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

Margot Bright wins by-election in Westminster

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Tory Margot Bright has won the Lancaster Gate by-election for a seat on Westminster City Council.

Four candidates contested the ward last night, with Councillor Bright taking 913 votes and beating three other candidates to hold the traditional Tory safe seat by early this morning.

Cllr Bright, who unsuccessfully contested the Church Street ward in the May local elections, is involved in residents’ associations, the council’s Safer Neighbourhoods Panel, and is a trustee of Paddington Charities.

She replaces former Conservative councillor Robert Davis

Council could get powers to clamp down on phone boxes

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Proposed phone box
InLink UK / BT

Westminster City Council has welcomed a proposal to hand local authorities long-sought powers to limit the numbers of phone boxes popping up around Britain.

Councils nationwide have complained that the modern kiosks popping on pavements alongside Britain’s iconic red phone boxes are advertising hoardings posing as call boxes.

However the telecoms companies setting them up say they are providing a public service by removing ageing phone boxes off the streets, with some replacing them with interactive display kiosks that include services like free WiFi.

Westminster City Council has been lobbying for more control over its pavements after fielding applications for 300 phone boxes in the space of two years, which its planning chief has likened to a game of “whack-a-mole”.

The central London borough, which already has more than 1,000 phone boxes, claims the kiosks represent an advertising space grab in high profile locations like Oxford Street, Victoria Street and Baker Street.

If the council had approved every application for Edgware Rd there would be one phone box every 15 metres, it said.

The kiosks have flourished because ageing legislation that promoted public access to calling services, has meant local authorities presently only have the power to consider whether to grant the sites requested, and whether they can feature advertising.

But Westminster, which has in the past taken its fight over kiosk applications to the courts, says the planning reform proposals unveiled this week will give them the chance to rule just how many of the kiosks its streets need.

Its planning chief Councillor Edward Beddoe said the government was giving Westminster a chance to take back “control of our pavements.”

The proposal from the Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government said the need for public call boxes had been shrinking for some time due to the rise of mobile phone technology.

It is open to public consultation until January 2019.

Public to speak at Westminster planning meetings

Local Democracy Reporting Service

London skyline
Reuters

Residents could be able to speak out about building developments in a planned shake-up of the way Westminster Council deals with planning applications.

The move will give residents a voice so they can talk for or against plans at planning committee hearings.

The proposed shake-up will also mean there will be clearer planning documents and stricter guidance about councillors receiving hospitality at meetings.

The rules are designed to keep “a distance from land owners, applicants, agents and community stakeholders”.

It follows a review by the Local Government Association’s Planning Advisory Service (PAS) which found that the committees were well chaired but did not always get the public involved.

It said the planning service should take on a wider town planning role and said while assessments and sign-offs of plans are rigorous, they were restricted to senior council staff.

It also found that there was an “excessive and unneccessary” acceptance of hospitality and while there had been no impropriety, it had become “normalised”.

This contrasted with practices elsewhere in the country.

Council leader Conservative Nickie Aiken said: “We have put planning under the microscope and made changes which put local people at the heart of decision making.

“The council oversees some of the most valuable, high profile developments in the world so our entire planning process needs to be robust and transparent.”

Adam Hug, who leads the Labour opposition said his party had “been campaigning for a long time, including allowing residents to speak at council meetings and stronger rules on hospitality.”

The proposed changes will be considered at the cabinet meeting on Thursday and are likely to be introduced in the New Year.

'Wealthy resident tax' nets £390,000 for homeless

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Westminster’s wealthiest residents have raised £390,000 to help rough sleepers through a voluntary council tax top up.

Westminster City Council community contribution scheme asks residents in the London borough’s priciest homes to contribute more, on top of their ordinary council tax - which it touts as among the lowest rates in the UK.

The scheme is focused on Westminster’s 15,600 highest value properties, and drew widespread attention for asking the borough’s residents to pay double their usual council tax bill.

The council says the extra money raised is being used for extra funding towards youth clubs, which have suffered cuts in recent years, as well as help for rough sleepers, and for initiatives tackling isolation and loneliness.

