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.
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 email@example.com 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
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 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
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:
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.
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 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.
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
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.
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.
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.