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Whats in Wapping

Wapping Town Council: What Next?

Wapping Town Council: What Next?

A Public Meeting was held yesterday, 28th July in Raines Hall Wapping to discuss the Local Town Council proposition.  Official minutes will be published when available, but a resident recording of the meeting in 6 parts is available on YouTube starting:


Resident Views

Numerous comments today by residents since the meeting [...view last article].

Statement from Geoff Juden

Wed 28th July 2010 a meeting was held to ascertain going forward with a proposal for a Town Council in Wapping. There are always views for and against any change, however the people of St. Katharine’s & Wapping are being given the right to decide, any idea of what powers to take in hand, or indeed any cost to the people of St.Katharine’s & Wapping .

I personally will be happy to be involved with this venture should the people wish. This website will be kept informed of the progress. The next step is to gain sufficient signatures for the petition, in order that this may be presented to Tower Hamlets Council for a governance review of the area.

The final decision on all matters rests with the public of St. Katharine’s & Wapping and nobody else, so far the only people in London to be given this opportunity. Use it wisely.

Reference Information

Useful resources and links posted on previous articles; let us know of others and we’ll get them added.

Latest Updates [...View Here]

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  • Paulie-K

    I took it upon mself to contact the Essex association of local councils and have found someone who could potentially speak to the community to discuss processes and experiences from Loughton’s town council as an example of an urban town council. Alas as Geoff has made it clear he is only interested in getting the shadow council together, so I shall let them know to stand down.

  • Robin

    Maybe I have missed something in this thread, but I don’t think we have had an answer to Fiona’s question. If you can “second” a question, I second it. I can see there are references to the steering group, but f they seem to remain men and women of mystery!

  • http://www.paulbrockphotography.co.uk Brock

    Geoff read out the petition at the end of the public meeting. He read “The people of St Katherine’s and Wapping raise the petition on behalf of the ward of St Katherine’s and Wapping to put before the London Borough of Tower Hamlets council request for a governance review of the ward, the purpose of which is to create a Town Council with Mayor for the ward of St Katherine’s and Wapping”

  • Raj

    There are clearly people who will always be for or against but I think I speak for many people in Wapping who are unhappy with the way things are but don’t want to move to another bad situation without knowing some more of the facts.

    I think a lot of us “on the fence” would like to see a clear statement that explains what the new council would do and how much it would cost . Without that I don’t think it’s fair to ask people to put their name to a petition they don’t know what it’s for other than to form another committee and potentially become used as part of something that could cost us a lot of money.

    And out of interest where is the petition? Is there a link to it anywhere as I’d like to know what it says?

  • http://www.paulbrockphotography.co.uk Brock

    You make an admirable politician Geoff. :)

    Thanks for your ‘answer’, it sounds to me like you don’t know how to avoid a precept, hope that people will sign up anyway and can wait until afterwards to either find a magical solution, or point out it will actually cost *them* not Tower Hamlets.

    If I am wrong, you need only show why you think a precept is unnecessary in Wapping yet necessary in virtually every other parish/town council.

    Geoff:”I suggest that should people who have formed an idea on how things are to operate and be costed without looking at the full facts, are indeed at liberty to do so”

    If there are other facts we should be looking at in addition to the “Power to the People” document you’ve mentioned, which seemed fairly comprehensive, would you mind highlighting them for us?

    Geoff:”Why not have the debate and public discussion to see if indeed it can be brought into line with peoples’s wishes. This may be a very good oppportunity, to deny it in concept would be doing a disservice to the people of St.Katharine’s & Wapping.”

    I don’t think anyone is denying it in concept Geoff. We’re drawing our own conclusions looking at the same documents as you are, asking questions and getting told “wait and see. Oh, and please sign here to get the ball rolling” Why wait until after the petition has signed and a shadow council elected before having some more debate and public discussion?

  • Geoff Juden

    The general thought of having a precept exceptional which people have to pay, is an idea some people have. However, I do not believe that my previous mention on whatsinwapping has been taken into consideration fully. I am not prepared to discuss, before the shadow council has a chance to be in place, for this will be one of their concerns.

    I suggest that should people who have formed an idea on how things are to operate and be costed without looking at the full facts, are indeed at liberty to do so.

    Being fully aware of residents concerns, all will be told and the people will decide. That is called democracy.

    I fully support this website as a discusion area, however Wapping Town Council is at the point of collecting signatures for the petition.

    Nobody from the steering group is going to force the people of St.Katharine’s & Wapping into a disagreeable committment, plus at any time should the majority of St.Katharine’s & Wapping decide against the idea, it can go no further.

    Geoff Juden

  • http://www.paulbrockphotography.co.uk Brock

    Hi Geoff, I just wanted to question your statement:

    “Should any of these services be covered by council tax payment, it is inconceivable to me that the people of St.Katharine’s & Wapping pay twice for such services.”

    Is there anything in any public documents that indicate this is the case? Everything I’ve read about other councils suggests the vast majority of their funding comes from the precept, not existing/reallocated council tax funds.

    Power to the People even has, on page 63, example questions likely to be raised by residents. One of which is:

    “Q: Why should we pay twice for local services, once to the district/borough/unitary council and once to a local council?
    A: While it is true that we would be paying more, the council tax we currently pay contributes to the wellbeing of the entire district/borough/unitary area. All of the money a local council raises through the precept must be invested back into our community. Local councils can also access grants and funding that can supplement money generated locally.”

    Again, “it is true that we would be paying more”.

    Also, the same document, page 9:

    The local council decides what it will need for the coming year and a sum of money called a precept is collected locally through the local council tax. This money is invested back into the local community to improve facilities and services.
    Many local councils also supplement the precept with grants and, if they own property, can receive money from rents or leases. Councils can also generate income through running community facilities, for example the
    hiring of sports facilities and venues.”

    No mention of reallocating existing funding from the borough council.

    I’ve looked through a sample of local councils’ accounts (take your pick from the big list here:http://www.politicsresources.net/area/uk/parish.htm) and the only ones that don’t have a precept are those that are being closed down. This is really important to me, and I’m sure many other residents, and I don’t think we should have to wait for a shadow council to hear if funding the scheme can be done differently to most other parish councils,or if we will be required to pay extra.

  • John

    I think there is also anger that any money generated in Wapping is taken out of Wapping. This is from Wharf.co.uk. In case anyone is mistaken, Shadwell is not part of Wapping and St Katharine’s but News International certainly is.and I can’t recall Wapping receiving any benefits from any developments.

    “News International will also provide an additional £100,000 shuttle bus, “subject to monitoring and demand”, including the £70,000 running costs per annum. It will increase the placements for the Diploma in Creative and Media from two to 10 at a cost of £10,000 each, the internships from seven to 15 at a cost of £8,000 each and will add 10 apprenticeships within the creative and media areas at £150,000 for salaries and £30,000 per year for training.

    Another £3,000 will go towards travel plan monitoring, £7,000 towards staff cycle training, £10,000 on 10 staff pool bikes and £75,000 towards the upkeep of better leisure and community facilities.

    This is in addition to pledges including £50,000 for pedestrian improvements to Dellow Street, £100,000 for traffic calming and other measures in Pennington Street, and £100,000 for works at Shadwell station.!
    Why should Wapping not benefit from the available finance because it is the residents of Wapping that will endure the building works that are proposed.

  • John

    I tend to agree with Fiona on this one, I definitely believe the steering group should be made public and others invited on to it to take it further and make it completely representative.

  • Fiona

    There are clearly a few people with strong views here on both sides but what I would like to know is who are on the steering committee and feel comfortable they represent all sections of the Wapping community. If they don’t then this should be addressed before going further.

  • John

    Flash said:”Glad to know you’ll support anything on a whim.”
    Well Harry I find it a tad difficult to comprehend that I may have misunderstood that comment and perceive it as a sort of veiled personal attack. It sort of alludes that I don’t think before giving my support.

    So again I state that I publicly and vociferously supported Oona King in her campaign against the Scottish nomark and again I’ll ask you why you would consider that as on a whim. Maybe I err in my assumptions and only things you disagree with shall be considered as being on a whim.

    I will support anyone or any proposal that I believe is best for the area or country or whatever. I believe that John Foster and indeed Geoff Juden would have done far more for the area than our labour councillors. John Foster had good ideas outwith the parameters of the Green Party Manifesto which I agreed with, I have no inclination to join or vote Greens at any other election. If Councillor Jones had come to me with similar good ideas then I would have backed her but labour promulgated the same old lies that never materialise.

    The idiocy that abounds us in our local streets proves that a retarded three legged donkey would have done considerably more for Wapping than our two labour councillors.

    Disabled parking bays vanish, our councillors are silent, Costcutters is passed without any public meeting with the residents or the 350 local objectors. Cab drivers and shop owners targeted in Wapping Lane for parking yet club cars sit there all day long on double yellow lines untouched by parking enforcement. Then we endure councillor Jones saying it is nothing to do with her, it’s someone else’s fault. In that case what the hell is the point of paying her if she cannot command any say in these idiotic scenarios.

    If someone was to tackle these issues then I sure as hell wouldn’t give a toss about a Town Council but we have three councillors on remuneration for doing basically nothing. Taxpayer’s money wasted.

    If someone comes along willing to tackle such issues and willing to fight for the rights of local people then they will get my backing whether it be on a whim or a wing and a prayer.

    I am not that interested in wresting all control from anyone or any entity, I want fair play for the residents and to not witness our streets used to gather money from car club contracts while the local residents get less spaces to use and more chance of being fined for the privilege of the council ignoring our rights.

    I do not know all the financial implications but in my opinion common sense is usually pretty cheap unless you are a Tower Hamlets councillor.

  • Geoffrey Juden

    Realising after the public meeting held, many people wish to know exactly what services and costs to the people of St.Katharine’s & Wapping. These issues to be adjudged by the shadow council, after the petition has been presented to The London Borough of Tower Hamlets Council.

    I will however state that in the light of The Power To The People Document, plus enacted and soon to be enacted leglislation, services which may be taken into Wapping Town Council’s remit are many and various. Should any of these services be covered by council tax payment, it is inconceivable to me that the people of St.Katharine’s & Wapping pay twice for such services. Further I am not advocating UDI from Tower Hamlets, so should, the soon to be council for The Town of Wapping so wish they could decide to be still involved with LAP4, where funding should be proportionate.

    My main objective in having people talking on a new form of democracy in Wapping, the first in London, is to offer the people of Wapping a greater say in what happens in their area.

    There are soon to be funds available to be spent in the area, instead of Tower Hamlets Council dictating your priorities would it not be better if the people who live in the area be able to prioritise where these funds be most effective.

    I cannot understand persons being against a form of greater local accountability, should they be against it on cost grounds, why not have the debate and public discussion to see if indeed it can be brought into line with peoples’s wishes. This may be a very good oppportunity, to deny it in concept would be doing a disservice to the people of St.Katharine’s & Wapping.

    Geoff Juden

  • Flash-Harry

    John, I think you misunderstand.

    Whilst I appreciate the potted political history of your life, you don’t need to turn any query about the council into a direct attack on your views or how you’ve cast your vote. Given you are the only proponent of the proposed council active online and who was very vociferous at the meeting (thank’s to Brock for video!) I think it fair to ask questions, and I appreciate and thank you for responding. However, rather than accepting people want to have an understanding of the proposals and how you envisage them, you find yourself spiralling into defending non-existant attacks.

    You stated that you had no affiliation to any political group, it is a reasonable then to ask about your nomination of a candidate in the last election. You clearly have had a colourful past in getting involved with local politics though I think you are slightly paranoid about peoples’ intentions [this is not an invitation to discuss past run-ins with politicians].

    My comment was based purely on your flippant remarks on the green party’s manifesto and how it was all made up. Whilst I can appreciate you supporting someone personally, in a political context you can see how it is odd that you would put your name down to put them on the ballot paper. To reiterate, I find most people personable, it doesn’t mean however I would put my name to support their candidacy if their manifesto was ‘pie-in-the-sky’. You will hopefully follow my logic that if you support individuals regardless of policies, it is not a stretch of the imagination to query your support of initiatives, particularly led by people you are friends with. I do not for a moment think that you don’t honestly believe that a new council is a good idea, but, the steering committee has not yet been able to state categorically what new powers it would want (per Paulie-K’s post) or what the net cost would be (Brock).

    As for Oona King- who mentioned her, I certainly didn’t, I merely asked if all of the people with your surname nominating candidates were related to you? I’ve never spoken to you, so why should I know anything about you. I apologise for not knowing you were infamous for your political views. Also, I can assure you that you don’t need to dumb-it-down any further, I’m quite capable of understanding logical and coherent arguments!

  • John

    So I have no affiliation Harry, not a member of any party, never have been as you no doubt know because If I was wrong you would be spouting it here., I’m still waiting for you to tell me what was wrong with Supporting Oona King against a self promoting Scottish W****r who used racist,, religious, sexist and homophobic bigotry to get votes. Is that too difficult a question for you, if so I can dumb it down a bit for you.

  • john

    Oh dear a detractor, I don’t agree with the green party but John Fosterwas an honest guy, hardly on a whim. We haveseen the state of the borough by people like yourself voting on a whim, the turkeys voting for Christmas. Labour have done nothing for anyone.
    Oona King was a whim. Tell us what her faults were then. Did the colour of her skin upset you or maybe the fact she was part Jewish, So whatwas the prblem in me supporting Oona King.against a man who used religious, racial, sexist and homphobic hatred to gain votes. Come on Flash why was it whim to vote for Oona.

  • Flash-Harry

    Glad to know you’ll support anything on a whim whether or not it’s pie in the sky! I merely thought it odd given your statements on not having a specific affiliation. And my question re Natalia?

  • john

    From BNP to Green Party in 24 hours, I could end up paranoid on here.

  • john

    Cor Sherlock has arrived, I signed forJohn Foster for the green party, because he seemed an honest guy with good intentions. Hardlyputs me in their political camp as I think green agenda is mostly pie in the sky and fabricated fantasy.. So what difference does it make. I had Labour party posters all over my windows in support of Oona King in 2005, it doesn’t mean I support labour.

    So what is the point you are trying to make

  • Paulie-K

    Ultimately the ability of the new council to exert influence will depend largely on LBTH, as how much notice they give and logistical support they offer to the new council is up to them.

    John/Geoff, what are the 5 key functions that you would hope to be devolved to the new council, I’m still not clear what your expectations are.

    Further questions I have:
    *Will there be a referendum as part of the review
    *How much will the governance review cost?
    * How will invoices/payments be made?
    * Will the new council be given legal advice and its expenditure subject to audit?

    I think the steering committee should arrange another meeting with a formal presentation with representatives of the council (legal, financial, council secretariat) LBTH, NALC and DCLG to discuss the actual, factual issues, including practical powers, obligations of LBTH and the costs of establishing the council and also admin costs (presumably an accounting system needs to operate or at least contract it from LBTH).

  • Flash-Harry

    Can John confirm if he is the same person who was an assentor in nominating the green candidates or related to ‘Natalia’ who was an assentor in nominating Geoff Juden in the last election?

  • Brock

    ” If we have a say in different issues then why would we need any money.”

    I appreciate where you are coming from John, if you’re right and there would be no precept, my main reservation to the scheme is shot down. There are costs though, I don’t think we can avoid that. At a minimum, (according to “Power to the People”) insurance is required (not sure why) and an audit, which I guess could be provided pro bono if someone is willing. I’m sure there are other costs associated with running a tier of government, even if the councillors are volunteers.

    Take Lighthorne Parish Council – mentioned in Power to the People as an example of a smaller council (just 940 population, total precept £5000). They managed to rack up £2000 in admin costs a year (http://www.lighthorneonline.com/PCAR0006.pdf) plus another £1400 insurance.

    If the steering group can provide a firm conclusion that no precept is required or sought, my tune will change considerably!

  • John

    I am against any precept Brock. I am also against dealing with park benches or flower beds, that’s not my idea of local issues. I am totally against having another layer of paid people being invited to sit on their arses at taxpayer’s expense.
    I have been led to believe that we can have a big say on many issues and if that means putting an end to the madness that masquerades as normality in Wapping then I feel it worth traversing that road. If planning have to consult with local people before treading over the wishes of the people then it’s worth doing..
    Money is thrown about at useless projects like a zebra crossing on a blindbend, the madness that is Tower Hamlets.
    A question raised was premises, we can use the same offices in Prusom Street that every other person uses. If we have a say in different issues then why would we need any money.

    If our councillors cannot represent us or have an input with the council cabinet then they will have absolutely no say in anything under the double layer system, that has already been stated by Cllr Islam. Now it cannot remain that these referees for passports can retain their paid positions while being completely barren of any power. The residents are entitled to ask for their removal, whether that happens or not is another question.
    If such a small percentage of the electorate with a petition can add a whole extra layer of paid government to our borough then a bigger percentage of the electorate of Wapping are surely entitled to ask for redundant councillors to have their funding removed.
    I am only interested in stopping the continuation of non consultation of residents and a rational implementation of common sense. Can anyone give a reason why councillors should remain considering they have no say in local issues as it stands and will be sterile after the mayor is elected.
    I don’t mind any arguments and although Robin may have been genuine in his comment about the BNP I have seen many too councillors and their associates throw the same smear in to the ring too often in attempt to stifle debate. I have had many issues with Tower Hamlets council over the years and many heated moments with many councillors, it doesn’t stop me talking to the next time we meet.
    Just one instance would be myself and the future mayor, John Biggs, I had bought my home in Stepney and labour had to buy it back after hiding documentation proving the defects had been in situ many years. Anyway We would disrupt council meetings in order to highlight our plight and the councillors would try to incite us in order to get the police involved. John Biggs obviously wanted to get the last pint one night as I was mouthing off about the lack of security for the pensioners left on the Stifford Estate, Mr Biggs tried a different tact by shouting out “Mr Rush you are a self opinionated ,loud mouthed, arrogant git.” He quite clearly must had met my wife. I retorted that that was only my good points and he almost smiled at that. His outburst was in the paper that week but I never really took any offence and nor did John Biggs when I met him at a resident event in Stepney a few weeks later. He laughed as he told me his Mother in law had called to tell him the Stifford residents, us, had put his name in huge letters right across one of the tower blocks. FAULTY TOWERS BY BASIL BIGGS. So I wouldn’t worry about councillors getting a bit of flak, for ten grand a year I would stand there for ten minutes every night, it was hardly abuse she got.
    I do not hate the councillors, I resent the total waste of money in the current financial climate and if it is a viable option for residents to get decision making powers then it surely has to be tried.

  • Brock

    Thanks Geoff, I’m glad this site will have updates. Please don’t take criticism posted on here as an indication we don’t want to hear more about it :)