Central London neighbourhood where ‘tourists get mugged’ in desperate need of regeneration, says councillor

By Jacob Phillips, Local Democracy Reporter

Crime has got so bad in a central London neighbourhood that muggers have robbed tourists at the point of a machete, a local councillor has claimed.

The councillor said a once-in-a-lifetime £3bn regeneration “cannot come soon enough” and claimed the area has drug-dealing in broad daylight.

Lancaster Gate in Westminster has had to put up with stabbings, drug deals in the open, muggings and burglaries, said Cllr Laila Cunningham.

A Parisian-style street pavilion planned for Queensway, Westminster (Picture: The Boundary)

Councillor Cunningham said: “Tourists got mugged with a machete. Residents don’t feel safe walking around anymore. Our local police are unfairly being blamed but they are not getting the right support. It creates a bitter relationship with residents.

“The lack of police presence makes people feel unsafe. That’s unacceptable to me. The Mayor of London has let Lancaster Gate down.”

Hassan Saleheen, the manager of Nisa Local in Craven Road, has put up 50 photographs of alleged shoplifters in the window and behind the till to try and name and shame culprits.

The shop was losing about £30 worth of items to shoplifters every day, but now that he has put the pictures up the number of stolen goods has gone down.

Hassan said: “They come in groups and create a distraction. Sometimes they get violent. We put their pictures outside so that everyone knows them. They will probably leave the area.”

There was also a spate of muggings outside of a nearby school last year, according to residents.

Queensway, one of the main shopping roads nearby, is set to go through a hue makeover, complete with 350 new luxury homes, giant glass pods for Parisian-style outdoor dining and a new flagship Six Senses hotel.

New apartments will stretch across the main street between Notting Hill and Hyde Park and new shops, cafes and restaurants will pop up all over the area.

But Cllr Cunningham said residents cannot rely on the development to improve crime rates in the area.

She said: “It’s a great development but people feel unsafe now.

“We cannot wait. There is no guarantee that it will make a difference. It is not on the developers to keep our streets safe. It is up to our mayor.”

The London Assembly and Westminster City council have been contacted for comment.

Pictured top: Councillor Laila Cunningham in Queensway (Picture: Jacob Phillips)

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