Friday 28 May 2021

AGM Postponed - But Open Meeting for Residents next Week on Thursday 3rd June at 7PM on Zoom


Following the article about the proposed changes to the MEOTRA constitution a couple of days ago, some residents have got in touch, and after considering their feedback the committee have decided to cancel the scheduled AGM next Thursday. These are the key reasons:

  1. Residents have indicated they would prefer to have a REAL MEETING in person.
  2. One resident has said half term is not suitable for those with families
  3. A number of older residents have said they have poor Internet and/or they don't/can't use Zoom.
  4. I have spoken with some people who have been deep shielding (and now have had two jabs) and they both feel they would be able to attend a physical meeting in a well ventilated building.
  5. The last AGM was only 6 month ago
  6. Feedback suggests the constitution needs more work and needs a longer and more detailed period of consultation.

Of the above, the last point is particularly important: we want to get this constitution right. Thanks to those who have got in touch offering to help redraft it (from quite different stances!) and lets  do that with your help.

The idea of MEOTRA becoming a charity has also been mooted, as this would really help make sure our objectives are really clear and comes with the level of checks and balances (not just financial ones) that we are keen on. We want to look at that.

When COVID-related issues subside further and the proposed constitution is WordPerfect® we will look at dates.

Open Meeting Thursday June 3rd, 7PM on Zoom

So next Thursday 3rd June at 7PM we will hold an open meeting for residents to discuss the proposed constitution and an open discussion on members' thoughts and feelings on planning, the Conservation areas etc.

I will try and get some "experts" on hand and might even manage to to make it "fun" in parts. The key thing is I will endeavour to give everyone an opportunity to be heard.

I will email the registration info over the weekend.

Tuesday 25 May 2021

Countdown to the MEOTRA AGM: Proposed Changes to the Constitution


1975 - West Ham win the FA Cup, “George Davis is Innocent” graffiti springs up all over east London and MEOTRA is formed. The MEOTRA constitution has been largely unchanged since then, with the last revision in 1996 at the request of Clinton Road residents to include them within our residents’ association.

When elected as Chair in October 2020 one of my stated aims was to produce an updated constitution to put to the members at the 2021 AGM. The committee has agreed to propose a revised constitution and we now put it to you, the residents in the MEOTRA area, to vote upon at our forthcoming AGM on Thursday 3rd June.

You can read the proposed constitution here, and compare it to the existing 1996 one here.

Why revise the constitution and what key changes are proposed?


MEOTRA endeavours to have a committee that is representative of the WHOLE area. We currently have a committee drawn from 7 of its 14 streets, a range of ages, renters and home owners, those who have lived here for years and those that are recent arrivals, ethnicities, single members, families, sexualities. It is about as wide-ranging as it could realistically be. It has long been a tacit aim to have a widely representative committee and now we just want to put that in writing. 

Adding scope for more residents to help out

For years long-term residents such as Vivian, Alice and Allen have automatically turned up with mulled wine, mince pies and even their own Splat the Rat! We would like MEOTRA to involve more residents than those on the committee and a few stalwarts in contributing to the running of the organisation. The proposal is to use sub-committees with a wider membership to organise things such as:

  • The Fun Day,

  • Carols Singing in the Square

and collaborate with other groups to improve the natural environment: Tredegar Square, Holy Trinity churchyard, the scheduled pocket park at the west end of Lichfield Road and increasing the number of trees throughout the area. 


One of MEOTRA’s key roles has been to try and maintain the character and appearance of the Tredegar Square and Clinton Road Conservation Areas (CAs) and that has been done by making representations to the Council on planning applications based on planning policy principles such as the Council’s Character Appraisal and Management Guidelines for each of our two CAs; the Local Plan and the London Plan.

If MEOTRA hadn’t fought Tower Hamlets planning department over the years then the homes where many of us live would have been flattened and turned into parkland as part of the ‘70s slum clearances.We have managed to have the old toll house on the corner of Grove and Mile End Roads listed, played a major role in preventing the proposed 43-storey Benjy’s Towers and prevented the replacement of the Grove Road Texaco Garage with what would have been a tall dominant block of flats. We have alas failed to stop the proposed demolition of the old blacksmiths in Grove Road, but we continue to fight to keep the Greedy Cow site as it has looked for some 140 years. 

In November 2015 Tower Hamlets Council consulted on allowing Mansard roofs within the Tredegar Square Conservation Area. Letters were sent to all 1,045 addresses informing residents how to engage in the consultation. Only 40 responses were received. Of these a majority of 55% did not want to see Mansards. MEOTRA kept out of this council consultation.

The committee proposes “the Association shall not normally become involved in planning applications or other disputed issues of an individual nature”. We propose to continue to make representations on commercial applications, but not ones submitted by neighbours. Likewise the committee will not campaign or lobby on behalf of groups of residents for changes to the area's planning policies.

We are proposing the above, to avoid division within MEOTRA. In any case, a letter from the MEOTRA committee counts no more than any other that raises the same planning points. Decisions are made by planning officers based on planning policy not on who makes representations.

Other headline changes:

  • The constitution hasn’t been revised in 25 years and is showing its age.

  • An Equal Opportunities section has been added

  • The quorate for the AGM and SGMs has been reduced from 30 to 20

  • The previous version had very few checks and balances.

  • Clear financial controls have been added

  • It now incorporates a code of conduct

  • A declaration of interest had been added

  • Rather than election by secret ballot (which no one recalls being used) we propose to use a show of hands

  • Coborn was misspelt!

Tomorrow we will publish information on the AGM, how to register to attend (via Zoom), how to propose amendments and how to stand for the committee