Category Archives: News

“On the buses” or not for No 16!

The bus services in W9 have already been reduced if we remember that the No 414 has stopped going down the Edgware Rd from Marble Arch into W9 since last November and service levels on the No 16 reduced as well. The No 16 bus service also links the North of the City in Westminster with the South and of course Kilburn. So losing the 16 altogether is not on at all @TfL for W9ers at least. So l urge everyone to have your say on the Central London bus review  being undertaken right now and suspiciously began the day before the extended bank holiday for the Queen’s platinum jubilee. And tell your stories about the No 16 and other bus routes you depend on. 


LFS response to July 2021 flood questions

After a pretty lousy scrutiny meeting on the floods last year by Westminster Council, where very little questions were asked of the London Fire Service, l decided to ask my own questions to them direct by writing to our local fire station for details of their flood calls on the 12th & 25th of July. As the reality is we are dependent on them when flooded with their pumping equipment to drain clean the floods immediately in our homes 


1.How many flooding incidents did you have to attend on the 12th of July in the City of Westminster (ideally broken down by post codes)? “Our data team have been able to provide some information related to the location of areas affected by flooding the flood incident type and the call data from the flooding incidents.  Please note the London Fire Brigade does not capture flooding data in the same way as we do for fire related incidents”. Please see attached graph above. 

 The data attached shows the following:

 12th – 13th July 2021

1,707 total calls to LFB where the word “flood” was used by Control within the free text description field. Of those calls, 869 individual incidents/attendances were recorded. Call records only, will not have an IMS (Incident Management System) incident type. The attached Excel sheet has three segments, one detailing all postcodes which had a flooding related 999 call, one sheet breaking down all IMS incident types and the third sheet is a list of all 999 calls by the time the call was made.

25th July 2021

1,312 total calls to LFB where the word “flood” was used by Control within the free text description field. Of those calls, 662 individual incidents were recorded. Call records only will not have an IMS incident type. The attached Excel sheet has three segments, one detailing all postcodes which had a flooding related 999 call, one sheet breaking down all IMS incident types and the third sheet is a list of all 999 calls by the time the call was made.” 

  1. Was there any difference this time from previous floodings particularly in Maida Vale in places like Shirland Rd? This particular area of London experienced Flash floods over a very short time period. No prior warning was given by any partner agency. Due to very high number of calls received, LFB declared a major incident. 
  2. The water receded quickly after 6 pm, for example the water was up to the window sills along Bristol Gardens and then dissipated in 10 minutes. What intervention was made by either the Fire Brigade or Thames Water? We believe that no actions undertaken by LFB would have had an impact to reduce the levels so quickly. The likelihood is that Thames Water could have potentially diverted sewer systems, hence the rapid dispersal in the time frame.
  3. Residents would like to know why the water subsidence was so incredibly fast. like a bath with    a plug hole despite it raining heavily still.  So it would be good to know timings in relation to        what action was taken for the “plughole” event. At the time of the Westminster Council Scrutiny        Committee on the 30th September 2021 the question was raised to LFB referencing the plug hole          scenario. It was discussed that there was video footage which would be sent across to LFB which        could help ascertain what might have been the cause of this. However, this was never sent through so  it is difficult to get a clear idea of what was occurring at the time.  It is possible that an attending          organisation could have lifted a works cover which would have assisted in the dispersal of surface        water
  4. Did the Fire Brigade lift only manholes? What was found in the way of obstructions in gulleys, manholes or drains? It is not standard practice for firefighters to lift work covers. Given the number of firefighters that attended on the day, we cannot confirm whether individual cases of this took place or not. As referred to in section 3, we understand that members of the public may have witnessed this and would welcome any more specific information to help look into this in greater detail.  

    6. At the Shirland Road Flip Kiosk just off the corner of Formosa St, was the amber light on at                  all? LFB do not have any factual data or information relating to this point.

    7. And was it a member of the Fire Brigade that made the decision to “unblock” something or not?          Or open a valve? Please see the response to question 4.

    8. More generally, we are looking for recommendations for the future. Do we need new systems to          notify London’s residents of general weather warnings, much earlier, particularly if specific local          areas are in danger? And finally, do you have any suggestions for better ways to protect                        ourselves?  What can we do in Westminster to prepare for the next event, and attempt to                      prevent  it? 

There is a range of information available on LFB’s website to provide support and advice to residents in relation to flooding. This can be accessed at the link below  

This steers the public to flood warnings and advice on what to do in the event of flooding along with steps to help with preparation. There is also advice available on the Greater London Authority website:

The UK Government will shortly be launching an emergency messaging system, which is due to be available later this year:

Carnage of bus services in Central London cuts proposed

No 16 of the services proposed to be cut by TfL in response to the government cuts

We have already seen the impact of bus services been eliminated in W9 with the 414 not going beyond Marble Arch anymore since last November but the proposed reduction of 20 per cent of the bus service in Central London coming from TfL is more serious then we ever imagined, as TfL accepted “managed decline” of the services as outlined by the government. 

