Friday, 13 December 2019

CAROLS IN THE SQUARE - This Sunday 15th December, Tredegar Square at 5.30PM


Meotra's annual carol service is this Sunday 15th December at 5.30PM in Tredegar Square.

It is a great event and we'll be there come rain or shine, with songsheets and some presents for the little ones.  Although the event is free, every year there’s a collection for charity. This year as last year we’ve chosen Bow Food Bank to help families in need have a better Christmas.

Entrance to the event will be through both gates of the Square. Please do bring a torch, and an umbrella in case of wet weather.

It’s a wonderful chance to catch up with your neighbours and get into the Christmas spirit. In keeping with this, the MEOTRA committee will be going to the pub afterwards if anyone would like to join us.

Friday, 29 November 2019

Forthcoming Music Events at Bow Church (1st and 6th of December)


This Sunday sees Bow Church's final Lunchtime Recital of the season put on by students from Trinity Laban. Entry is FREE and the concert begins at midday.


The following Friday 6 December @ 7.15pm, Bow Church welcomes the Queen Mary jazz musicians for an evening of jazz in the company of QMJazz and their music director, Jamie Rogers. QMJazz brings together the cream of QMUL jazz. With a mix of jazz and song, get into the spirit of a Swinging Christmas! Includes jazz classics such as Song for my Father, A Night in Tunisia, Take the A Train, Dolphin Dance, Besame Mucho, All the things you are, Take Five, In the wee small hours. Tickets for this event are £10 (£3 students) and are bookable here: http://bit.ly/BowJazz2019



Sunday, 24 November 2019

FREE heritage talk at Bow Church this Thurs 28 November (19.30)


This Thursday 28th November, Professor Arthur Burns will be giving a free talk at Bow Church entitled: "The urban challenge: life for clergy in Hanoverian and Victorian London"

By the end of the nineteenth century it was a common assumption that a clergyman’s task was far harder in the town than the countryside. But did earlier London clergymen share this view? What kind of clergymen took on the challenge of the metropolis? This illustrated lecture explores the sometimes surprising story of how an urban clergy emerged from an urbane one.

Entry is FREE, though booking is strongly advised.  Tickets are available via Bow Church's Eventbrite site: www.bowchurch.eventbrite.com 

All welcome!

Sunday, 17 November 2019

The New Globe Pub - Works being carried out without planning consent


Recently the above twitter post by @thegentleauthor of Spitalfields Life fame, alerted us to some alarming works going on at The New Globe Public House.

The pub is within the Clinton Road Conservation Area and is also locally listed, and thus should have some extra degree of protection. However, David Berridge (who keeps an eye on planning matters for MEOTRA) couldn't find any current planning applications for the site, but there is a building control application (IN/19/05693/NC) which includes infilling existing windows and creating a new flat and other works. 

windows and stall risers removed without consent

The Pub before works commenced

MEOTRA contacted Tower Hamlets Council's planning office to alert them of the works and ask that they investigate the matter urgently. 

Mayor John Biggs, Cllr Rachel Blake (Deputy Mayor - Planning, Tackling Poverty and Air Quality) and Christopher Ali-Hempstead (Planning Compliance Officer) have each written to MEOTRA and confirmed that the windows and stall risers have been removed without the appropriate planning consent having been granted.

The owners of the property have been instructed to cease all exterior works to the property and to apply for the relevant planning permission.

MEOTRA will let you know any further news.



Friday, 25 October 2019

Fireworks Display - Sunday 3rd November 2019, Victoria Park 7PM

WARNING: Strobe and flashing lights will be used as part of the display.

Stand by for another night of sky-filling fireworks in Victoria Park on Sunday 3 November. Organised by the council’s arts, parks and events team, this year’s display has the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing as its theme.

Residents can expect an astronomical explosion of space-inspired fun, with music tracks, soundscapes, spoken word storytelling and special effects created by Walk the Plank walktheplank.co.uk – a leading pyrotechnical and outdoor theatre company.

This year, the display is being supported by AEG Presents, producers of the All Points East event in Victoria Park, who are committed to supporting culture in the Tower Hamlets community.


