Friday, 25 July 2014

Demolition out of control at Linden Homes St Clements site?

This is a perfectly sound tree which has just been felled by people working on the Linden Homes St Clements Development.  The workforce on site at the moment are employed by Squibb Demolition Contractors.

The trees on the site are all protected by the fact that the site lies within the Cemetary Park Conservation Zone.
  • Consequently all tree lopping and felling is subject to a planning application to Tower Hamlets Council.  
  • The last planning application was PA/09/01069 which related to several trees on the site - but not this one. This planning application has been removed from the planning database.
Following the removal of the tree, an email was sent to the Planning Department and a response was received
Thank you for your email which has been forwarded on to our planning enforcement team to investigate.
A detailed letter has now been sent to Tower Hamlets Planning Department - and copied to the local councillors - with respect to the failure to enforce planning applications and conditions on this site.

This highlights how a number of actions have been taking place on the site IN ADVANCE OF THE PROPER DISCHARGE OF PLANNING CONDITIONS.  This includes consultation with all near neighbours and Mile End Residents Association.

The local Councillors for Mile End are Shah Alam (Tower Hamlets First); David Edgar (Labour)  and Rachael Saunders (Labour).

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Results of the Mile End Ward Elections 2014

The story of the election in the Mile End Ward in short is:
  • an awful lot of your turned out to vote - very nearly 50% of the people with votes actually voted. However this was down on the very nearly 60% of you who voted in 2010 (when there was a General Election).
  • the NEW Councillors for Mile End Ward are
    • Shah Alam (Tower Hamlets First) - who came top. He is a brand new Councillor.
    • David Edgar (Labour) - who is an existing Councillor but new to this ward because of the boundary changes. He previously represented Limehouse.
    • Rachael Saunders (Labour) - who just squeeked in 87 votes ahead of the next candidate. Rachael is currently the Deputy Leader of the Labour Group for Tower Hamlets Council.
  • Motin Uz-Zaman (Labour) lost votes and was not re-elected.
  • Conservative and Liberal candidates achieved fewer votes than in 2010
  • The two independent candidates came bottom of the poll.

In addition, Mayor Lutfur Rahman was re-elected with a majority of 3,252 votes - based on a turnout of very nearly 50%.

Results graph for first round Results graph for secondround

Voting Summary

The share of the first and second votes were as follows:
  • Lutfur Rahman - (1st) 43% (2nd) 12%
  • John Biggs - (1st) 33% (2nd) 88%
Details Number
Seats 1
Total votes 84234
Electorate 181871
Num. ballot papers issued 86540
Number of ballot papers rejected at the 1st count 2306
Turnout 47.58%

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Local Council Elections - details of Mile End Ward candidates

Today there are three elections taking place. Below you can find the Notice of Poll for the election of Borough Coucillors for the Mile End ward.

It details the candidates who are eligible to be elected as one of the Councillors who will represent the residents of the Mile End Ward on Tower Hamlets Council.  You can see the names of candidates, where they live, which parties they represent and who proposed them as candidates for election.

The Poll opens at 7.00 am in the morning and closes at 10.00pm in the evening.

The name and location of your Polling Station can be found on your Poll card - and all the stations are also listed at the end of the Notice of Poll below

Click the links below to find out about the two other elections taking place tomorrow.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

'Skull Cracker' Michael Wheatley arrested outside Eastend Homes Offices in Mile End

A number of local residents might have wondered why we had a helicopter hovering over the area for so long on Wednesday afternoon.

The Police and the BBC have provided the answer (click the link to view the video) - and some of those living in Ennerdale House might recognise the view!

'Skull Cracker' Michael Wheatley was apprehended by the Metropolitan Police on Wednesday afternoon at the corner of Hamlets Way and Southern Grove - right outside the entrance to the Eastend Homes offices. This is also opposite the entrance to Tower Hamlets Cemetery ( top left in the video) and the school (latter not in the video).

It just goes to show that when we're notified that a escaped prisoner is on the run that they can turn up anywhere - including very near to your front door!

