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Resident groups call for support in objecting to Network Wapping’s Neighbourhood Planning Forum application

Resident groups call for support in objecting to Network Wapping’s Neighbourhood Planning Forum application

Community groups in the area are asking members and local residents to object to the Neighbourhood Planning Forum application made by Network Wapping to formally represent E1W before the deadline on 30 July 2013.

“Time to step up resistance to Network Wapping. They are totally unrepresentative” is an example of the feedback we’ve heard from local residents.

Network Wapping has repeatedly ignored and failed to engage with established local community groups in the area since it was formed two years ago by John Bell, an architect and Shadwell resident.

Local people and community groups met the Network Wapping Neighbourhood Planning Forum in May 2013 and called for the forum to withdraw their application and rename themselves as Network Shadwell, excluding Wapping (south of the Highway) and Limehouse from their application. Network Wapping has refused to withdraw it’s application or engage in further consultation with these groups.

Network Wapping refuse to listen to local residents

At the conclusion of a meeting held at the Mulberry and Bigland Green Centre on Tuesday 21 May 2013 [view account of meeting by Love Wapping] organised by Councillor Denise Jones between Network Wapping and Friends of St Katharine Docks, Save KEMP and the Limehouse Community Forum, Network Wapping were strongly advised to consider if they should amend their proposed area of operations or withdraw their application in order to amend it. Network Wapping has refused to do this.

The consultation period for the original application was then extended by Tower Hamlets council to allow the Network Wapping more time to consult with the community and community groups – as they had failed to do this before submitting the application.

During this extended period very little has changed other than attempts by Network Wapping to confuse matters further, most recently by using different names, the latest being ‘Friends of Wapping’ which it was publicising at the Wapping Shindig earlier this month when we overheard John Bell telling people that the Forum was going to be the Neighbourhood Planning Forum for Wapping and failed to mention it was still under consultation.

Network Wapping has not been transparent in its dealings with the community, refusing to publish any record or minutes of its meetings for two years before finally bowing to repeated verbal and written requests for the publication of meeting minutes recently.  This was at the same time that Network Wapping was applying to Tower Hamlets Council for public funding.

The forum appears to ignore feedback that it does not agree with and has publicly stated that it refuses to engage in discussion via any online social networks, leaving many local residents forced to conclude that there is a hidden agenda.

Mark Baynes, a Wapping resident who runs the Love Wapping website raised his concerns about Network Wapping some time ago and has been blogging about the worrying information and concerns he has discovered about the forum. You can read all the posts here on the Love Wapping website. Despite Mark’s best efforts which include attending recent Network Wapping meetings he has (like us) been unable to get any clear answers from Network Wapping and has concluded that the group in it’s current form is neither fit or able to represent our area.

The Network Wapping proposal to become the Neighbourhood Planning Forum for Wapping can be viewed on Tower Hamlets website here and feedback and objections must be sent by 30 July 2013, either by email to ldf@towerhamlets.gov.uk 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.

Local Community Groups object to Network Wapping Neighbourhood Planning Forum

None of these well established community groups in the Wapping area representing thousands of local residents were consulted prior to the Neighbourhood Planning Forum application being submitted to Tower Hamlets Council. Despite an extended consultation period, the Forum has failed to make further contact with these groups, in terms of seeking their views and feedback, despite the fact that collectively they represent thousands of local residents .

These local community groups have all filed objections to the Neighbourhood Planning Forum and are encouraging members and residents to join them and submit their own individual objections.

The Wapping Bangladeshi Association

The Wapping Bangladeshi Association (WBA) has been established for over 30 years, represents thousands of local residents and has filed a formal objection. The WBA was not consulted about the Network Wapping Neighbourhood Planning Forum application and at a recent AGM members concluded that they “did not find any justification of a small group of people setting up an organisation called ’Network Wapping’ in Wapping and assume control of  planning or other matters for the Wapping area […] WBA have been successfully delivering its service and working with all local stakeholders in resolving local issues for more than 30 years.”

The Friends of St Katharine Docks

The Friends of St Katharine Docks (FoSKD) were not consulted either and after their initial objection they “are still adamantly opposed to Network Wapping’s application to be a Neighbourhood Planning Forum on the basis of their application in its present form (that is as encompassing St Katharine Docks, Wapping and Limehouse)”. Network Wapping has failed to engage in any further consultation or discussion with the FoSKD during the extended consultation period.

The Turk’s Head Charity

The Turk’s Head Charity are at the heart of the local E1W community and organisers of the Wapping Summer Shindig. Despite holding a well attended public meeting last year when over 100 residents concluded that Wapping didn’t want or need a separate planning forum and deciding not to apply themselves, the local charity was not consulted by Network Wapping about the current Neighbourhood Planning Forum application. The Turk’s Head Charity has also filed a formal objection to Tower Hamlets Council.

The Limehouse Community Forum

The Limehouse Community Forum (LCF) was totally unaware that Network Wapping’s Neighbourhood Planning Forum proposed to cover Limehouse until we mentioned it to them. The LCF has been established for eight years and already monitors all planning applications for the Limehouse area. The LCF has since met with John Bell of Network Wapping but found the Forum has no Limehouse residents in it’s membership, knows little about the area and can add nothing to their existing forum. The LCF has filed a formal objection to Tower Hamlets Council.

