Tag Archives: newham

Legacy

10 Sep

NewImage

Legacy, a play developed with residents of the Carpenters Estate and members of the Focus E15 campaign, will be staged for three nights at the end of the month at the Rich Mix arts centre in Shoreditch.

Legacy is a celebration of community, an analysis of class and part of an artistic and social groundswell to end the so-called housing crisis. This is a naturalistic play, with a fantastical counter reality, examining the impact of the Olympic legacy and corporate investment on estate residents and their health. Over 50,000 families have been shipped out of London in the past 3 years – a result of welfare cuts and soaring private rents. Official figures show that councils are currently moving homeless mothers and children out of their boroughs at a rate of close to 500 families each week. That number is increasing. The main inspiration is Mary Finch who, since 2010, has lived in uncertainty when plans to demolish part or all of the Estate, her home for the past 40 years, were proposed. Since then, she has witnessed the gradual decanting of her neighbours and has been vociferous in the campaign to repopulate the estate.  

The play is very timely as the Estate was marked for demolition this year.

I was lucky enough to see a reading of the play last year and it is excellent. Tickets are £10 to £12 and can be booked online.

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Newham and the IHRA

4 Sep

No-one can accuse Newham council of not being ahead of the curve. The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance ‘working definition of antisemitism’ was debated in September of last year. And, as with the national Labour Party now, there was disagreement about the 11 illustrative examples. A motion to adopt the definition in full, with all examples, was proposed by Cllr Clive Furness and seconded by Terry Paul.

Concerns about free speech and the ability to criticise Israel were raised in Labour Group and I am told there was a “left faction” led by Cllr Anam Islam who claimed many Muslim voters were ‘troubled’. There was another group, led by Rokshana Fiaz, then a backbench councillor, who championed the removal of the examples in order to maintain group cohesion. That argument won the day.

An amendment was put at council – and accepted by the proposers – that removed all 11 examples and made some other minor adjustments to the text. 

The amended motion was unanimously agreed by Council (reproduced below exactly as it appears in the minutes):

This council notes: 

This Council expresses alarm at the rise in antisemitism in recent years across the UK. This includes incidents when criticism of Israel has been expressed using anti-Semitic tropes. Criticism of Israel can be legitimate, but not if it employs the tropes and imagery of antisemitism.

This Council therefore welcomes the UK Government’s announcement on December 11th 2016 that it will adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, making Britain one of the first countries in the world to adopt it. This definition has also been adopted by the Labour Party and featured in the Labour Party’s Race and Faith Manifesto (page 12) published during the 2017 General Election. The IHRA definition defines antisemitism as thus:

This Council notes that:

Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.

Manifestations might include the targeting of the state of Israel. However, criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.

Antisemitism frequently charges Jews with conspiring to harm humanity, and it is often used to blame Jews for “why things go wrong.” It is expressed in speech, writing, visual forms and action, and employs sinister stereotypes and negative character traits.

Antisemitic acts are criminal when they are so defined by law (for example, denial of the Holocaust or distribution of antisemitic materials in some countries). Criminal acts are antisemitic when the targets of attacks, whether they are people or property – such as buildings, schools, places of worship and cemeteries – are selected because they are, or are perceived to be, Jewish or linked to Jews.

Antisemitic discrimination is the denial to Jews of opportunities or services available to others and is illegal in many countries.

This Council welcomes support within the Council for combating antisemitism in all its manifestations.

This Council hereby resolves to adopt the above definition of antisemitism as set out by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance and pledges to combat this pernicious form of racism through awareness raising and education; and through engagement with the range of Jewish opinion on how best to address antisemitism in addition with all communities that live in Newham.

This Council also condemns all forms of racism, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia and sexism and on-line abuse and we commit to fighting against them.

Gaining Momentum

22 Aug

Newham Momentum members with Chris Williamson MP

Newham Momentum members with Chris Williamson MP in Ilford

Chris Williamson MP will be in Forest Gate next month to address the Newham branch of Momentum, as part of his Democracy Roadshow. Although ostensibly a call for mandatory re-selection of all Labour MPs, these ‘road show’ events are mostly being held in constituencies held by MPs on the centre left of the party, leading them to be dubbed by some as the ‘Deselection Roadshow.’ 

