We are residents of streets off Shepherd’s Bush’s Uxbridge Road. We appreciate and enjoy the benefits of living close to the vibrant local shopping area of the Uxbridge Road, representing many different cultures and activities, but we are concerned that the area is becoming a Town Centre location for many people rather than a Local Centre, with increasing numbers of people travelling from both within and outside the borough to visit the shops, cafes, restaurants and religious centres located here. The growing popularity of the area is having a significant negative effect on our lives.
The local infrastructure is not coping with the increasing numbers of people visiting the area. We now suffer from crowded pavements, a lack of parking spaces in the residential roads particularly from lunch time to late in the evening (the recent parking consultation concentrated on Westfield’s impact (negligible) and was too general), and from the noise and anti social behaviour (and some issues of civil disturbance) of people leaving the cafes, restaurants and betting shops late at night (some of which seem to be open for 24 hours) disturbing residents in nearby streets. The local street cleaners do an excellent job on the two days they are here to clean the rubbish but large quantities of litter are dumped in the street from cars and pedestrians using the local take away restaurants every day. In addition, we have seen increased levels of gang related activity, evidenced by eight stabbings on this section of the Uxbridge Road over the Christmas period. This area is currently subject to a dispersal order (we have had three recently) imposed by the police but this can only be a temporary measure. The residents are most grateful for the responsive approach shown by the police and particularly the Safer Neighbourhoods Team to date.
We have listed the main problems and initial steps that we believe the Council should take to start tackling them.
A number of these concerns have already been raised by residents on an ad hoc basis with the Council but it is our view that the Council’s response has been inadequate to date. We believe that it is now time for a coordinated response on the Council’s part.
A list of the anti social behaviour we are experiencing is as follows:
1. Late night noise and disturbance;
2. Threat of and actual aggression and violence against the person (so far mostly young male related fights) and use of our roads as get away routes;
3. Loitering by men and groups including sitting on private walls/steps, sometimes consuming alcohol;
4. Groups spilling over from cafes (especially when football being shown on TV), betting shop and mosque and blocking pavements;
5. Late opening and proliferation of betting shops and other establishments;
6. Male dominance of visitors to area in evening and forming groups which is particularly intimidating for lone women, children and the elderly;
7. Drug dealing from cars and individuals on local roads and in alley ways;
8. Men using gardens, alley ways and walls to relieve themselves;
9. Congestion of cars unable to pass on roads and refusing to wait in gaps;
10. Lack of enforcement of existing parking restrictions;
11. No parking spaces near homes for residents;
12. Increasing numbers of taxis using residential streets to park (particularly early evening);
13. Drivers sitting in cars with engines running for long periods of time;
14. Restaurant and café clients parking until early hours;
15. Noisy return to cars late at night; and
16. Excessive movements of cars throughout the night, particularly turning round in Hetley Road.
Initial steps for Council towards finding a solution
We believe the steps below would make a material impact in a fairly short period:
a) Explore ways of limiting opening times of establishments (cafes and betting shops) and make less attractive to younger men (age restrictions?);
b) Greater visibility of police (uniformed);
c) Parking – make it more costly for non residents to park by charging between 5pm and 11pm;
d) Explore how can stop taxi drivers sitting/sleeping in cars with engines running;
e) Visible enforcement of existing double yellow lines;
f) Make Hetley Road one way (with other measures) – exiting on to Uxbridge Road which will also ease the congestion on East bound Uxbridge Road when cars wait to turn into Hetley Road and buses stop at the same time;
g) Point g) would allow the reduction of the double yellow line at the top of the East side of Hetley Road and make loading space(s) for tyre and carpet shops;
h) Increased street cleaning (daily with extra cleaning on Friday and Saturday)
i) Provide additional litter bins at the ends of the roads nearest to Uxbridge Road and enforcement of fines for people found dropping litter;
j) Thorough checking that the cafes have got fire regulations for the numbers of people visiting their shops, basements and external structures;
k) Enforcement of smoking legislation in establishments;
l) Dialogue with establishments regarding their “clients/users” using pavements;
m) Greater care and consultation when granting planning permissions and licences particularly with regard to closing times and to consult with residents in writing (not only by postings on Council website);
n) Timely and speedy enforcement of breaches of planning in regard to additional structures, basement conversions and uses of retail properties on Uxbridge Road;
o) Explore possibility of putting a security gate at the end of the alley way next to Tyre Depot on Hetley Road; and
p) Remove disabled space from Hetley Road which will add a parking space;
We would welcome constructive action and feedback. We feel urgent action is now needed and trust you, your fellow Council members and officers will act accordingly.