Incidentally, when a helicopter hovers overhead for a long time, it's generally the Police following somebody who has absconded or who they are trying to catch. The helicopter then directs police on the ground. As we all know the really fun ones (not!) are at night when the fugitive goes to ground in the cemetery and they have to get out the heat seeking technology!

Friday, 20 December 2013

Gridlock in Bow - Blackwall Northern Approach Road closed

If you have been wondering wondered why we have been experiencing total gridlock in recent days, the answer is the A12 is closed southbound at Bow Flyover and A102 Blackwall Northern Approach Road to the Blackwall Tunnel is also closed due to emergency repairs by Thames Water.


As a result all the traffic which normally travels via the Blackwall Northern Approach has been rerouted via Mile End Road and Burdett Road. So we have gridlock and crawling traffic.

This is the official announcement from Transport for London - who finally got round to telling us all what is happening!
A102 (E14)
[A12] Blackwall Tunnel Northern Approach (Southbound) at the junction of Abbott Road. The A12 is closed southbound at the Bow Interchange due to emergency roadworks. The southbound exit from the Bow Roundabout is for access to the shopping centre and industrial estate ONLY, there is NO access to the A12 Blackwall Tunnel Northern Approach.

The diversion route is from the A12 Bow Flyover: Westbound onto the A11 Bow Road: Southbound onto the A1205 Burdett Rd: Eastbound onto the A13 East India Dock Road to the junction with the Blackwall Tunnel Northern Approach.

2013-12-20 (19:06) : Traffic is queuing southbound on the A12 with tailbacks to Tredegar Road. Traffic has eased on diversion, traffic on the A11/ A13 is normal for the time of day. The A1205 Burdett Road is moving well with slightly higher levels of traffic on diversion and the A406 southbound towards Beckton is also returning to normal for the time of day. Expect delays.
The announcement fails to note that the tailbacks from the roundabout to Tredegar Road have been in place since mid-afternoon!

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

St Clement's Hospital Site - Tower Hamlets Council considers planning application 11 December 2013

Councillors will consider the report on the planning application
At the meeting of the Council’s Development Committee
On Wednesday 11th December
In The Council Chamber
At Town Hall, Mulberry Place, 5 Clove Crescent, London E14 2BQ
The meeting is open to the public

MERA will be representing the views of local residents as one of the two people selected to speak on the application at committee
The meeting starts at 7pm and finishes when all business is done or 11pm
However The report on this planning application is the last one of the agenda and
consideration may not start until as late as 10pm
The MERA Brokesley Street Representative will be there from 8.30pm

Concerns about the impact on local residents living in Brokesley Street with respect to:
·      Noise from 4 years of construction in particular late night deliveries to the site and impact on children’s sleep
·      Overshadowing and loss of light due to building new units up to the boundary wall separating Brokesley Street homes from the hospital site. Omission of Brokesley Street housing from lighting assessment
·      Adequacy of local school provision to meet demand from people coming to live in the new housing
·      Impact of construction traffic on safety of entry/exit from Brokesley Street

AND OFFICERS REPORT  pages 165 – 212 of the publicreports pack


Below you can read the summary of our detailed response which was submitted in August

Overall conclusions

In general, we are broadly supportive of the proposed development. 

·       It’s very important to increase the amount of affordable social housing in the borough

·       It’s important to integrate social housing with opportunities for shared ownership and private accommodation to promote better communities

·       We welcome new initiatives involving the Land Trust and the Ricardo Trust and see these both as positive new initiatives.  We trust they will grow and develop to fulfil their aspirations.

·       We very much endorse the use of the building fronting onto Mile End Road as a suitable place for community focused activities.

·       We agree it’s very important to preserve the character of our local heritage – particularly that within a recognised and existing Conservation Area. 

However we remain concerned about a number of aspects of the planning application.  Some of these can be dealt with under delegated powers as part of the Construction Management Delivery Plan. 

