Monday, 28 December 2015

A Real Eastenders' Christmas


For a moment over Christmas, Tredegar Square gave Albert Square a run for its money when it came to melodrama. Just an hour before the annual Carols in the Square, the heavens opened and my phone started to buzz with punters concerned whether we could or should go ahead. "Of course" I said, as I looked out of The Chesterfield's window to see rain ricocheting off the pavement.

Forty-five minutes (and a change of sodden clothes) later my phone rang again "the Square gates are locked"; could I phone "my people" and if not shall we call the police? Needless to say "my people" didn't answer and thinking the police wouldn't be amused I began the walk round to the square, feeling like the 4th or is it the 5th emergency service.

On arrival I could see an emergency mulled-wine station had been setup outside the gates. A small vanguard of carol singers set off for the Morgan Arms to see if they could accommodate us, but the landlord reluctantly turned us down as we might disturb the neighbours (a fair point if you've heard us sing).

Meanwhile, Vivian and I exchanged glances and then decided in a rare moment of near silent synchronicity to move the show over to the north-east corner of the square as it has the least traffic. A couple of carol singers blocked the road off with their cars, and then set up shop under the corner lamppost. Eventually the song sheets were found in a pre-5pence plastic bag, dished out and extra wine and minced pies forced on those gathered. But who was going to lead the singing? Luckily a man emerged from the shadows, stood under the streetlight and said on queue: "I' can do it" in a voice that had me thinking Hugh Bonneville was guest starring but had turned up at the wrong square....and then THE CAROLS BEGAN. They were amazing and great fun.

Thanks to everyone who helped out. You'd think all you have to do is turn up and sing, but you'd be surprised: minced pies, mulled wine, buying and wrapping presents for the kids, sparklers, fetching and carrying Santa (the reindeers were unavailable as they were on a pre-Christmas team-bonding trip). There were around 40-50 people there and lots of kids. Quite a good turnout considering the weather (it only rained for like 2 minutes).

If everything had gone to plan it wouldn't have been half the fun.



And finally. Great to see the return of the Aberavon Puds. A Mile End Christmas isn't the same without them.


Update on Redevelopment of Grove Road Texaco site.


The council's deadline for commenting on the proposals for redeveloping the Grove Road Texaco garage site has now passed. We estimate around 30 objections were made, plus a petition by the Clinton Road residents and a letter from MEOTRA. There was at least one letter supporting the scheme.

Something everyone seems to agree on is the need for homes to be built. But there is a danger that in the fog of the often-mentioned "housing crisis" developers can get pretty much any housing scheme approved. After all isn't any housing better than none at all? In 10 or 20 years time will we look back and think what a wonderful addition to our area, or will we see a lost opportunity?


On a lighter note. Hands up who noticed the council boo-boo the other week, where signs seemingly intended for GLOBE road found themselves attached to GROVE road lampposts? Or maybe they just got the name wrong?

And I thought it was just the pizza man who got the two streets mixed up.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

MEOTRA Carols: 5PM Sunday in Tredegar Square

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas....
It's the annual MEOTRA Carols in Tredegar Square tomorrow (Sunday) from 5PM. Mince pies and mulled wine for us oldies; and biscuits, fruit juice, sparklers and presents from Santa for the children (oh to be a child again ;( )

I'm sorry for the late notice, but I had a little office celebration last night and have kind of lost a day! Walking around Mile End today it was really cheery to see so many front windows decorated and maybe next year we should have a competition for best window display?

I hope lots of you can come tomorrow it promises to be a great event.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Deadline looms for Comments on Re-Development of Grove Road Texaco Site



As mentioned in our newsletter, MEOTRA had heard on the grapevine that the Texaco Garage in Grove Road was going to be redeveloped into dwellings. So just as everyone is snowed under getting ready for Christmas the planning application has just recently been submitted:
PA/15/03079 | Demolition of existing Structures and Buildings associated with the petrol station (Sui Generis) plus redevelopment of the site by the erection of Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5 storey buildings to form 17 new dwellings(C3) (4 x 3 bed town houses with roof top terraces and 13 flats (5 x 1 bed, 7 x 2 and 1 x 3 bed) together with Associated Amenity Space, Refuse Store, Cycle Store, Landscaping, and Related Works. | 53 Grove Road, London, E3 4PE
The planning application stretches to 36 documents. The development is car-free, has storage for some 30 bikes.

Residents have until next Monday 21st December to register any objections to the plans otherwise they are likely to go through without a planning meeting. What do you think of the plans? Please do take a look at the plans and take some time to write with your objections to planningandbuilding@towerhamlets.gov.uk quoting PA/15/03079 Please feel free to copy me in (info@meotra.org.uk)

I like the look of the scheme, but I think is is totally unsuitable for our area. As shown on the applicant's Design and Access statement the site borders two conservation areas (Tredegar Square and Clinton Road Conservation Areas) with Mile End Park forming its other boundaries. The application states "It is an area of architectural and historic interest, with a character and appearance worthy of protection and enhancement". Unfortunately the scheme does neither.

I think the extreme proximity of the site to these conservation areas (and Mile End Park) mean it should be given extra close attention by the planners. In particular:

  1. The scheme will have a detrimental effect on the character and appearance of the neighbouring CAs.
  2. According to the council character appraisal of the Clinton Road CA, a key aspect is the two storey nature of the buildings in Clinton Road. The scheme is too high and indeed is higher than anything nearby.
  3. The recently renovated neighbouring property 51 Grove Road (aka "Mile End Hotel") is the last building of its design and type in Grove Road and surely deserves to be locally listed. The proposed development will totally ruin the setting of this building by dwarfing it.
  4. The density of dwellings is too high. It looks suspiciously like the developer is looking to try it on with "let's see if we can get an extra storey through planning".
  5. The materials used totally contrast with those used elsewhere in the vicinity. 
  6. The proposed dwellings overlook a number of the houses in Clinton Road leading to a substantial loss of privacy.

Why on earth wasn't the site included in one or other of the conservation areas?

Spot the "hole" in the conservation areas.
Portions of the scheme dwarf surrounding buildings.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Over 50s Tea Dance: 9th December

Next week sees the annual Christmas Tea Dance at the Art Pavilion in Mile End Park. Entertainment will be provided by the Sunshine Kings and Dance Leader Tony Lane. Why not put on your festive party clothes and come along for an afternoon of dancing, refreshments and Christmas cheer. You may even get a foxtrot with Mayor Biggs.

Admission is FREE but advance booking is essential. Please phone 020 7364 7900 (9.30am to 4pm, Mon to Thurs) or email festivalsandevents@towerhamlets.gov.uk

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.....


I do hope you can make it to Bow church. Be great if you could download and print out a flyer to tie to your railings or put in your front window.