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Council motions: parking, housing, fare rises, youth facilities and regeneration

January 26, 2010

These are the motions Tower Hamlets Respect councillors have submitted to the full council meeting taking place tomorrow:

  • Parking policy in Tower Hamlets
  • Car free zones
  • Housing policy
  • Boris Johnson’s Fare Rises
  • Youth facilities
  • Ocean regeneration and business uncertainty

Read the motions:

1) Parking policy in Tower Hamlets
Moved by Councillor Abjol Miah, seconded by Cpouncillor Dulal Uddin

This council notes that:

a) the policy of ticketing, clamping and removal of vehicles in this borough is widely reviled by car owners as unjust

b) around £5 million is raised annually from car owners through the issuing of penalty charge notices and retrievals from the car pound

c) grievances include the draconian exercise of clamp9ng and removal powers on council and registered council estates

d) lack of signage as to the parking restrictions in some areas of the borough

e) confusion caused by the presence of parking restrictions on Sundays in some parts of the borough

f) confusion caused by significant differences over the times of parking restrictions in different parts of the borough

g) confusion caused by the welcome concession of allowing two hours free parking around market areas at market times

h) the recent statement by the council that “the length of time a car is parked before removal is immaterial”

j) the opposition of the vast majority of residents on some estates, such as John Smith Mews, E14, to the introduction of a clamping system for parking on their estate

k) penalty charge notices, decamping fees and retrieval fees are extremely high for those on lower incomes

This council believes that:

a) the primary purpose of the council’s parking policy should be to enable residents and others with legitimate parking rights to park as conveniently as possible and to ensure that traffic is not blocked by parking

b) the primary purpose should not be to punish car owners for minor transgressions of the rules

c) the primary purpose should not be to raise funds for the council by a punitive tax on some car owners

d) the council and registered social landlords should not impose clamping and other parking penalties where the residents of an estate are clearly overwhelmingly opposed to those penalties

e) the parking policy should be applied with due respect to common sense and what is reasonable and unreasonable in the specific circumstances

f) the length of time a vehicle is parked in circumstances that transgress parking restrictions is material, as are the reasons why a vehicle might be temporarily parked in circumstances which transgress parking restrictions, and that car owners should be given a reasonable chance to remove their vehicles where such transgression has occurred

g) Tower Hamlets parking policy should be subject to a root and branch review to make it more reasonable, comprehensible and acceptable to car owners and users.

2) Car free zones
Moved by Councillor Dulal Uddin, seconded by Councillor Abjol Miah

This council welcomes:

a) the acknowledgement by the council that the so-called Car Free Zone policy has been flawed

b) the proposal to abandon the blanket policy of excluding all residents of Car free Zones from qualifying for residents parking permits and to allow those who already hold such permits to take them with them if they move to a Car Free Zone

This council notes that:

a) the council’s proposals to modify the so-called Car Free Zone policy will not help a variety of victims of this policy who were misled into moving to Car Free Zones such as Mrs Naasir and her family who are being asked to move yet again if they are to qualify for a residents permit in order to keep her car which enables her to transport her family safely and economically or Mr Golding who has part bought his property and will have to sell up or give up his black cab on which he depends for his income or Mr Mohamed who is being asked to pay £520 per year to park his car on his estate by his registered social landlord, or the residents of 81 Horseferry Road who have had their permits suddenly and summarily withdrawn by the council or many others who have been the victims of injustice in relation to this scheme

b) the council’s proposals do not go nearly far enough therefore in addressing these multiple injustices

c) Car Free Zones tend to discriminate in favour of wealthier residents and against less well off residents

d) Car Free Zones are not Car Free in that they often have estate parking although this may be restricted and expensive

This council believes that:

a) there is a problem of parking capacity in the borough especially as Car Free Zones are not especially effective in relieving pressure on parking spaces because of widespread avoidance

b) there is an environmental problem arising from excessive car use

c) Car free Zones have not been an effective or equitable way of dealing with these problems

d) council officers urgently need to address the specific injustices that have been caused by the Car Free Zone policy including the discriminatory effects against the less well off and those with larger families and come back with much more radical policies than the damp squib announced at the last full council meeting

3) Housing policy
Moved by Councillor Fozol Miah, seconded by Councillor Abjol Miah

