CTRA Statement on Government Plans to Re-Open Outdoor Markets from 1 June 2020

Columbia Road Flower Market sits at the centre of our community. It is a colourful, vibrant London market and we are lucky to have it on our doorstep. The fact that the Covid-19 lockdown, quite rightly, closed the market for so long jeopardising the livelihoods of the traders, some of whom have owned pitches for generations, has been a great cause for concern locally.

The Government’s announcement on Sunday 25 May 2020 that outdoor markets can start to re-open from 1 June 2020 means that Columbia Road Flower Market may re-open from Sunday 7 June 2020. Given how busy and tightly packed the market can be on a usual Sunday, we urge the Council and traders to work together to find a safe solution that allows and enforces social distancing to safeguard local residents, visitors and traders alike. If no safe solution can be found then, sadly, we would prefer to see the market stay closed for now.

We await to hear plans for this reopening from representatives of London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

Online Local Planning Committee Meetings

With the announcement that, in light of Covid-19, planning decision meetings will move online a group of interested stakeholder organisations, namely Just Space, CPRE London, Friends of the Earth and London Forum of Amenity and Civic Societies have made a joint statement to highlight the potential risks virtual meetings and closed committees could have on the community’s role in the planning process.

Their review found that Councils are interpreting the new rules in very different ways and that while some are moving their meetings online others are making major planning decisions behind closed doors. They have gone on to call on the Secretary of State and Local Planning Authorities to safeguard the role of local communities in the planning process by asking them to respect six key principles. You can read their entire statement and these six key principals here.

Following this statement and given that we have some important decisions coming up locally, the hotel on Hackney Road for example, Columbia TRA has put it’s name to an email sent by local representative of the Just Space network Lucy Rogers to the Tower Hamlets Planning Committee asking that they respect nine key principles for virtual committees. The full email can be found below. We await a response to this email.

Virtual planning meetings for Tower Hamlets will start on 21 May 2020. Columbia TRA urges residents to attend these virtual meetings from the comfort of their own homes to strengthen local democracy in local planning issues.

Details of this first meeting can be found here the meeting can be accessed here.

🌈 CTRA CHILDREN’S ART COMPETITION 🌈

You may have noticed that some lovely new notice boards have appeared on our estates. They have been installed at our request and, while we are in lock down and not posting information on meetings, we want to use them to brighten up our estates and thank our key workers. So, and for the time being, we would like to fill the notice boards with rainbows and messages of support.

All kids (under 16s) living on our estates are welcome to enter. All they must do is draw, colour, stick, craft a poster (no bigger than A3) that includes a rainbow and a message to residents and/or key workers. Parents/guardians can then take a photo of the poster and email it to vicechair@columbiatra.org.uk by no later than Sunday 3 May 2020 ***DEADLINE EXTENDED UNTIL THURSDAY 7 MAY 2020*** . The email should include the artist’s name and age and an address of where the poster could be collected from.

The best posters will be collected and placed in our notice boards and the best three, as judged by the CTRA Committee will receive a small crafty prize. 

Advice on Covid-19

The NHS website and 111 service is the best place to get up to date information on Covid-19. Their dedicated pages include information on symptoms, self-isolation / containment and treatments – https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Advice on Covid-19 in other languages can be found here.

Tower Hamlets Homes has the following advice for residents on their dedicated information page:
“If you are self-isolating because of suspected Coronavirus please send us a DM on Twitter or call us on 020 7364 5015 so that we can take appropriate measures in the event that we need to visit your home.”

It is important that, as a community we support neighbours who need to self-isolate. Please consider checking on and offering to shop for older neighbours or those who have underlying health conditions who can’t get out.  Don’t forget to avoid close contact if interacting with those who are vulnerable to the virus.

The CTRA is working with other community groups across the Weavers Ward to provide a community volunteer-led Mutual Aid Service to bring essential items to people self-isolating. Further details can be found here – http://www.columbiatra.org.uk/mutual-aid/

The group has also compiled a list of resources for people to reference during the pandemic. This includes a list of government support lines, emergency support for vulnerable residents, online children’s activities and a list of local businesses providing delivery services –
https://weaverswardcovid.org/resources

A local community group has set up a Facebook Group for Tower Hamlets residents looking to help each other out during the Covid-19/corona virus pandemic. It is not a medical advice group. They will be looking to help people access food, complete errands etc – particularly those who are elderly, disabled and/or immunocompromised

Other agency Covid-19 information pages: Tower Hamlets Council | UK Government | Universal Credit | Government Business Support

Fed Up with Seeing Sights Like These?