Earlier this month Williamson spoke in Ilford, whose two MPs – Mike Gapes and Wes Streeting – are noted Corbyn-sceptics. A number of Newham Momentum members attended, including the chair of the council’s Labour Group, Cllr Suga Thekkeppurayil and former councillor Obaid Khan. This resulted in the invitation to for Williamson to come to Newham. I wonder what Lyn Brown and Stephen Timms make of that?

The Derby MP previously courted controversy by suggesting that Labour MPs who agreed with Theresa May that Russia was behind the Salisbury poisonings were as much “political enemies” as the Tories. He suggested they should face de-selection (are you sensing a pattern here?). He has also shared a platform with Marc Wadsworth, who was expelled from the Labour party for haranguing Jewish MP Ruth Smeeth at the launch of the party’s anti-Semitism review in 2016.

Yesterday the Huffington Post reported:

A Labour MP has said it was a “privilege” to meet and listen to a talk by a controversial pro-Assad blogger, who has previously described murdered MP Jo Cox as a “warmongering Al Qaeda advocate”.

Vanessa Beeley made the comment in a tweet almost a year after Cox’s death, and has also written that “Zionists rule France”.

… She has written that the White Helmets, the volunteer group that rescues people from the rubble of Syria’s civil war, is a terrorist-linked organisation that fakes its activities to elicit sympathy in the West for a regime change plot against Syrian leader, Bashar al-Assad.

Who you appear on a platform with and how their views then attach to you is a hot topic right now. Might councillors who are now so publicly embracing Chris Williamson come to regret it? It’s not just MPs who can find themselves in a re-selection battle.

Time to close the Red Door?

14 Jun

By Conor McAuley

On 18 July last year Newham Council’s Strategic Development Committee, after a long discussion, approved a major planning application (No 17/00951/FUL) to build 100 flats in buildings ranging from 2 to 23 floors at London Road E13 and a further 82 flats in buildings up to 15 floors at Valetta Grove E13.  These are two sites sitting on Plaistow Road beside and opposite Plaistow Station.

A total of 182 “residential units”, all to be let at “market rents”, intended for Newham Council’s private renting company Red Door Ventures (RDV) at two locations that would appeal to commuters.

There was considerable public interest in this application and a number of objectors addressed the committee. They were listened to but ignored.

Clearly as Newham Council owned both sites, the complete absence of affordable housing within this application, can only have been deliberate and not the product of some dodgy developer’s “viability assessment”.

Instead Red Door Ventures proposed to deliver 45 affordable units in three “linked sites” at Eve Road E15, Baxter Road/Alnwick Rd E16 and Chargeable Lane E13. These sites were covered by three separate planning applications on the same committee agenda.

This was a device to subvert the planning policy requirement to deliver 50% affordable housing that would otherwise be required. Except of course that 45 units when added to the 182 non-affordable units gives us 227. The four linked planning applications (barely) delivered 20% affordable units.

So this left an affordable housing shortfall of 30% or 68.5 units.

A further device was then employed to help bridge the gap so to speak: the “review mechanism”.

Here I quote directly from the committee report; ‘To ensure that the proposal fully complies with the Newham Core Strategy and London Plan target of 50% affordable housing, a review mechanism is proposed that shall capture any uplift in scheme viability.

Once the ‘Break Even Rental Threshold’ (BERT) has been achieved the Planning Authority will receive 50% of the net additional revenue generated, where the profit level is between 15% and 24.99%, and 70% where profit is above a 25% threshold’.

I trust you have followed the logic so far.

The only real link between the four planning applications is that the sites involved are within the same borough. They are only “linked” in this process to enable Red Door Ventures to avoid having to provide affordable housing on the more valuable site adjacent to Plaistow Station. The “review mechanism” then kicks the remaining shortfall of 65.5 units into the even longer grass.

