Author Archives: Penny Creed

“It has been a busy year!” – Your Outgoing CTRA Committee’s Annual Report

At the Columbia Tenants and Residents Annual General Meeting on Monday 9 September 2019 the outgoing Committee delivered their report of the year.

In it the Chair, Kevin McKenna outlined the key areas the CTRA has focussed on this year:

1.Dealing with things that make living here more difficult:

  • ASB – trying to reduce the amount of drug dealing on local streets and the disruption this causes in our blocks
  • The new building on Baroness Road and the major works renovations to several of our blocks – Making sure resident’s concerns are listened to by THH, the council and the building contractors
  • Problems related to the market and local social establishments – Loud busking, outdoor drinking being too noisy late in the evening, into the night.
  • Filming on the estates – trying to reduce the problems caused by too much disruptive filming happening on our estates

2. Supporting things that make living here better

  • Estate improvements (“curtilage” works) – making sure that residents opinions on these are taken on board
  • Improving our green spaces with community gardening projects
  • Enabling community social events
  • Forming links with other community groups – so that we can have an even bigger impact

The Chair went on to say, “The CTRA covers nearly 1000 homes. The CTRA can only achieve the things you all ask of us through collective action. One neighbour volunteering an hour our two every month or so, all adds up to a huge potential contribution to the quality of life of everyone who lives in the area. Please continue to volunteer and please encourage more of your neighbours to come and be part of all we do.”

Vice Chair, Penny Creed commented that “It has been a busy year!”.

Read the full report here.

New Front Doors

The Columbia TRA has been hearing reports that some residents have been experiencing quality issues with new front doors installed by Tower Hamlets Homes and/or their contractors as part of major works programmes. So that we can gain a clear understanding of the scale issue we request that residents contact us with a short outline of any problems they have encountered with their new door. Email

Community managed gardens blooming

Columbia TRA have taken over the management of a number of flower beds from Tower Hamlets Homes in the last year and you may have noticed the difference in colour around our estates.

Beds around Sivill House, Chambord Street and George Loveless House have already benefited from the hard work of our volunteer community gardeners.

As we take on more beds, we will be looking for more residents to help plant and maintain them either on a regular or ad hoc basis. Email to register your interest.

Chambord Street. July 2019
Sivill House, July 2019

Mayor John Biggs highlights role Weavers community has played as police drug raids lead to 15 arrests

The Mayor has highlighted the role residents have played in providing information that led to officers storming 19 addresses in Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Havering and 15 arrests on suspicion of supplying class A drugs. The raids specifically targeted dealers who target the Weavers Ward.

Major John Biggs said: “Residents have worked with us to identify where people are peddling drugs, and their insight has delivered dividends.

“We will continue to use our collective powers to enforce against people dealing drugs and to keep our streets safe. This was another excellent result for the borough.”

DCI Mike Hamer, Tower Hamlets Crime, Gangs and Drugs lead, said: “The public can continue to play a very effective role in helping the police”.

Weavers Community Action Group representative Jonathan Moberly said: “This is a really positive step towards tackling a problem that adversely affects Weavers’ residents daily. It is great to see the police and community’s hard work is bearing fruit and we urge local residents affected by drug dealing on the streets to get in touch to find out how they can get involved”.

This story was reported in the East London Advertiser on 14 February 2019 and can be read in full here.  

Read our Winter Newsletter

CTRA’s latest newsletter is out now. Read news about our estates and about recent activity led by the CTRA Committee and other local residents such as:

  • Spring bulb planting on our estates
  • Recent work of the Weavers Community Action Group (WCAG) on drug-related antisocial behavour
  • New bike storage on our estates and how to rent a secure locker
  • Plans for our children and youth football training club
  • Major works and the Baroness Road Development and how the Committee can support you
  • Christmas on the CTRA Community Cart
  • A THH planned estates outdoor tidy up

To receive this and future newsletters to your inbox, sign up to our mailing list.

CTRA residents feature in BBC Inside Out film on drug-related ASB

Gareth Furby, BBC reporter and documentarian has spent time with CTRA residents and members of the Weavers Community Action Group (WCAG) to understand the impact of open drug dealing on our streets for a film piece on BBC’s Inside Out London (aired 14/01/19).

Filmed in late 2018, the piece shows footage of drug deals in progress and highlights work the WCAG has done to draw attention to the problem and organise crowd-sourced evidence gathering for police and other agencies. The film also shows what other Tower Hamlets residents in Wapping are doing to combat ASB in their area.

The film is available here to view in full.

BT InLinks to bar free calls in fight to curb drug dealing on our streets

In recent years, British Telecom and its affiliates have been replacing the traditional red phone boxes on our streets with InLink kiosks. These phone kiosks give users free short phone calls and several have been installed on Bethnal Green Road alone.  Sadly, however it has been obvious to local residents that drug users and dealers have been using these free calls to coordinate deals and drug drops. This has been backed up by police investigative work.

For some time, the Weavers Community Action Group (WCAG), local police and council have been campaigning for British Telecom to stop these free calls and this week we had some good news. InLink has confirmed that, following suggestions from the council and police, from December 6th 2018 it will no longer be possible to make free phone calls to mobile phones from all of the InLinks in Tower Hamlets.

Further information, including a quote from Cllr John Pierce and WCAG’s Jonathan Moberly about this can be found in an article by Engineering and Technology Magazine.

We see this as a positive step towards tackling the issue however, it should be noted that this is only a trial by BT and WCAG’s recent campaign to halt the plan to move the phone box from Hackney Road to Ravenscroft Street has so far been rejected.  There is still much to do.

Deck the CTRA Community Cart!

The CTRA Community Cart probably had its final outing of the year this week as volunteers from the Cart Steering Committee festooned it with tinsel and wheeled it down to Columbia Road for the first of this year’s Christmas Wednesdays.

Locals and passers-by were plied with hot mulled apple juice, mince pies and an opportunity to chat to residents as carol singers sang around the Christmas tree.

We’re starting to feel a little festive now!

The Cart Steering Committee is currently planning activities for Spring 2019 onward, if you would like to get involved by bringing ideas, DIY skills and/or perhaps support at some of our events, please do get in touch by emailing Jenny Dunn.