SEBRA – Spring 2024

Public Inquiries in Paddington 

We have two major public inquiries in Paddington at 13 Bishops Bridge Road,W2 on Grenfell & COVID19 allowing local residents to watch the proceedings at first hand. The Grenfell inquiry was about fire safety in our homes particularly with cladding and not just social housing but also private blocks like the M& M Building. Whilst the COVID 19 Inquiry was on public health response by the govt during the pandemic.

The latter inquiry started in October 2023 at No 13 to cover the core UK decision-making and political governance though that did omitted Partygate. Request were made for material from Johnson as the Inquiry asked for diaries, notebooks and WhatsApp messages by Johnson. In the end Johnson had provided materials to the Cabinet Office, although it later emerged that he had only provided WhatsApp messages from May 2021 when he got a new phone following a security breach on his previous phone.

On the days Boris Johnson was scheduled, he arrived much earlier than the public to hide his entrance in and out of Inquiry where we had a public ready to remind him of what he had said and done before and during the lockdown and the impact it had on their families and loved ones. 

New Bakerloo line Entrance 

With the emerging new entrance to Paddington Railway Station along with the new entrance to the Bakerloo line from Praed St, it certainly makes the entrance a lot more spacious. It will certainly make for a entrance that can appear on the Paddington Bear movies, as in the first one they incredibly used the front of Marylebone station. Unbelievably really but they super imposed Paddington Railway Station signage on top of the red brick entrance of Marylebone Station for the first of Paddington Bear movies! 

Saying this, we could do with a lot more greenery like a few tress and planters maybe before the opening of the new Bakerloo line entrance into the tube? 

SUV parking in Central London 

Not surprisingly after hearing the results from Paris on SUV (Sports Utility Vehicles) parking, many wondered whether it can be done in London. Certainly in Central London boroughs like City of Westminster and Camden, is the short answer. As TfL does not have charge over all the roads and streets of London in the same way as London Councils do – only the red routes – so such an initiative would have to be lead naturally by critical Central London boroughs using their parking powers already.

Now SUVs are bigger and heavier cars and are quite simply incompatible with our goal of reducing global emissions as well as improving our air quality. The majority of SUVs are petrol-powered and consume about 20 per cent more fuel than the average car. Even if the car is electric or part electric the same sums apply as heavier cars require more energy. Bigger cars don’t just emit more, their tyres produce more particulate pollution as well. They also take up more parking space as any pedestrian and cyclists can tell you when getting pass them! And, to make matters worse, SUVs cause significantly more pedestrian fatalities than other cars. You only have to look at the tragic case of SUV crashing into an end-of-year tea party last summer at a girls’ preparatory school in Wimbledon, killing two school girls tragically. So the case for additional parking charging for SUVs is pretty clear cut.

So in short it can happen sooner than we realise in Central London, as SUVs do little of the off-road driving they were designed for in the first place.

Karen Buck MP & Barrie Taylor 

It would be remise of me not to note the departure of two key leading figures in Paddington over the past 40 years. It is very sad news that Karen Buck MP won’t be standing at the next election. She has been a brilliant constituency MP with a fantastic legacy of service.  

I was involved in her selection in 1997 for Regents Park & Kensington North as the Youth Officer at the CLP and we could not have foreseen her dedicated service for over 25 years for the north of the City of Westminster and beyond. 

Her decision to stand down was of course linked to Alderman Barrie Taylor’s state of health, her partner and soul mate. Barrie was a great mate of my dad’s, the late Cllr Qureshi as fellow councillors in Queens Park, City of Westminster. Barrie felt my dads death quite keenly & not surprising they were in many ways brothers. So from the Qureshi family we send them our deepest sympathies & condolences to Karen & Cosmo, Rebecca & Zack on his passing.  


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