Blogs

15  June: LEN POP-UP GARDEN 

Jeremy officially opened the City’s first pop-up garden as part of the Low Emission Neighbourhood (LEN) project. The LEN, jointly funded by the City and the LGA (see 19 July 2016), covers the Barbican Estate and the area around Barts Hospital in north of the City. It aims to tackle pollution in the area through awareness events, working with businesses to tackle emissions from deliveries and freight, the use of electric vehicles and measures such as the pop-up garden. The garden, a partnership with the Friends of City Gardens, as well as being an oasis amongst the concrete of the Barbican, has lots of plants that help trap particles in the atmosphere, thereby reducing the effect of pollution.

20 April: CITY FREIGHT FORUM

In his role of Deputy Chairman of the Street and Walkways sub-committee Graham attended the City of London Freight Forum.

This event was arranged to discuss with Logistics Managers from City businesses, options for reducing the impact of deliveries in the City. Despite comprising just 4% of City traffic, HGVs account for 78% of cycle fatalities, 33% of NOx and 27% of PM10 emissions. Speakers included Tim Ward Freight & Fleet Engagement Manager from TFL, Alex Jolly from DHL and Rachel Caton from Doddle.

Options for improving congestion and pollution discussed included consolidation centres to reduce the 18% of emissions generated during the last 1% of journeys, collection centres to eliminate personal internet deliveries to the workplace and reducing deliveries at peak times.

28 February: SHORT TERM LETTING

The problems caused by short term letting of flats in the City are becoming increasingly numerous. As a member of the Planning Committee Graham has been pressing the City to become more active in controlling this, and to provide residents with readily available guidance on how to seek help from City officers if they are experiencing problems.

We are now pleased to report that information is now available on the City website which clarifies the legal position on this practice  and provides guidance and support to help residents if neighbouring properties are being used for short term letting in breach of current legislation.

Follow this link for more information.

 

21 February: BUSINESS RATES REVALUATION

Ward members have written to City and Westminster MP Mark Field to protest at impact of the business rates revaluation on the ward (see letter here). We are concerned that it will seriously impact on businesses within the ward, and prejudice the character of the area, by pricing smaller retailers out. We have also raised this at Guildhall. Mark Field has responded to tell us that he has been lobbying the government on business rates and will continue to apply what pressure he can

21 February: DELAYED DISCHARGES OF CITY RESIDENTS FROM HOSPITAL

Alderman Ian Luder has raised the issue of Delayed Discharges of patients from the NHS care, and the impact on nearby hospitals such as Barts and UCL with the Acting Director of Community and Children’s Services for the City. This is a problem which is impacting City residents, but we have been assured that additional funds have been earmarked in future City Adult Social Care budgets to help meet the growing pressure on the system and to enable City residents to avoid delays.

30 January 2017: CITY SCHOOLS CONCERT

Catherine introduced the City Schools Concert at Milton Hall, an evening at which all the City’s academies, independent schools and the City’ primary Sir John Cass performed. A fantastic evening of talent!

10 February 2017: ANNUAL BUSINESS RATES MEETING

As deputy chairman of Policy & Resources, Catherine chaired the annual business ratepayers consultation meeting. For minutes see this link. Among other issues, ratepayers expressed concern at the impact of the current business rates revaluation exercise, and the impact of air pollution on the ward, both issues which Castle Bayard Team members take very seriously.

12 JANUARY 2017: HERRING GULLS

Herring GullYou may have had your lunchtime sandwich literally grabbed from your mouth recently when sitting outside during good weather in a churchyard or other local open space. The problem of aggressive herring gulls in the ward was discussed at a fascinating round table hosted by Freshfields at their offices in Tudor Street attended by Ian, Henrika and Jeremy. Dee Ward-Thompson from the British Pest Control Association explained that Herring Gulls love to nest on the flat roofs of office blocks. As they pair for life and live for 25-30 years, with adults and offspring returning to the same roof to breed, not controlling the nesting in the first place can result in a long term problem. Methods of control were discussed at the meeting. A variety of scaring tactics can be used – starting pistols, falcons deployed by expert falconers, kites (tethered model kites) and decoys (e.g. models of owls on balustrades), however these need to be varied over time. Strong netting over the roof area can be quite effective. With herring gulls increasing in numbers in urban areas, we will all have to increasingly watch out for attacks from above, particularly when adults are more aggressive during the nesting season after their chicks hatch.

