Where You Live: Westminster

Where you live >> Westminster

London is more than just the City and its famous landmarks. More than its museums, theatres, palaces, taxis and red buses. It is home to some 8 million people. You live, work and socialise across London’s 32 boroughs – you make them tick. You give Westminster’s neighbourhoods, from Maida Vale to Pimlico, their unique identity. It is these distinct areas that make our great capital such a rich and diverse city. Unlike the previous Mayor, Boris is working to give all your boroughs - not just Zones 1-3 - his attention.

Boris Johnson has a nine point plan to secure Greater London’s future. He is paying for this plan by cutting waste at City Hall to free up £3.5 billion for services.

In Westminster the plan means:

  • Cutting City Hall’s share of council tax this year after freezing it for three successive years, benefitting 52,114 Westminster households and putting an average £445 back into pockets. (Point 2) (GLA, Press Release, 1 February 2012, link: GLA Website, ‘Budget archive’, link.)
  • Investing in transport with station upgrades at Green Park, Victoria, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, and Paddington, building Crossrail with three stations in Westminster and investing £24.7 million to boost local transport in Westminster. (Point 8) (TfL, Borough LIP Funding, link; TfL, Press Release, 20 November 2008, link; TfL, Press Release, 11 December 2009, link; TfL, Press Release, 16 December 2010, link; TfL, Press Release, 15 December 2011, link).
  • Boris is benefitting local pensioners by reversing the previous Labour government’s decision to stop those at 60 getting the Freedom Pass until 65.
  • He is also the only candidate in this election who can secure a better deal for London from No 10.

Freezing council tax

  • Boris Johnson has frozen council tax for three years and cutting it this year. Boris Johnson has frozen his share council tax for three years and is cutting it this year (GLA, Mayor’s Final Draft Consolidated Budget 2012-13, link).
    • This has helped keep cost of living low for 52,114 households in Westminster (DCLG, Council Tax Base, October 2011), putting £544 back in the pocket of the average Westminster household.

Restoring green space

  • 130 street trees. 130 street trees have been planted in Westminster under Boris Johnson (London Assembly, Written answers to Mayoral questions, 25 January 2012, link).
  • 36 green spaces. 36 green spaces, which allow local residents the opportunity to grow their own food, have also been created (Capital Growth Website, link).
  • Ending garden grabbing. Boris Johnson has introduced new protections for gardens from development. His revised London Plan enables boroughs to: ‘introduce a presumption against development on back gardens or other private residential gardens where this can be locally justified’ (GLA, The London Plan 2011, July 2011, p. 86-87, link). Draft guidance also urges councils to prevent garden grabbing: ‘Such a presumption reflects Government’s recognition in PPS3 of the need to provide support for justified, local measures to prevent “garden grabbing”’ (GLA, Draft supplementary planning guidance, December 2011, link).

Investing to transform local high streets

  • Investing in the West End. TfL invested £5 million in a new diagonal ‘X’ crossing at Oxford Circus (BBC News Online, 2 March 2010, link). The new crossing has given shoppers and visitors to the area 70% more freedom to move around and has halved the time it takes people to cross at Oxford Circus (TfL, Press Release, 11 November 2010, link).

Making your streets and homes safer

  • 1,000 more police across London by May and £132 million more investment under Boris. The number of Special Constables has more than doubled from 2,500 to well over 5,000 (GLA, The Mayor’s Consultation Budget, 22 December 2011, link; MPA Website, Police numbers, link; GLA, Mayor’s Final Budget 2011-12, link; Evening Standard, 30 January 2012, link).
  • 949 more patrols per month in Westminster. In 2010-11 there were 949 more  patrols per month in Westminster than in 2008-9. (London Assembly, Written answers to Mayoral questions, 22 February 2012, link).
  • Total crime, bus crime and youth violence in Westminster have reduced. Since May 2008, Westminster has seen a 6.1% decrease in total crime, and bus crime has fallen 20.7% (MPS Statistics, May 08 – Jan 12 compared to Aug 04-April 08).

Ensuring a true Olympic legacy

  • Boris Johnson has funded ten sport participation programmes in Westminster so far. They are (Mayor of London, Sporting future for London, April 2009, p. 9, link):
  • 9 organisations in Westminster are receiving Sports Legacy Programme grants. 9 organisations in Westminster are receiving Sports Legacy Programme Grants to offer free sports coaching to London (Freesport Programme Website, link).

