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.
99% of homes in Tower Hamlets could be eligible for sale to meet Theresa May’s so-called 'dementia tax', according to research by the Liberal Democrats.
The Poplar & Limehouse candidate, Elaine Bagshaw, and Bethnal Green & Bow candidate, Will Dyer, are urging Tower Hamlets’ residents, whatever their party affiliation, to join a campaign to stop Conservative social care plans that would saddle those with long-term illnesses with crippling care costs after their death.
"Caring for our elderly should be above party politics and that is why we want to urge anyone who opposes these plans to come together to stop them,” Bagshaw says. “We’ve seen a lot of Conservative policy proposals that would hit Tower Hamlets harder than anyone else, but this one is especially outrageous, because it would see almost every home in the borough put at risk.”
The Liberal Democrats are calling for a penny on income tax to boost funding for the NHS and social care by £6bn a year, as well as a £72,000 cap to protect people from crippling care costs.
“Every elderly person who needs care should receive it in the best place for them. People shouldn't have to worry about losing everything they've worked hard for over their whole lives to pay for crippling care costs,” says Dyer. "Together we can stop the so-called ‘Dementia Tax’ and put in place a cap on the cost of care."
Liberal Democrats in Tower Hamlets say it’s fitting the national party chose to launch its 2017 General Election manifesto here, given the the number of policy proposals that directly affect local residents.
Lib Dem Leader, Tim Farron, and party members from Tower Hamlets and around the country, packed the Oval Space in Bethnal Green last week for the launch.
“I’m very proud to campaign on this manifesto,” says Bethnal Green and Bow Lib Dem candidate, Will Dyer. “It’s full of policy proposals that tackle the most pressing issues Tower Hamlets’ residents are facing every day.”
Elaine Bagshaw, the Lib Dem candidate in Poplar & Limehouse, added: “Tower Hamlets is a perfect location to launch a manifesto that has solutions for Brexit, housing shortages, child poverty and the NHS.”
The Liberal Democrats propose to invest an additional £7 billion per year into education for children, tripling the Early Years Pupil Premium to £1,000.
“The Pupil Premium specifically aims to give extra help to children from disadvantaged backgrounds, and we have the highest rate of child poverty in the country,” Bagshaw says. “Tripling it, as Liberal Democrats propose to do, will give an important boost to schoolchildren in Tower Hamlets earlier in their education. That’s key to giving them the best possible opportunities in life.
Bagshaw and Dyer also highlight Lib Dem manifesto commitments to reach a housebuilding target of 300,000 homes a year by 2022 and putting a penny in the pound on income tax as proposals that would especially improve life in Tower Hamlets.
“Labour has represented Tower Hamlets, both locally and at Westminster, for decades--and in after all that time we still have housing shortages and a chronically high child poverty rate,” says Bagshaw. “That’s why launching our national manifesto here is an appropriate signal. We’re serious about policy that gets results on these local issues.”
We have moved into our new office. We now have a space for all members to come and visit Elaine and the campaign team, and to find out about the different ways in which you can volunteer. Come and join us for a cup of tea and a biscuit, and help our campaign activities, between the hours of 10am and 8pm daily.
Our address is Bellerive House, 3 Muirfield Crescent, E14 9SZ. The nearest station is Crossharbour DLR.
Each week we will have 'Telephone Tuesdays', where we offer training on phone canvassing, and support our Parliamentary candidates across London. Come and join us from 6pm.
We still need more help to deliver leaflets this week and next, so please let us know if you are available. Just drop in to the office or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org - the office number is 020 3475 4226.
Liberal Democrats in Tower Hamlets officially kicked off their General Election campaigns today, with candidates Elaine Bagshaw and Will Dyer laying out their three main priorities if elected: fighting a Hard Brexit, protecting local NHS services and tackling the crisis in affordable housing.
The local party has tripled its membership since the EU referendum last year, recently surpassing 700 members. It also raised more than £3,000 in the week of the snap election call.