Plan your visit:
  • The event is free of charge and no booking is required
  • The display is scheduled to start at 7pm with food & refreshments available to purchase from 5.30pm
  • There is no funfair or other amusements on site
  • The event is located on the eastern side of Victoria Park, off Grove Road
  • Please note not all park gates will be available for entry and exit please refer to the event map


Further information is available on the council's website




Monday, 9 September 2019

Tudor Sights & Sounds - Bow Church Sat 14th Sept, 1-5PM


Courtier, or commoner, whoever you were in Tudor London daily life was an assault on the senses. Courtesy of ‘A Merrie Noyse’ and some of Bow Church's very own singers they'll bring some of the nicer experiences to life for you.

Pop into the church between 1pm and 5pm to hear music of the period – and have a chance to join in. There’ll be other fun activities too, all of which will give a glimpse of the lives of our predecessors back when Bow was a quiet hamlet by the bridge over the River Lea (long before it was the setting for Adèle’s heartbreak). Meet some minstrels, quiz them about the music, their instruments, what they’re wearing – and why – and enjoy a beverage while you’re there.


Friday, 16 August 2019

37 Pubs Saved in Tower Hamlets

Lord Morpeth, Old Ford Road


Over the last 300 years or so the East End has welcomed successive waves of immigrants,  whether that be the french-speaking Huegenots in the 18th Century, the Jewish immigrants of the mid-19th Century, the Bangladeshis in the 20th Century or indeed the largely unacknowledged wave of Italians of the past decade.

One feature of our urban landscape that has existed throughout most of this time is the East End Boozer.

Our pubs have tried to evolve to keep the punters coming in: Sky Sports; Pub Quizzes; free roast potatoes at the bar of a Sunday have been replaced by all manner of Sunday Roasts. Some have lost the fight and been converted into curry houses, one or two afghani restaurants, burger or pizza joints or converted into flats (many still adorned with glazed tiles embossed with the brewery logos of Toby, Whitebread, Truman, Charrington or some other soon to be forgotten name).

Tower Hamlets Council have recently recognised the social significance of some 37 of our pubs and awarded them with locally listed status which offers some protection against development. The pubs were listed for the following criteria:

  • Local character and distinctiveness
  • Architectural significance
  • Historical significance
  • Artistic significance
  • Age, rarity and integrity
  • Social significance

The Morgan Arms, Lord Tredegar or Coborn Arms which all lie within MEOTRA don't feature for some reason? Neither do the nearby Palm Tree or Victoria or the recently boarded up New Globe. Perhaps the Greedy Cow (formerly the Prince of Wales) which serves as good a beer as many locals and has a formidable range or spirits should be on the list? What do you think should they be added - email info@meotra.org.uk and let us know. 

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

URGENT SUPPORT NEEDED: Object to Plans to redevelop the Greedy Cow

Front Elevation showing proposed extension
The owner of 2 Grove Road (where the Greedy Cow is located) has applied to Tower Hamlets Council for the "Erection of additional two storeys to accommodate two new residential units." The planning application number is: PA/19/01089/A1 This application would bring the building up to the level of the Pizza Room and four storeys higher than the Subway building which is locally listed and a former Toll House.


*** Just to emphasise the development is being proposed by the landowner NOT the owner of the Greedy Cow***

The application was submitted some time ago, but as of 13/08/2019 is still open to comments (ie objections). Please do urgently submit any objections if you are able. If we can reach the threshold of 20 objections it will go to a planning meeting and our Councillor, and MEOTRA, will be able to speak to object. 

To find out more about the application go to the Tower Hamlets Planning Page and search for application PA/19/01089/A1 or "2 Grove Road"

Personally, I think the proposed development will greatly affect the look and feel of this row of shops which have existed unchanged for at least a century. It is thus a historic townscape. The scheme will make the restaurant less viable too.

The Greedy Cow restaurant was previously The Prince of Wales Public House and many locals have historic connections to it, with one Lichfield Road resident telling me recently he used to be the resident DJ back in those days of vinyl. Even further back the pub was (from the 1880s?) The Prince of Prussia, but unsurprisingly that name was changed at the start of the Great War. 

The developer's own heritage statement suspects the building was built sometime in the early 19th century.


