needs to be taken by the council to help protect them. Soho has fallen victim to over-development, pressures from Crossrail, rising rents and the encroachment of global high street. If action is not taken now to save it, what makes these areas unique may be lost for ever. Similarly Chinatown is facing similar encroachment and pressure from rising rents.

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St James's Ward Labour Action Report - Feb 18

News from the Labour Action Team in Covent Garden, St James’s and Victoria

Martlett Court – update

Following our enquiries about the problems with outside lighting and the theft of garden furniture, City West Homes have told us:

“Our housing services advisor inspected the area and agreed that lighting needs to be installed.  We have requested lights to be installed that are operated on a timer system. In addition to this, we are going to install a code lock to the gates and issue the code to the residents.  This will reduce unauthorised access to these gardens. If the gardening committee can supply a quote for the garden furniture that was stolen to our housing services manager, she will submit this request to the Soho aerial fund for consideration.  We do have a caretaker who visits Martlett on a daily basis to carry out the cleaning and the housing team carry out quarterly block inspections. Notices advising residents of these dates and times are displayed in the noticeboards.”

Residents say: 

“Very many thanks for all of this information which I will share with our Garden Committee Members. Thank you for all your hard work on our behalf.”

Covent Garden Street Lights

We have asked the Street Lighting Department to fix various lights out in and around Covent Garden:

  • at the junction of Bow Street and Long Acre
  • along Long Acre
  • in front of the tube station exit
  • outside vale Royal House, Charing Cross Road
  • at the end of Long Acre at the junction with Drury Lane
  • attached to the Prince of Wales in Drury Lane. 

Covent Garden Piazza public toilets 

We asked the Council why the public toilets have been closed and padlocked. The Council said: “The Council has responsibility for the structural integrity of the facilities. The facilities at Covent Garden are temporarily closed while we replace/renew manhole covers, carry out drainage repairs and alterations and make commensurate repairs to the flooring. The facilities are due to reopen next weekend.”

King Street

We are making enquiries about the building at 15 King Street which was renovated in 2016 following enquiries about whether the building regulations were complied with.

Huguenot House 

We are in discussion with residents of Huguenot House about a number of concerns, including fire safety. 

Abbey Orchard Estate

We have asked Peabody if the lights in the bin store on Abbey Orchard Estate can be fixed.  

Cleaning up Westminster’s Planning system

We have pledged to clean up Westminster’s Planning system if we are elected at the Council elections on 3rd May.

There is a clear perception that senior Conservative Councillors have very close relationships with developers. For example, the Conservative Deputy Leader of the Council, Councillor Robert Davis, has disclosed that since the start of 2015 he has received hospitality related to his role as a City Councillor from developers, big business and other interests a record 514 times. This equates to a staggering 14 cases of declarable hospitality a month, peaking at 47 cases in December 2016. We believe that such an approach does not help build public trust that the Council will put the needs of residents before those of property developers and business interests.

If elected to run the Council in May, Labour will engage with industry representatives in open settings to share views and push for residents’ priorities, but we will do so whilst working to achieve the highest standards. Labour commits that:

  • Labour Cabinet Members and Councillors will not accept hospitality from individual developers and their agents.
  • Labour will require the Council to formally record all meetings between Cabinet Members and developers when discussing individual schemes. There will always be an officer present.
  • A record of these meetings will be posted on the Council website within two weeks. 


There is a new Chief Superintendent in charge of Westminster Police and we hope to meet with him soon to discuss his plans. We will keep arguing for more police to keep our streets safe and for the Government to halt the cuts to the Metropolitan Police budget. In particular:

  1. There have been huge real-terms cuts to policing budgets across the country. In London alone, £700 million has been cut from the Met Police’s budget.
  2. These cuts mean that in London, we’ve lost 2,495 Police officers and 3,261 Police Community Support Officers.
  3. The Met Police still needs to find a further £370 million of savings by 2022 – meaning police numbers could fall below 27,500 by 2021 – the lowest level since 2002.

We have started a petition to stop the police cuts

The Blitz in Westminster

This website shows where bombs were dropped during the Blitz. You can find out how close they got to your home

What you say

“Thank you so much for all your support in the lighting issue on Drury Lane. The Council turned it down slightly, which has helped reduce the amount coming into our home. So grateful for all your help.”

Please let us know if we can be of help or assistance on any local issues.

Labour joins campaign to save The Roadhouse in Covent Garden

We (the Labour Council Candidates for St James' ward) are opposing the Capital & Counties (Capco) planning application for The Roadhouse premises at 35 The Piazza, WC2. In a letter to the Council’s Director of Planning, John Walker, we say:

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