Tower Hamlets Watch

Did the council consult residents when selling off Car-Park?

September 14, 2010

A member of a campaign to save Roman Road Market, has let me know that at tommorow evenings Council Meeting at Mulberry Place at 7:30pm, residents will be asking the council a question regarding the selling off of the Safeway’s Carpark. They would like to know if the council consulted any residents of the area before selling off this much needed carpark for £150,000 so that over 200 flats could be built.

If readers know anymore, or would like to contribute please respond through the comments or email..

Local Homes Initiative Deemed A Failure

June 1, 2010
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The former leader of the Council Lutfur Rahman’s much lauded ‘Local Homes Initiative’ which promised a £20 million package designed to help an extra 500 families escape overcrowded conditions and place them in suitable accomadation has been deemed a failure by sources within the council.

At an average cost of £250,000 pound’s for each home, the council’s buy-back scheme set up in March 2009 as part of the ‘Local Homes Initiative’ has only so far bought back around 75 homes at a cost of £19.5 million over a year later. In February 2010, only 65 had been bought back, and at that time only 39 families had been rehoused, with former tenants still living within the properties bought and payed for by the council. How many of them now are still not being used correctly? Remember also that while these homes were being bought back that the council’s ‘Right to Buy’ scheme was still in full swing and going strongly

Senior staff are now trying their hardest to run damage-limitation in releasing the figures, as it comes to light that a fraction of those 500 families living in awful conditions and promised to be helped are indeed still living in overcrowded accomadation.

Whats confounding their efforts still, are the facts that in the past few months, perfectly fine 3 bedroom homes within Cotall Street, 97 council properties, have been demolished to make way for what seems to be a private development. Also the same £20 million pound figure was quoted last year by the council for saving Robin Hood Gardens with over 250 homes, which the council at that time argued that they didn’t have the money.

As part of the ‘Local Homes Initiative’ last year I also reported about the £8 million pound scandal in my post ‘Council sells 8 pieces of land to RSL for £8 pound’ regarding giving away our land at a £1 a pop to greedy RSL landlords

This scheme is an admittance by the council that the facts stand that most residents applying to the waiting list that now stands at over 20,000 people, are willing to wait for the security of tenure that exists in Council Tenancies above those offered by others. In one year it seems the council have wasted almost £20 million on buying back 70 odd properties, and at the same time have knocked down 100 perfectly suitable accomadation. Also deciding in the same year to demolish 250 homes, in its bid to cosy up to the private sector, selling our land, and homes from underneath us.

Official sources from the council are still unwilling to respond to requests for clarity, as they now seem to be chasing their own tails, none knowing what the other is doing.

The Local Homes Initiative is now giving away millions of pounds for homes sold for a pittance over 10 years ago, is also involved in selling our land for a £1 a time, whose initiating members have been in talks with the HCA in getting Grants for local RSL’s so they can build on this land grab. All for what?, all to make a small dent in our overbloated waiting list.

Our elected officials are now guilty overloading the already overburdened services and infrasture that already exists in this boruough. The council seems to think that in one of the nations most overpopulated boroughs, that in itself supports some of the worst deprivation statistics, and health consquences because of the density, that they can build another 43,000 homes, bringing in over 80,000 extra people without creating any lasting damage.

Confusion abounds in an authority where its Chief Executive is unwilling to officially respond to accusations of his Assistant ‘Lutfur Ali’ getting paid almost as much, if not more than our Prime Minister for only working two days a week. If the people of this borough, dont soon take notice of whats happening and do something about it, our entire area will be transformed, not for the better but for the worst……

Posted in Developments

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.

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…….