We are!

We’re fed up with seeing piles of rubbish left on our estates. We’ve heard anecdotal evidence that some of these deposits are coming from non-residents, some tips may even be related to organised crime. Yet it costs residents £140 for every pick up arranged by Tower Hamlets Homes.

We would like to see Tower Hamlets Homes and the London Borough of Tower Hamlets make a concerted effort to tackle the route cause of these daily dumps. To encourage that we have started tweeting photographs of these daily dumps to THH and LBTH using the hashtag #FlyTipofTheDay. You can do your bit by:

  1. Reporting any fly tips you see directly using the Tower Hamlets Council Love your Neighbourhood app.
  2. Taking a photo on your phone and sharing it on our Residents WhatsApp Group, so we can create a picture of where the key fly-tipping spots are and how often dumping occurs. It also lets us keep track of how quickly the council takes away the rubbish.
  3. Retweeting our #FlyTipofTheDay tweets to hammer home our message

Waste management is being taken “in house” by the council in April. It will no longer be outsourced to Veolia, so that creates an opportunity for the CTRA and residents to put pressure on the Council for a better bulk rubbish and pavement cleaning service.

The Bishopsgate Planning Application – Have Your Say

Whatever the future of the Bishopsgate Goodsyard site, it will have a profound affect on our estates. A revised planning application is in with London Assembly and we urge you to respond.

The Weavers Community Action Group has summarized the application in the document below and included ways to respond. Further information can be found on our campaigns and consultations page.

Jonathan Moberly and Weavers Community Action Group Recognized at Tower Hamlets Homes Annual Community Partnership Awards

The amazing efforts of Jonathan Moberly and the Weavers Community Action Group (WCAG) were recognised at the Tower Hamlets Homes’ OutStanding Contribution to the Community Awards (OSCCAs) last night.

Jonathan Moberly, CTRA Secretary and founder of the WCAG was awarded the Community Champion award for bringing the community together to campaign against drug-related antisocial behaviour in Weavers Ward. While The Weavers Community Action Group were finalists in the Community Safety Award category.

Jonathan and the WCAG’s work to tackle issues associated with escalating drug-dealing and drug use in the area are well documented. The CTRA Committee is delighted that this hard work has been acknowledged with this award.

Residents Call for Objections as Tower Hamlets Homes Major Works Threaten Lubetkin’s Vision for Sivill House

Tower Hamlets Homes plans to replace windows in Lubetkin’s famous Sivill House threaten to “destroy the integrity of the composition” says leading architectural authority on Lubetkin’s work John Allan, The Twentieth Century Society and residents of the block.

The landlord’s submitted proposals for the new windows include raising the ‘transom’ (the horizontal aluminium bar that divides the bottom pane and upper windows) by 30cm/12 inches. They claim, this is to improve the safety of the building. However residents claim window’s safety has never been an issue in its 53 year history and their suggestions for child-safe window locks were rejected by Tower Hamlets Homes.

On the proposed changes, Allan said “…The original window frame proportions – as with all else in Lubetkin’s designs – were very carefully considered, such that the transoms very deliberately align with the balcony rails across the façade….”

“…Raising the height of these transoms will violate this relationship and result in a disturbing discordance, throwing the whole elevation into disarray…to alter this ‘dialogue’ would be to fundamentally destroy the integrity of the composition…”

“…It should be recognised that Sivill House is unique in Lubetkin’s oeuvre…and this refurbishment project should be approached with exactly the same degree of conscientiousness as would be expected in the conservation of any other designated heritage asset…”

“If Building Control have any safety concerns…they should be addressed by other means internally…rather than by any alteration to the essential geometry of the exterior façade.”

Sivill House Residents and the CTRA are calling on local residents to object to the plans in order preserve Lubetkin’s legacy of which they are very proud. The deadline for objections is 14 November 2019.

***UPDATE*** – THE DEADLINE FOR THE PLANNING CONSULTATION HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO 25 NOVEMBER 2019.

Gascoigne Greening Project – Have Your Say

In 2014 Green Dreams Landscape Architects produced a master plan for Gascoigne Estate after extensive consultation with residents. Now the funding has been approved, Green Dreams have been appointed to deliver the project to make Gascoigne Estate a greener and more pedestrian friendly space.

The CTRA strongly supports this initiative and is happy to support the Gascoigne Neighbourhood Association with their project.

Please look at the proposed plans and images available and complete the survey so the Gascoigne Neighbourhood Association can make sure the plans reflect resident’s wishes.