Labour Council failing to tackle rogue landlords

Despite setting up a Landlord Licensing Scheme, very little is being done to tackle rogue landlords in our borough. 

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SUCCESS! Parking Bays for local residents a step closer

Local Liberal Democrats have successfully fought the Labour-run Council to provide parking days for local residents in Island Gardens.

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Comment on Tower Hamlets bribery scandal

Commenting on the Sunday Times story that a businessman with links to the Labour party attempted to solicit a bribe from a developer in exchange for planning consent, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Poplar and Limehouse, Elaine Bagshaw said:

"Once again our borough is mired in scandal. It seems that only 4 months after we finally got rid of Lutfur Rahman, someone with links to the Labour party decided to try and carry on his legacy. 

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Pharmaceutical industry warns of Brexit "nightmare scenario"

Leading figures in the pharmaceutical industry have warned that diverging from EU standards could create a "nightmare scenario" for the sector and that the fall in the pound since the Brexit vote has already made it no longer viable to produce certain medicines.

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Hammond makes teachers and police £3,000 worse off - Moran

Teachers and police officers will be left £3,000 worse off by 2020 due to the Chancellor's refusal to lift the public sector pay freeze, Liberal Democrats have revealed.

Liberal Democrat research based on OBR figures shows that:

  • A newly qualified teacher on £22,970 will be £3,032 worse off by 2020 as a result of the public sector pay freeze.
     
  • A newly trained police officer on £22,962 will be £3,031 worse off by 2020 as a result of the public sector pay freeze.
     
  • A prison officer starting on £23,572 will be £3,112 worse off by 2020 as a result of the public sector pay freeze.
     
  • A private starting on £18,488 will be £2,440 worse off by 2020 as a result of the public sector pay freeze.
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No extra police funding despite crime on the rise and police numbers falling

The budget statement by the Chancellor  this included no additional funding for the police in England and Wales. 

Commenting, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said: 

“Crime is rising and police numbers are falling but you wouldn’t think the Government cared looking at today’s budget. The police barely got a mention in the Chancellor’s speech despite forces up and down the country being desperate for a cash-injection.
 
It is clear where the money is going - £3.7bn to help the Conservatives drive through a hard Brexit. Just a fraction of this money would have been transformative for the police but as usual we see the Tories putting politics above everything else.” 

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Cable: Shadow Chancellor needs to get his sums right

Responding to John McDonnell's refusal to state how much Labour's borrowing plans would cost on the Today programme this morning, Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable said: 

"It's worrying that the Shadow Chancellor hasn't done his sums. Or perhaps he has done his sums and he realises they're so horrendous that he's unwilling to acknowledge that his version of a Labour government would put the country into financial difficulties. 

"We start from a bad position. The Budget warned of increased borrowing, dependent on the 'kindness of strangers'. A Labour government focused on massive nationalisation would make things even worse." 

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Cable: Resolution Foundation report shows UK facing longest squeeze on living standards in 60 years

Britain is on course for the longest period of falling living standards since records began in the 1950s, according to a report by the Resolution Foundation.

The think tank found that under plans set out by Philip Hammond in the Budget yesterday, the poorest third of households are set for an average loss of £715 a year by the end of the Parliament, while the richest third will gain an average of £185.

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IFS analysis shows Tories balancing books on backs of the poorest

The Liberal Democrats have accused the Conservative government of "balancing the books on the backs of the poorest," after analysis of the Budget by the Institute for Fiscal Studies revealed there are another £12 billion of planned welfare cuts.

The analysis found that the four-year freeze in welfare is now set to lead to 11 million households losing an average of £400 each by 2019, with the poorest 20% of families hit hardest.

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Lib Dems scrutinise a third development in Central Wapping

Developers are planning to develop the waste ground next to Wapping Rose Gardens, called the Brewhouse Lane Development.  This is the third planned development in the tiny area around the Captain Kidd and Rose Gardens (alongside similar plans in King Henry’s Wharf and Cinnamon St), so Tower Hamlets Lib Dems sent local activist Stephen O’Shea on 15 November to quiz the developers. 

