RSMSJ Membership Newsletter Summer 2023



Dear Neighbour, 

The RSMSJ is the official amenity society of Mayfair and St James’s, maintaining environment and quality of services for the community. This, our first newsletter, will keep you up to date on our activities and what we can do for you, the residents. Mayfair and St James’s are famous throughout the world; celebrated for luxury retail, restaurants, and galleries. Yet we are also a residential neighbourhood, with families, couples, and single residents. Our aim is to keep a balance between an active commercial life and a fulfilling residential life. We are a volunteer organisation, recognised by Westminster Council to speak for residents. We work diligently on issues such as development, licensing, public order, heritage and greening – and welcome your queries and feedback. The RSMSJ is also a social hub for the community. We’ve recently held our RSMSJ Garden Party in Mount Street Gardens on the 15th June to a sell-out crowd! Please do join us at future events. 

With best wishes, 

Anne Gray
Chairman RSMSJ



Amidst blue skies and balmy weather, the RSMSJ kicked off the summer with its annual garden party. Guests swayed and danced to the music of The Haywood Sisters, The children of St. George’s school, Mark Inscoe, and The Swing Things. Excellent food and abundant beverage came from The Beaumont, Claridge’s, The Connaught, The Dorchester – The Cut and The Grill, The Birley Clubs, Mr Nice, The Guinea Grill, The Audley, Kanishka, JLL, Knight Frank, and The Mayfair Neighbourhood Forum.
In keeping with the luxury retail traditions of Mayfair, raffle, and auction prizes (splendidly touted by auctioneer Addison Gelpey) were fabulous. Guests stayed well past dusk, and we were happy to welcome Nickie Aiken MP for Westminster South, Councillor Patricia McAllister, The Lord Mayor of Westminster, and Westminster Councillors Adam Hug, Paul Fisher, Jessica Toale and Patrick Lilley. Sponsors included JLL, Knight Frank, Grosvenor, Crown Estates, Palm Beach, Pollen Estates and New West End Company. 
After much dancing, drinking, feasting and general merry-making, the RSMSJ made a welcome small surplus to enable us to continue our work for the community, and additionally afforded us to make a contribution to both St. George’s Primary School and the Pearly King’s charity.
More pictures on our website here >


The RSMSJ was delighted to participate in the Grosvenor Square Coronation Celebration over two days. Hundreds of people from around the world watched the Coronation on the big screen and enjoyed music, food, and drink. It was a pleasure to meet so many Mayfair and St James’s residents and sign up new members.


More Coronation pictures on our website here >

Mayfair and St James’s have become even busier over the past few years. This leads to increased commercial disruption in our residential lives. If you are experiencing problems with deliveries and/or rubbish collections at anti-social times, please let us know. We will endeavour to help resolve the problem. We are also liaising with Westminster Council on the issue of e-bicycles and scooters left lying on pavements and streets. The nuisance of light-up pedicabs and blaring music late at night, and the problems of pavement drinking outside establishments after hours are also under discussion. Two years ago Westminster installed an acoustic camera on Mount Street to counter noisy cars, however no action appears to have been taken: racing noisy cars day and night have become an unwelcome feature. The flag goes down everyday at about 3pm, which signals the boy racers’ first laps on the Mayfair circuit! The noise crescendos at 3am as they tear around the unhindered track whilst others try to sleep. 

If you have specific complaints (photographic proof is always helpful!) contact us via email on:, or the Westminster City Council nuisance reporting line:, or phone 020-7641 2000.




Our aim is to maintain and protect our community, with its illustrious history and well renowned architecture.
The RSMSJ spoke at the Westminster City Council planning hearing to oppose the proposed demolition and rebuild of a taller, bulkier office block at 11 Farm Street: the planning application was refused on the grounds we raised – of excessive height and bulk damaging the heritage setting of the Conservation Area; and concern at the proposed introduction of terraces that would threaten the privacy of neighbouring residents’ homes.
The historic art gallery at 16-20 Cork Street, which SAVE Britain’s Heritage joined us in campaigning to oppose, has been saved from demolition. The building has now been listed.
The campaign to stop the demolition and new build of 45-46 Adams Row, one of a pair of Westminster mews buildings, has been successful: Westminster Council has refused the application, without hearing. Special thanks to Councillors Paul Fisher and Jessica Toale and our RSMSJ Chairman.
We wholeheartedly support Councillor Patick Lilley over the campaign to protect the Curzon Mayfair Cinema from the owner/developer who seeks to re-model the cinema with dining within the auditorium while films are shown. Curzon Mayfair is the capital’s most valuable and respected host for serious quality films and currently is a vital cultural asset that would be compromised, with serious loss of public benefit. Curzon themselves have now appointed Benedetti Architects to produce a restoration of the listed 1930’s treasure, respecting the historic cinema, while updating its technology – without compromising quality and standards for the serious cinema-goer.
We are currently reviewing the partial demolition and new build, including an additional floor, and boundary line to boundary line basement, at 19 South Street. We are also concerned by the intrusive application to turn the garage of 16 Bourdon Street into a retail art gallery – the loss of quiet and residential amenity in this highly vulnerable street. These applications are available on the Westminster portal for those who wish to express their views – and we encourage you to do so.