Others need a clear steer from the Committee as to what is and is not acceptable in relation to assessing

·       The impact of the construction contract on local residents

·       The assessment of the impact of the development given some serious omissions of data and serious misunderstandings about the nature of the neighbouring properties

Clearly, it’s inappropriate to build new quality homes while having a serious impact on the quality standards of recently built new homes and other neighbouring properties.

Our concerns – in summary

Matters that concern us about the planning application for the proposed development on the St Clements Hospital site include:
·       Noise control:  It’s expected this project will be on site for up to 4 years. We are now much more aware than we used to be about how intrusive and wearing noise can be when experienced on a daily basis over a period of years. It’s vital to the wellbeing of the community to ensure that the disruption to amenity and people’s quiet enjoyment of their homes is minimised during the construction process.  We’re not yet convinced that the developer has thought through how this can be as considerate a construction process as is possible.
·       Site traffic management and site deliveries:  In our view it completely inappropriate and insensitive to ask for an extension in normal working hours for site deliveries.  Some 30+ children live in Brokesley Street and the proposals means intrusive levels of noise when parents should be able to reasonably expect that they can get their children to bed and to sleep. There is no option appraisal presented the planning application with respect to alternatives and it’s clear other alternatives have either not been examined or need to be revisited.
·       Overshadowing and impact on natural light and sunlight levels
o   There are very serious inaccuracies and omissions in the data used in the report with respect to the lighting assessment. It excludes both residential units and back gardens which will be seriously affected by the development.
o   Adding height and building up to the boundary wall has considerable implications for light. Overshadowing has an impact on the wellbeing of families and their ability to provide fresh vegetables for their families
o   The development also appears to place more priority on retaining a low level building of extremely limited heritage value over the needs and wellbeing of existing local residents. 
·       Opening up the site – and use of gates: we need to recognise that this development proposes a change of use from long-term incarceration to habitation.  It’s imperative that this site is also opened up to promote integration with the rest of the local area. The use of gates in this context is inappropriate and we would like to see the gates only retained as heritage features rather than as ways to create a boundary around the site.  We’d also like to see more reduction in the height of the boundary wall next to the British Street estate and Hamlets Way.
·       Design and usage of the buildings at the front (John Denham Building and Bungalow): We think this aspect needs to be looked at again so that it better supports the objectives of the core strategy for this area.
·       Adequacy of local school provision:  We’re concerned that the development may aggravate the existing deficit in provision of local primary school places for local children who are currently being schooled all over the borough.  We can find nothing in the application that identifies the impact on demand for local schools and we can see nothing from Education that identifies scope to meet demand.  The failure to make a connection between creating homes for families and checking to see whether local infrastructure can meet the demand it creates is irresponsible.


Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Seasonal Recycling: what to do with Christmas trees & extra waste

We produce around 30% more waste over the festive period.

A great deal of this is food, along with an estimated 83 km2 of wrapping paper, 13000 tonnes of glass and 250 tonnes of Christmas trees.

However, this can be reduced, reused and recycled to help you save money. Here are a few handy tips:
  • Wrapping paper is great to use for streak-free window cleaning, origami, or shredded up as protective packaging.
  • Cards can be reused as gift tags, tree decorations or craft projects.
  • Christmas tree needles can be used as pot pourri, to stuff pin cushions - or can even be used in cooking
Changes to collections over the Christmas and New Year period

There will be changes to the collection days over the Christmas and New Year period. Collections of household waste, recycling, food and garden waste will be affected.

Normal collection dayRevised collection day
Monday, 24 DecemberNo change
Tueday, 25 DecemberThursday, 27 December
Wednesday, 26 DecemberFriday, 28 December
Thursday, 27 DecemberSaturday, 29 December
Friday, 28 DecemberSunday, 30 December
Monday, 31 DecemberNo change
Tuesday, 1 JanuaryWednesday, 2 January
Wednesday, 2 JanuaryThursday, 3 January
Thursday, 3 JnauaryFriday, 4 January
Friday 4 JanuarySaturday, 5 January

Collections return to normal during the week commencing 7 January 2013.
The Council also offer FREE ChristmasTree Collections from 7 January up until 25 January for trees to start a new life as compost.

