Tower Hamlets Watch

Chrisp Street Market Development Blocked by TFL

May 27, 2010
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Transport For London seem to have put the mockers on Poplar Harca’s plans for Chrisp Street Market.

I was going to do a whole piece on how Poplar Harca were failing in its bid to notify residents of Lansbury as a whole, with regard to Tommorow Evenings open event regarding the Chrisp Street Development;

Flyer on Chrisp Street Market Development

Residents and Traders alike who I have spoken to feel as if they have been left out of the Consultation process. Talking to ‘Abdi Awil 0207 005 7669’ at Poplar Harca whos contact details were left on the flyer above, stated that they only leafleted ‘Lansbury South’. I argued why were ‘Lansbury West’, ‘Lansbury North’, Brownfield, Teviot, Aberfeldy, and the rest of Poplar and the Isle of Dogs not notified, when this is their main market as well. I asked how many homes had been leafleted and he didn’t know.

Abdi, who until last week was a resident board member of Poplar Harca’s Devons Estate Board & also a member of Harca’s Finance & Audit Board is now a fully fledged employee of Poplar Harca, employed as the ‘Projects Facilitation Officer’. As a result of his employment last week, I would imagine that he would have had to resign from his post as a member of the ‘Finance & Audit’ board.

These flyers were only given to Traders in Chrisp Street this Tuesday 24th May, for an event this Friday (tommorow) 28th May, and Saturday 29th May. Walking around the market I noticed only 3 flyers in the Market. One in the charity shop, one in the card shop in vesey path, and one in the Pie & Mash Shop next to the Harca office on East India Dock Road. No where else did I see any other flyers, not even in the most used places in the market, the Post-Office & the Chrisp Street One Stop Shop (More on this later).

Anyway I feel Harca owe it to the residents of the entire area of Poplar to keep them fully informed of events regarding their only market.

With regards to TFL, sources within the traders commitee who met last night with the Architects & Poplar Harca representatives tell me that all plans are now on hold as ‘Transport For London’ have put in an objection. Apparently its regarding one of the access routes, and thats all they knew as no-one would be pushed on it. They went on to inform me that the ‘Evaluation Meeting for the 28th June has now been postponed indefinitely.

I asked about the new ‘Projects Facilitation Officer – Abdi Awil’ and they stated that yes they knew who he was but that he had sat silent the whole meeting taking the minutes of the meeting. Not a bad job for such a fancy job title.

Flour Power-ed up & ready to go

May 27, 2010
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Stumbling around Stepney today I noticed these guys attacking each other with Flour;
Youths celebrating breaking up from school by a good old flour fight

Just good to see this age old tradition of getting floured up and celebrating the end of the school year is still going strong in Tower Hamlets.

Floured up students Happy and posing

Not a care in the world it seems, God i can just about remember how that feels. No worries, especially as the summers about to truly start for these guys, and gals.

I tried to talk to them but they were so excited about the end of term, and before you know it I was bombarded with eggs from their mates across the road. Good old traditional fun, unadulterated, and with not a worry in sight. Good luck in the future, if any of you are reading.

Who was it who said that “youth is wasted on the young” couldn’t have been more wrong………these guys were not wasting any of it.

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Outside Interest in Lutfur

May 27, 2010
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Today I’ve noticed more coverage of what this blog revealed here first;

Private Eye Magazine reported on this “All in a Day’s Work” in their section on ‘Rotten Boroughs” pg 14 in this weeks issue. Its got ‘Fergie’ and the ‘Queen on the front cover.

Ted Jeory the former deputy editor of the East London Advertiser reported on this and actually gave praise to my meager efforts in his post ‘Moonlight Over Ali’ over at his new blog regarding Tower Hamlets – Trial By Jeory “Watching the World of East End Politics” over at

This weeks ‘Wharf’ magazine provided their piece in the form of a letter from a reader in their paper, but no online coverage. Finally the East London Advertiser put out online this; “FOI request reveals cash earnings ‘scandal’ of former top town hall manager”, but missed the mark in last weeks edition of their printed paper by only paying scant regard to what should have been a bigger piece IMO……

One good thing though is that Mr Peter Golds, Blackwall & Cubit Town Councillor who again IMO has been unjustly targeted for accusations of a witch hunt against Mr Ali, and should feel exonerated by recent events, has stated in Mr Jeorys blog that:

“This is beginning to appear a complete scandal.” He has demanded Mr Collins give an explanation.

The only thing i disagree with in the above qoute is that its not ‘beginning to appear a complete scandal’ but that it is a complete scandal already, and demand to know the truth of where the council stands on this issue. As highlighted by a previous FOI request to Tower Hamlets Council they refuse to be pushed on the questioning of Mr Ali hiding behind the Data Protection Act, when the National College relinquished this right.

Stop hiding behind the Data Protection Act when it comes to this odious little man, as residents demand to know how you’ve been spending their tax money. In the interest of fair, open democracy and full transparency which you love to state you work under, open up the books and if he’s guilty of fraud, prosecute the man.