6 DECEMBER 2016: RAISED CARRIAGEWAY ENFORCEMENT

raised-carriageways-scaledAn issue has been raised at the last two wardmotes concerning the inconsistent marking of raised carriageways. The Traffic Management Act of 2004 prohibits parking on these irrespective of carriageway markings (e.g. double or single yellow lines or no markings at all). Many motorists are unaware of this and have incurred parking violation fines as a result. Jeremy and Graham have been pressing City Highways officers to address this issue for some time and at the Street & Walkways sub-committee meeting on December 6th it was agreed that all such carriageways in the City will be marked with double yellow lines. This will improve enforcement and also ensure that motorists do not inadvertently incur penalty charges in the future. The work is planned for completion by March next year.

18 NOVEMBER 2016: JEREMY HELPS PLANT A TREE ON HAMPSTEAD HEATH

jeremy-treeTo mark the completion of the works on the Hampstead Heath Ponds Project, Jeremy as past Chairman of the Hampstead Heath Management Committee joined the current Chairman and two other past Chairmen in planting a disease resistant Elm Tree on an island created in the Model Boating Pond. Engineering works are now complete, protecting local residents from flooding during an extreme storm due to the failure of the dams which form the ponds on the Heath. Water quality in many of the ponds has also been improved. A programme of planting and landscape works will take place over the coming year.

23 SEPTEMBER 2016: JEREMY TAKES PART IN RIVER CLEAN-UP

clean-upJeremy took part in an annual foreshore clean-up at Denton Wharf near Gravesend, one of City’s Port Health offices. This is organised by Thames 21, a charity that promotes environmental improvements in the Capital’s rivers and waterways.

People from the City of London and the Port of London Authority took part in a litter pick, which included rusty picnic chairs, shopping trolleys and even an old bicycle as well as numerous discarded Stella cans – the beer of choice of litter louts!

 

16 SEPTEMBER: JEREMY QUERIES OUT-OF-HOURS NOISE FROM BUILDING SITES

The City’s proposed Noise Strategy for 2016-2026 was considered at today’s meeting of the City of London Health and Wellbeing Board. Jeremy raised the issue of out-of-hours permits being granted for work on building sites where the work to be carried out would be relatively quiet and not a nuisance to local residents. However the equipment that is used to carry out the work often has an audible alarm for health and safety reasons. Alarms may be heard over a wide area at weekends, causing considerable disturbance to local people. Jeremy asked that these alarms be reduced to a minimum level possible.

13 September: SAFER IN THE CITY

road-safetyGraham as the Deputy Chairman of the Streets & Walkways sub committee attended the recent Safer in the City forum organised by the City Road Danger Reduction Team. Speakers included Val Shawcross London Deputy Mayor – Transport and representatives from the City Police, TfL, RoadPeace, the Licenced Taxi Drivers’ Association and the London Cycling Campaign Policy Forum.

In the photograph Graham is pictured with Chris Hayward the Chairman of the Planning and Transportation Committee inside the cab of the O’Donovan Waste ground-breaking safety featured Mercedes Benz Econic skip loader 1830L. This the first vehicle of its kind to be commercially bought and put to work in the United Kingdom. Originally designed for municipal waste work, the vehicle has since been made available to the construction sector.

12 SEPTEMBER: JEREMY TAKES PART IN CENTENARY WALK

eppingJeremy, a member of the Epping Forest and Commons Committee, took part in the annual Centenary Walk through Epping Forest from the south to the north. The 15 mile walk first took place in 1978 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the passing of the Epping Forest Act in 1878 which secured the forest as a public open space.

Jeremy is pictured at the finish at Bell Common in Epping where the intrepid walkers were welcomed by the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Epping Town Council.

 

10 September 2016: NORTHBOUND BUS STOP IN NEW BRIDGE STREET

The new N-S Cycle Superhighway has been introduced using a Transport for London Temporary Traffic Order in New Bridge Street. The current arrangements are being evaluated and are likely to be changed. The northbound bus stop between Blackfriars Junction and Ludgate Circus is a vital amenity to both residents and workers in the ward. If the current bus stop between Watergate and Tudor Street were to be closed, this would seriously inconvenience many people who use the popular 45 and 63 bus routes. Office workers would need to walk either from the south end of Blackfriars Bridge, or from a stop north of Ludgate Circus, to reach their offices east and west of New Bridge Street. Jeremy and Graham as members of the Streets and Walkways Committee will closely monitor the situation to ensure that any changes do not have an adverse impact.

 

19 July 2016: CITY AWARDED LOW EMISSION NEIGHBOURHOOD FUNDING

air-pollution-blog-thumbJeremy along with the Chairman of the City’s Environmental Services Committee was at City Hall to receive £1M in funding from the Mayor of London to support the establishment of a Low Emission Neighbourhood (LEN) in the north of the City.