Recycling reduces landfill disposal costs

Taxpayers in Tower Hamlets pay over £1,000,000 per year landfilling waste that could have been recycled.

Two examples of what NOT to include in the pink bags/purple bins

Aluminium foil
  • Foil such as pie cases, milk bottle tops or kitchen foil is a lower quality to aluminium cans
  • it reduces the quality of recycled aluminium if it is processed with the cans 
  • Polystyrene is a very low quality type of plastic. 
  • This makes it difficult to recycle and there are very few recycling plants that can accept it for recycling.

All of the following materials can be recycled in the pink sacks and purple recycling bins:
  • Glass bottles and jars (all colours)
  • Food and drink cans
  • Plastic tubs, pots and bottles (e.g. drink bottles, shampoo bottles, yoghurt pots and fruit punnets)
  • Cardboard (e.g. brown boxes, greeting cards and cereal boxes)
  • Paper (e.g. newspapers and magazines, printer paper, envelopes, and telephone directories)
  • Cartons (e.g. fruit juice, dairy and soup cartons)
  • Empty aerosol canisters
Please rinse out containers

MERA visited the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) in Southwark last week. It was an eye opener!  A number of sophisticated machines sort materials into paper, plastic, juice cartons, cans, glass etc.

But the amount of contamination was shocking!

So please follow the simple guidelines above as to what can go into the pink sacks and purple bins - and spare a thought for the people who are manually sorting through all our stuff!

Link to short films of the sorting process.

Any doubts or questions please get in touch.

You can also find links to information about Tower Hamlets Waste Management and Recycling in the side column

Thursday, 29 November 2012

St Clement's Hospital - Community Planning Events

All members of MERA should have had an email from MERA and/or a flyer from  East London Community Land Trust the about the St. Clement's Hospital Planning Events this week - but just in case you've mislaid the email here's a reminder.

These detail information about the Community Planning Workshops on:
  • Thursday 29 November (daytime and evening) and 
  • Saturday 1st December.
DOWNLOAD a copy.

Here's the content of the MERA Newslatter

St Clements events this week, Thursday and Saturday

St Clements on Mile End Road is due for development…

Yeah and what’s new about that? We have developments on every street corner!!!!

Well, the difference is that part of the development will be a Community Land Trust - which in essence means there will betruly affordable homes for sale - and resident involvement. And who can resist that?

There is a lot going on at the moment in the pre-pre stages of the development - and this Thursday and Saturday residents are invited to get directly involved at two community planning events - if you aren’t already?! (Mark and I have been involved the last couple of years and got elected for the East London Community Land Trust board in August).

The events will be held on the main road 2 minutes away from St Clements and there will be tours of the site as well.

Thursday 29 November 
  • 10am - 3pm 
  • AND 6:30pm - 8pm
Saturday 1 December 2012 10am - 4pm
AT: Bow Road Methodist Church, 
1 Merchant Street, London E3 4LY Map 

Read on - invitation message from the ELCLT:
"You are invited to the St Clement's Hospital Community Planning Workshops and Exhibition to help plan a new vision for the future of the site and its relationship to the neighbouring areas.Last year, the Mayor of London decided to establish London's first ever Community Land Trust (CLT) on the St Clement's Hospital site. Appointed developers, Galliford Try, and their architects, John Thompson & Partners (JTP), are now working closely with East London CLT to fully integrate the local community's previous design ideas from workshops held last year. As part of this, a series of further workshops will be held over two days, through which local people can help co-create a new vision for the site.

What to expect at the Community Planning Workshops:

You will have the opportunity to view an exhibition on the background to the regeneration of St Clement's and take part in workshops, walkabouts and hands-on planning groups to consider key issues such as landscape design, sustainability, connectivity and interim uses. This event is an opportunity to share local knowledge and ideas and contribute to the emerging vision for the site. Pop in for a short while, a few hours or stay for the entire time if you can. Team members will be on hand to explain what's happening."

