Author Archives: Penny Creed

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 has set up a dedicated Covid-19 Response WhatsApp Group as a point co-ordination of support for vulnerable residents. This is not a group for sharing advice or news about Coronavirus. It is about how we as a local community play our part in helping to support everyone around here and keep our community strong. If you want to help with some of this voluntary work, please request to join via our other community groups or email info@columbiatra.org.uk with your name and mobile telephone number.

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.

CTRA to plant 135 Trees on Columbia Estates – Volunteers Needed

The CTRA has taken delivery of 135 trees donated to us by the Woodland Trust. The sapling varieties have been specifically chosen to encourage wildlife and will of course grow to improve our air quality, absorb sound and improve the look of our estates.

Species include: hawthorn, rowan, blackthorn, silver birch, hazel, common oak, dog rose, hazel, crab apple and dogwood.

We now face a race against time to get them into the ground. The plan is to plant the majority of trees outside George Loveless House on the Dorset Estate and on the corner of Hackney Road and Columbia Road. Others will be placed around the estates.

We need strong volunteers to help us plant these trees that will improve our estates. Email gardening@columbiatra-org-uk to get involved. Planting will start this weekend on Saturday 17 November 2019.

Tackling Drug-Related ASB – A Community Art Approach

A year ago today, Weavers Community Action Group (WCAG) commissioned street art by the Columbia Road Cartel. It appeared on the streets around Columbia Road E2 where open drug dealing had escalated to unprecedented levels

The street art was the local community’s answer to what had been a lacklustre response by local agencies to an issue that was affecting daily lives. Fast cars driven by drug dealers were putting pedestrians at risk and residents felt intimidated by users congregating in numbers on local streets. Petty crime was increasing.

To the WCAG’s surprise the artwork received widespread media attention with coverage in local, national and even international press and broadcast media outlets. Members of the WCAG were invited to appear on local radio, London news programmes and national programmes such as The One Show, Inside Out London and BBC Politics Live.

Highlighting the issue brought agencies and local residents together and a great deal of work followed:

  • Members of WCAG joined the local Safer Neighbourhood Panel and were elected as vice-chairs
  • The WCAG was invited to meetings with local Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs and senior police officers to discuss the issue
  • The London Borough of Tower Hamlets’ Neighbourhood Management Pilot, launched in April 2017, planned their approach in part consultation with WCAG
  • The WCAG visited the local CCTV office and identified ways to streamline reporting of drug dealing so that it could be captured on local cameras and agencies could be dispatched to the scene more quickly
  • The local council worked with the WCAG to put a case forward to BT to remove the free mobile call feature in local InLink boxes that were being used to arrange drug deals locally
  • A police operation, supported by WCAG’s co-ordinated local reporting resulted in over 100 arrests. Impact statements by WCAG members were used to inform resulting sentencing
  • WCAG members met with residents’ groups from other parts of the Borough and housing associations to share best practice

One year later, thanks to the subsequent response of local agencies and hard work of the WCAG the situation in Columbia Road has greatly improved. Incidents of drug dealing on our streets have fallen. Of course it is not ruled out that street dealing has moved to another location and living so close to Shoreditch and its growing night time economy brings new ASB challenges. The WCAG continues to work with agencies to monitor drug dealing on our streets and reduce the incidents and effects of anti-social behaviour on our community.  

__________________________________________________________________________
The Weavers Community Action Group (WCAG) is made up of local residents, representatives of residents’ groups and business owners living and working in the Weavers Ward who are concerned with the escalating problem of drug dealing, use and drug-related anti-social behaviour on our streets and in or near our homes. As this is an important issue for local residents, the CTRA has taken an active role within the WCAG since its creation in April 2018.