This was a perversion of the Council’s Planning regime and it was a disgrace that the then Committee Chair, Cllr Ken Clark, allowed these applications to be pushed through in this manner. Indeed, it was Cllr Clark who moved acceptance of the recommendations.

The four planning approvals were then to be wrapped up into a series of S106 Planning Agreements. The Strategic Development Committee decreed that these legal agreements should be completed and signed by 18 January 2018.

Subsequently, in November the Committee moved the completion deadlines to 18 May 2018.

It would appear that these legal agreements have not yet been signed because a further report (item 14) has been tabled on the agenda for the Strategic Development Committee meeting (next week) on 19 June seeking a further extension of the deadlines to 9 November 2018.

The report goes further, to say that if the legal agreements have not been completed, the Head of Planning has delegated authority to refuse the planning permissions.

Surely this is the moment when our elected representatives could signal a sea change in Newham’s housing strategy. It’s the time to end the expansion of Red Door Ventures and to start building genuine affordable and social housing again.

This is not a decision to be delegated to a Council officer.

8 random facts about the 2018 election

21 May

Turnout 2018

Turnout in Newham was down for the second election in a row, although the number of registered voters was the highest ever

1. A record mayoral share

Rokhsana Fiaz won the mayoral election with 73.43% of the valid votes cast. That beats Sir Robin’s best of 68.2% in 2010.

2. A big backward step for the Tories

The Conservative mayoral candidate got 8,627 votes (an 11.9% share). That’s way down on the 13,976 (18%) Stefan Mrozinski got in 2014. In fact it’s the worst Tory result since 2002, when Graham Postles got 11.55%.

By contrast, the Liberal Democrats enjoyed their best ever result, with Gareth Evans polling over 9% and saving their deposit for the first time.

3. Highest personal vote

Mariam Dawood, a first-time candidate in Manor Park ward, got the highest individual councillor vote, with 3,112.

4. Lowest vote

Hugh Robertson of the Communist League, achieved a fairly miserable 52 votes in Plaistow South. The only other candidate to fail to hit three figures was TUSC’s James Ivens in Royal Docks with 94.

5. Lowest winning score

The lowest vote achieved by a winning candidate was Tony McAlmont’s 1,292 in Royal Docks.

Two losing candidates, Gareth Evans (Liberal Democrat, Stratford and New Town) and Andrius Kavaliauskas (Conservative, also S&NT) got more votes than that. In fact, Gareth Evans’ 1,478 was better than five winning Labour candidates. Obviously, that counts for nothing in our stupid  first-past-the-post election system.  

6. Massive majorities

Labour held all 60 council seats with ease. Across all 20 wards the average majority (the gap between the 3rd placed Labour candidate and the 4th placed candidate) was a whopping 1,636 votes. Labour biggest win was in Little Ilford, with a majority of 2,434. The smallest was 788 in Royal Docks.

7. Average votes

The aggregate votes for the parties don’t really tell you anything interesting because only Labour and the Conservatives stood a full slate. But the averages (total vote divided by the number of candidates) are revealing.

The average Labour candidate was 5 times more popular than the next nearest party, which was (slightly surprisingly) the Liberal Democrats.

Party Average vote No. of candidates
Labour 2418 60
Liberal Democrat 502 14
Conservative 499 60
Green 480 11
Independent 479 2
UKIP 256 2
Christian Peoples Alliance 208 25
Democrats and Veterans 186 2
TUSC 159 4
Communist League 52 1

8. Mind the gap

There was some speculation on social media as the results were announced about the difference in votes between Labour candidates in the same ward and whether this was significant. On my Twitter timeline this focused on the Forest Gate North result, where Rachel Tripp topped the poll with 355 more votes than fellow incumbent Anamul Islam, who came third.

Looking across all 20 wards, the widest gap between first and third was in Canning Town North: Ann Easter polled 576 votes more than Delphine Touhoura. The smallest difference was 55 votes in Forest Gate South.