ELA 22 November 2012
Click here for the leaflet 

 It has gone to all, or most, households in the area surrounding St Clements

Press from last week’s launch 

CLICK For a bigger version (East London Advertiser 22 November 2012)

KEEP UPDATED: Subscribe to MERA - Mile End Residents Association Blog by Email

Sunday, 5 August 2012

The war on terror and sandwiches in Victoria Park

If you've visited the BT London Live event in Victoria Park you may be aware that the event has been a less than happy happening for some people - primarily because of the approach to security.

The security entrance to Victoria Park

Now we know where all the missing crowd barriers at Mile End went! (see BT London Live @Victoria Park - Crowd Management at Mile End)

Note that there's more security people than people trying to enter? The only night they've had a lot attend was the Opening Ceremony when 15,000 attended.
Many who bought tickets in advance felt like they wasted money - as there's no need to queue most of the time and not a lot of people are attending.  Numbers this last week have been way down on what was projected.

You may have noticed the huge amount of empty space in the park in the video that went viral of the Mayor stuck on the zip wire.  At least the event has gone viral around the world as a result!

Warnings on the way out only?

It's possible Boris missed this one - we did!

This warning (see below) was on the way out only.  That means that if you enter they can photograph and film you and then display it for all time - but they won't tell you so before you enter!

A Warning Notice - which was seen for the first time on the way out of the event!

No food and drink allowed in Victoria Park (which is cNOT as per Olympic Regs.)

Unlike the Community Big Screens whhich BT are sponsoring elsewhere in London - where people are encouraged to bring picnics with them - the Live Nation Event in Victoria Park refuses to allow ANY food beyond the security check

They make everyone including small children go through airport style security including a hand-held metal detector search and a bag x-ray.

They refuse to allow any food and drink into the venue
The email I received after complaining to live nation about the no food rule said if I wanted to bring food due to allergies I would need to produce a doctors note! Absolute madness.
Here's a list of things which security have so far forced people to dump
  • drinks bottles
  • picnics
  • sandwiches
  • bags of crisps
  • one apple 
Just been turned away from Victoria Park because of a child's scooter though there is nothing about scooters on the website. Can't you at least have a tent or somewhere to leave them in? Scooters are tricky to lock up and it's a long walk for a 5 year old without one. Was all set to spend money inside - and it was looking pretty empty in there - so seems a commercial error too.
They say this is because what the regulation say.

However they don't seem to have read exactly what the OFFICIAL PROHIBITED AND RESTRICTED ITEMS RE OLYMPIC VENUES actually says.

The only conclusion we can come to is that the prohibition in food and drink is entirely about making money off people - including all those who may be trying to exist on a very limited budget.

If the Council knew this before it happened they should be ashamed of themselves!  Check out the prices.
Only options were burgers, noodles, ice-cream,fizzy drinks, coffee or sweets. No fruit, no salad, no juice.

Typical prices being charged are:
  • "London 2012" branded drink bottles - £7 each
  • coke/sprite/fanta/water for £2-£3 each
  • Jug of cocktails £30 (suspected to be fruit juice)
  • Pint of Lager £4.20
  • Cadburys branded ice creams only £3 each
  • Junk food (people are complaining about the lack of healthy options) eg 
    • £4 for a burger 
    • £3 for not a lot of chips - some being branded inedible
We knew the rules, but the variety and quality of food & drink is shocking.
Plus there's a consensus that some of the food being served is inedible - note what gets dumped around the park!

For more details and comments see

We trust that Tower Hamlets Council's Environmental Health are checking the quality of the food and drink as well as the noise.