The LEN will be centred on the Barbican Estate and would also include an outer area covering Barts Hospital, the Guildhall and the Golden Lane Estate.

In the inner area physical changes and restrictions will be introduced to reduce traffic flows and restrict access to ULEVs. Amongst the 17 themes, the City will work with TfL to reduce bus emissions and with freight operators to reduce NOx emissions.

 

17 February 2016: N-S CYCLE SUPERHIGHWAY – TUDOR ST JUNCTION CLOSURE

Ian, Catherine, Nigel and Emma attended the meeting with Management of Inner and Middle Temple. The session focused on the proposal under discussion for the closure of the Tudor Street Junction with New Bridge Street.

Presentations from the Temple continued to voice concerns regarding the negative impact to Tudor Street and the immediate area under the current proposed plans. Ward members will continue to press for business and resident concerns to be taken into account.

Jeremy and Graham will be proposing modifications at the Streets and Walkways meeting at which the closure of the junction at Tudor Street will be considered.

We are pleased that following the meeting which Jeremy, Graham and Catherine attended with TfL on 28th January TfL have committed to make changes if the scheme does not operate as expected, but it is vital to get this right from the outset.

 

28 January 2016: N-S CYCLE SUPERHIGHWAY – TUDOR ST JUNCTION CLOSURE

Catherine, Jeremy and Graham attended a meeting with TfL, City Transportation officers, Marianne Fredericks the Chairman of the City Streets and Walkways committee and the management of the Inner and Middle Temple in addition to a resident who have objected to the proposal to close off the junction of Tudor Street and New Bridge Street.

The proposal under discussion is for traffic wishing to enter Tudor Street from New Bridge Street to enter via Bridewell Place which would become 2-way, and traffic leaving Tudor Street for New Bridge Street north bound to use Kingscote Sreet and Watergate.

Traffic from Tudor Street wishing to go south on New Bridge Street would leave from Bridewell Place (as at present).

The session included presentations from TfL and City officers on the changes and the planning that underpinned the proposals. The objectors voiced strong concerns about the negative impact of the proposals to traffic flow in the Whitefriars area and access to Inner and Middle Temples.

The matter will be discussed at the next Streets and Walkways meeting on Monday 22nd February 11:30 at the Guildhall. Members of the public are welcome to attend this meeting if they wish.

 

9 December 2015: SUPERFAST CITY

Graham attended a member briefing which provided an update on the status of the good progress made by the City to accelerate the provision of superfast broadband wired services and high speed wireless network coverage in the square mile.

Superfast Broadband (80Mbps plus): Is not a problem for large City firms – the issue is primarily availability and cost for SMEs and availability for residents. After numerous discussions with senior management at BT they are now committed to help address these problems and plan to provide fibre to basement services at the Middlesex Street estate, 65 London Wall and the towers in the Barbican. In addition they will be installing 24 cabinets on the City streets to widen the availability of fibre optic based broadband services.

Wireless (4G plus): The City is preparing a wireless concession agreement that will be awarded to a vendor in mid-2016 to manage the availability of our street assets (street signs, poles etc) for suppliers to deploy their communications infrastructure. There will be safeguards and restrictions. Strong interest is clear already from the vendors – approximately 800 sites will be necessary to ensure the right coverage.

 

12 November 2015: CITY AIR QUALITY

Catherine, Jeremy and Graham attended a CoL member briefing on this serious issue.

The public health issues are primarily caused by emissions from diesel engined vehicles whose use has been encouraged by the government in the drive to reduce greenhouse gases. Nitrogen dioxide, PM10 and PM2.5 are the pollutants of concern, there are NO safe limits for PM2.5. Much of the pollution is caused by activities outside the square mile.

Unnecessary pollution in the City is caused by stationary idling vehicles, mainly empty buses during the day and taxis driving on the streets looking for customers. The ultra low emission zone (ULEZ) will come into force from 2020, new taxis from 2018 will have to be petrol/electric hybrids but complete phasing out of diesel cabs will take 15 years. Nitrogen dioxide levels are not expected to be safe until 2025.

Your members consider this prospect unacceptable and will continue to press for the City to take all possible actions to make progress on this.

 

4 November 2015: THAMES TIDEWAY TUNNEL

Catherine, Graham, Jeremy and Michael attended a breakfast briefing on the Thames Tideway tunnel. Work is due to commence in the ward on the Blackfriars foreshore from mid November onwards and will probably not be completed until 2020. We are committed to help reduce inconvenience to ward residents and businesses and will ensure that Tideway establish good communications with all stakeholders in the ward to ensure negative impacts from the works such as traffic disruption, noise and pollution are minimised.

