Re.: Reaction to Fitzrovia West Forum’s Cut into Marylebone
Locals ensure that border between Marylebone and Fitzrovia remains in place.
Thursday 14 November 2013
On Wednesday, November 13th,2013 a meeting of the initiative supporting a Fitzrovia West Neighbourhood Forum (FWF) took place at University of Westminster, 115 New Cavendish Street. Only properties on the East side of Great Portland Street up to the Westminster boundary had received leaflets informing them of the meeting. Marylebone residents from the West Side of Great Portland Street were alerted about the meeting by the Portland Village Association.
Over 20 Marylebone residents from the West side of Great Portland Street, as well as members of the Portland Village Association and the Marylebone Association (MA) attended the meeting – there were probably about 80-100 persons present in total.
The Meeting was called to discuss ‘boundaries’ for the Fitzrovia West Neighbourhood Forum. In its official application, the Forum Steering committee had put forward a map which included parts of Marylebone that are currently under the remit of the MA (Map 1). Before the meeting the organisers had drawn a new map (which they published on their website – Map 2), which included in the FWF an even greater area of Marylebone.
At the beginning of the meeting, residents from the West side of Great Portland Street expressed their dismay that no leafleting had taken place on their side of the street, despite the attempt to include their area in the FWF. The feeling was that the FWF organisers were trying to sneak the boundary discussion past the residents on the West side of Great Portland Street without proper consultation – tempers were still raised by the time the meeting broke up. Eventually, after a presentation by Griff Rhys Jones, the discussion moved on to the subject of boundaries.
A Fitzrovia Neighbourhood Association representative (FNA) then clarified the ‘historic’ border (Map 3). Thanks to this clarification, it was quickly established that residents and businesses on the West side of Great Portland Street did not want any straying from the agreed border between the MA and the FNA (neighbourhood amenity societies).
Over 20 residents from Great Portland Street, Hallam Street, Weymouth Street New Cavendish Street, Devonshire Street and Portland Place (many representing the residents’ association in their respective blocks) made their opposition to being included in the FWF very clear. Later, another resident of Great Titchfield Street also tried to make a point in favour of including Hallam Street in the FWF, but again Hallam Street residents stopped this discussion from going any further.
Fitzrovia vs. Marylebone? The West Fitzrovia initiative to cut into Marylebone is most unfortunate as it creates a sense of division where none was felt before. At the end of the meeting, the organisers of the FWF agreed to write to Westminster in order to amend their original proposal – please see the revised attached (Map 4) that they published on their website.