Despite 99% respondents objecting to their previous applications, Network Wapping has reapplied to become the official Neighbourhood Planning Forum for Wapping and most of Shadwell.
Local community groups are again calling for members and local residents to object to this latest Neighbourhood Planning Forum application made by Network Wapping to formally represent Wapping and Shadwell before the deadline on 25th November 2013.
As a prospective Neighbourhood Planning Forum, Network Wapping applied for and been granted funding of £5,086 for venue hire, and communications [view post on Love Wapping website].
Network Wapping has repeatedly ignored and failed to engage with residents, established local community groups in the area and What’s in Wapping since it was formed over two years ago by John Bell, an architect and Shadwell resident. Nothing has changed.
We are still unable to find any evidence supporting Network Wapping’s claim on the official application that “it is a grass-roots, democratic, community action organisation”. Quite the opposite in fact.
Just last week, for example we spoke to over 20 local dog walkers in Wapping parks who are lifelong residents and part of the very grass-roots community Network Wapping claim to represent.
None of these regular local dog walkers who had heard of Network Wapping support the neighbourhood planning forum application and all were shocked that yet another application had been submitted given previous objections. One resident dog walker asked us:
When are they [Network Wapping] going to stop and actually listen to what the people of Wapping want, we don’t want them!
We did ask Network Wapping last week what they had done to address the 150 objections [view post] made to their previous neighbourhood planning forum application, but have not received a reply. Perhaps that’s because the answer is nothing.
Despite having received funding for communication, we have seen no improvements in visibility and transparency from Network Wapping. They post videos of tall buildings to their Twitter account for example, but fail to respond to questions on Twitter about their own group, or even notify changes in meeting times.
Network Wapping Meeting held on 9th October 2013
Only two members of Network Wapping attended their October meeting and we are grateful to local resident Cathryn Rees who went along and has provided this account with her view which has been confirmed as an accurate record of what went on by resident Paul Brocklehurst who also attended on 9th October:
I hadn’t intended to write any notes for publication on this meeting. But Gren Bingham seemed irritated by the What’s in Wapping post in August, and said he had to be careful talking in front of me, as I’m a ‘journalist’ (new career?). So I don’t want to disappoint him.
It’s easy to list the attendees at Network Wapping’s October meeting. There were only five of us. John Bell and Gren Bingham from Network Wapping, plus Paul Brocklehust, Michael Ashpoole and myself.
John and Gren confirmed that Network Wapping have re-applied to Tower Hamlets to be designated as a Neighbourhood Planning Forum. They withdrew their last application shortly before the decision date, possibly because there was little chance of it being successful.
They have since revised their constitution (see analysis below) but it’s not clear how they have addressed the other short comings identified by Tower Hamlets on their website here.
We saw a presentation on how the proposed towers at London Dock will impact the view from different points around the area. The towers are undeniable tall, but their effect isn’t as bad as I expected. But then, I rather like the views of the Gherkin etc.
Talking about planning applications in general, John and Gren said that Network Wapping isn’t required to have an interest in every planning application in the area. The role of the Neighbourhood Planning Forum is to work in the context of an overall plan, with scope for local and immediate projects, and to reflect the wishes of the people. That rather surprised me, and means that the Wapping community wouldn’t be able to rely on Network Wapping to be active across all planning activity in the area. Only the things that interest them.
It also explains why they hadn’t bothered to attend the public consultation on the development at St Patrick’s Primary School site and they appear to know very little about the proposals. I understand why a Neighbourhood Planning Forum doesn’t need to get involved with every application for replacement window and individual loft conversions, but re-development of a significant site? Network Wapping have the same attitude to the King Henry’s Wharf/Phoenix Wharf development on Wapping High Street.
I really think this is a group whose interests don’t stretch much further than the London Docks site and The Highway.
We reminded John that at the August meeting he had taken an action to publish their letter of 30th July to Tower Hamlets, and so make clear that Network Wapping had withdraw from the Neighbourhood Planning Forum application – so far it’s still outstanding.
Although Gren Bingham may not like the What’s In Wapping reports of the Network Wapping meetings, it’s still the only public record of the August meeting, as Network Wapping haven’t posted their minutes nearly two months later. So until they become more timely and more accurate with their reports they will have to live the record here.
Cathryn Rees (9/10/13)
What’s changed in Network Wapping’s latest Neighbourhood Planning Forum Application?
A quick review of the resubmitted documents on Tower Hamlets website suggests very little has changed since the previous application, but please comment if you think we’ve missed anything and we’ll update.
Local councilor Denise Jones is no longer a member of Network Wapping and some changes to the legal wording have been made following advice given to the group.
Most of Limehouse has been removed from the proposed area, we assume because the Limehouse Community Forum (LCF) has had to submit its own Planning Forum application as a defence to prevent Network Wapping from having any planning influence over Limehouse – a function the LCF has already been carrying out for many years already.
For clarity, we’ve added some local landmarks and road names to their map to show the area which Network Wapping Neighbourhood Planning Forum are propose to cover:
The current Network Wapping Neighbourhood Planning Forum application can be viewed in full on the Tower Hamlets Council website here.
‘Object to Network Wapping’
If you share the deep concerns of the many established local community groups covering the area and residents of Wapping, St Katharines and Shadwell and agree that this small group of unrepresentative individuals should be stopped from becoming the official Neighbourhood Planning Forum for the area, please send your comments and objections to Tower Hamlets Council before 25th November 2013.
Comments can be sent by email to email@example.com or post to FREEPOST RRBK – TZER – UTAU, Neighbourhood Planning Consultation, Strategic Planning – Plan Making, London Borough of Tower Hamlets, PO BOX 55739, London, E14 2BG [view on Tower Hamlets website].
Please help share this information with your local friends and neighbours in Wapping and Shadwell and make sure they know that Network Wapping have again reapplied to become the official local Neighbourhood Planning Forum and send comments and objections before 25th November 2013.