Save King Edward Memorial Park (Save KEMP)

Save KEMP has been campaigning to save our local park from Thames Water’s supersewer for the last three years and has thousands of local supporters, many of whom have lived in the area all their lives. Network Wapping did not consult Save KEMP and has repeatedly failed to attend any of the Save KEMP planning meetings, including the recent PINS meeting. For local people this is one of the biggest planning decisions affecting the area in their lifetime but Network Wapping simply state that the campaign does not need their support. Save KEMP has filed a formal objection to the Network Wapping Neighbourhood Planning Application.

Who are the members of Network Wapping?

Chairman John Bell has always refused to share the names of members of the Neighbourhood Planning forum, but these are now publicly available from the formal application on the Tower Hamlets council website.

These are the people who would have legal responsibilities and influence over planning decisions made in the Wapping area if the application is approved:

E1 & E2 – north of the Highway

John Bell, Michael Ainsworth, Julian Cole, Mark Willingale, Ismail Saray, Jennifer Jones, John Inglis, Suzelle Longman, Genia Leontowitsch, Jim Ford, Christine Avlon, Jon Freeman, Mary Nepstad, Andreas Lechthaler, Liz Gardner, Carl Nash, Zeke Manyika, Gareth Jones, Dilwara Begum, Geoffrey Juden

E1W – Wapping

Husna Begum, Alex Kind, Christine Trumper, Peter Cottage, Gren Bingham, Jake Kemp, John Tarby, Meryl Thomas, Trevor Jones, Danielle Lamarche, Ralph Chittock, Tetty Kadury, Michael Nulty, Paul Kellaway

In theory and as a legal requirement, membership is open to anyone in the area, but in practice and as stated at one of the forum’s recent meetings, Network Wapping “is a club” and only those who share the same opinions as Network Wapping are welcome to join the Neighbourhood Planning Forum.

Where is “Wapping”?

Residents in the area think of Wapping as the area south of the Highway. We know this because we have asked many people many times. The constituency boundaries that will apply for the next election in 2014 also define Wapping as the area south of the Highway and Shadwell to the north.

The proposed Neighbourhood Planning forum area by Network Wapping includes Wapping, Shadwell, St Katharine Docks and Limehouse and is illogical and inconsistent with both political and social boundaries.


Network Wapping have been unable to explain their choice of neighbourhood planning area but the “wider Wapping” area does include the ex News International site at London Dock, King Edward Memorial Park and other areas where local planning influence could be significant.

“Object to Network Wapping’s Neighbourhood Planning Forum”

Inevitably local residents views on planning are mixed, but during the course of the last two years we have spoken with many local residents from all areas of our local community and feel confident in saying that the overwhelming majority do not think Network Wapping are fit or able to represent the area as the official Neighbourhood Planning forum.

The link to the all documents and formal application can be viewed on the Tower Hamlets Council website here.

Responses should be sent to ldf@towerhamlets.gov.uk or to: FREEPOST RRBK – TZER – UTAU
Neighbourhood Planning Consultation
Strategic Planning – Plan Making
London Borough of Tower Hamlets
PO BOX  55739 London  E14 2BG
. Telephone: 020 7364 5367.

If you share the deep concerns of the many established local community groups and agree that this small group of unrepresentative individuals should become the official Neighbourhood Planning Forum for the area, please send your comments and objections to Tower Hamlets Council before the deadline of 30 July 2013 by email ldf@towerhamlets.gov.uk or post to the above address.


  • Paul Brocklehurst

    Victory? :)

    “Dear Sir/Madam,

    The application submitted on 1 April 2013 by ‘network Wapping’ to establish a Neighbourhood Planning Forum and Area was withdrawn by network Wapping on 30 July 2013. For further information please see the attached letter.

    Due to the withdrawal, the Council will not be determining this application. The Council’s website will shortly be updated with this information.

    Please note that the consultation responses submitted in relation to the withdrawn application will be taken into consideration during the determination process of any future application made by network Wapping.”

  • http://lovewapping.org/ Mark Baynes

    A very good and objective summary of the whole mess that Network Wapping (or whatever they are calling themselves today) has created. I don’t know what their agenda is but I am convinced by everything I have seen that they have no interest in Wapping or the wishes of its residents. I urge everyone to object to Tower Hamlets Council before it is too late.

  • James W

    This group are incompetent, uncommunicative and unpredictable (dangerous). They are in no way fit to represent Wapping or have any influence over planning. To date they have talked nonsense and done nothing and there is no evidence that this is going to change or that they are going to consult properly representing not just their own views but those of the community. Object to Network Wapping!

  • Paul Brocklehurst

    their incompetence is such that they are unable to even count the number of people in the room at a meeting. My name was totally left of the minutes of the June meeting. I emailed and tweeted them about it over a week ago – no response. Not fit to run a lemonade stand

  • Paul Brocklehurst

    I have objected, and encourage others to do so.