March 2009 Archives
Thirty people signed a petition objecting to an application to turn an empty estate agents in Honeypot Lane, Stanmore, into a minicab office.
The submission to Harrow Council was made by applicant Kumarsamy Indrachith, who said that three permanent jobs could be created along with 10 self-employed driver positions.
A decision will be made on Wednesday March 25 by the authority's development management committee.
In the latter half of last year more passengers were paid refunds for journeys delayed by late-running trains on the Metropolitan and Jubilee lines than on any other underground lines.
Figures obtained by the Observer under the Freedom of Information Act show Tube bosses doled out ÃÂ£118,447 for 26,273 claims relating to the Met line between June and November. Jubilee Line passengers received paybacks totalling ÃÂ£73,907 for 19,369 claims in the same period.
Travellers can apply to Transport for London (TfL) for a reimbursement equivalent to a single fare if their journey is delayed by more than 15 minutes.
Performance figures for roughly the same six months reveal the District line suffered the most late-running trains, an average of 28 a month.
The Piccadilly and Metropolitan lines held the second poorest record with 24 delays each a month, followed by the Central line's 22.
Those using the Jubilee line experienced an average of 13 services a month in which arrival was more than a quarter of an hour overdue.
However, these are absolute numbers and do not take into account the total number of services run on each line.
There may be a number of reasons why TfL pays out more to Metropolitan and Jubilee line passengers than any other.
Statistics show travellers using the Met have the longest average journey time of any line - around 41 minutes.
This, combined with the fact the line stretches from zone 1 to zone 9 and therefore a typical fare may be more expensive, could explain why a Met passenger would be more inclined to seek a refund than someone who hops on the Northern line for a handful of stops within two or three zones at relatively low cost, for instance.
Furthermore, long sections of the Metropolitan and Jubilee lines run on the surface, especially in north-west London, so are susceptible to the impact of bad weather compared to, for example, the Victoria line, which is entirely underground.
Anthony Wood, chairman of the Harrow Public Transport Users' Association, attributes the large number of claims on the Metropolitan to three factors.
He said: "One, the average journey on the line is longer for each person, so the fare is higher. Two, the line has the oldest trains on the system so there's more failures, and three, the signalling system is the oldest on the network, so there are more faults.
"These are the main failures but these are being sorted within the next seven to eight years - a much longer period than we were originally told."
He added: "There are a large number of passengers who know the customer service charter and are quite rightly making claims."
Improvements that at times required Canons Park Tube station to close have finally been finished, passengers will be glad to hear.
The upgrade, completed by Tube Lines on behalf of London Underground, involved installing a new public announcement system, closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras, help points and restoring heritage features such as tiles,
Group station manager, Danny Asare, who runs the Jubilee line stop, said: "It's great that the work to improve safety, accessibility and dÃÂ©cor on Canons Park station has been completed.
"Looking round the station, I am really pleased with what I see and I'd like to thank all of our Harrow passengers for their patience while these works have taken place."
A Tube passenger from Edgware who was caught by a security camera exposing himself has been placed on the sex offenders' register for five years.
John Brookes, 56, of Blundell Road, showing his genitals to a woman while journeying on a southbound Bakerloo line service between Wembley Central and Harlesden stops on May 7 2008.
He fled the train but was recorded on a closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera leaving his destination station and a print out of Brookes' face was later distributed to local officers.
Consequently, Brookes was arrested at Harlesden station a fortnight later, on May 20, after two plain-clothes police officers recognised him from the image.
He pleaded guilty to exposure at Inner London Crown Court on Friday March 13 and was ordered to attend a three-year sex offender programme and told to complete 140 hours' unpaid work.
British Transport Police PC Tom Whitton said: "While this sort of behaviour is rare on the Tube, this was an extremely unpleasant and intimidating experience for the victim.
"The large majority of people use the railway to go about their daily business, but we want to make sure that anyone who has any other intentions knows what they can expect from us."
To celebrate the opening of its new Harlesden store, Specsavers has teamed up with the Observer to offer four lucky readers the chance to each win ÃÂ£150 worth of eyecare.
The competition is part of the store's two-week celebration to mark its launch.
Each prize includes a free eye examination and a pair of designer specs up to the value of ÃÂ£125.
The four winners can chose from well-known brands including Jasper Conran, Quiksilver, Red or Dead, Missoni and Specsavers' own best selling range of designer glasses - Osiris. A trained store stylist will be on hand to advise on the best frame style and shape to suit their face.
The closing date is March 27.
Councillors will decide whether to put a curb on the way the Abercorn Arms in Stanmore Hill is run after a neighbour complained disturbances were making her life a misery.
A review of the Stanmore venue's premises licence will be held on Thursday at 7pm after resident Mrs Serra, of Stanmore Hill, formally requested one.
In her submission to the council, she claimed: "The number of incidents of public nuisance and alcohol-related anti-social behaviour in the small hours of the morning have now become a regular feature at this establishment."
Fellow resident Mrs Nathan, of Stanmore Hill, raised concerns about the lack of security staff monitoring the rear car park, the strong food smell and the dumping of empty beer kegs.
Harrow Police's licensing officer Sergeant Carl Davis noted that he has received complains about "shouting and screaming, arguments and other disturbance and disorder" outside the premises and reminds councillors about objections he raised to previous applications from Abercorn Arms' management team.