Investing in transport

  • £24.7 million of funding for local transport in Westminster. Since becoming Mayor, Boris Johnson has invested over £11.7 million to boost local transport in Westminster. This includes an investment of £1.173 million to improve public spaces in the West End, such as improvements for the vital pedestrian link from Leicester Square to Covent Garden (TfL, Borough LIP Funding, link; TfL, Press Release, 20 November 2008, link; TfL, Press Release, 11 December 2009, link; TfL, Press Release, 16 December 2010, link; TfL, Press Release, 15 December 2011, link).

Underground

  • Improving reliability on Tube lines running through Westminster. This is part of the Tube upgrade programme secured by Boris Johnson:
    • Central Line. Theentire fleet of 85 Central Line trains is being refreshed, with improvements including new seat backs and pads and work to replace train windows (TfL Website, ‘Central Line Upgrade’, link).
    • Circle and Hammersmith and City Lines. This will improve capacity by 65% on the Circle and Hammersmith & City line, an additional 17,000 passengers per hour at peak time. From 2012, 53 new trains will be introduced on the two lines. These will be air-conditioned, have walk-through carriages, and wider doors and walkways to improve accessibiliy (TfL Website, ‘Circle line upgrade plan’, link).
    • District Line. This will improve capacity by 24% on District line, meaning the line can carry an additional 10,000 passengers per hour at peak time. 80 new trains will also begin to be introduced from 2013, with all new trains in service 2016. These will be air-conditioned, have walk-through carriages, and wider doors and walkways to improve accessibility (TfL Website, ‘District line upgrade plan’, link).
    • Jubilee Line. Capacity has increased by 33%, providing more frequent trains and a 22% reduction in journey time. The line is now able to carry an additional 12,500 passengers per hour at peak time compared with before the upgrade (TfL Website, Jubilee line upgrade plan, link).
    • Metropolitan Line. The line has benefitted from new air-conditioned trains and new signalling, increasing capacity 27% and providing more frequent and faster journeys, meaning that the line can carry an additional 9,500 passengers per hour at peak time (TfL Website, Metropolitan line upgrade plan, link).
    • Northern Line. When the upgrade is completed in 2014 capacity will have been improved by one fifth, meaning the line can carry an additional 11,000 passengers per hour at peak time.  Passengers will also see an 18% reduction in journey time (TfL Website, Northern line upgrade plan, link).
    • Victoria Line. New trains and signalling has increase capacity by 21%, meaning that from 2013,the line will be able to carry an additional 10,000 passengers per hour at peak time. Passengers will also see a 16% reduction in journey time (TfL Website, Victoria line upgrade plan, link).
  • Station upgrades in Westminster. These include:
    • Green Park station. The station was made wheelchair accessible in 2011 (TfL Website, ‘Green Park’, link).
    • Victoria Station. Boris fought for and secured funding for this. The upgrade will increase station capacity 21% by 2018 (TfL, Press Release, 6 September 2005, link; TfL, Press Release, 11 March 2010, link).
    • Paddington station. Padddington’s upgrade will treble capacity and is due to be completed by 2014 (TfL, Business Plan 2011/12-2014/15, link).
    • Tottenham Court Road and Bond Street stations. These two upgrades, which will be completed by 2017, will increase capacity and accommodate Crossrail (TfL, Business Plan 2011/12-2014/15, link).

Rail

  • Oyster Cards rolled out on national rail. After years of talk under Ken Livingstone, Boris Johnson secured the roll-out of Oyster cards onto national rail. Westminster is now the 3rd highest oyster (TfL Website, ‘Oyster on National Rail’, December 2009, link).
  • Crossrail will have three stations in Westminster. Crossrail will have three stations in Westminster: Paddington, Bond Street, and Tottenham Court Road (HMT, Spending Review, 22 October 2010, p.23, link)