The relevant legislation which governs licensing is the Licensing Act of 2003. This Act transferred responsibility for licensing from police and magistrates to local authorities who are required to establish a licensing committee of 10-15 persons, with individual decisions being taken by a licensing sub-committee of three. The Act has four primary objectives:
1)    The Prevention of Crime and Disorder
2)    Public Safety
3)    Prevention of Public Nuisance
4)    Protection of Children from Harm
Most local authorities establish their own policy to comply with these objectives and it is against that policy that applications for licences or variations to licences must be judged. Applications which are within policy and where no objections have been submitted may be decided without a hearing.
Applicants must serve notice to responsible authorities (e.g. police, fire, and environmental health). A notice must be displayed at or near the premises for 28 days. In addition to the responsible authorities, the Act allows for any ‘other person’ to make representations. If any such are made, a hearing must be held.
Where does the RSMSJ fit into this process?
  • We monitor all new and variation applications.
  • We alert contacts in an area likely to be adversely affected by an application.
  • We make representations about applications either in support of other resident objectors or in our own name.
  • In the interval between making a representation and a hearing taking place, we often negotiate with applicants. Often a compromise can be reached by the introduction of suitable conditions. Applicants and objectors are encouraged to follow this route.
  • We attend and speak at any hearings involving our representations if necessary.

If you become aware that you may be adversely affected by an application, please feel free to contact us at We can offer useful guidance; and put you in touch, if necessary, with the Citizens’ Advice Bureau solicitor, who is engaged on a borough-wide basis.




On 5th May 2022, the Labour Party took control of Westminster Council: the first time the Conservatives have not held a majority in the council’s 58 year history. Among the new councillors, Paul Fisher is already taking a fresh approach. Drawing on his background as a barrister and activist, he’s been appointed chair of some of the council’s most important committees: Finance, Planning and Economic Development and Scrutiny, and the Planning Applications Sub-Committee. A year into the job, his enthusiasm has not diminished. “Mayfair is in essence a beautiful village,” he says. “And so much more diverse than an outsider would imagine. From traditional Southern Mayfair to the exuberant Peabody Estate – all the parts make up the whole – and they must be equally recognized and valued.”
Local politics can be a rough road, particularly for someone with a flourishing law career. “The demands on time here in the West End are great. But I grew up in a Methodist Christian household,” Paul explains, “So, the social gospel and advocacy for community was an important part of that; it’s all about giving back to communities.”
The problems facing Mayfair go from small local irritants to major social issues. Everything from e-bikes strewn on the foorpaths to the homeless facing winter – from noisy, jangling pedicabs to vast empty properties that seem to have no owners. He feels one of the biggest challenges in Mayfair is ‘commercial creep’ across Regent Street into a residential community. “There’s a type of West End annexation of public space by private enterprises going on. This needs to be monitored and curbed when necessary. This is an accumulative impact area. Mayfair is under a lot of stress.” One example is the high demand for alcohol licences. In 2005 there were 3,000 licences, today there are 4,000. While Mayfair has always had a strong element of hospitality, the licences add up, footfall increases, and with it, high noise levels and crime.
“Crime is on the increase in Mayfair, and much of it goes unreported,” Paul says. “We inherited quite a dire position because Mayfair disabled its CCTV network; making it even more difficult to monitor, prevent and punish crime. We must get this up and running again.” The same goes for the boy racer cars. “We need noise monitoring systems, and again, CCTV. But if the residents don’t complain, we won’t know there’s a problem.”
If he has one message, it is: “Report – Report – Report…We need our community to communicate with us. You can call, or there are on-line systems for queries and complaints. The new council is working hard to simplify the on-line systems, making it easier to reach us. And believe me, we really do want to be reached.”  - Councillor Fisher’s e-mail address is:

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