If you're going to BT London Live at Victoria Park

Here's our RECOMMENDATIONS if you're planning on attending this event next week.
  2. If you don't make sure you bring lots of money with you for the expensive food and drink inside the event. 
  3. Print out and take with you this list of what's NOT allowed in Olympic venues - Prohibited Items (pdf file).  The only item relating to food is "excessive food" - and that's not the same as all food.  If somebody asks you to dump food ask to see the regulations which says no food is allowed in - and then whip out your copy of the official regulations!  Note that ALL the Olympic Venues allow people to take food in.  If they refuse it's absolutely nothing to do with security and is everything to do with extracting money from your wallet.
  4. When reading the Facebook Page remember that it relates to both the Hyde Park and the Victoria Park site:
    • all the crowd photos relate to Hyde Park - the only images of Victoria Park have involved lots of grass and not a lot of people
    • people seem to have been enjoying themselves more at Hyde Park
  5. There is nothing to say that non-breakable containers of 500ml or bigger are not allowed (as per the official restrictions)
  6. You are not allowed to bring in - as per the OFFICIAL prohibitions and restrictioms. 
    • Glass bottles larger than 100ml
    • More than 100ml in liquids
    • excessive amounts of food
Alternative Sites

This weekend there's The Games on a Big Screen in Langdon Park - a free family event delivered by housing and regeneration community association Poplar HARCA

Lewisham Council have a 7.6m x 4.8m screen positioned on a Lewisham Live Big Screen on the heath at Blackheath for local residents and visitors. It's being run by the Council and you can bring your own food - in fact they encourage you to do so. There's also a number of alternative cafes, restaurants, bars and shops in Blackheath Village.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

BT London Live @Victoria Park - Crowd Management at Mile End

Mile End Road 28 July 2012 1:26amMile End Road 28 July 2012 1:26amJunction of Southern Grove & Mile End Road  28 July 2012 1:27amNo Crowd Barriers: People walking in Mile End Road outside Mile End Tube 1:37am 28 July 2012No Crowd Barriers: People walking in Mile End Road outside Mile End Tube 1:37am 28 July 2012No Crowd Barriers: crossing road outside Mile End Tube Station
Police outnumbered Crowd marshallsMile End Tube Station - barrier gates across to control entry

These were the scenes outside Mile End Tube Station early this morning - with queues of people waiting for tubes all the way up past Southern Grove last night between 1.30am and 2.00am

Crowds exiting the BT London Live event in Victoria Park arrived at Mile End about 1am in the morning.

Gates were used by TfL staff to control entry into the tube station. People were let through when the platforms and trains could accommodate them. MERA were very pleased to see the efforts employed by TfL staff to prevent overcrowding in the station and on the platforms.

However the Crowd Management Plan had broken down.
  • There was a major lack of crowd barriers which was causing concern for the Police.
  • The crowd marshals were having to substitute for the missing crowd barriers on the north side of Mile End Road.
  • People were walking amongst the heavy traffic on Mile End Road.
No Crowd Barriers: People walking in Mile End Road outside Mile End Tube 1:37am 28 July 2012
No Crowd Barriers: People walking in Mile End Road
outside Mile End Tube 1:37am 28 July 2012

  • People trying to get on a tube were having to queue all the way past the flats in Buttermere House up to Southern Grove and beyond. While well behaved the crowd was noisy for people trying to sleep.
Junction of Southern Grove & Mile End Road  28 July 2012 1:27am
Junction of Southern Grove & Mile End Road  28 July 2012 1:27am
The queue of people waiting to get on tubes at Mile End Tube Station
extended from the station all the way back to Southern Grove and beyond.
A queue several people deep was lined up outside the flats
- and people trying to sleep - in Butternere House

The crowds had cleared by 1.45am. This is not unacceptable for a one-off event. It is totally unacceptable if it is to happen night after night for 17 nights.

There is to be a review of how well crowd management worked this morning.

While the crowd was well behaved, it struck us that the crowd management plan took no account whatsoever of the needs of people sleeping in local flats - particularly given the scope to queue people past commercial buildings with no people sleeping.

We will be sending local Councillors and the Cllr Golds who chaired the Licensing Sub-Committee a link to this post and the photographs on Flickr.


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