Leader’s ambition for a confident Westminster

Mon, 06/03/2017

The Leader of Westminster City Council, Cllr Nickie Aiken, has set out an ambitious delivery programme that will ensure Westminster is confident, ready and prepared for a post Brexit world.

Speaking at the launch of the 3rd year of the council’s City for All vision, Cllr Aiken’s challenge was for the council to get things done quicker, to think bigger, be more innovative and to work in different ways. This will be required in order to meet the challenges of being at the heart of the capital and the social and economic issues that brings, as well as seizing the opportunities.

She has committed the council to the following 3 priorities:

  1. Setting the standard for civic leadership and responsibility that is more open, transparent and inclusive
  2. Spreading opportunity and fairness across the city, providing more much needed homes of every type and make sure policies are fit for purpose in order to deliver responsible growth
  3. Ensuring Westminster is a world class city by working with businesses to act responsibly and to secure opportunities for future generations

5 new and detailed delivery programmes will allow residents to track progress against these priorities and include the following key projects:

  • Deliver more houses, including building nearly 2,000 more affordable homes in the next 5 years and flipping the current 60:40 social to intermediate housing ratio
  • Work with residents, businesses and partners to bring forward plans to make Oxford Street a world class destination
  • Review of the council’s planning policies to ensure they are fit for purpose and delivering the right conditions for growth, whilst ensuring the benefits of prosperity are spread evenly
  • Continue to tackle air pollution with a range of initiatives, including a new #DontBeIdle campaign to encourage people to stop engine idling
  • Pilot a new Licensing Charter in Leicester Square and Piccadilly to help the industry take more responsibility and operate to higher standards
  • Launch a new rough sleeping strategy to prevent rough sleeping and support people to rebuild their lives
  • Launch a Gig and Shared Economies Charter to help this important sector to take responsibility for the way it operates and the sometimes negative impact it can have; for example, this will mean if the 90 day limit on short terms lets cannot be managed by the industry, then the council will take action

In order to ensure that Westminster has the necessary resources, Cllr Aiken has pledged to work closely with the Government in order that the council will retain sufficient revenues from business rates. She will also lead engagement with the Government to look to re-cast the council tax system, to request the flexibility to establish extra council tax bands where those who can afford it will be asked to pay just a little bit more. For example, currently someone in a £10 million property pays the same council tax as someone in a £300,000 property.

Cllr Nickie Aiken, Leader of the Council, said: “As we seek to deliver our priorities, we also need to be a smarter council with a constructive approach. A council that thinks like a resident or a business and one that has ‘one front door’ where all our services come together seamlessly for our customers.

“I look forward to working with Councillor colleagues, our staff and partners to deliver the City for All programme for the year ahead. We want to create a city where prosperity is harnessed to support strong neighbourhoods and where everyone plays their part and has a stake in the community.”

Last updated: 29 March 2017
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