Stephen O’Shea and Liza Franchi are demanding the Government take action on companies who are promising better broadband but failing to deliver it in Wapping.
At a meeting of the local Neighbourhood Police Panel, Liberal Democrat campaigners Elaine Bagshaw and Jack Gilbert secured extra police patrols in our area. After hearing many complaints from residents about open drug dealing in the streets and anti-social behaviour, the team worked with the police to get more patrols where needed.
One third of state schools are in deficit, figures uncovered by the Liberal Democrats have revealed - including 48 in Tower Hamlets.
Figures provided in response to a written parliamentary question show that over 9,438 schools were in deficit in 2015-16, over a third of the total.
2 in 3 secondary schools in Tower Hamlets are full or oversubscribed in Year 7 this term, research by the Liberal Democrats has revealed.
In total 12 secondary schools in the area are either full or over capacity in Year 7 - an increase from 9 the previous year.
TfL have made a number of commitments to address the “Wapping Lock-In” phenomenon, after local Liberal Democrats raised concerns alongside residents.
Wapping has suffered three consecutive lock-ins this Summer due to sporting events. All sides agree that these events are great for London, but Wapping residents have felt increasingly angry at being cut off from the city and “locked in” for large chunks of time.
Liberal Democrat Assembly Member and Deputy Chair of the Transport Committee, Caroline Pidgeon, facilitated the meeting. The team secured commitments from TfL to:
Examine whether a sporting event can be moved away from the Highway if it would otherwise be closed on consecutive weekends
Modelling what the impact would be if certain events were moved away from The Highway
Reviewing what happened with the IAAF communications that led to huge confusion amongst residents and businesses about whether the Highway was open or not
Ensuring communications are clear about what event is causing the closure on what date
Review whether the Local Access Points put along the route so that emergency services vehicles can gain access, could be opened up to allow residents to use their vehicles
Caroline Pidgeon will also submit a question to London Mayor Sadiq Khan about whether the impact on areas such as Wapping and the Isle of Dogs that end up “locked in” with these events, is taken into consideration when deciding which events to host and bid for.
Local Liberal Democrat campaigner Stephen O’Shea, said: “After a great deal of frustration by local residents, it’s great that we now have commitments to action. The key test will be whether this turns into a joined-up approach from next year. We will be watching this very closely and holding TfL to account.”
Elaine Bagshaw, Parliamentary Spokesperson for Poplar & Limehouse, said: “It’s great that we’ve been able to make progress on this with TfL, and that local residents had the opportunity to raise their issues directly with the people responsible for these events. This meeting only took an hour to hold and a few emails to arrange. How is it I can do this around a full-time job, yet our local Assembly member, Unmesh Desai, can’t? This is another example of local Labour representatives letting us down.”
Representatives of Tower Hamlets Liberal Democrats have expressed their sincere condolences with worshippers affected by the attack at the Muslim Welfare House in Finsbury Park and condemned the normalisation of Islamophobic and xenophobic rhetoric in public discourse in recent years.
Candidate Elaine Bagshaw and Tower Hamlets Lib Dems are cheering their result in Poplar & Limehouse; an area Labour has held since the 1920’s and one which incumbent Labour MP Jim Fitzpatrick has represented for 20 years. Bagshaw was the only challenger from another party that saw her vote share increase since the last General Election--capturing a total of 3959 votes--close to double the Lib Dem constituency result just two years ago and leapfrogging locally over the Greens and UKIP, while also beating controversial independent Oliur Rahman. Bagshaw says the result is a signal that more people are looking to the Lib Dems as a credible alternative in borough politics.
“We heard from a lot of people who feel let down by Labour, who take this constituency for granted as a ‘safe seat’, and ignore a lot of problems. Tower Hamlets has a 49% child poverty rate; the highest in the country, despite Labour having had a very free hand for years to do something about it. Our showing today sends a simple message, more and more voters in Poplar & Limehouse want and expect results--and they’re slowly turning to us.”
Bagshaw is a seasoned campaigner who also ran as the Lib Dem candidate for the area in the 2015 General Election, where she came fifth. Since then, local membership has increased by around 600 people to 730, which Bagshaw says was instrumental in her performance and leaves the local party well-placed to fight a likely by-election in St. Katharine’s and Wapping, following Conservative Councillor Julia Dockerill’s win in the Hornchurch and Upminster constituency, andon to local elections next year.
“We built this local party from the ground up and the growth has been simply amazing in the last two years,” Bagshaw says. “Our prospective by-election candidate, Stephen O’Shea, is already a dedicated campaigner for St. Katharine’s and Wapping.We’re energized by this result and are going to keep working hard to get great local results for people living in Tower Hamlets, while continuing to stand up for a Britain that is open, tolerant, and united.”
Lib Dem parliamentary candidates are calling for a more coordinated response to crime and antisocial behaviour between police, housing managers, and Tower Hamlets Borough Council.
“This borough has some of the worst antisocial behaviour in London,” says Poplar & Limehouse candidate Elaine Bagshaw. “We’re hearing about incidents happening almost daily and the problem is largely being ignored. It’s so bad that many residents are thinking of moving away from their homes.”
Lib Dem canvassers say they’ve been hearing about how severe the problem is all over the borough and have launched a petition to Eastend Homes in Island Gardens to provide adequate security to residents. Stephen O’Shea, who was recently selected to stand as the prospective Lib Dem candidate in a possible council by-election in St. Katharine’s & Wapping, met with Wapping police and local residents last week. They spoke of drivers racing their cars around the area, putting local people at risk.
“The problem of overstretched police resources in Tower Hamlets has left the car racing problem in Wapping to grow,” O’Shea says. “We have residents who are afraid to go out at night to walk their dogs.”
“This is a top local priority--and it’s something I will continue to work on whether or not I’m elected as a Member of Parliament,” says Bagshaw. “We cannot wait to act until out of control car racing leaves someone seriously injured or killed. That’s why we need a properly coordinated plan to tackle antisocial behaviour here and fulfill the job of seeing to resident safety.”
The Island Gardens petition referred to in this article can be found here: http://www.towerhamletslibdems.org.uk/asb_island_gardens
We are delighted to announce that local campaigner Stephen O’Shea has been selected to stand for the Liberal Democrats in St Katherine’s & Wapping in the next election held in the ward. While local elections will be held across Tower Hamlets in May 2018, one of the sitting councillors is currently running as a parliamentary candidate in Hornchurch and Upminster meaning that it is possible a by-election will be called in Wapping after the General Election.
Stephen is a seasoned campaigner for the people of Wapping and has supported the local community on a wide range of issues. He was a key member of the local Remain campaign team during the European Referendum, helping Tower Hamlets get a 67% Remain vote. He has also led campaigns to increase local police presence to fight crime and anti-social behaviour, and has held the Council to account on housing, development and community issues.
On the possibility of a local election, Stephen said “I’m thrilled to be given the chance to represent the great community of Wapping. This is a unique part of Tower Hamlets, and has been ignored for too long by the underperformance of the Labour Council, and the complacency of the Tory opposition. We need a Liberal voice in Tower Hamlets, to hold their feet to the fire on issues such as crime and housing, which really matter to the people of Wapping.”
Ed Long, Chair of Tower Hamlets Liberal Democrats said: "Tower Hamlets is already seeing the benefits of having a hard working Liberal opposition in the council chamber. Stephen would be a fantastic champion for Wapping, ensuring that complacency over antisocial behaviour and disruptive development is rigorously challenged."
If you are a Wapping resident and want to contact Stephen for support with any local issues, please call him on 07505 982212, or email him at email@example.com.