Network Wapping withdrew their Neighbourhood Planning Forum application on the last day of the extended consultation period, 30 July 2013, but have stated that they will reapply at the end of the summer.
The formal consultation period ran from 22 April to 4 June 2013 and was extended by Tower Hamlets council to 30 July 2013, to allow the group to consult more widely.
By the end of the extended consultation period, 30 July 2013, 150 of the 152 (99%) individual responses to Network Wapping’s application were objections.
This excludes objections made by community groups on behalf of more than one person – such as those by the Wapping Bangladeshi Association, Limehouse Community Forum, Save KEMP, Friends of St Katharine Docks and Turk’s Head charity [view post] so the actual number of objections was higher still.
You can view the full Neighbourhood Planning Consultation Summary Report from Tower Hamlets Council here.
All the latest documents and links regarding the Network Wapping Neighbourhood Planning application are available to view on the Tower Hamlets website here.
Network Wapping – A partial meeting report for 14th August 2013
Below is an account of the most recent Network Wapping meeting held on Wednesday 14th August and attended by twelve people.
This was written by local resident Cathryn Rees who has attended many of their recent meetings and we can confirm it is an accurate account as we were there too – but like Cathryn missed the first 30 minutes…
Thank you to Network Wapping member John Inglis for taking official meeting minutes, which will be made available on the Network Wapping website in due course.
Early kick off at Network Wapping – for procedure only.
We can’t tell you what happened in the first 30 minutes of the Network Wapping meeting yesterday evening, because we weren’t there.
And we weren’t there because they started the meeting 30 minutes early without telling all of the regular attendees.
Network Wapping made much in a meeting a few months ago of the claim that it was well known that their meetings take place at 7:30pm on the first Wednesday of the month, so they said they didn’t need to publicise them. And their website gave a short agenda for 14th August, with a start time of 7:30pm. So when some of us arrived at 7:30 to find the meeting in mid-flow we were a bit confused. It seems that other people received an email two days before hand to advise of a change to 7:00pm. But not everyone. Not even all of the people they have emailed in past. Apparently, the first part had been mainly procedural. Nothing important then? And don’t worry, we were assured there’s no conspiracy theory. Just an incompetence theory, then.
Anyway, so a few of us joined the Network Wapping meeting mid-way through a discussion on the London Dock plans.
John Bell walked us through the developer’s plans, and there were comments positive and negative about the public spaces, public facilities, height of towers and car parking. I had the impression that the plans are being seen more favourably than we had previously expected? Jobs for local people was noted as a priority – both during the construction phase and long term. Some action points were taken about how Network Wapping might encourage that. There was also discussion about local funding from Section 106 and Community Infrastructure Funds, but I can’t claim I followed all of that.
The main item on the published agenda was Network Wapping’s Neighbour Planning Forum application. However, this had been covered during the first 30 minutes (‘procedural’ – see above). Note, they hadn’t thought to delay this update until after everybody who was expected had arrived at 7:30? John Bell agreed to return to the subject in the remaining 10 minutes.
John advised that Network Wapping have withdrawn their NPF application. They had been unable to add any new information to the application they submitted in April and so had decided to withdraw and re-submit at a later date. (Note, theses are my words not John;s, but I hope that I’ve captured it reasonably). The revised Network Wapping constitution is awaiting feedback from Tower Hamlets legal department, and the re-submission will take place after this, currently targeted at 1st October. It will include the signatures of support collected during the extended consultation period. However, it wasn’t completely clear whether these are signatures in support of the principle of an NPF or in support of Network Wapping itself.
It’s been said before that Network Wapping aren’t always transparent and honest in their communications.
So we asked about the statement on Network Wapping’s website which says ‘the date for application for designation of the NPF has been moved to the end of the summer’. This isn’t true. The date hasn’t been moved, Network Wapping’s application has been withdrawn, and unless or until they re-apply there will be no designation of an NPF at the end of the summer because there is no longer any application. More spin and misleading statements.
It also appeared that John may not have told the meeting about the 150 objections Tower Hamlets received on the Network Wapping application. Some of the regulars looked surprised it to hear this when we raised it in the second discussion. But then, there’s no need to tell everybody all the facts, is there?
John said he would like to Network Wapping’s withdrawal letter to be posted on the website, but being a voluntary organisation there hadn’t been time to do this. Although there had been time to post the incorrect statement (John doesn’t consider the website wording to be misleading). To help overcome this issue, Paul Brocklehurst offered to help Network Wapping with managing their website
And by this point we were out of time.
Cathryn Rees (15th August 2013)
What next for Network Wapping?
The strength of local objection to Network Wapping (99% individual responses were objections) was barely acknowledged during this most recent meeting. There was also was no mention or discussion of the objections raised by local community groups, who collectively represent thousands of local people in Wapping.
Opinion on local planning issues will always differ, but surely it is the duty of a public neighbourhood planning forum in receipt of public funds to openly share feedback in an unbiased manner and ensure that everyone is kept well informed, not just of carefully selected and edited information that Network Wapping chooses.
Sharing local feedback which doesn’t present Network Wapping in a positive light, quite literally seems to vanish as far as the Neighbourhood Planning forum is concerned and is never published or acknowledged on either official minutes (which we’ve been asked not to reproduce) or their website.