Mr Ali when questioned on his time at the National College before he resigned and reported in Andrew Gilligans Blog at the Telegraph is quoted as saying;

“I cannot make a comment on that because I need to check out exactly what the college have said.”

The National College have spoken quite clearly now, in fact I’d say they were ‘f*&%£g’ screaming at the top of their lungs.

Posted in Lutfur Ali

Leonardo De Graffiti ‘Strikes Again’

May 27, 2010
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Another H&M advert at a bus-stop, this time (yesterday morning) just across the road from ‘St Anne’s Limehouse’ on the East India Dock Road.

Clear Channel guy at East India Dock Road Bus-stop with offending grafiti

Again I managed to be there when a ‘Clear Channel’ employee (this time a muslim employee) who was attempting to scrape off the offending grafiti. After finding out from him that it was another H&M advert, I asked him if he had an opinion on who might be behind it. He replied that he thought it was

“my lot”

(I’m assuming he meant muslim by this) and he further went on to state that

“I cant understand it, I dont see the point, its not as if its in my house or anything”

and that as a muslim he

“doesn’t take any notice of the advertisement, he doesn’t look at it”

ie; he averts his eyes.

We then had a short conversation where i expressed others concerns that these type of adverts could actually be a distraction to male drivers, actually leading to accidents, which he stated;

“he hadn’t thought of that before”.

I asked him about any other attacks, and he informed me that reports were coming in

“from all over”.

He did point out though that

“they had changed their form of attack”

by changing the substance used. This was not just simple paint that could easily be scraped off. This time it appeared to be

“some sort of tar-like ‘stuff’ that was extremely difficult to just scrape off”.

He went on to show me how difficult it was. I watched his failed attempts with the scraper, which only last friday, I’d watched his colleagues so easily scrape off with the same tool.
Closer picture of the tar-like substance covering the glass
I then picked at this substance myself, and realised that he was right, it was some form of tar or even melted plastic which had hardend. He informed me that he would have to call the

“emergency guys out, who had specialist tools….they’ve even got a steamer”

So basically it seems that whoever is attacking these adverts, seems to have realised that they are being removed quite quickly, and are now changing the substance, to something they feel is much more effective, and actually harder to remove. This doesn’t seem to be the work of people who are in it for a laugh, it seems to be from a dedicated group of individuals who obviously have some serious issues with these adverts. By yesterday afternoon the offending substance had been removed and the new advert was now sparkling clean.

Ian, who commented on my last post on this “More Painted Ladies” stated that he has

“seen two H&M bikini girls ads defaced in waltham forest, who is doing it, i think we know why.”

has confirmed and in the process probably corrected my earlier report of what the ‘Clear Channel’ guys told me last Friday that there were more in Waltham Abbey. They probably meant Waltham Forest as Ian has confirmed seeing, but then again who knows, this could be everywhere, spreading like the ‘Twelve Monkees’ graffiti…..

12 Monkeys Graffiti

As this seems to be an ongoing thing, I’ve now dedicated for the time being a category ‘Painted Ladies’ on the right-hand pane –>.
Just click on it and you will see all of the post dealing with this issue.

Watch out, watch out, Leonardo’s about…………

Posted in Painted Ladies

Poplar Harca – Unfit Landlord?

May 23, 2010
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First of all, what a gloriously beautiful day. Anyway, just thought i’d post this picture i took today walking along Burdett Road.

Hmmmm, wonder what thats all about?. If anyone knows please get in contact.

Posted in Poplar Harca

Official Council Repsonse regarding calls for Lutfur Ali Investigation

May 22, 2010
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Just recieved an email from a colleague. Who as a news researcher contacted the Council Press Office, and talked to one of the communications officers, regarding Mr Ali. The conversation they tell me was a simple one, simply asking “Is there an official council investigation into Mr Ali, especially since the new revelations have been produced by the National College?”

In the interests of full disclosure, and to be fair to everyone waiting with bated breath, here, now, finally is the official council response to this question;

“Lutfur Ali started his employment at Tower Hamlets Council on 1 September 2008 and resigned on 8th March 2010. We cannot discuss individual cases. The Council has clear performance standards and also a code of conduct which forms part of the employment contract for all employees.”

My own council sources though, stand by their claim that there is in fact no actual investigation into Mr Ali, never has been, and probably never will be.

I suppose now I’m going to have to figure out how to get a copy of the “clear perfomance standards and also the code of conduct which forms part of the employment contract for all employees.” I smell another FOI request coming on…..

Posted in Lutfur Ali

More Painted Ladies

May 21, 2010

Travelling down Burdett road today, I noticed another bus stop advert had been vandalised. The one nearest the corner of Mile End Road, on the south-bound side, behind the old Benjys/E1 Club. I went back to take some pictures and found some men from ‘Clear Channel’, the company who operate these advertising billboards, and who, by then had cleaned of the offending black paint:

Clear Channel Guys At Mile End Bus-Stop

This actual advertisement above is for the new Bollywood movie ‘Kites’ which was only released today 21 May 2010.