1915: Prince of Prussia obscured by a 277 tram

Reg Kudhail, the Managing Director of the Greedy Cow, has single-handily brought 2 Grove Road back to life, with a little help from The Ginger Pig his first-rate  suppliers up in "the village". In doing so he has acted as a catalyst to rejuvenate this row of shops which now is fortunate to have Pamela Tironi's Coffee and Pizza Rooms too. Take a look at the before and after photos below. What a transformation!


























Why should you object?

The application has 17 documents associated with it and it is best if you read these and make your own mind up, but if you are short on time then the heritage statement is a good start. I disagree with most of the assertions in it: How on earth this two-story extension can "offer an enhancement to the setting of the locally listed building" I just don't follow. Other aspects you may wish to consider are:

  • The row of buildings along this part of Grove Road form a historic skyline and lie within the Tredegar Square Conservation Area. The undulating nature of this roof skyline from the single-storey locally-listed former Toll House on the corner along to 12 Grove Road has been unchanged since their construction in the 19th Century. The Greedy Cow site, in particular, forms a key element of this streetscape and has many historic and cultural local connections being formerly the Prince of Wales Public House and the Prince of Prussia before that. This proposed development will effectively double the height of this historic building and lead to it being “lost” in the streetscape and destroy this historic local skyline.
  • The redevelopment will significantly affect the viability of the Greedy Cow business by reducing the seating area on the ground floor considerably (around 10 seats). The applicant’s assertion that office space on the first floor can be converted to extra dining space does not take into account that this will require extra staffing (transforming the business to one operating primarily on one floor to one over two floors. In an already financially challenging sector, this will affect the viability of the business considerably. The current business is a great success and has played a vital role in regenerating this small row of shops. Before this, the building was unoccupied for several years and was an eyesore. If this business were to close it would likely return to its previous dilapidated state (as the rental is so high to make it a difficult let), the vicinity would cease to be a restaurant destination and the area would deteriorate. 
  • The construction management plan is inadequate. This area has a very high footfall and forms the way many pedestrians travel from the north of the borough to Mile End Station (including the hundreds alighting daily at the nearby bus stop). Additionally, the new Hackney-Isle of Dogs Cycle Route passes the site and no mention of this is made. The Mile End Junction redesign, in particular, removes a car lane which the developer has stated is essential for their construction plans. 
  • The residential bin store location, as detailed in the DAS, outside within inches of where diners sit is obviously unworkable. Customers will not want to sit next to a bin store. This bin store will also partly remove a distinct element of the frontage, namely the glazed brick tiles. 
  • The lack of detail in the application concerning connection to the main’s sewer, that the applicant states that two residential units will be created, but fails to state the number of bedrooms one of these will contain gives me concerns about how well the development has been thought through.


How to object


  1. Send an email to development.control@towerhamlets.gov.uk
  2. State your name and address
  3. State clearly that you OBJECT to application PA/19/01089/A1 | Erection of additional two storeys to accommodate two new residential units. (amended description) | 2 Grove Road, London, E3 5AX
  4. Give details of why you object. A number of uniquely written letters of objection carry more weight than the same number of standard (cloned) letters; which in turn carries more weight than a petition with the same number of names on it.

Further guidance on objecting is on our planning page



Saturday, 10 August 2019

Breaking News: Benjy's Towers Developer Loses Appeal


The long-running saga of the redevelopment of the 562 Mile End Road and 1a, 1b and 1c Burdett Road site (aka Benjy's Towers) reached a milestone today as the Planning Inspectorate dismissed an appeal by BestZone Ltd.

Over four or so years, the developers have tried it on with a succession of schemes of varying heights: 43-, 25-, 15-, 13-,  and lastly 12-storey. With each planning application, or piece of pre-planning advice, the building has been reduced in height as if Tower Hamlets were swinging an imaginary hammer.

Not to scale
To recap, the development "proposed the demolition of existing buildings and construction of a mixed-use development comprising part 3-storey, part 8-storey and part 12-storey, 46 residential units, up to 832sqm (GIA) flexible commercial floorspace (A1, A2, B1 and sui generis nightclub) , landscaping, public realm improvements, access and servicing (including 1 disabled car parking space; 92 cycle spaces; and associated highway works) and other associated infrastructure".