VIEW FROM THE HEATH

Following his three years as Chairman of the Management Committee of Hampstead Heath, Jeremy has recently published the 38 columns he wrote for the Hampstead and Highgate Express in book form. It provides a snapshot of current events on the Heath, as well as items concerning the management of the Heath and of historical interest. Free copies may be obtained by emailing your name and address to jeremy.simons@cityoflondon.gov.uk

 

12 October 2015: HAMPSTEAD HEATH TRINITY HOUSE DINNER
A dinner in Jeremy’s honour was given in the splendid surroundings of Trinity House near the Tower of London. The occasion marked the completion of his three year term as Chairman of the Hampstead Heath Management Committee. The new Chairman spoke of Jeremy’s achievements, particularly in progressing the Ponds Project (which protects against flooding from the reservoirs on the Heath during extreme weather) and his unstinting commitment to the Heath. Jeremy responded with a few reflections on his time as Chairman.

 

10 October 2015: ANNUAL RIVER THAMES FISHING EXPERIMENT
Catherine and Jeremy attended the 43rd annual City of London Thames Fishery Research Experiment at Gravesend. The aim is to establish the environmental condition of the River through determining the number and size of the fish species caught. Catherine, a regular participant in this event, took part. Jeremy was a spectator, attending in his capacity as Deputy Chairman of the Port Health and Environmental Services Committee. The two recently appointed Sheriffs of the City were also present.

 

7 October 2015: QUIT RENTS CEREMONY
Jeremy attended the ceremony of the Rendering of the Quit Rents by the City of London to the Crown held at the Royal Courts of Justice. The Queen’s Remembrancer, the last officer of the now defunct Court of Exchequer presided, receiving six horse shoes dating from 1361 and 61 nails (used each year) as quit rent for a forge near St. Clements Dane, and two knives, one sharp, one blunt for a property south of Bridgenorth. This is one of the oldest medieval ceremonies still carried out each year.

 

4 October 2015: HAMPSTEAD HEATH CONKER CHAMPIONSHIPS
Jeremy acted as Chief Conker Judge at the 14th annual Hampstead Heath Conker Championships. With over 300 participants it was one of the largest competitions held on the Heath, with competitors of all ages. Private Eye covered the event in their “Scene and Heard” feature on 16 October, with a cartoon of Jeremy holding the golden conkers given as prizes.

 

15 September 2015: RECEPTION FOR LEGIONELLA CONFERENCE 15
Jeremy hosted a reception at Guildhall to mark the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases conference on Legionella Infection. In his speech Jeremy welcomed guests from around Europe and beyond and stressed the importance of best practice, in both cooling tower design and installation. He said that so called “value engineering” must be avoided if public health is not to be compromised and people put at risk.

 

15 May 2015: TREE PLANTING AT GOLDERS HILL PARK

To mark the end of his three year term as Chairman of the Hampstead Heath, Highgate Wood and Queen’s Park Committee, Jeremy was invited to plant a Beech Tree at Golders Hill Park. This unusual honour for a committee chairman reflects his support for the work of the committee and his involvement with the local community in the consultative processes on all aspects of the management of the Hampstead Heath and with the Ponds Project, which is now underway.

21 October 2014: COL STREETS AND WALKWAYS COMMITTEE

Graham and Jeremy are members of this Committee and spoke in support of a trial to replace the zebra crossing with a signalised crossing at Ludgate Hill. This has long been a serious traffic bottleneck and a considerable source of pollution from backed up idling vehicles which often tail back along a sizeable part of Fleet Street. We are pleased to report that after a long discussion the trial will go ahead probably starting in Spring 2015. This will not improve journey times West to East but we believe will ease congestion around Ludgate Circus and Fleet Street.

24 September 2014: CITY NETWORK CONNECTIVITY BREAKFAST BRIEFING

Graham was present at this well attended meeting (over 150 participants) which included briefings from City officers on initiatives to accelerate superfast broadband implementation, and improved mobile voice services in the square mile.

Presentations were given on the simplified government voucher scheme for SMEs to implement or upgrade broad band and some case studies were covered. This was followed by a Q&A session and an opportunity to speak to vendors who were present.

 

23 July 2014: MCDONAD’S FLEET STREET

Prompt action by Jeremy saw McDonald’s remove advertising signs over the public footway attached to the second and third floor windows of their premises. Advertising signs over the street are not permitted in the City, unless planning permission is sought. This is unlikely to be given. He alerted the City’s planning department to the signs, which also had an impact on the view of St Pauls from Fleet Street. Following a visit from City officers, McDonald’s removed the signs within 24 hours.