Thursday 29 December 2016

On-street Secure Cycle Storage is coming to Tower Hamlets

A bike hangar in Hackney
Coming to a street near you?

You may have noticed "Bikehangars" such as the one above dotted around London. Each provides secure on-street cycle storage for residents and stores up to six bicycles. Their galvanized steel construction and gas-assisted door offer a safe and effective way to protect bikes from tough weather conditions and vandalism. 

Typically it costs around £10 to £60 per year to rent a space in a Bikehangar (this varies from borough to borough) with Tower Hamlets seeming to be at the expensive end (but we can work on that!). As you can see from the map below the scheme has really taken off in some parts of London (Southwark, Hackney, Lambeth and Waltham Forest), but Tower Hamlets only has 3 to Lambeth's 220+.

The scheme is run by Cyclehoop who work with local councils to provide a fully managed rental scheme. Their website has a simple form where you can suggest a location in or near your street. To speed the process up it helps to canvas neighbours and there is a flyer available for download to help with this.

Please let MEOTRA know if you think this is something that would be good in our neighbourhood by emailing 

A map of inner London showing bike hangar locations.

Tower Hamlets' Borough Plan (aka Local Plan): Deadline 2nd January

Santa taping feet impatiently waiting for Christmas

Well we are more than halfway through the festive season. If you have found yourself twiddling your toes like me you might want to take a look and comment on the Tower Hamlets Local Plan 2031. This plan will guide development, identify how land is used and shape our neighbourhood by determining what will be built where. It is over 500 pages and there are around 1000 comments so far, although thankfully there is a contents page. I found it easiest to download the plan and search the document using Ctrl-F putting in words of interest like "cycle", "Grove Road", "Morgan Street" etc.

David, our eagle-eyed planning guru, has put together the map below summarising the proposals affecting MEOTRA. The main one is a new Strategic Pedestrian / Cycling Link Improvement, running through Tredegar Square and nearby streets. This is apparently to enable people to walk/cycle from Mile End Station to Roman Road. The planners haven't been able to tell MEOTRA what the route might look like. Anything resembling the new Mile End Road layout would surely not be welcome and be out of character with the square. There are similar plans to improve Grove Road for cyclists and pedestrians.

Please comment, and please send a copy of your comment to

The deadline for comments is 23.59 on 2nd January

A map of the Mile End area annotated with aspects of the Local Plan
LBTH map showing planning highlights across Tower Hamlets.

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Bow Church Christmas Fair - Sat 10th December 1-3PM

Flyer for the Bow Church Christmas Fair
Hope to see some of you there - though my staff Christmas party is the night before! So no mulled wine for me.

Sunday 4 December 2016

URGENT ACTION REQUIRED: Deadline Tuesday 6th December to oppose Office Development

Photos and plans of the proposed office development at the rear of 48-52 Grove Road

The deadline for objecting to this plan is Tuesday. You can object via email to, but please do so ASAP stating where you live and also the planning reference number PA/16/03093.

This time last year you might recall a developer tried to build a house in the garden of 48-52 Grove road. This was refused by Tower Hamlets council and then on appeal by the Secretary of State.

The same developers are now using the Christmas period to try and slip through an application to turn the site into an office building. Not a live-work development, but a dedicated office all 60m2 of it.

If this development goes ahead then it will destroy the largely open, undeveloped aspect of our rear gardens. This could set a precedent and lead to an increase of office buildings in the area which would totally ruin the character of our neighbourhood. The scheme amounts to building a substantial office building in our back gardens

The previous application was refused as:
1. The proposed development by virtue of its unacceptable siting, results in an unsympathetic addition that is at odds with the existing built environment. Furthermore, the proposal does not represent a place sensitive design, and fails to preserve the character and appearance of the Tredegar Square Conservation Area. As such, the proposal fails to accord with policy SP10 of the adopted Core Strategy and Policy DM24 and DM27 of the Managing Development Document, which seek an acceptable design that protects the historic environment.
2. The proposed development by virtue of its height and siting forms an unneighbourly form of development that adversely impacts on the amenity of adjacent properties by an increased sense of enclosure. As such, the proposal fails to accord with policy SP10 of the adopted Core Strategy and DM25 of the Managing Development Document, which seeks to protect residential amenity.
The above points still hold and so the proposal should be refused.

When the flats at 48-52 Grove Road were built it was stipulated that this section at the rear was to be used as amenity space for the 11 flats built on the site of the 1988 church. I remember a pretty little picture of a winding path with wonderful cherry trees. Instead of trying to build on every last patch of land maybe St Johns should do what they were given planning permission for, or let neighbours plant a wildflower garden on the site. 

I realise it is a busy time of year, and that you might not be directly affected by the proposals, but if you could write a brief letter of objection that would be much appreciated.

Thursday 1 December 2016

FAMILY BULB PLANTING 10-12 noon Saturday 3rd December

Residents bulb planting in Tredegar Square Gardens

Thanks to all the wonderful volunteers who turned up on a cold but sunny morning for the Big Dig of the flowerbed in Tredegar Square last Saturday. As a result we finished in record time and now have a rejuvenated bed full of plants all ready for the final addition of lots of spring bulbs this Saturday 3rd December. 

We'd love it if MEOTRA residents could help us plant bulbs on Saturday from 10-12 noon. Children are very welcome as long as they are supervised by their parents or guardians. We will provide some trowels but if you have any of your own please bring them along. As it has been cold, we are also providing spades and would really appreciate anyone who fancies doing some digging to help us to help the children get the bulbs in the ground - because of Mile End squirrels the bulbs have to go in a little deeper than normal. 

This MEOTRA event, like all our events, is completely free and open to all MEOTRA residents so do come along and meet your neighbours.

Young and old gardening together in Tredegar Square Gardens