The main issues considered by the planning inspectorate were:
  1. whether the location would be appropriate for a tall building;
  2. the effect on the character and appearance of the area;
  3. the impact on heritage assets; and
  4. whether measures to protect the living conditions of future residents from noise and disturbance could be achieved so that there would not be conflict that would harm the long-term provision of a night club that serves the LGBT+1community.
Julia Gregory, the planning inspector, has indicated the proposed development's height is too tall for Mile End which is defined as a Neighbourhood Centre in planning terms; that it would be of very limited waymarking use; that the height, scale and massing of the building would harm the character and appearance of the Tredegar Square and Clinton Road Conservation Areas; and that proposals would harm the long-term provision of [the Backstreet] night club that serves the LGBT+ community.

The inspector concluded:
"Having considered the balance carefully, I conclude that the public benefits that I have identified do not outweigh the great weight I have attached to the less than substantial harm to designated heritage assets. Furthermore, I am not satisfied that the future of the club is protected."
The appeal decision is well worth a read, although some of the abbreviations used (UU anyone?) aren't self-explanatory. Oddly the only one deemed worthy of explanation is "LGBT+". (this reminds me of my late dad getting LGBT confused with a BLT sandwich - he thought the "G" was Gherkin).


Although the appeal has been dismissed, it is still disappointing to see LBTH did not defend two of the reasons for which it rejected the scheme:

  1. The adequacy of the loading bay in Burdett Road
  2. Air quality.
The proposed TfL Hackney to Isle of Dogs Cycle route eliminates the loading bay completely (see image below) and so the development looks to have no space for residents or the three retail units to receive deliveries. Consequently, any new schemes put forward will have to allow for this significant accessibility restriction.

The proposed TfL junction redesign sees the loading bay site removed (labelled "pavement widened")


Reactions to the Decision


David Berridge who led MEOTRA's campaign against the development commented: 

"This is a welcome decision.
At least the Conservation Officer at Tower Hamlets strenuously objected to the tower, whereas other officers at TH & GLA were in favour in pre-application discussions.
The negative Impact on Heritage Assets i.e. the 3 Conservation Areas was probably crucial in the Inspector’s thoughts.
Other points also contributed, such as the Inspector not being persuaded that adequate provision for re-siting of the Backstreet Club was made.
In conclusion, a significant change will need to be made to the project before another application is made, not least in persuading TfL that the developer can build so close the the Underground line."

Nigel Whitfield who campaigned to protect TheBackstreet as an LGBT space tweeted:

"The case made for @BackstLondon by the council officer Ms Gawne was brilliant; I have told her so, and not so many years ago, the idea of a public servant making such a case for an LGBT venue would have been unheard of. Much praise to Tower Hamlets!"

John White, Chairman of the Friends of Mile End Park whose parents first dated at La Boheme back in the day commented:

"The greed of the developers shouldn't come as a surprise I suppose, but now instead of  the 43-storey skyscraper they at one point hoped for, all they have is pie in the sky."


Postscript

Since this article was written I have been informed the council only pick some of the reasons to defend to limit any costs that may be awarded. If they lose on any items they have to pay the appellant's costs.

Thursday, 11 July 2019

Mile End Park: Community Fair and Dog Show: This Sunday 14th July 11-4PM


This Sunday's Dog Show and Community Fair is just a few days away and is going to be jam-packed with something for everyone. It takes place just off Grove Road between the Texaco Garage and the Brittania Fish Bar.


Activities Galore
Face Painting | The Ice Run Adventure | The Horizontal Bungee | Go Karts |
Coconut Shy | Bouncy Castle | Inflatable Mid Dragon Slide
Climbing Wall | Inflatable 5-a-side Football Pitch | Jewellery Making | Rollapaluza


Stalls 
  Animal Wardens' Advice Stall | Friends of Mile End Park | Arts and Crafts 



Refreshments 
Smoothie Bikes | Ice Cream Van | Onion Bhajis & Samosas | Free Fruit 


And of Course The Dog Show which this year is being looked after by The Tower Hamlets' Animal Warden Service. There will be TEN categories including:
    1. Most Fabulous Fella
    2. Loveliest Lady
    3. Most Endearing Rescue Dog
    4. Most Courageous Golden Oldie (7 and over)
    5. Best Puppy (under 12 months)
    6. Best Trick
    7. Look-a-like (Dog most like their owner)
    8. Dog and Bone race (dog on lead)*
Prize rosettes for the top four in each category with each winner receiving a gift donated by Hounds of Bow. Each category winner will be entered into the Best in Show competition at the end to win a trophy.

