Westminster Council

All of the seats in Westminster were up for election this year. Find out more about these elections.

Election 2018 Results

CON HOLD
Party Elected in 2018 Total councillors Change

PartyConservative

Elected in 2018 41 Total councillors 41 Change-3

PartyLabour

Elected in 2018 19 Total councillors 19 Change+3
Councillors change compared with 2014

Most Recent

London gets temporary mortuary to deal with Covid-19 deaths

A temporary mortuary has been built in central London in preparation for a predicted rise in the number of deaths from coronavirus.

temporary morgue set up in London
Getty Images

The large white tent, next to Westminster Coroner’s Court in Horseferry Road, has capacity for 112 bodies.

Similar arrangements were made following the Grenfell Tower disaster in 2017, in which 72 people were killed.

A Westminster Council spokesperson said: “This is a precautionary step and similar arrangements are made during any London wide response to incidents.

"We hope and trust that this will not be needed but it is sensible to prepare at this stage.”

As of 09:00 on Thursday, Westminster had 68 confirmed cases and Kensington and Chelsea had 55. Southwark is now the London borough with the most cases, at 70.

Council builds 200 new homes in central London

Building
Westminster City Council

Westminster City Council has launched a new housing development in the heart of Paddington Basin, delivering 197 new homes.

Dudley House is a £104m council-led, mixed-use development that "aims to encourage a more diverse community in central London by tackling the critical shortage of affordable housing in the City of Westminster", Westminster City Council said

Dudley house incorporates 197 council-owned residential in a modern residential block, it added.

Cllr Rachael Robathan, said: “Just 2% of homes in our City are for those on average or ‘intermediate’ incomes. We need to ensure that those who work here have a chance of living here - that means people like the families, doctors and nurses who keep Westminster moving.

“Dudley House is an example of how a local authority, working with partners, can build affordable and attractive properties in the middle of a capital city with an intense crush on its housing stock and sky-high rents.

"The City Council is leading an ambitious programme to deliver 1,850 affordable homes by 2023, and Dudley House is an important milestone in that work.”

The project also includes a new permanent home for Marylebone Boys School, a church and a retail unit.

Crackdown on "rogue" motorised pedicabs in Westminster

Seized pedicabs
Met Police
Some of the motorised pedicabs seized during the crackdown

Thirty "rogue" pedicabs fitted with adapted motors have been seized by police during a crackdown in the borough of Westminster.

Met Special Constabulary officers were deployed across central London including Oxford, Regent and Bond streets to "deter anti-social behaviour and any other related involving pedicabs".

Converted rickshaws have a power outage which requires them to be taxed, insured and registered. Drivers also need to have a driving licence.

In the past two months, prior to last Saturday’s operation, a further 35 rickshaws have been seized for having no insurance.

Acting Special Inspector, Geoff Tatman of the Met’s Vehicle Enforcement Team, said: "This weekend’s operation was aimed at targeting pedicabs, which have been fitted with electric motors. The alteration results in their overall power outage and speed being increased, and subsequently defines them as motor vehicles with the requirement for appropriate documentation.

“We are determined to keep the streets of central London safe for all, and this successful operation demonstrates that those who choose to flout the law will be dealt with robustly."

Watch: How one borough helps London's rough sleepers

The streets of Westminster have some of the highest number of rough sleepers in the UK.

But, the borough council's outreach team is out every night of the year finding those people and offering them support to get them off the street, hopefully for good

BBC London spent the evening with Robert White, who leads Westminster's outreach team.

Westminster Council leader to quit after election win

Local Democracy Reporting Service

City of Westminster Council leader has announced she will leave her role after she was elected as an MP last night.

Nickie Aiken said she felt "dazed" after a long campaign which saw her win the Cities of London and Westminster constituency.

Straight away, the new MP pledged to help the capital's rough sleepers.

She said: “My main priorities for the constituency will be to try and work with ministers to really tackle the on-going issues of rough sleeping we have in London and to change their lives around.

“And short term lettings have got to be addressed. It’s caused a massive issue and that’s really got to be addressed. It’s caused major problems many many for people in central London.”

She will be tendering her resignation next week as Leader of the Conservative controlled Westminster City Council as she said you can’t do both jobs.

Westminster City contractors to get London Living Wage

Local Democracy Reporting Service

People working for contractors employed by Westminster City Council will get paid the London Living Wage as a minimum.

The council is the latest to insist that contractors who want to do business with it pay their employees the wage, which currently stands at £10.75 an hour.

