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.


Brexit vote has cost each household £404 per year

A report by the Centre for Economic Performance has finally proved that Brexit is hitting the living standards of UK citizens, calculating the cost to be over £400 a year per household.

Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable said:

"This comprehensive study finally nails the lie that the Brexit process has now damaged the economy, and with it the living standards of every British citizen.

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Redevelopment of Bartlett Park church

After holding planning permission for years, the Church Diocese has finally decided to redevelop the church that stands in the middle of Bartlett Park.

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Real action to tackle drug dealing

After residents spent years complaining about drug dealing in an alleyway near Carmen Street, local community champion Elaine Bagshaw has successfully had the alleyway gated. By listening to residents and working with L&Q, Elaine has done what none of the current councillors could and delivered for local people, helping tackle the issues they've suffered due to the alley being used for drug dealing. 

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What rubbish recycling!

Residents across the borough are fuming at changes made to how we recycle. Pink bags have to be collected from an Idea Store, and in a bizarre turn of events you also have to show ID.

Local spokesperson Elaine Bagshaw said: “We already have one of the lowest recycling rates in London and this is only going to make it worse. We have to work together to make recycling as easy as possible for people. This is bad for the planet and bad for the borough.”

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Council ignoring needs of local people and leaving homes empty

Since taking power in 2015, the local Labour-run Council has not used any of its powers to bring empty homes back into use in Tower Hamlets. In 2016 19,124 families were waiting for a home. 2,278 homes were sitting empty and could have been used to give local families a home - but the Council hasn’t lifted a finger to make that happen.

 

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Local residents support Wapping speed camera petition

Residents have been telling us their concerns about cars being raced through the quiet streets of Wapping.  So the local Lib Dem team has worked through the summer to petition for speed cameras to be installed in key locations.

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Forging ahead

One of the Island's great industrial heritage buildings has secured a new lease of life. After more than 40 years in Clerkenwell, Craft Central - a leading arts and crafts charity supporting over 700 designer-makers - have decided to make a new home at The Forge on Westferry Road, signing a 20 year lease. Craft Central celebrated their official opening at The Forge on September 28th, where it now provides 67 creative studios and shared workspace, with exhibitors in ceramics, glass, textiles, jewellery and furniture.

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A no deal Brexit will cost Tower Hamlets £11.59 billion

New research by the LSE's Centre for Economic Performance and the Liberal Democrats has revealed just how damaging a no deal Brexit will be to Tower Hamlets.

A no deal Brexit will mean an economic hit of £11.59 billion to Tower Hamlets.  

David Davis and other members of the cabinet have recently been talking up a no deal Brexit, but this data shows that the country simply couldn't afford it.

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