*Still working on this one, but it is likely to be a "treat and spoon" race with a statutory sit halfway. No eating the treat until the end!







Fendi getting her fur done ahead of the Show


Friday, 5 July 2019

MEOTRA Fun Day - Sunday 7th July 2-5PM FREE (Tredegar Square)





This Sunday, 7th July, we are holding our annual Fun Day in Tredegar Square from 2-5PM

This is a FREE event organised by the MEOTRA committee for residents.

There will be free bouncy castles, splat the rat, face painting and music. It is a very child-friendly event.

Residents can bring along items they'd like to sell and set up their own stalls (or use a blanket). They can keep the money the proceeds or donate them for their favourite charity. There will be a variety of book, plant, cake, and refreshment stalls so bring some money if you want to buy anything.

The afternoon is a great chance to have a chat with neighbours, let the kids find new local friendships or have a picnic if you like.

Saturday, 29 June 2019

Holy Trinity Church Morgan Street - Exhibition finishes this Sunday 30th June 13.00-17.00) Admission Free


Image: John White

Many of us walk along Lichfield Road or Morgan Street and cast a gaze at the rather imposing bulk of the Holy Trinity Church. In Winter we ignore it, and hurriedly shuffle passed, head down en route to the tube; or perhaps the Lord Tredegar Quiz Night? At dusk, we may spot a fox slipping through the fencing with a KFC takeaway to be enjoyed, undisturbed, in the graveyard. In Spring no doubt the fox is still there but lies hidden by the long stems of the cow parsley with its soft aniseed-like fragrance.

THIS SUNDAY from 1-5PM, for the first time in 30 years, there is a chance to step inside Holy Trinity. Not only can you marvel at the architecture of this Grade-II listed building, but you can enjoy a delightful art exhibition "Gathered Relics" organised by Stepney Green resident and architect Julian McIntosh where items of significant architectural interest will be on display in the church revealing the buildings unique history.



Image: John White

Image: John White


Sunday, 19 May 2019

Liveable Streets Bow - Deadline for comments Tuesday 21st May


Tower Hamlets Council's Liveable Streets Bow programme aims to improve the look and feel of public spaces in Bow. By creating a better environment, the council wishes to make it more convenient to get around by foot, bike and public transport.

You only have a couple of days to submit your thoughts.

Maybe there are areas you'd like to see turned into pocket parks, or you have ideas to reduce rat running, encourage more walking or cycling in the area, or you've pet peeves about traffic issues? Whatever, your ideas the council wants to hear them.

As you can see from the screenshot above, lots of comments and suggestions have already been put forward as part of the consultation process. Please take a few minutes to add your ideas/comments about a particular area of Bow, via the consultation page.

Some ideas that we've heard are:

  1. The blocking off to vehicles of Coborn Road at the railway bridge. This would reduce rat running along MEOTRA streets significantly by traffic "doing a left" at the corner of Tredegar Road and Coborn Road; or conversely by traffic using Aberavon/Rhonda/Tredegar and Coborn Roads to by-pass Bow Roundabout.
  2. CHEAP on-street cycle storage
  3. Making Holy Trinity's churchyard a permeable pocket park linking Lichfield Road and Morgan Street.
  4. Perpetrators of ASB currently feel they "own" the streets, Heavily graffitied streets discourage walking, especially of an evening. The council needs to adopt a zero tolerance approach to "tagging" and find ways to speed up removal, especially on walls to private-rented properties where the current process of waiting for an absent landlord to give permission take months.
  5. Turning the car park bound by Ford/St Stephens/Roman Roads into a pocket park and Village Green 
  6. Turn all of Bow schools into School Streets (ie a complete closure to motor vehicles at school drop off and pick up times) to reduce pollution and create a space for parents and children to socialise.