Evidence from Harrow Council's environmental health team reveals that a warning letter about "loud and unreasonable" noise was sent to the pub after a visit from officials in November. A second letter was despatched in January after more complaints.
The Abercorn Arms is currently allowed to sell alcohol between 10am and midnight Monday to Saturday and until 11.30pm on Sunday.
On November 7, Harrow Council granted the licence holders 10 temporary event notices for dates ranging from November 22 to January that would allow the pub to stay open until 3am the following day.
The premises licence review will be conducted at Harrow Civic Centre before a three-man panel of councillors who can modify the conditions of the licence, prohibit the pub from providing certain activities, remove the designated premises supervisor, suspend the licence for up to three months or even withdraw the licence altogether.
Councillors will decide this week whether to curb the operation of the Abercorn Arms in Stanmore Hill, which one neighbour claimed was making her life a "misery".
The review of the venue's premises licence will be held on Thursday at 7pm after being formally requested by disgruntled residents Mrs Serra.
In her submission to the council, she claimed: "The number of incidents of public nuisance and alcohol related anti-social behaviour in the small hours of the morning have now become a regular feature at this establishment."
Heroes of the Battle of Britain visited Bentley Priory in Stanmore on Sunday.
The event attracted 300 spectators and air enthusiasts who came along to pay homage to those who fought in the battle to defend the country from Nazi invasion in 1940.
Eighteen veterans in their 90s met visitors and signed autographs for fans who had come to the former RAF base, which closed last May, which was headquarters of Fighter Command during the Second World War and played a critical role in the conflict.
Squadron leader, Erica Ferguson, executive consultant of the Bentley Priory Battle of Britain Trust, said: "The veterans worked extremely hard all day. They're in their 90s so they're not young men. They're not young in body, but young in mind."
VSM Estates, which owns the site, announced plans to redevelop Bentley Priory last year, with 103 luxury homes in the gardens, while the main public areas of the officers' mess associated with Lord Dowding, Fighter Command and the Battle of Britain are to be developed into an education and heritage centre by the Bentley Priory Battle of Britain Trust to commemorate those who fought and died in the Battle.
But these have been delayed after the sale of the site failed to go through, with the current economic climate blamed for stalling the plans and agreement could not be reached with a preferred developer. VSM will now retain ownership of the site until the property market improves.
Air Chief Marshall Sir Brian Burridge, chairman of the Bentley Priory Battle of Britain Trust, said: "We understand that difficult market conditions have affected the sale of Bentley Priory. We have worked closely with VSM Estates throughout this process and although the plans to deliver the vibrant new museum within the Mansion House will be put back for now, we remain dedicated to these proposals and we look forward to progressing these plans in the coming months."
VSM Estates plans to build a museum in the Mansion House to commemorate the Battle of Britain, which it says will be carried forward once the economic climate begins to strengthen, as well as restoring the grade II-listed priory building.
Sq ldr Ferguson added: "The news about the redevelopment plans is very disappointing, because we were hoping that it would be ready for the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain in September 2010."
Young people across Harrow are to benefit from impressive new sports facilities now that the borough has secured a ÃÂ£4.2million grant.
A multi-use sports hall, gym, IT suite, art room, recording studio, cafe and outdoor pitch will be constucted on the Cedars Estate in Harrow Weald thanks to the project, entitled The Pitch, A Place to Go.
It was announced on Tuesday that Watford FC's Community Sports and Education Trust would work with Harrow Council to develop the idea, after the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) gave the multi-million pound grant the go-ahead.
If planning applications are approved it is hoped yougsters between 11 and 19, as well as disabled people up to the age of 24, will steer clear of antisocial behaviour and use the club to socialise and hone their sporting skills.
But far from just being a centre for children to enjoy football, council chiefs say the site will offer a diverse range of activities, including karate, basketball, art, music and cookery.
It is anticipated that the council and Watford FC will also look to use the facilites to help improve young people's health, diet, fitness and social skills, as well as provide important information on issues ranging from education, training, sex and mental health.
Speaking after the announcement Paul Clark, the council's corporate director of children's services, expressed his delight at securing the money.
He said: "This grant is fantastic news. Young people helped us choose the design and shape of this application so we will be delivering facilities they have actively been asking for.
"Over the next few weeks we will be working with residents, voluntary and private groups, and young people to ensure we put the right planning application forward and secure approval for what I am sure will prove to be a great legacy for Harrow."
Chris Norton, Chairman of Watford's CSE Trust, said: "We are delighted to receive this grant, which will now allow us, working closely with Harrow Council, an opportunity to make a real difference through sport and learning outside of the Watford area.
"We are honoured to be able to help deliver a project of this scale, demonstrating the expertise within, and the development of our community trust."
England rugby stars met staff and patients when they toured the Royal Orthopaedic Centre in Stanmore.
Five members of England's Senior Elite Player Squad and England Rugby team - Toby Flood, Harry Ellis, Nick Kennedy, Delon Armitage and Riki Flutey - joined coach Martin Johnson in visiting the spinal injury unit at the centre on Brockley Hill last month.
The hospital is the largest orthopaedic hospital in the UK and is regarded as a leader in its field.