The council is not allowed to raise council taxes for just the wealthiest residents. By law, it would have to lift them across the board.

It introduced the adult social care precept in 2017/18, lifting contributions by 2% - equivalent to about £1m.

In this year’s council tax round, residents in Band H properties were due to pay about £833, excluding the Greater London Authority top-up which brings their total bill to £1421.

Council plan to charge leaseholders to add sprinklers to tower blocks

Local Democracy Reporting Service

A London council plans to charge tower block residents for the cost of adding sprinklers to its tower blocks, as part of its fire safety upgrades in the wake of the Grenfell tragedy.

Westminster City Council has already agreed to add sprinklers to all of its housing blocks over 30-metres tall, which could cost an estimated £22.5m.

The Council would assume the costs for retrofitting council tenants’ flats, and the rest would be passed to leaseholders, under plans proposed by the Council's Sprinkler Taskforce.

Council figures show leaseholders make up 41% of total properties in its tall buildings. If costs are not passed on to leaseholders the council could be liable to pay an extra £8.4m.

The proposal will go through the public consultation process, before it goes to cabinet leaders for final decision.

Investors' interest in Oxford Street revamp

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Oxford Street
Getty Images

Three major landowners are considering investing in an Oxford Street redevelopment.

In a meeting last night, Westminster City Council revealed that they have been in talks with the three potential contributors, who remain anonymous at the moment.

The council is planning to spend £50m a year for the next three years on a redesigning, upgrading and developing the street and its surroundings, the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) said.

Chief executive Stuart Love said at the meeting: “We have had three large landowners suggest that they would like to contribute and what their expectations might be.”

The news comes after the council pulled out of the mayor of London’s scheme to pedestrianise the street earlier this year.

More than four million people visit Oxford Street each week.

Plans to move Pankhurst statue scuppered

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Emmeline Pankhurst
Westminster City Council
The statue in Victoria Tower Gardens

A proposal to move a statue of suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst off Parliament grounds to a new location has been withdrawn following a public backlash.

Westminster City Council has confirmed the application to move the statue to Regent’s University’s grounds had been withdrawn.

Women’s groups had criticised former Conversative MP Sir Neil Thorne’s trust’s proposal to move the effigy from Victoria Tower Gardens near the House of Lords to the new site at Regent’s Park.

The Grade II-listed tribute to Pankhurst was unveiled in the gardens in 1930 and later moved to a different site on the land.

The planning application from the Pankhurst Trust to move it again attracted hundreds of comments, with most decrying the proposal to move it off site.

TfL bosses lose high court battle over cycle route

Transport for London (TfL) has lost a High Court fight centred on a planned cycle route.

Westminster Council bosses complained about TfL's decision to start construction of a cycle superhighway at Swiss Cottage.

They said TfL had not considered the possibility the council would raise an objection to the superhighway - designed to run on roads between Swiss Cottage and Portland Place - so the decision to begin building was unlawful.

A judge ruled in favour of council bosses earlier.

Sir Ross Cranston had analysed rival arguments at a High Court hearing earlier this month.

The judge said residents had also raised concern about TfL's decision.

Relief for Notting Hill Carnival toilet queues

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Notting Hill Carnival toilets
Getty Images

A council is doubling the number of toilets it provides at Notting Hill Carnival this year after complaints about the long queues to use loos at previous events.

Performers are set to fill the streets with sequins, feathers, music and dance at Europe's biggest street party across the Bank Holiday weekend.

But for years now there's been a steady stream of complaints from local residents about public urination from some crowd members.

In a 2016 London Assembly report on policing the carnival - which said overcrowding at the event was an urgent issue - noted local residents' claims that people had urinated on properties.

Westminster City Council said it would be doubling the number of toilets available in its leg of the event, saying it recognised the carnival had "a major impact on those who live and work within the footprint".

It also said it will be providing a free garden and basement cleaning service after the event for residents within the carnival footprint.

Kensington and Chelsea Council said its contractor would be providing 314 temporary toilets for this year's event, located at 34 sites, including 35 self-contained disabled toilets.