Of course, you can email info@meotra.org.uk as well and we will absorb these into our grouped suggestions to the council.


Friday, 10 May 2019

TfL flesh out Hackney to Isle of Dogs Cycle Route


TfL has provided further info on the proposed Hackney to Isle of Dogs Cycle Route. Yours truly has work in the morning and so a detailed appraisal will follow at the weekend, but a quick assessment notes:

  1. Grove Road through Victoria Park will become cycle/bus/taxi only 7am-7pm
  2. They've got the Bow Liveable Neighbourhood area wrong! It should reach all the way down to Mile End Road and include the MEOTRA region too.
  3. No left turn from Mile End Road into Burdett Road (this will add to the Southern Grove/Hamlets Way rat run that has already led to a number of serious accidents). LBTH have been asked to sort this out.
  4. The right turn from Burdett to Mile End Road is reintroduced.Yippee! 
  5. Mile End Junction has its own page
  6. Removal of the loading bay on the south-east corner of the junction will have a massive effect on the Benjy's Tower development. This was, if I recall correctly, their main area for deliveries.
  7. The awful location of the bus stops near Mile End Station hasn't been looked at:  the westbound bus stop leaves pedestrians blind to oncoming traffic, whilst the eastbound bus stop has buses backing up right on to Mile End Junction especially when National Express buses are loading suitcases. This often blocks the movement of Grove Road/Burdett Road traffic.
  8. Widening of the east side of the Grove Road pavement (again!)


The detailed plans are here

It is great to see some joined-up thinking between LBTH and TfL so that our borough's Liveable Neighbourhood plans for Bow, and the TfL plans from Old Ford Roundabout to Mile End Junction are going to be looked at alongside one another.



Don't forget this Saturday at the Bow Idea Store, 1 Gladstone Place, Roman Road E3 5ES,  10-12 noon is your chance to meet those drawing up plans for how to spend the £3.3 million pound grant on encouraging active travel in Bow. ie More walking, cycling and public transport.



Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Roman Road Bow Neighbourhood Forum Workshop and AGM 27th April (2-4.30PM)

The 27th April sees the AGM of the Roman Road Bow Neighbourhood Forum at St Paul's Church, St Stephen's Road. The AGM is combined with a workshop and should be an ideal opportunity to find out more about the Council's Liveable Neighbourhood initiative.

The initiative, which is due to go out for consultation this month, seeks to transform the way people move around Bow by encouraging more walking, cycling and use of public transport and reducing car use. It aims to reduce rat running, will likely incorporate the introduction of "school streets" to our area (e.g. Malmesbury School) and the proposal that has got all the attention: making the Roman Road a one way.


Friday, 12 April 2019



This coming Monday 15th April is the Friends of Mile End Park's AGM at the Eco Pavilion (which is just off Grove Road between the Brittania Fish Bar and the Grove/Roman Road junction). 

Yes for those of you that missed the MEOTRA AGM there is another chance to swig wine from a plastic cup whilst enjoying the ergonomics of plastic folding chairs

The past year has been a busy year for the Friends with lots of activities including: litter-picking, planting thousands of bluebells, snowdrops and wild-flower seeds, their Annual Community Fair and Dog Show, closer links with Tower Hamlets Cemetary Park and the Friends of Meath Gardens and of course keeping an eye on the Park. At the AGM there is a chance to hear about these topics and their future plans.

The Park Management will also be on hand to answer any questions you may have.

Free nibbles, soft drinks and wine will be available.

Think this: Seven Cygnets Swimming 


Not this:





Wednesday, 10 April 2019

St George’s Day Over 50s Tea Dance - Wed 24th April 2019 (2-4PM) at the Art Pavilion


Tower Hamlets Council is hosting its St George's Day Tea Dance for the over 50s on Wednesday 24th April (2-4PM) at Mile End Park's Art Pavilion. This annual event is always popular and where else can you devour a French Fancy and dance to New Orleans Jazz on St George's Day.

There will be live music from The Sunshine Kings, dance host Tony Lane, and refreshments to help you dance the afternoon away! 