Of the 16 bus routes listed for the , we know how critical the No 16 is for going up and down the Edgware Rd and linking W9 with Kilburn and Victoria; the No 31 for linking W9 to Camden and Chelsea; and of course the No 24 bus for Pimlico.

So let us all get involved during the consultation that TfL are undertaking over the next six weeks, and show how residents of Westminster are going to be adversely affected by these proposed cuts to the form of public transport Londoners rely on more that the tube, the buses.  

The link to TfL Central London Bus Review is as follows

Great to see @Crossrail in Paddington but why did it take so long?

Now in my old school days in Paddington, l can vaguely remember the London Rail Study of 1974 suggesting the need for a rail link through Central London. When l came back to London and Paddington after college and my travels, the then Secretary of State for Transport Cecil Parkinson announced the government go-ahead for the East-West Crossrail in 1990.

Now that’s some 32 years after that announcement and 48 years after it was first conceptualised it has now become operational through Paddington. But why did it take such a long time to build this 100 km of new track at £19bn which is well over 3.5 years delayed and £4 bn over costs? In the meantime in other parts of the world, during the past decade of 2010-2020 in the Asian-Pacific Region over 44 new metro systems were opened. 

It’s quite clear that such delays cause substantial increases in costs. Our transport planning system clearly doesn’t function very well hence why major infrastructural proposals which get built come along once in a life time. So on this basis we won’t be seeing Crossrail 2 in my lifetime unless we see major changes in the planning and financing of mega new transport investment like a new metro system. 

Move over, financial and fiscal powers need to change to devolved government to be able to fund these programmes of investment


New dawn beckons for Labour in City of Westminster

After a hard day knocking up residents in Little Venice Ward on polling day, l went to the count in Vincent Square to see the results of the Local Elections in City of Westminster at just after midnight. Only to be immediately greeted by three Tory councillors of Hyde Park Ward storming out of the Hall. I asked around what was that about, and was informed that they had just been informed that they are going to lose their seats tonight. It was then I realised the scale of the defeat the Tories of the City of Westminster were going to face last Thursday night at our hands.

The heartland of Labour support in the City of Westminster is Paddington in the North West of the borough, where we were expected to make gains in Bayswater after the last local election and efforts were made in Lancaster Gate & Little Venice Wards. In the end we managed to make an additional 5 councillor from those three wards. But no one expected Hyde Park ward to come in for us at all including our candidates.

Postal votes were clearly influenced by partygate, as they hit peoples homes at the same time as the Partygate scandal was at its height. That was noticeable at the Count when the postal votes were opened how vast majority were Labour votes when this is not the usual case.

West End Ward was won even before the polling day the previous week after the Soho Society and ex-Tory councillors came out to support the Labour candidates in the Ward. This was clearly a sign of things to come.

In the South we managed to gain two seats, one in South Pimlico that we should never have lost last time and remarkably gaining one in Vincent Square Ward. Who knows next time, we should aim for St James Park Ward where Buckingham Palace can be found!

So all in all, a 9 per cent swing to Labour in the City of Westminster got us 31 seats. So we had reached our holy grail, making it possible for us to say that the Prime Minister of the day is the first incumbent to live under a Labour Council at 10 Downing Street. Alas in painting the City red, l myself did not manage to get into the Council in Little Venice Ward. But we managed to get one of our colleagues into the Ward, Sara Hassan, and l am sure she will do a better job of representing locals than the Tories in the ward.

And finally while we can celebrate the gains in Wandsworth, Barnet and Westminster, let us not forget that Harrow turned blue, while Labour lost Tower Hamlets and Croydon Mayoral contests. As a result the net gains of seats were less than we thought they would be when the counts of Wandsworth, Barnet & Westminster were completed. Which clearly takes the wind out of London Labour’s sails in London.

So there are lessons to learn from these results for London and national politics, and particularly future London based elections. As it appears we are piling up the votes in certain parts of London whilst losing them elsewhere and in the rest of England, though not in Wales and Scotland.

This blog piece was published in Labour Hub. 

Was the control panel switched on?


The headline of the Westminster Extra on the “floods – next time switch on the pumps” makes us wonder whether the Maida Vale Floods alleviation Scheme was even switched on in W9 in the first place last year when we had the floods in Little Venice, W9 on the 12th of July with disastrous effects to people who lived in basement flats in the neighbourhood. So not surprisingly many who go pass it regularly, ask themselves was the amber light on their control panel above flashing at all during the floods on Shirland Rd?

