Welcome to the fourth newsletter from the St. Katharine and Wapping Safer Neighbourhood Ward Panel. We are a non-political voluntary Group working with the Police Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT), The London Borough of Tower Hamlets (LBTH) and Residents to make the Ward a Safer Place in which to live and work.
We would like to share some of the progress we have made since we last wrote to you in the spring of this year, but first, news about our upcoming Public Meeting:
1) Public meeting
Following the success of our first public meeting in July 2018, we are pleased to announce our next meeting on Tuesday, 1st October 2019 – 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. at the Tobacco Dock Gallery. We have secured the attendance of the new Borough Commander, Marcus Barnett as well as Chief Inspector Dominic Barnes -SNT, Ann Corbett – Divisional Director for Community Safety LBTH and Dan Jones - Divisional Director for Highways and Public Realm LBTH.
The unprecedented turnout at our last meeting (over 150 residents) demonstrated the strength of feeling within the Ward and gave the authorities a greater understanding of the problems that the Ward is facing with drugs, dangerous driving/speeding and general ASB. It clearly has given us more leverage when trying to resolve issues with the relevant authorities. Please do attend, vote on your priorities for the coming year and help us to help you again this year.
2) Our Website and Twitter Account
Earlier this year we launched our new website: - www.skw-wardpanel.org which explains how we work and what we do. It also contains up to date links for the various reporting portals including LBTH and the Metropolitan Police for reporting ASB; and Streetlink for reporting the homeless and rough sleepers. The Online Watch Link (OWL) page, enables residents to quickly sign up to this important community safety portal in which the Police are a partner.
Please continue to report. Only with consistent and disciplined reporting will resources be diverted to clamp down on the escalation of ASB related issues.
With a view to increasing our engagement with residents, we are also now pleased to announce our new twitter account - skw-wardpanel@wardpanel. We will use this to release news and information about making our neighbourhood a safer place to live.
3) Wapping Bus Gate – Public Consultation – Outcome now announced
You might remember that the Ward Panel made a comprehensive and compelling presentation, with photographic input from residents, to LBTH Highways Department in December 2017 evidencing dangerous driving and speeding cars, rush hour rat running and 32 tonne tipper trucks using our roads despite the 7.5 tonne limit. As a result, a full road traffic survey took place in February 2018. Since then, the Ward Panel has fully supported and promoted LBTH’s consultation with residents and local businesses. There were over 2,000 responses to the on-line and leaflet consultation and the face-to-face consultations led by the relevant LBTH officials were well attended. The Ward Panel are pleased that some action has finally been taken to address road safety. Full details of the bus gate can be found on our website. We hope that the “Liveable Streets Programme” will go a step further, complement the bus gate and also enhance the safety, well-being and enjoyment of residents living in the Ward.
4) Liveable Streets Programme
The aims of this LBTH initiative is to improve the look and feel of public spaces in neighbourhoods across the Borough and make it safer and more convenient to get around on foot, bike and by public transport, reducing people making “rat runs” and short cuts through residential streets and to encourage more sustainable journeys and improve air quality and road safety. Wapping has been identified for development and there are substantial funds available for improvements.
An on-line survey was conducted in April and this was followed up with workshops in July. The Ward Panel are of the view that there would have been benefits to this initiative being undertaken in conjunction with the bus gate proposal and not in isolation. They have also received negative feedback on how the workshops, which were poorly attended, were run and their content. A final workshop is now scheduled for Saturday 14th Sept. 1:30pm-4pm. Full details to follow. We have also asked that any proposals are discussed with the Ward Panel prior to implementation
5)Residents Development Network (RDN)
We started the RDN in February 2018 and now have over 40 developments signed up. Our aim is to ensure conformity of approach with regards to dealing with ASB issues including reporting and security. Our second meeting in July was well attended by chairs, boards and representatives from the developments. The Police SNT and Ward panel discussed issues of mutual concern with the RDN and we have found that many neighbouring developments share very similar issues and a collaborative approach has undoubtedly been of great benefit in tackling these. If your development has not already signed up, and would like to do so, please contact us at: - firstname.lastname@example.org
6) Shadwell Basin
The Ward Panel met with the SNT and the LBTH ASB officials with responsibility for tasking Enforcement Officers (THEOs) to patrol in our ward following the tragic drowning of a young man in the Basin on
23 July. Following this you should have noticed more daytime patrols by the THEOs with a view to educating swimmers about the dangers of the Basin. Large “Variable Message Signs” spelling out the dangers of swimming here have also been installed. We have also requested “Voice Activated CCTV” to be installed.
The above does not, however, address the numerous other by-laws being breached by people committing ASB, disturbing the peace and preventing residents from enjoying this space and from those living nearby carrying out their usual daily activities at certain times of the year. In order to seek a step change on how LBTH and the Police are managing the problem, the Ward Panel wrote to Mayor John Biggs, to ask for more substantial measures to be introduced to stop this congregation of such large numbers of people from outside the Borough, including giving serious consideration to the introduction of a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO). We fear that if these problems are not addressed it will only be a matter of time before this behaviour spreads to other recreational areas in the Ward too.
7) Hermitage Memorial Park
The Ward Panel have recently facilitated the installation of motion censored LED lights on the river front to the east and west corners. These were sourced through OWL and the installation paid for by Cinnabar Wharf. We are hoping that this will now be a far less comfortable place at night for those wishing to participate in ASB.
8) Waterside Gardens (river-side park with the pagoda opposite Reardon Path)
This is still unfortunately a hotspot for ASB in Wapping including considerable late night drug-taking, excessive noise and littering. The local Police SNT now includes these gardens in their patrol and we have asked the THEOs to do likewise. Please do continue to report all incidents.
We had a site meeting with senior Council officials earlier in the year to discuss the issues in this park and what can be done to address them. We hope to find a long-term solution to the problems but, in the meantime, we are discussing the placement of a new CCTV camera, as an initial deterrent.
9) Ward Panel Volunteers
We are looking to recruit new members to the panel with specific responsibilities/skills. If you are interested and would like more information please contact us at: email@example.com
St. Katharine and Wapping Safer Neighbourhood Ward Panel September 2019