Roads and congestion

  • Introduced the roadworks Permit Scheme. Boris Johnson introduced the roadworks Permit Scheme in 2010, resulting in an average 17% cut in the number of road works by utility companies in those boroughs, such as Kensington and Chelsea, which have adopted the scheme (GLA, Press Release, 11 January 2010, link London Councils, London Permit Scheme: First Year Evaluation Report, 27 May 2011, link). 14.7% of applications by utility companies to dig up roads in Kensington and Chelsea have been refused following the introduction of the permit scheme (ibid.)
  • Scrapped the Western Extension Zone. Boris Johnson scrapped Ken Livingstone’s Western Extension of the Congestion Charging Zone in December 2010 after 69% of residents voted in favour of cancelling the zone (TfL, Press Release, 20 October 2010, link).
  • £7 million towards overhaul of Piccadilly. TfL contributed £7 million towards the overhaul for Piccadilly and surrounding streets. A range of improvements have been made with the aim of easing congestion and making it more accessible for the thousands of pedestrians and road users who use the area every day. On Piccadilly an extra 480 square metres of usable footway have been provided and new central pedestrian strips have been constructed that will make it easier for pedestrians to cross. New street lighting on the central strips has been combined with traffic signals and road signs. By doing so engineers have been able to cut down on street clutter by removing 51 lighting columns, 34 unnecessary signs and 825 metres of pedestrian guardrail (GLA, Press Release, 3 November 2011, link).
  • New walking route in Westminster. £2.4 million has been invested in a new walking route which runs from Covent Garden to Holborn Circus. At its heart is a newly created public space at Great Queen Street. The existing space has been greatly improved by increasing footway space for visitors to shop, socialise and relax in. Traffic signals, guard rail and street clutter have all been removed from the area (TfL, Press Release, 29 January 2010, link).
  • New Oxford Circus crossing. TfL invested £5 million in a new diagonal ‘X’ crossing at Oxford Circus (BBC News Online, 2 March 2010, link). The new crossing has given shoppers and visitors to the area 70% more freedom to move around and has halved the time it takes people to cross at Oxford Circus (TfL, Press Release, 11 November 2010, link).

River

  • Regeneration of the Thames River Service. Westminster has 3 piers – Embankment, Westminster, and Milbank Pier – which have benefitted from Boris Johnson’s strong support of regenerating the Thames’ river services (TfL Website, ‘River Map’, link).
  • Oysteried Thames Clippers, Boris Johnson in 2009 funded £400,000 to Oysterise Thames Clippers which run from London Eye to the Royal Woolwich, Arsenal helping to reduce ticket fares by 33% for London’s commuters. Thames Clipper service has 2 piers in Westminster –Embankment and Milbank (Thames Clipper Route Map, link.).

Buses

  • Bus improvements. 61 bus routes in Westminster have been expanded and/or improved under Boris Johnson (TfL, Borough Bus Changes May 2008 – January 2012).
  • Bendy Buses removed. Nearly 500 new vehicles boasting the latest clean engine technology will replace the Bendy buses. This will save more than £7 million a year in fare evasion (TFL, Press Release, 5 October 2011, link). 
  • Westminster had five bendy bus routes removed. Former bendy bus routes 521, 436,149, 25 and 12 running through the Westminster have had the bendy buses withdrawn (TfL, Press Release, 13 November 2009, link).

Cycling

  • Cycle Superhighways. Four Superhighways run or will run through Westminster: Cycle Superhighway 5 from Lewisham to Victoria by 2013, Cycle Superhighway 8 from Wandsworth to Westminster, Cycle Superhighway 9 from Hounslow to Hyde Park by 2013, and Cycle Superhighway 11 from West Hampstead to Marylebone by 2013. (TfL Website, ‘Cycle Superhighways: About the scheme’, link; TfL Website, ‘Cycle Superhighways’, link)

Housing

  • 1,400 total affordable housing units completed in Westminster. 930 social rented and 480 intermediate affordable housing units were completed in Westminster between 2008/09 and 2010/11 (DCLG, Affordable Housing Live Tables 1006,1007,1008).

Mayoral visits

  • Boris Johnson has made more visits to Westminster in four years than Ken Livingstone made in eight. Boris Johnson has visited Westminster 149 times since July 2008 whilst Ken Livingstone visited Westminster 37 times in his eight years as Mayor (GLA, Mayor’s Report to the Assembly, May 2000 – April 2008; GLA, Mayor’s Report to the Assembly, May 2008 – March 2012).

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