Archive for the ‘Masterplan’ Category

Westbourne Green regeneration vote

Monday, July 28th, 2014

The result the public vote in June on the Westbourne Green regeneration proposals was:

Yes: 414 (48.6%)
No: 438 (51.4%)

Westminster Council has stated that the proposals will not now go ahead.

Based on discussion at its July meeting, Westbourne Forum has written to the council about the result, stating its disappointment. The scheme had its weaknesses, and certainly needed more work. But in the Forum’s view it was a lot better than nothing, and if done well, with the involvement of local people, it would have brought many improvements that the neighbourhood needs.

The Forum believes that the scheme was closer to the aspirations of the local community than a ‘no change’ option. This view is based on:

  1. the Forum’s years of experience of working with residents from right across the Westbourne Green community on a host of issues;
  2. the community consultation carried out during 2011-2012, which identified a majority of roughly two-to-one who felt that change was needed.

However, the end result was ‘no’. According to the Forum this was because:

  1. The benefits of the scheme were not explained well enough.
  2. A number of known concerns were left unanswered, or at least the message that they would get serious attention after the vote was easy to miss.
  3. Community engagement in the year up to the vote was not as skilful or effective as it needed to be.

The Forum’s concern now is that the area should not suffer neglect in the years to come.

Regardless of the vote there are pressures for change which will only increase with time. In terms of population the wider Westbourne ward is one of the largest and youngest in Westminster. With wellbeing measured at 612th out of 625 wards in London it inevitably remains a focus for public services.

Meanwhile its location adjacent to Paddington – at the knot where Westway, railway, canal, and the Harrow Road meet – creates a dynamic for development. Given these social and economic realities, it is important that Westbourne remains at the heart of the council’s programmes.

In the immediate future any impetus for change and improvements may depend more on the community, and the continuing work of local organisations like the Forum. But the council has a key part to play, and the Forum’s letter to the council stressed that notwithstanding the vote, its involvement in Westbourne Green is needed as much as ever.

A new era for the Forum

Monday, July 28th, 2014

These are exciting times for Westbourne Forum… through years Westbourne Forum has continued to reflect on the future of the community and to work with local people and organisations to improve the quality of life in Westbourne, but new things are to come.

The Localism Act 2012 provides for local communities to create their own Forums, with recognised planning competences which will make sure that local people always have a strong say in any building work, renovation or public realm changes that require planning.

The first step towards the birth of our new Westbourne Forum was taken in March, when our neighbourhood area was defined and recognised by Westminster City Council. The second step took place in April, when a group of local residents and representatives of local community organisations accepted to become founding members of the new Forum

A Constitution was drafted and, together with a mission statement explaining what the founders proposed the new Forum to be in the community, was sent to the Council, and our accreditation as the new Neighbourhood Forum for Westbourne was officially announced on 25 July. The next step is for the new Forum to prepare a neighbourhood plan to be submitted to the local community for approval as a statutory document which will inform all future planning procedures.

In the autumn, all members of the existing Board will step down, and there will be a call for candidates to stand for election to the new steering body, the Forum Committee. This is planned to happen at a Community event, and preparations for that will begin presently.

We hope to have as many candidates as possible, and we wish to have a diversity of backgrounds represented, to reflect the multicultural character of our area and ensure that the Forum continues to work effectively for greater community cohesion.

Preparations will soon be on their way. So… watch this space!

Student Review of the 2014 Westbourne Festival

Saturday, July 26th, 2014

Co-ordinated by Westbourne Forum the annual Westbourne Festival took place on Sunday 22nd July, and Westminster Academy was very proud to support the event. We were lucky enough to enjoy glorious sunshine for the whole day, and it was a wonderful event for the local community.

There was live music (including Ionie Johnson, Zakri Zulkurnain and Joanna Charafeddine-Akar; all Year 12 students), several food stalls, lots of information stands and community groups, and even a zoo and a bouncy castle!

All the stall holders were extremely friendly, and the canal side venue created a very laid back and relaxed atmosphere. There were lots of families attending, and it was lovely to see people from such an incredibly diverse range of families mixing and sitting together on the grass.

I spent the day interviewing guests and stall holders with the WA Camera Crew, and every single person commented on what a great day it was, and how many friendly faces there were (even the ones painted to look like tigers!).

A big thank you has to go to the absolutely wonderful stewards (ten of which were WA students) for running the event so smoothly and ensuring that everyone was having a good time. And especially to those involved in the planning and organisation, particularly Sara and Geoff. Overall, it was a fantastic day and I really enjoyed being involved in it. Bring on 2015!

Noumeira Bettache

Year 12 student, Westminster Academy

Decision time!!

Saturday, May 10th, 2014

It’s not every day you get to decide the future of your neighbourhood!

Westbourne will be voting at the end of June on the most important changes to the neighbourhood since the Warwick and Brindley estates were built 50 years ago.

