Monday, 2 August 2010

Community Plan Consultation (Mile End) - 7th August - who knew?

An Open Letter to: Kevan Collins, Chief Executive of Tower Hamlets Council - about why Tower Hamlets is not effective at consulting with its residents.
Dear Mr Collins

The Community Plan sets out what local residents, businesses and organisations want Tower Hamlets to be like and how they intend to improve the borough.  It's currently being refreshed.
However residents won't have much of a voice if they don't know what's going on

At the examination of the Core Strategy for Tower Hamlets, MERA we pointed out to you that the Council has a very poor record of consulting with local Residents Associations.

Due to MERA's efforts, Mile End generated more comments from individuals to the Core Strategy than any other part of the borough.  That was because MERA publicised the fact that the Strategy was out for consultation and identified where to find it - given that it was completely BURIED on the Council's website - and how to respond.  (Incidentally - note how accessible all plans for consultation are the GLA website - all links are on the home page!)  The Planning Inspector also made critical comments on the Council's inaccessible approach to consultation in her report on her examination of the Council's Core Strategy.
Here are a couple of EXAMPLES of what we mean.

At the recent meeting, organised by Planning, to discuss the 2012 initiative at Mile End Park there were only 6 people present and only 4 of them came from Mile End (including the MERA rep).  This is because there were TOO FEW POSTERS up locally.  MERA also only received an invite to the meeting at midday on the day of the meeting and needed to be represented at another very important Public Meeting by the local Safe Neighbourhood Team which residents wanted to attend!

Consultation on the Community Plan - which is supposed to be about improving the borough and the lives of the people living in it - is happening in the next 10 days.  In Mile End, there are no visible notices locally that this is going on or where our local meeting is.  There are also no meetings about issues which look at issues beyond the local LAP area.

The simple fact is MERA has:
  • NOT been invited to any of the consultation events or invited very late.  We only found out about the Community Plan because we spotted a tweet about them
  • NOT  been asked to help the Council and the Tower Hamlets Partnership to promote the consultation events
How sensible is that?  How does that help engagement with the local community and helping people to participate?

Maybe we should ask the Mayoral candidates how they will improve the way the Council promotes consultation with its residents?

Mile End Residents Association

Here is how you can have your say on the Community Plan

A series of events are being held across Tower Hamlets for residents, workers and anyone with an interest in the area to come along and have their say about the Community Plan.

The details of the major events taking place are:
LAP 5 & 6 Community Plan review

We are inviting local residents to attend and take part in various consultation exercises as part of our Community Plan review. In the light of political and economic changes we need to revisit the Community Plan priorities to ensure that these priorities are still relevant to the people of Tower Hamlets. Our paired LAP events will involve some discussion around the existing themes and will aim to help us better understand and manage the Partnership’s priorities for years ahead.

When and where
Saturday 7 August, between 10.30am-12.30pm at the Central Foundation Girls School, Harley Grove, London E3 2AT (LAP 5& 6)

More information
For more information about this consultation contact the Consultation and Involvement Team on 020 7364 4576 or email

To find out more about the community plan and to download a copy, visit the One Tower Hamlets website. The four themes for the new Community Plan are:

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