This council notes that:

a) there is a massive housing crisis in Tower Hamlets

b) well over 20,000 are on the council’s housing waiting list

c) an estimated 15,500 families are living in overcrowded conditions, half in social and half in private housing

d) overcrowded and poor housing are a blight which it should be the highest priority to overcome in the early part of the 21st century

e) that the director of Tower Hamlets Homes has recently expressed concern that even if THH gets 2 star status later this year, insufficient investment will be provided to bring the 60% of council housing stock that does not meet the decent homes standard up to that standard

f) that Tory Mayor Boris Johnson’s target of 20,000 new social and affordable homes by 2011 will be missed

g) that Tory Mayor Boris Johnson’s target of a 60/40 mix between social and affordable housing is currently being missed

h) that most new housing in Tower Hamlets is not being built as social or affordable housing but instead is being built for purchase in the private sector at prices far beyond the means of the vast majority of Tower Hamlets current residents

j) that many Tower Hamlets residents will either continue to suffer poor and/or overcrowded housing or be forced to try and move out to the outer London boroughs to find adequate and affordable housing

This council believes that:

a) proposals from both the Conservative and  Labour Parties to cut government investment in order to address the problem of the government’s deficit will have dire consequences for building the housing we need and bringing existing housing up to the decent homes standard in Tower Hamlets

b) we need more investment in social and above all council housing and that this investment must not be at the expense of investment of repairs and improvement

c) target for the amount of social housing being built in Tower Hamlets should be radically revised upwards in opposition to the position of Tory Mayor Boris Johnson

d) what we need above all is a crash programme of council house building which will boost the construction industry and the economy and is the only way to realistically address the blight of overcrowding in Tower Hamlets

4) Boris Johnson’s Fare Rises
Moved by Councillor Harun Miah, seconded by Councillor Abjol Miah

This council notes that:

a) fares for many of the less well off residents of Tower Hamlets have been subject to a huge rise sanctioned by Tory Mayor Boris Johnson who has ultimate responsibility for Transport for London

b) fare rises have been particularly targeted on the less well off who use buses with much lower increases on other fares

c) Mayor Johnson claims the fare rises are necessary to raise funds and yet he had dropped plans for an Western extension of the Congestion charge and to tax polluting vehicles both of which are possible ways of generating more revenue

This council believes that commuters should be encouraged to use public transport not discouraged in orer to help protect the environment

This council deplores the massive fare rises introduced in the last few days

This council calls on the Greater London Assembly, Mayor Boris Johnson and Transport for London to go back to the drawing board and thoroughly revise the fare rises which are discriminating against the less well off here and in the rest of London

5) Youth facilities
Moved by Councillor Mamun Rashid, seconded by Councillor Abjol Miah

This council notes that:

a) the London Borough of Tower Hamlets has a much higher than average number of young people

b) there are very high levels of unemployment for school leavers in Tower Hamlets

c) many young people live in poor and overcrowded conditions

d) many young people lack adequate youth facilities and opportunities for self-development on their estates

e) one such estate where adequate facilities are lacking is the Pitsea Estate in Shadwell ward

This council regrets the closure of youth facilities by the council in the past as a grievous and short-sighted policy

This council believes that:

a) lack of good youth facilities and opportunities for self-development amongst young people will encourage anti-social behaviour

b) good youth facilities easily accessible to young people in the areas where they reside are a necessity not a luxury

c) urgent consideration should be given by officers to expanding youth provision on estates which currently lack those facilities, especially where local community activists are coming forward with concrete proposals

6) Ocean regeneration and business uncertainty
Moved by Councillor Abdul Munim, seconded by Councillor Abjol Miah

This council notes that:

a) the Ocean estate is to be the subject of a major regeneration project

b) this regeneration will involve the demolition of some existing buildings

c) demolition will include Marmora House on Ben Jonson Road which houses many local shops which provide essential services to the local community

d) shop owners and keepers in Ben Jonson Road recently received letters from a developer informing them of a planning application to redevelop the site where they have their shops

e) shop owners and keepers in Ben Jonson Road have spent many years building up their businesses and serving the community

f) the letter from the developer makes no reference to providing them with alternative facilities from which to operate after they have left the existing premises or for them to have the right to return to the newly established shop premises upon completion of he redevelopment

g) this is causing severe stress and concern to the business community in Ben Jonson Road and those residents who currently depend on these shops for important and vital services

h) shop owners and keepers have made submissions to the planning department asking that alternative premises from which their businesses can operate should be guaranteed and that they should have right of return once redevelopment has been completed

This council welcomes any development and regeneration that will benefit the residents

This council believes that:

a) regeneration and redevelopment must take place with full consultation with residents and shop owners and keepers serving those residents and with their consent

b) there have not been adequate reassurances to businesses and residents in Ben Jonson Road and its vicinity about the nature of the regeneration and redevelopment planned for this area.

c) discussions and consultation should take place as a matter of urgency with the business community in this area to hear their concerns and to develop plans to allay those concerns

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