It means that contractors will also get the wage, which the council had already signed up to for its own staff.

The move follows other councils, including City of London, which insist that contractors also pay the London Living Wage.

It means that 22 local authorities in London, including Hammersmith and Fulham, Tower Hamlets and Redbridge, are fully signed up to the voluntary scheme.

A third are not listed by the Living Wage Foundation. Westminster city council’s chief executive Stuart Love said: “As a City for All, we’re enormously proud of being accredited as a London Living Wage employer.

“We are nothing without our staff and those who represent us. In Westminster we have some of the very best and it’s only right that they should be paid properly.

“We believe that should apply right across the board whether the staff work directly for us or come from a contractor.”

Council officers gifted expensive dinners and Ashes tickets

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Lord's Cricket Ground
PA Media

Westminster Council has defended its policy of allowing senior officers to accept gifts including expensive dinners at five-star hotels and Ashes tickets.

Between 2017 and 2019, council staff logged 240 records of individual gifts they received from property developers and other private companies. .

When councillors and MPs receive gifts, the details are made public on the council’s or Parliament’s, website for anyone to look at.

This does not apply to senior council officers, including those who run huge departments while earning six-figure salaries.

However Westminster Council has said it is “looking at” making this the case, in order to increase its transparency.

On 4 July last year, an officer from the council’s planning department was gifted a ticket worth £250 by Turley Associates to the New London Architecture Awards.

Turley Associates was also hired as a planning consultant for the 44 Lincoln’s Inn Fields development for LSE. And its website says the company helped by “securing planning permission on behalf of LSE”.

An officer from the planning department was also treated by FTSE 100 developer, British Land, to a £100 ticket to the Westminster Property Association Annual Dinner in April 2018.

Hosted at the London Hilton hotel in Park Lane, the glitzy networking event was attended by 600 members and guests, and saw a performance by comedian Josh Widdicombe.

There is no evidence of misconduct or that receiving these gifts influenced the decision making of Westminster Council officers in their work.

House of Fraser to be part-converted into offices

Local Democracy Reporting Service

House of Fraser
Google

House of Fraser, once an “iconic” attraction on Oxford Street, is set to be part-converted into offices and a gym.

Publica Properties Limited submitted the plans for 318 Oxford Street, which was purpose built as a department store in 1937.

Under the proposal, 13,500 square metres of new office space would take up sections of every floor, from the ground to its seventh.

This would still leave more than 15,800 square metres of retail space.

A large restaurant would also be built across half the seventh floor, overlooking Oxford Street.

It was the tallest building in Oxford Street by 20 feet when it was originally built by retailer D.H. Evans.

Inside, its escalator hall with pink marble walls and pillars formed a focal point.

In 2001 it re-branded as a House of Fraser, having been run by the Harrods Group since 1954.

After the meeting, chair of the committee, councillor Robert Rigby, said: “Considering the state of the high street, it seemed the sensible thing to do.

“It’s such an iconic building, we want to see it brought back into proper use.”

House of Fraser is currently owned by Mike Ashley, the boss of Sports Direct, who bought the department store chain last year for £90 million while it was in administration.

Homeless deaths linked to spice

Local Democracy Reporting Service

The highly-dangerous form of synthetic cannabis “spice” has been linked to the growing number of deaths of homeless people and rough sleepers in central London.

Thirteen homeless people died in the borough of Westminster in 2018, up from six in 2017, according to a new Office of National Statistics (ONS) report.

This follows five deaths in 2016, and 16 in 2015.

A Westminster Council spokesman confirmed of the 13 people who died last year, eight had been found on the streets.

The spokesman said: “The sad fact is the rate of deaths linked to rough sleeping is rising as we continue to see ever increasing numbers of people arriving on the streets in Westminster.

“In Westminster we saw eight deaths on the streets while others happened in other accommodation, as the effects of rough sleeping and drug/alcohol addiction took their toll. All are individual tragedies.

“Spice is a consistent factor in rough sleeper deaths, and Westminster City Council has led the campaign to have this insidious and dangerous drug classified as a class A substance. Spice remains a major concern and our street teams offer a range of programmes to people with substance addiction.”

Spice is described by the Talk To Frank services’s website as a synthetic, cannabinoid that is often mixed with dried herbs and sold in sachets, and is typically smoked with tobacco.

Its high strength and potency mean it can cause: anxiety, paranoia, fits, seizures, dangerous increases in heart rate and suicidal thoughts. It is also linked to acute kidney injury.