BOOKING OPENS WEDNESDAY 10 APRIL 
Free but advance booking essential.  Please call Regina on 020 7364 7916 from 9.30-1pm Mon—Fri or email 
festivalsandevents@towerhamlets.gov.uk 

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

DENNIS ERDWIN 17th July 1928 - 28th February 2019 R.I.P.




Dennis Erdwin who played Father Christmas at our annual MEOTRA Carols in the Square for many years recently passed away.

As an enthusiastic amateur actor, especially in the local Players of St Peter’s mediaeval mystery plays, he was invited by Margaret Winniak to come by public transport from Gidea Park and would don the red robes at her home. She recalls that we were able to boast that our MEOTRA Santa’s long white beard was a real one and how magical it was for her, as his trusty Elf, to watch him engage in conversation with each and every child who had patiently lined up to receive their gifts. As a widower without children of his own, he was an active lifelong supporter of the National Children’s Home, now Action for Children, where he had himself been fostered with his brothers and sister after the death of his mother. He spent several holidays helping at a linked Children’s Home in Armenia.

He was a passionate enthusiast of Country dancing…what an opportunity we missed for a Dancing Father Christmas!

Below are some photos of Dennis performing with the Players of St Peters







MEOTRA AGM this Thursday 11th April 7.15PM with a 7.30PM start


This Thursday 11th April is the MEOTRA Annual General Meeting in the New Testament Church of God, Lichfield Road from 7.15pm with a 7.30pm start.

There will be wine, soft drinks and nibbles and a chance to hear what MEOTRA have been up to in 2018 and discuss what the future holds for us.

The meeting will begin with a five-minute update from Julian McIntosh from the New Testament Church of God about the church's restoration work. We might even get a peek inside the old church itself.

Bow is in for a very busy year or so, with the introduction of School Streets, the new Hackney to Isle of Dogs Cycle Superhighway, some key planning decisions are due and the £3.3 million Liveable Neighbourhood Programme will begin to take shape. Come along to discuss these issues.

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Bow awarded £3.3 million by TfL as part of the Liveable Neighbourhood Programme



Bow has just been awarded  £3.3 million by TfL as part of its Liveable Neighbourhoods scheme. Exactly which parts of Bow will benefit from the grant has not been fully detailed, although it will include the Roman Road town centre.

The scheme aims to reduce pollution, increase the proportion of people walking and cycling and reduce traffic.

This scheme, together with the Tower Hamlets  "Love your neighbourhood" programme and the forthcoming Hackney to the Isle of Dogs Cycle Superhighway, are likely to have a huge impact on our area.

You can find out further general information about the TfL scheme here.

We will publish further details when they become available.

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Bow Church Chocolate Morning Saturday 2nd March 11am-1pm



St Mary's Bow Church is having a "chocolate morning" on Saturday 2nd March from 11am to 1 o'clock.

The event is part of FairTrade Fortnight which raises awareness about the issues affecting cocoa farmers.

Chocolate cakes, tasting and drinks - what's not to like?!



Sunday, 3 February 2019

Save the Whitechapel Bell Foundry


Bells have been cast in Whitechapel since 1363, and the developers Raycliff Capital are attempting to end this tradition by turning the truly historic Whitechapel Bell Foundry into a "boutique hotel".

Further background information (which stretches to some 182 documents) is available on the council website (PA/19/00008/A1) and the ever excellent Spitalfields Life blog whose writer The Gentle Author gives the following advice on how to object to the scheme:


HOW TO OBJECT EFFECTIVELY

Use your own words and add your own personal reasons for opposing the development. Any letters which simply duplicate the same wording will count only as one objection.



  1. Quote the application reference: PA/19/00008/A1
  2. Give your full name and postal address. You do not need to be a resident of Tower Hamlets or the United Kingdom to register a comment but unless you give your postal address your objection will be discounted.
  3. Be sure to state clearly that you are OBJECTING to Raycliff Capital’s application.
  4. Point out the ‘OPTIMUM VIABLE USE’ for the Whitechapel Bell Foundry is as a foundry, not a boutique hotel.
  5. Emphasise that you want it to continue as a foundry and there is a viable proposal to deliver this.
  6. Request the council refuse Raycliff Capital’s application for change of use from foundry to hotel.


