We think Spitalfields & Banglatown looks like a town, acts like a town, and has the same needs and priorities as a town
Let’s give it the same opportunities as a town
We want our town to have the same opportunities that others have everywhere else in this country
We are inviting people to take part in the Public Consultation and when they answer Question 2 on the boundaries to state whether they support OPTION A (the original proposal) or OPTION B (the revised proposal).
We believe that the existence of a town council is what matters most and the proposal should not be put at risk by disagreements about the precise position of the eastern boundary or the wording of the name.
We want as many people to say YES to a town council as possible and have the option of either expressing support for the original proposal (Option A) or the revised proposal (Option B).
Spitalfields & Banglatown should be allowed to have its own dedicated town council. We think both options deliver an area which has similar needs when it comes to issues like controlling anti social behaviour, the promotion of business, noise control, street cleaning, homelessness, tourism, the provision of quality open spaces and the protection of our history and heritage.
When we first began to put together the petition we checked the legislation and it said the area of the proposed new council referred to in the petition must be “clearly defined”. We had been told about other petitions which had been rejected for not having clearly defined boundaries. With this in mind we decided to use the established boundaries of the ‘Spitalfields Neighbourhood Area’ because they were indisputably clearly defined as they were made by Tower Hamlets themselves.
However, since the consultation began we have recognised that the originally proposed name and boundaries did not reflect the identities of the whole community - particularly the townsfolk who live in the Chicksand Estate. We also recognise that many people have already responded positively to the original proposal and we need to show that we respect their wishes too.
Therefore we are asking people to demonstrate their support for a town council in principal and use Question 2 to express preference for particular boundaries based either on the original proposal (which we refer to as Option A) or on the revised proposal (Option B). The decision is up to local people.
Tower Hamlets have told us that people should use Question 2 to say whether they support the original proposal or an alternative proposal and the town council campaign will respect the outcome of that.
Let’s make local government local
This area (both options) is quite small. To walk from one end of our town to the other takes only ten minutes. There are about 6,500 people living in this area (Option A) or 8,000 (Option B).
This is an area small enough for independent candidates to organise effective campaigns on issues concerning local people. Town councillors would understand the nitty-gritty of the area they represented and have the time to be able to help do something about it. The existing borough councillors would continue to do what they do, but they would be assisted by town councillors. Our communities would have real advocates representing their views about local issues affecting them.
There are many people who would like to help their community and getting elected to the town council would enable them to do this.
Another benefit about town councillors is that they do not need to live in the town to be elected to represent it. In addition to residents, anyone who owns property in the town or who has worked in it for at least a year has the right to stand for election to the town council. This would mean the owners of shops and restaurants would have the opportunity to stand for election and represent the interests of their fellows in the business community.
Giving us a town council would make local government genuinely local. It would be localism in action. A new town council for our little town would revitalise local society by breaking the partisan stranglehold over local politics. It would build bridges between communities as people came together, free from political interference, in a shared endeavour to make their town a better place to live, work and visit for everyone.
Do you want more detail?
The proposed boundaries are exactly the same as those of the existing Spitalfields Neighbourhood Planning Area, except for the addition of the Bishopsgate Goodsyard site. The boundaries of the Neighbourhood Planning Area were created by the Planning Department at Tower Hamlets (in consultation with local people) during 2016.
This location is ideal for a town council because it contains various zones which have special planning and licensing conditions due to their proximity to central London, as well as their commercial activity and cultural value. The proposed town council area includes a portion of what is known as the ‘city fringe’ and the four ‘conservation areas’ around Elder Street, Wentworth Street, Artillery Lane and Fournier Street. It also includes the ‘Brick Lane Town Centre’. The eastern edge of the proposed town council area closely follows the eastern edge of the ‘cumulative impact licensing zone’ and incorporates, but does not go far beyond, the GLA Central Activities Zone. The people living beyond our eastern boundary live outside the ‘town centre’ of Spitalfields and Banglatown and are not as affected by the various pressures caused by millions of daytime and night-time shoppers and tourists.
We took the decision to include the Bishopsgate Goodsyard site within the town borders after discussing the pressures this future development site may bring to the area with our neighbours north of Bethnal Green Road in East Shoreditch. The development of this site will generate a large amount of money for Tower Hamlets through a development ‘tax’ known as the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL). If there is a town council covering this area it means at least 15% of the money raised in CIL from that site must be spent in the area of the town council (as directed by the town council).
The other 85% will continue to go to Tower Hamlets who can continue to spend it in the way they best think fit. Ultimately they may well decide to spend a lot of that in East Shoreditch. With a town council in place we can guarantee that a portion of that money will be spent in Spitalfields, by locally elected representatives of some of the people most affected by the development, in an area which we know urgently needs substantial investment in new infrastructure; this could include improvements to local parks, the provision of new public conveniences, etc.