Friday 25 March 2022

Local Covid-19 Update - LFT Kits, vaccines, masks

Graph from the Zoe app showing COVID rates

As we approach April, there are some key changes occurring within Tower Hamlets regarding access to local government Covid-19-related services.


Lateral Flow Kits (LFTs) are currently available free of charge, but from the 1st of April you will have to pay for them. So within the next few days either order some online from the government or pop along to an Idea Store (Bow or Whitechapel seem to be well stocked up) to pick up a pack or two. You might as well get recycle bags whilst there too! If you are a family, or care for someone who is vulnerable, then say that and they may give you more LFT kits.

Making the LFT kit last - Most of us only need to test when we are symptomatic (cold/flu-like symptoms) and if this is positive then 5-6 days later (i.e. not daily). However, if you are going near anyone vulnerable then you should test yourself each time before you go to see them. 

The council currently employs quite a big team to distribute LFT kits, supervise at testing centres (such as William's Place) and lots of mobile "blue tents" that move around the borough. These will be wound down over the next week. Make use of them whilst they are still there. And thank them for all they have done for little or no pay.


Graph showing local and national COVID vaccination rates (Government data)

Tower Hamlets has secured just under £500,000 from the government to increase vaccine uptake. Tower Hamlets has the 13th lowest first vaccine rate in the UK and the 4th lowest rate for the booster. Around 1 in 3 of our borough have yet to have their first jab (that's over 110,000 people). We are only averaging around 75 a day, with boosters double that approximately. If you have yet to have a vaccine (1st, 2nd OR booster) then you would do well to get jabbed in the next few weeks before the system becomes largely dedicated to giving a 4th dose to around seven million people nationally (ie. adults aged 75 years and over; residents in a care home for older adults; or individuals aged 12 years and over who are immunosuppressed, or have weakened immune systems).

You can book your vaccine via this council webpage

Covid-19 Cases in Tower Hamlets

Covid-19 cases in our borough remain very high and are currently at  around 1 in 19. Worryingly the virus is now spreading across ALL age groups for the first time. Cases in Bow West are up by 38% in the last week.

To reduce your risk of catching Covid or developing long-Covid it is recommended you::

  1. Get fully jabbed up
  2. Avoid friends with cold or-flu-like symptoms
  3. Wear an FFP2 or FFP3 mask in confined or crowded spaces
If you do catch COVID you may be eligible for anti-viral Covid treatments (see eligibility) or want to register for the Panoramic study. You need to request these anti-viral treatments within 4-5 days of a positive test result.

Government data showing COVID rates for different age groups.

Thursday 24 March 2022

Our Jubilee Jamboree is coming together

Flyer for our forthcoming Jubilee Jamboree including photos of the areas coronation party.

We still have to get the finer details in place, but the above flyer gives a good taste of what we are planning for the day. Please do put the date in your diary: Sunday 5th June. 12-5PM Tredegar Square.

More info to come with our next newsletter. 


Thursday 17 March 2022

Making a Mountain out of Antill?


Table detailing the inadequate arrangements for obtaining a permit ahead of the launch of the Antill Road filter implementation
Application Date: 28/03/2022 | Launch Date: 28/03/2022

The MEOTRA inbox has had quite a bit of traffic related to the forthcoming Antill Road changes.

The key issue is that residents can't apply for an exemption permit until the day the scheme launches. MEOTRA have tried and tried to get this madness rectified by emailing and speaking to our councillors, the borough's executive Mayor, the council officer in charge of Liveable Streets and RingGo, the private company responsible for the permit scheme. We've even had our MP, Rushanara Ali, explaining it to residents on their doorsteps!

It doesn't seem to be through a lack of political will, but more a case of "Computer Says No". Whether that is a particular council officer's computer or RingGo's computer is something MEOTRA couldn't possibly guess, though RingGo do seem to manage to look after the details for some 16 million UK cars and handle over 2 million transactions a month without much problem.

The good news is that the council is giving everyone TWO WEEKS GRACE, so you won't get fined at the scheme launch. So I'd recommend putting a calendar reminder in your diary or on your phone calendar to apply sometime after the 28th of March. This is the link to the council page in case you've lost it.

And don't forget, even without a permit, the scheme still let's you drive to anywhere you want, though you might have to go around the houses a bit.

Today I found this snippet from an old MARCH 2000 newsletter, which gives an idea of how long rat-running through our area has been discussed:

"Rat-Running in Mile End Old Town

Since the opening of the M11 link, MEOTRA has viewed with growing concern the increase in traffic that is cutting through our area from Mile End Road up to Tredegar Road and, in particular, the speed at which some vehicles go along our streets.

We are tackling this problem on two fronts. Firstly, we have written to Tom McCourt, Head of Traffic at Tower Hamlets, suggesting a number of kerb extensions to narrow some streets down to single lanes, so that cars must slow down. We are not in favour of speed bumps as these cause considerable noise, particularly for those poor residents who have to live by one! . . . Both MEOTRA and the Antill Road Residents' Association, who are also suffering from rat-running, raised the following points:

  • there is a significant build up of traffic along Grove Road

  • the junction of Mile End Road/Grove Road/Burdett Road is becoming increasingly dangerous (the death of a young cyclist there at the end of last year highlights this)

  • lorries and vans are speeding through the area, with no regard for school children who walk in our area

  • vehicles are turning right at the bottom of Tredegar Road into Coborn Road which is both illegal and dangerous

  • and the obvious one of increased traffic through our area"


Monday 7 March 2022

Liveable Streets - Antill Road Exception Scheme

Photo of Antill Road

Recently many MEOTRA residents received a letter from Tower Hamlets Council regarding the commencement of works to install a new road closure to through traffic on Antill Road on the junction with Selwyn Road.

