Over 60 residents from all corners of Mile End East Ward turned up at the East London Tabernacle Baptist Church on Tuesday 4th May to put questions to local council candidates on topics ranging from housing to crime and anti-social behaviour.
These were the questions which were asked
- Relationship between Councillors and RSLs: There are councillors currently sitting on the boards of East End Homes and other Registered Social Landlords. If elected, will you sit on the board of an RSL? If so, how will you balance the Registered Social Landlord’s requirement to have a board that works on behalf of the RSL against your commitment to be representing local residents? How will you address any conflicts of interest between the RSL and local residents - for example in relation to the increasing financial demands placed on leaseholders?
- Developments in Mile End East: Large developments are planned in the next five years for the Eric and Treby Estate, Southern Grove and the St Clements Hospital Site. What do you intend to do to stop Mile End East becoming an overcrowded ward with lots of infill developments and tower blocks?
- Primary Schools: At the moment, children under 11 living in Mile End East are going to Primary Schools all over the borough. How are you going to make sure that in future every primary school child in Mile End East can walk to school?
- Consultation with Residents: MERA was formed because we were very disillusioned with the way we had been consulted over major change to our area. Since we've started we'be become increasingly angry at the way the Council ignores the views of local people - for example in relation to the Core Strategy which will decide how developments affect this area in the next 15 years. How are you going to make sure that local people get their say in an accessible and meaningful way
- Traffic Management: Mile End Road is a very dangerous road and we've had a number of fatalities and serious accidents in this area affecting pedestrians, cyclists and motorists. It's also a total nightmare when we get gridlock as seems to happen more and more. Plus the increasing traffic affects the air quality of the area. What are you personally going to do to improve our health and safety whether we are motorists, cyclists or pedestrians?
- Crime and anti-social behaviour: Pockets of the ward are badly affected by anti-social behaviour. We've also got drug dealers operating all over Mile End East - and we need to get rid of them. How closely have you personally worked with the police and SNT in the past and what do you intend to do in the future - which hasn't been tried before?
- Management of the Public Realm: We're fed up with the state of our streets and pavements. We get rubbish littering the street and our green spaces, huge smelly waste bins cluttering up the pavements, hoardings for building sites which make it impossible to wheel a buggy and masses of filth associated with some of the low lifes which pass through this area late at night. How are you going to make sure that our pavements and streets get cleaned up and stay clean?
- Night-time Economy: Why have we got a huge number of late night take-aways and a nightclub licenced to operate in what is predominantly a residential area of families with young kids? How are you going to help us prevent another Club E3 disaster lasting years and years and badly affecting the sleep of parents and small children?
- Referendum about the Mayor: At this election we're going to get a chance to vote in a referendum to decide whether or not we should elect a Mayor with a lot of power for Tower Hamlets. Bearing in mind the poor track record of elected mayors elsewhere to date, can the candidates please tell us which way you will be voting and why
The following sat on the main panel (from left to right):-
- Ahmed Hussain - Conservative
- Rachael Saunders - Labour
- Muhammad Altaf Rahmani - Respect
- Motin Uz-Zaman from Labour.
- Jamir Chowdhury from Respect
- Bodrul Islam Choudhury, Caroline Kerswell from the Conservatives
The Liberal Democrats did not respond to the invitation so were not represented at the meeting.
The Labour Party Candidates left partway through the meeting to deal with an electoral issue which had arisen.Future meetings with Councillors
At the end there was general agreement between residents and candidates that it had been a very succesful meeting and that it should be done more often.
A suggestion was made that local Councillors should be asked to come to a meeting every six months to meet with the residents of Mile End East - to hear the issues which are causing concern locally and report back on what action they have been taking on matters previously raised.
We'll be letting you know what's happening about this proposal once we know who has been elected.