I talked to the two guys from Clear Channel asking them about the recent spate of vandalism. They informed me that in this week alone they have attended at least 6 cases personally for both the H&M adverts (which I’ve already blogged about here), and this advert for the movie. They went on to tell me that they know of at least a further 8 cases this week in ‘Waltham Abbey’.

They told me that they were then going to another case around the corner in Mile End road, so I followed them to take the photos below;

Guys Scraping Of Paint from Bus Stop Advert

As I was taking the photos, a guy pulled up on a bicycle, asking about the vandalism. Informing both the ‘Clear Channel’ guys and myself that he’d seen a lot of this, and thought it was something to do with the film. After being corrected by all three of us that it seemed to be a female thing. Meaning that the Bikini Clad women and the Kite advert had both been attacked. The ‘Clear Channel’ guys offered; “it seems to be every bare bit of flesh, that seems to get painted over”.
Bicycle guy then asked; “Do you think its a muslim thing then?”
A young asian guy at the bus-stop stepped in and stated, that; “No, I’m a muslim, and I’ve not heard anything from any of the/my brothers, maybe its the feminists”

Travelling on i noticed at the next bus-stop, that again another advert for the movie ‘Kite’ had been attacked:

Ladie walking by vandalised poster of the movie 'Kites'

So after phoning H&M during the week and talking to their press team, who announced “We wouldn’t want to comment on this”. I decided to also phone ‘Clear Channel’ who told me that the had become recently aware of a recent spate of vandalised attacked on some of their adverts showing women.

My next step is to phone the promoters of the movie ‘Kites’ to see if they have anything to say.

The case continues………..

Posted in Painted Ladies

Update on Lutfur Ali Investigation

May 20, 2010
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Indepedent researchers have confirmed today that Tower Hamlets Press office are still unwilling to comment on wether there is any investigaion into Mr Ali.

I ask you, what have they got to hide? If Mr Ali was breaking his contract by moonlighting at the National College then surely he should be prosecuted, and all payments and benefits should be rescinded and returned as quickly as possible. If Mr Ali was not breaking his contract and was allowed to work at the National College, then I ask you again, is this normal practice for over-paid council workers to only work 2 days a week?

So basically the story goes on, as of yet there is no comment from Tower Hamlets Council regarding any investigation into Mr Ali

Posted in Lutfur Ali

Planning Enforcement Team have no Real Power!

May 20, 2010
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The main reason i decided to start writing this blog, is that as a lifelong resident of the borough, I’ve recently become acutely aware of the number of developments being pushed through.

A recent addition to the boroughs list of developments is the one taking place at Blessed John Roache School in Upper North Street E14. Last years initial application for the demolition of the school, and the actual development of 535 residential units was withdrawn. I’m told by sources within the council that this was due to a petition by residents who vehemtly opposed this, and also the slight pressure provided by both our MP Mr Jim Fitzpatrick and also the local conservative candidates including the prospective Conservative MP Timothy Archer.

As these things go, and they usually follow a set formula, whenever there is any opposition the developers, usually then divide the actual development into its constituant parts, and re-submit each one individually.
In this case the developer Bellway wait until the Christmas period to submit just the Demolition order;

Planning Application Registration No;PA/09/02612

Which although was apparently submitted 1st December 2009, residents actually complain that some did not recieve these until during the Christmas period, most go on to state they never recieved them at all. Sources within the planning department admit that this is not really the correct way of doing things, by submitting during the Christmas period when most are busy with their families, and cannot be bothered to campaign by knocking on doors.

I’ve been keeping a watchfull eye on the Bellway development at Blessed John Roache for some time, and have noticed they seem to be putting in applications for parts of the development process, and before they are permitted, they have already carried them out.

The recent applications; PA/10/00448 and also PA/10/00570 are a case in point. Although both applications are for minor details in the development process, one being fences around the trees and the other regarding the hoarding around the site, both have already been started weeks ago. Then fencing around the trees has been up for at least a month, but was only granted permission last week. The hoarding to be fair, although not up yet, they have still made a start with some of the posts to hold up the fence, again weeks ago.

The site has already been used for months to store materials, as a contractors carpark, to store plant equipment, and as an office for employees on North East corner of the site in the old 6th Form Building. With complaints from tenants surrounding the site regarding the noise in the mornings from lorries to and from the site.
Yet the application for all of the above under the summary title of a Construction Compound was only put in recently under planning application;PA/10/00882

Our Council recieves one of the highest budgets in the country from central government, around £1 billion a year, and yet planning officers tell me today that these type of things are going on all of the time. That planning enforcement doesn’t have the resources to track down every complaint in time, that basically when it comes to enforcement their regulatory powers are basically meaningless…….

Hate Crime Figures for Tower Hamlets

May 17, 2010
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Another FOI request to the Council has revealed some disturbing statistics regarding acts of Hate Crime across the borough.

Not too sure of how we compare regarding other boroughs, but thought that these answers to a recent FOI request should be placed here for others to see, and make of them what you will.

Heres the original FOI request;

And the resulting Answers;

Hopefully these figures will reduce over the coming years, and we can all learn to get on that little bit better…….

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