Westminster Council’s plans aim to deliver new housing, new community facilities, upgraded parks and open spaces, and changes to improve the Westbourne stretch of the Harrow Road.

The council has promised that it really is a decision for residents. If residents vote no, the plans won’t go ahead. If they vote yes, work will begin on the real detail, and change will follow.

Look out for the vote information coming through your door, and at the Vital Regeneration office at 284 Harrow Road.


For more information call Vital Regeneration on 020 7245 2861.

Westbourne designated as a Neighbourhood Area

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

Westbourne has now been officially designated as a new Neighbourhood Area within the City of Westminster.

In January Westminster Council’s cabinet approved the application made in 2012 by Westbourne Forum.

This is the first step of three in line with new powers provided by government for local people to play an active and formal role in shaping planning priorities for their neighbourhoods.

Step two involves recognition as the official Neighbourhood Forum for the area. Over the last 10 years working on behalf of local people, Westbourne Forum has built up knowledge and a track record, and is now seeking support to add this new responsibility to its established role in the community. It plans to submit an application to the council before the summer. Signatories to the Forum’s application will be recognised as founding members of the new neighbourhood forum.

Then comes the third and most important step – the production of a Neighbourhood Plan for the area.

The boundary of the new Westbourne neighbourhood area, shown on the map below, largely follows the boundary of the ward, though it does not include Westbourne Terrace Road (in the east), or Wessex Gardens Estate (in the west).

If you are interested in finding out more about Westbourne Forum’s application, please get in touch

Westbourne Designation Map

Westbourne kids learn why building design matters

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Westbourne kids learning why design matters.Children from Westminster Academy are participating in a unique pilot project. Vital Regeneration, the local charity who work with Westminster City Council on the housing renewal programme, have got together with internationally acclaimed architecture practice Farrells to create an exciting educational programme.

Over ten weekly workshops ‘Sustainable Design Matters’ sees local children team up with professional architects to create their own designs for a development site in the Westbourne Green masterplan – the space under the Westway at Royal Oak.

Working in teams, students liaise with ‘clients’, face challenges such as budget cuts and disputes with neighbours and consider how to communicate their proposals. Farrells host the pioneering workshops which emulate real-life building projects and introduce the importance of sustainable building design.

Each weekly session includes a speaker talking about topics such as ‘Community and Place’, participants then have a chance to translate these ideas into their own work.

The workshops also aim to inspire local young people to consider careers in architecture, design and professions related to London’s dynamic construction industry. Making this possible by increasing their understanding of the industry and the opportunities it offers, going beyond the idea that a job in construction implies labouring on a building site.

Christian Tilleray, Deputy Chief Executive of Vital Regeneration, says

“Young people have typically been under-represented as contributors to neighbourhood development plans, despite the fact that they inherit the results. Our job is to involve and inspire the next generation of participants and we are delighted to be collaborating with Farrells to this end.”

Community Connectors job vacancy…

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

Vital Regeneration LogoVital Regeneraion is looking for staff to work on the Masterplan in Westbourne Green.

£7.45 per hour for an average of 16 hours per week.

If you are confident to talk to members of the public, over 18 and available to work some evenings and weekends as well as during the day time please contact Allison Bennett at or phone 020 7245 2861.

Job Description

Neighbourhood Plan – thinking ahead

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

In line with new opportunities for communities provided by the government, next year the Forum aims to create a neighbourhood plan for Westbourne. If approved neighbourhood plans will have to be taken into account when decisions are made about planning issues in the neighbourhood (though they could not trump national or local authority strategies).

Westbourne continues to be a focus for change and development, and a neighbourhood plan would be especially relevant for us here. Westbourne Forum is starting to think about a plan for Westbourne, and hosting a first discussion about what this might look like. If you’re interested, please come along on Monday 4 November, 6.30 pm (venue to be confirmed).

Thames Water on The Green

Sunday, September 8th, 2013

Thames Water have recently received planning permission from Westminster City Council to dig a sewer overflow pit on Westbourne Green. When the work is complete there will be two small permanent buildings and two hatches on the ground. During the digging of the pit, which may last 15 months, a large part of the Green will be taken over for the work compound, and will be unusable by residents. This work is proposed to relieve a flooding problem in Formosa Street and Shirland Road.

Westbourne Forum Chair, Geoff Biggs says – “Whilst we recognise that Thames Water needs to find a way of alleviating the risk of flooding north of the Canal, we believe that the loss of amenity to local residents living to the south of the canal, involved in digging the pit on Westbourne Green is unfair and unjust.”

“We have been seeking compensation from Thames Water for local residents and families who will be affected, in form of support and funding for health and wellbeing activities delivered through local community groups.”

We will keep you informed of our progress with this. Thames Water also provides updates on the work at: