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Over 1200 residents sign letter AGAINST Bethnal Green councillors

Over 1,200 residents have signed an open letter against Bethnal Green councillors (St. Peters and Weavers ward), for failing to support them in their complaints of discrimination against Tower Hamlets Council in it’s controversial Liveable Streets consultation. 

An open letter started a few weeks ago has gathered more than a twelve hundred signatories accusing their local councillors in ignoring local concerns. The letter specifically names and criticises the behaviour of three councillors, Kevin Brady, Tarik Khan and John Pierce.

Anger in Bethnal Green with rising crime and emergency services access being blocked

Residents in the area have complained of rising crime, with the areas blocked off being ideal places for drug dealing. Rival gangs have been involved in turf wars over the areas, with police having to use dispersal powers on repeated occasions to contain the situation. 

Residents have also complained of emergency services not being able to get to the area in a timely fashion, videos have been posted on social media of fire engines and ambulances struggling to get to the area, due to the road blocks put in by Tower Hamlets council.

One local businessman said, “They have done us in. My business is struggling, residents are struggling. They blocked off roads not even mentioned in the consultation. When I asked who did it, I was told the local councillors wanted the road blocks. Just because their friends who live in a private block wanted it. I and my local customers, feel abandoned, my business has suffered, and I might be forced out of business.”

Residents demand to Councillors in the Letter

The letter demands that the Councillors resign the Labour whip on Liveable Streets and goes on to say:

“We demand, these Councillors resign the whip on Liveable Streets publicly, and join the residents in a public call:

1. For the Liveable Streets consultation and PCL consult to be suspended.  For an independent investigation to be conducted in regard to the complaint.

2. If current road changes as planned are to proceed, a new consultation must be run by an accredited body/group fully independent of Tower Hamlets Council and any design company appointed by them.  This body must have experience of working with diverse and disadvantaged communities.  Our experience has left an irrevocable mistrust of PCL and any future consultation should be carried out by independent bodies with experience of our communities and who are not seconded from third party organizations, avoiding the current conflict of interest with the PCL group of companies.

3. To publicly call out the narrative, that BAME people don’t care about climate change or are bad parents who don’t care about their children’s health.  In particular, the narrative espoused by Cllr John Pierce and Cllr Kevin Brady on social media and various public utterances.

4. Before any new consultation, an Equality Impact Assessment to be carried out with a particular focus on data on car ownership and usage by residents with protective characteristics.  This also to be performed by fully independent entities with expertise in such.

5. To take account of the working-class history and heritage in the area. The historical fabric and aesthetics should take precedence over any proposed plans put forward, for example, the historically listed Boundary Estate.

6. The acknowledgement that residents were misled by local Councillors.   In particular, Cllr Tarik Khan, to publicly apologise for misleading congregations in local mosques, encouraging them to object, only to find those objections put aside and Cllr Tarik Khan actually supporting the scheme.

We expect our elected representatives to stand with us, not against us.  We expect our representatives to be honest and truthful with residents.  We expect our representatives to stand up for community values and speak out against all forms of discrimination.

If they don’t, then we will organise and replace them with representatives who will.”

Link to Letter:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScTRtSBZ92L4kNwC7Uh0WmeWx7gPtcjbolq4UhvkpAD3sbJCw/viewform

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Written by Jack London

Jack London is a guest author and resident of Tower Hamlets.

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