The leader of Westminster Council Adam Hug and some of his cabinet colleagues have set out some their priorities for the year ahead in a video message to residents, restating some of the promises made in their ambitious 2022 Manifesto for a Fairer Westminster and its Fairer Westminster Strategy.
2023 will be the first full year of the first ever Labour-controlled Westminster Council since they were elected in May. Their 54-page impressive and glossy manifesto promises much, but can they deliver on all those commitments?
Councillor Hug highlighted the £10m they have invested in tackling the cost of living crisis, and their plan to build more genuinely affordable homes, and that there remains a lot more to do.
Cllr Liza Begum, cabinet member for housing services, talks about the establishment of the resident tenant panel and the “community Thursdays” where she has been listening to residents across the city.
Cllr Tim Roca, cabinet member for young people, learning and leisure, talks about how the council has delivered free school lunches for all primary school children in the city.
Cllr Geoff Barraclough, cabinet member for planning and economic development, says he is “very excited” about getting the Oxford Street programme back on track and is looking forward to meeting residents and connecting them to the new jobs the council will be creating in the West End.
Aside from that he wasn’t saying very much. Fitzrovia News understands that further announcements on the plans for Oxford Street and the surrounding districts will be forthcoming early this year.
Controversial plans to pedestrianise the street and divert motor traffic through Fitzrovia have already been scrapped but new plans to improve the street and surrounding neighbourhoods are being drawn up. London Mayor Sadiq Khan has said he still wants the street pedestrianised — but has not come up with a plan to avoid diverting buses, taxis and other motor traffic past people’s homes in Fitzrovia and the other neighbourhoods.
The whole area still has pretty poor quality — if any — cycling infrastructure, despite Westminster scoring relatively high on the Healthy Streets Scorecard. Cllr Hug has however pledged to deliver “climate safe streets“.
Cllr Paul Dimoldenberg, cabinet member for city management and air quality, said “its been great to introduce the waste action squads” to reduce rubbish on the streets of the City. Rubbish on the streets was a common complaint ahead of the election in May last year. He also talked about installing new air quality monitoring stations across Westminster and his commitment to improve air quality for everyone.
Cllr David Boothroyd, cabinet member for finance and council reform, set out his aim to keep the council’s budget within its council tax commitments and improve participation in council meetings.
Fitzrovia News will be reporting on Westminster Council decisions that affect residents in Fitzrovia through our partners in the Local Democracy Reporting Service set up by the BBC and delivered in Westminster by publisher Reach.