The closure is scheduled to be operational from Monday 28th March and construction works have already begun. 

Many MEOTRA residents are entitled to apply for a permit (£20 per annum) to pass through Antill Road in a westbound direction. (Only emergency vehicles can pass in an eastbound direction).

It transpires letters were sent prematurely, before the council's IT had updated the relevant website. This has now been done, but there is still an elephant in the room: You can't apply for a permit until THE DAY the scheme launches. This is obviously bonkers and it seems to be either that "RingGo", the outside company issuing permits, are unable to have cope with application dates before the start date, or council officers are being intransient for whatever reason.

At the moment our councillors are working to sort this out - it is a bureaucratic issue, rather than a political one.

If you do manage to get your permit sorted before the day you need it, then please let us know. We are monitoring the council site for updates and chasing the issue with both RingGo and the council. Keep an eye on the relevant council page and see if the application date moves to something more sensible.

Photo of LBTH letter about the Antill Road ANPR scheme

Plan of changes to the road layout in the Antill Road area

Map detailing the boundary for resident permits

Bow West Police Ward Panel Meeting

Safer Neighbourhood banner

Every three months or so the local community have a chance to meet up with the local Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) for our Bow West Ward. Last Friday MEOTRA attended the meeting. It was online, lasted around 45 minutes and there was plenty of time for everyone to raise any concerns with police officers. 

What is a Police Ward Panel and what does it do?

A ward panel sets local SNT ward priorities and hold the SNT to account for issues affecting the community. It feeds information and emerging issues directly to local officers, helping to shape and deliver local priorities and inform supervisors. Ward panel decisions must be evidence-based and inform, influence and involve both the community and police officers as part of a continuous cycle of feedback, review and action.

Last Friday's meeting was pretty poorly attended with just myself, Cllr Val Whitehead, Roshan (a Meotra resident) as Chair, two police officers and a rep from Malmesbury Estate. We discussed:

  • Anti-social Behaviour (ASB) and possible drug dealing  along the Roman Road which looks to be linked to a vape shop.
  • Meotra fed back that many residents were concerned about speeding, jumping red lights and illegal U-turns along Grove Road. Also cyclists are jumping the red lights at the crossing by the railway bridge. It might be tempting to think this isn't a police matter, but all agreed it certainly was and results in a significant number of deaths.
  • The large number of car windows smashed overnight (including the filmed on on Tredegar Road). The police didn't seem to know about this mini-epidemic.
  • The police brought up ASB within Tredegar Square. The gardens have seen an increase in ASB, littering, loitering, drug use, NOX (aka Happy Crack cannisters); as well as speeding around the Square. There is a feeling these issues have increased since the Parks Department stopped locking the Gardens overnight (during Covid).
  • Priorities are evidence based: if issues aren't logged then they can't be prioritised. This is why it is important to obtain a crime reference number.

The meeting resulted in three ward priorities being set:
  1. ASB in and around Tredegar Square.
  2. Issues centred on Whitton Walk/ Howcroft House (Malmesbury Estate)
  3. ASB around Driffield/Roman  Road

Why not get involved?

There are only 3-4 meetings a year, they only take up around 45 minutes and are currently online so no travelling time is involved and they do make a difference. So around four hours commitment a year.

If you'd like to find out more then please contact  Roshan (via me) or PC Aisha Miller ( or 0208 649 3521

Other online Crime and Policing Resources

Look at the Bow West section of the Metropolitan Police website
The Crime Data Dashboard (look at Borough and Ward-level data)
The Ward Panel Handbook (don't be put off - this handbook covers all eventualities. The meetings are much more straightforward!).
Tower Hamlets Council info on policing

Friday 4 March 2022

MEOTRA's Jubilee Jamboree - Tredegar Square, Sunday 5th June

Official artwork for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations


We've settled on the date: Sunday 5th June

We've settled on the venue: Tredegar Square Gardens

We've booked: the Facepainters

We've booked the Bouncy Castles

And we've just been awarded a £500 grant (plus a few "K" from our reserves) to bring all the residents in the area together for a day (or Two!) of fun. This isn't just for the residents of Tredegar Square; but for everyone from Coborn St, Coborn Road, Morgan Street, Grove Road, Aberavon Road, College Terrace, Tredegar Terrace, Benbow Mews, Pembroke Mews, Clinton Road, Mile End Road, Rhondda Grove, Alloway Road and Lichfield Road.

Mile End Old Town Residents Association was 50 years old in 2021, but this year we are holding a belated 50th Anniversary Party. We've come a long way, from Tred. Sq and its environs being about to being demolished and turned into a park, to the lovely mish mash of folk living around the MEOTRA block.

What Jubilacious Jamboree of fun do we have in store?

-Well that's up to you. ***Email if you'd like to get involved*** in the advanced planning. We want to hear your ideas. Let us know what you want to contribute (anything from Cakes to Fun Games).

-We'll be in the Lord Tredegar next Wednesday Night (16th March) if you want to pop along for a glass of something and a chat about how we can celebrate this momentous occasion. 

Photo of residents celebrating the previous (Diamond) Jubilee