WHERE TO SEND YOUR OBJECTION

You can write an email to planningandbuilding@towerhamlets.gov.uk

or

you can post your objection direct on the website by following this link to Planning and entering the application reference PA/19/00008/A1

or

you can send a letter to:
Town Planning, Town Hall, Mulberry Place, 5 Clove Crescent, London, E14 2BG


Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Guest Post: Accidents caused by the Mile End Junction Configuration


Readers will know that the no right turns fiasco at Mile End Junction has been something MEOTRA, Mile End Residents Association (MERA), councillors and others have tried repeatedly to resolve. In this guest post, a resident of Grove Road describes a recent deeply-worrying incident.



If you have walked down the south end of Grove Road in the last couple of months you will have seen the sorry state of our railings, walls and front garden. This was the result of a road traffic accident on a Sunday night in October. A northbound car pulled out to do a U-turn without checking the mirror; the speeding car behind swerved to avoid it, crossed the road and ploughed into a traffic sign outside our front door, uprooting it and projecting it with considerable force into our railing, demolishing the upper wall, twisting the handrail so that the lower wall was also dislodged, causing damage to the tiling and poking a big hole in the boundary wall with our neighbours.

Luckily no one was hurt, though any pedestrian who happened to be passing would have sustained serious injuries if not worse. An alarming aspect of this was that because we had just had the front decorated, there was scaffolding covering the property, and the impact of the accident shifted the ground beneath one of the scaffolding poles. Happily the structure was robust and remained stable. What shook us the most, though, was the realisation that, with a larger vehicle, or a little more speed and force, the whole lot could have ended up in our daughter’s bedroom.

The blame for this incident clearly lies in several quarters. An underlying cause, though, must surely be the ridiculous no right turn at the Mile End junction. I know that MEOTRA and others have been campaigning for years about this. What happened that Sunday night is further evidence of the idiocy of this policy. A large number of vehicles coming up Burdett Road need to turn eastwards. Though a U-turn immediately after the lights was illegal, many performed it, and it regularly caused traffic problems for those coming down Grove Road to Mile End – already a traffic black spot for much of the day, as you will all know.

I wrote to TfL, as did our neighbours, and we got the same polite but bland standard letter. When I wrote back to explain that they had completely missed the point of my first letter, I got virtually the same reply back again! However, shortly after that they did change their policy to allow U-turns after 150 yards. But that means that the first legal opportunity for a U-turn is after the traffic lights for the bus station, and unsurprisingly that is where most people do it – just at the place where traffic accelerates after the lights. It is a recipe for disaster – we feel like sitting ducks here. Indeed, a couple of months after our incident, exactly the same thing happened again, at exactly the same place – luckily this time with only minor damage to the vehicles involved.

It is still completely beyond me why TfL cannot see how crazy the Mile End traffic lights are. Every wave of northbound traffic results in some U-turns – there must be hundreds of people performing this dangerous manoeuvre every day. This is a clear indication that the no right turn from Burdett Road is unrealistic and unacceptable. A lot of drivers coming up from parts of Poplar, Limehouse and South Bow need to journey eastwards. The no right turn policy makes the U-turns inevitable; the alternative would be a long journey through Bow’s already often clogged and polluted smaller roads. Allowing U-turns, as they have now done, is a tacit acknowledgement of this, but it is unsafe and doesn’t solve the real problem. A wide arterial road such as Mile End Road/Bow Road is much more suited to such through traffic.

I also fail to see what the issue at Mile End can be. Surely with the very careful and slow sequence of traffic lights, an additional 15 seconds or so for a filter light allowing traffic to turn right from Burdett Road would not add dramatically to the waiting time, and could be added without risk to cyclists or pedestrians.

We’d love to hear if anyone in MEOTRA has any suggestions as to how we can take this further. TfL really need to acknowledge now that the big traffic light experiment at Mile End did not get it right; it failed to take into account local needs, and all of us – residents, pedestrians, cyclists and motorists – are paying for their mistake in increased congestion, pollution, and risks to safety. We would really like to see a change of heart here – before someone gets hurt. I fear that may only be a matter of time.

[If you do have an ideas to help resolve this ongoing issue, please email info@meotra.org.uk]