This also when over £ 15 million plus was spent on the Maida Vale Flood Alleviation Scheme in W9 all paid by our water bills and only a matter of 5/6 years ago. It would be incredible if it was not switched on at all!

Unfortunately this does not appear to have been asked in public scrutiny of Thames Water activities, and we of course await third party verification as well.

Nonetheless it is a damning indictment of Thames Water services along with their dumping of sewage into our waterways to its customers in Little Venice, who also face higher building insurance premiums from the impact of the floods.

Murad Qureshi, Sara Hassan & Rosie Wrighting
Labour Candidates for Little Venice

Update – Derelict telephone boxes in W9


A derelict phone kiosk reported to BT with its appalling graffiti, which needs replacing.

We have managed to get moved one of the derelict telephone kiosks at Warrington Gardens,W9 but there are still a number of red telephones boxes in W9 – Shirland Rd, Bristol Gardens & Clifton Rd – where the boxes need urgent repair and maintenance or just a simple paint job! 

It strikes me that BT don’t know what to with these assets even though its quite clear no one uses them in the mobile phone era. So let us start asking questions about what they are doing about individual ones in our neighbourhoods, starting with the ones in Little Venice. Do tell us of any others in the locality that need reporting to them to repair and maintenance asap or even remove. 

Cycle hangars in Westminster

bicycle hangars found on the edge of John Aird Court sponsored by the GLA

A great report on London’s Cycle Hangars by Fare City shows how the City of Westminsters hangars compare with other London boroughs. In a nutshell, Westminster has 137 cycle hangars with 3,000 waiting list charged at £ 72 a year for a space in a bike hangar. In comparison they charge £112 a year for a small car space which compares favourably with other London boroughs. 

Yet there is clearly a need for more cycle hangars in the City for many residents on the waiting list. So lets get install a lot more of them after the 5th of May local elections. In the meantime, l’ll stick to my Santander bike key for travelling around Central London where there is a docking station! 

Defending the Bakerloo line in W9

Since last November we have heard a lot about a potential 9 per cent reduction in Tube services due to the reduced funding from Central government to TfL. And we all knew that the Bakerloo line was most at risk of at least a reduction in service given how it has not had any investment in its infrastructure like the carriages and tube stations themselves for many years.

This in top of the 414 bus service cut from going through W9 from Marble Arch meant that many locals signed up our the petition which we handed in to the Department recently.

Please see the Little Venice Labour candidates for the Local Election on the 5th of May, myself, Rosie Wrighting, and Sara Hassan,  at the Department for Transport handing in the petition to ensure the Bakerloo Line is saved above. 

It was widely reported that the Bakerloo line is at risk of closure due to the pandemic decimating the income from fares that huge government cuts forced TfL to rely on. Unlike national rail and other public transport systems in the UK and worldwide, the government refused to fund TfL, instead forcing several short-term “bailouts”, each with demands for heavy cuts to London’s critical transport.

We rely on the Bakerloo line for work, leisure, and to meet our friends and family. That’s why Little Venice Labour led a petition to demand the Bakerloo line is properly protected and supported.

And the community has come together to demand the same – we’ve seen posters calling for the Bakerloo line to be saved in local shops,  and there’s been huge support for our petition from communities all along the Bakerloo line.

Unfortunately, the government’s pressure on TfL has continued, with cuts to services already affecting our buses. We still need the government to properly support TfL and our transport system, and Londoners.

We must also have others residents in W9 to continue signing the petition, as this issue unfortunately will not be going away soon. So please use the link below to get more signatories amongst our neighbours, friends and relatives. 

Bakerloo Line Must Be Saved!

Houseboats – saving a way of life along the canals of Little Venice

Last Saturday l joined a demo of hundreds of house boaters organised by National Barge Travellers Association ( NBTA London branch ) in front of the Canal & Rivers Trust (CRT) offices in Little Venice.  

Those who live on houseboats along the canals of London, rightly feel the right to live in their boats as their homes, is under threat from CRT measures along the canals and rivers of London. These measures may well threaten in time those who live in houseboats in Little Venice as well along Maida Avenue and Blomfield Rd. 

The houseboat community, is one of the unique features of Little Venice ward. So we went along to show solidarity with house boaters keen to show their boats are homes as well and thats the way it should be seen. So when l spoke l indicated that those living on our waters should have the same rights as those on shore and the freedom to roam as we do also on land. 

So we – Murad Qureshi, Sara Hassan & Rosie Wrighting as Labour candidates – are commitment to defending the house boat community in Little Venice way of life, at the local election of the 5th of May in the City of Westminster Council.