 

With enormous waiting lists for social housing across the borough and an undersupply of new homes for local buyers, Tower Hamlets Lib Dems have long argued that it is vital to build new homes. However, many developments in recent years have failed to provide social or affordable units, and have not considered impacts on surrounding services and neighbourhoods.

 

The proposed development is relatively low intensity with 25 units, of which 8 would be social or affordable housing. They have also proposed using building materials in keeping with nearby blocks and the plan addresses concerns raised about blocking daylight. . After speaking with the team, however, there are a number of outstanding issues and questions we would like the applicants to answer:

  • Ensure that a Construction Management Plan (CMP) is prepared, so the public have a full idea of the logistical impact
  • Work with the developers of King Henry’s Wharf and Cinnamon St developments, to sequence the work and minimise impact. If not one after the other, this could result in 5-7 years of continuous building work!
  • Speak to local residents about parking, and whether they would be willing to share limited parking space with a new development
  • Most importantly, provide clarity on whether the development will provide genuinely affordable housing, or social housing.

 

We will be knocking on the doors of all surrounding residents, to get their input on all of these points and gather any other thoughts, and will bring it to the Development Committee hearing, expected to be Spring 2018.

Please do not hesitate to contact Stephen on soshea37@hotmail.com if you would like to give your input.

 

For full details of what we heard at the consultation, see below:

 

CONSULTATION MEETING OUTPUTS

Parking: No parking except one disabled bay.  They were considering issuing resident parking permits, but we urged them to speak to local residents on whether they wished new developments to issue permits without increasing the level of street parking available.

 

Social/affordable housing: One-third of the property (eight apartments) will be made over to social and affordable housing – this will predominantly be in the smaller block on Bridewell Place. It has not yet been determined what form this will take.  This is a big distinction and needs to be clarified, especially since Tower Hamlets classifies £595,000 apartments  as “affordable”!

 

Construction: Apparently the construction will be entirely self-contained – the larger building will be constructed first, using the space of the smaller one.  The second building is small enough to be built using scaffolding. There is expected to be a commitment to no evening work, and ‘minimal’ weekend work (e.g. Saturdays 10-2).  However, this will not be included in the planning application, and there is no commitment yet to a Construction Management Plan (CMP) – clearly this needs to be done.

 

Sequencing with other developments: King Henry’s Wharf has planning permission and will take around two years.  The Cinnamon St development is going to public hearing next month, and is at least as big as this Brewhouse Lane development.  This would be the third development in a very small area with narrow streets.  If run consecutively, this could result in 5-7 years of continuous work.

Proposed development: 25 apartments - in one 5-story building facing Wapping Rose Garden, and one 2-story building facing Bridewell Place.  We are assured that they will not look into New Tower or Old Tower Buildings, and see below for their assurance picture that it will not take the daylight from Old Tower Buildings.  Intention is to fit in with the local area, using yellow brick (similar to Vancouver House) and modelling some architecture on Old Tower Buildings.

 

Parking: No parking except one disabled bay.  They were considering issuing resident parking permits, but we urged them to speak to local residents on whether they wished new developments to issue permits without increasing the level of street parking available.

 

Social/affordable housing: One-third of the property (eight apartments) will be made over to social and affordable housing – this will predominantly be in the smaller block on Bridewell Place. It has not yet been determined what form this will take.  This is a big distinction and needs to be clarified, especially since Tower Hamlets classifies £595,000 apartments  as “affordable”!

 

Construction: Apparently the construction will be entirely self-contained – the larger building will be constructed first, using the space of the smaller one.  The second building is small enough to be built using scaffolding. There is expected to be a commitment to no evening work, and ‘minimal’ weekend work (e.g. Saturdays 10-2).  However, this will not be included in the planning application, and there is no commitment yet to a Construction Management Plan (CMP) – clearly this needs to be done.

 

Sequencing with other developments: King Henry’s Wharf has planning permission and will take around two years.  The Cinnamon St development is going to public hearing next month, and is at least as big as this Brewhouse Lane development.  This would be the third development in a very small area with narrow streets.  If run consecutively, this could result in 6-8 years of continuous work.

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