The average first-to-third gap was 308 votes. So while the Forest Gate North result was above average, it wasn’t by very much and the difference is probably accounted for by Cllr Tripp’s very visible local profile.

Outgunned

16 Apr

Yesterday in Canning Town South…

Labour & Co-op Party canvassersTory party canvassers

The Co-op Party’s first ever canvass in Newham drew a rather larger group of campaigners than the Conservatives managed.

Your 2018 candidates

11 Apr

Mayor of Newham

  • Rahima Khan, Conservative
  • Rokhsana Fiaz, Labour & Co-operative
  • Gareth Evans, Liberal Democrat
  • Chishala Kumalinga, Christian Peoples Alliance
  • Daniel Oxley, Democrats and Veterans Party

Council

Beckton

  • James Asser, Labour
  • Ayesha Chowdhury, Labour
  • Tonii Wilson, Labour
  • Joshua Lindl, Conservative
  • Conny Naysmith, Conservative
  • Emmanuel Obasi, Conservative
  • Jane Lithgow, Green Party
  • Syed Ahmed, Independent
  • Chike Dunkwu, Christian Peoples Alliance
  • Alice Olaiya, Christian Peoples Alliance
  • June Taylor, Christian Peoples Alliance

Boleyn

  • Genevieve Kitchen, Labour
  • Veronica Oakeshott, Labour
  • Harvinder Singh Virdee, Labour
  • Fazlul Karim, Conservative
  • Khatija Meaby,Conservative
  • Sayadur Rahman, Conservative
  • Helen Lynch, Green Party

East Ham South

  • Susan Masters, Labour
  • Quintin Peppiatt, Labour
  • Lakmini Shah, Labour
  • Syed Kabir, Conservative 
  • Aidan Langley, Conservative 
  • Mostafizur Rahman, Conservative 
  • Mary Finch, Trade Union & Socialist Coalition 

East Ham Central

  • Julianne Marriott, Labour & Co-operative
  • Aisha Siddiquah, Labour & Co-operative
  • Sugathan Thekkeppurayil, Labour & Co-operative
  • Rafeh Ahmed, Conservative 
  • Bishwajit Bal, Conservative 
  • Sabir Banglawala, Conservative 
  • Dominic Anthony, Christian Peoples Alliance 
  • Roja Chika, Christian Peoples Alliance 

East Ham North

  • Daniel Blaney, Labour
  • Zuber Gulamussen, Labour
  • Firoza Ahmed Nekiwala, Labour
  • Mohammed Azharuddin, Conservative
  • Durai Kannan, Conservative
  • Ilyas Sharif, Conservative
  • Naveed Akbar, Liberal Democrat

Green Street East

  • Muhammad Ali, Labour
  • Nilufa Jahan, Labour
  • Muzibur Rahman, Labour
  • Matthew Kinghorn, Conservative 
  • Kirankumar Patel, Conservative 
  • Mohammed Anisur Rahman, Conservative 

Little Ilford

  • Nazir Ahmed, Labour
  • Pushpa Makwana, Labour
  • Riaz Mirza, Labour
  • Ravindrareddy Nandivelugu, Conservative 
  • Zillor Rahman Mannan, Conservative 
  • Uddin Kashem, Conservative 

Manor Park

  • Ken Clark, Labour
  • Mariam Dawood, Labour
  • Salim Patel, Labour
  • Ibrahim Amanji, Conservative
  • Afzal Hossain, Conservative 
  • Nasima Khatun, Conservative 
  • Derek Jackson, Green Party
  • Michael German, Liberal Democrat

Royal Docks

  • Steve Brayshaw, Labour
  • Anthony McAlmont, Labour
  • Patrick Murphy, Labour
  • Mary Antwi, Conservative 
  • Charles Meaby, Conservative 
  • Attic Rahman, Conservative 
  • Tahir Saiyed, Liberal Democrat
  • Keith Murray, Independent
  • Ethel Odiete, Christian Peoples Alliance 
  • James Ivens, Trade Union & Socialist Coalition

Wall End

  • Jennifer Bailey, Labour
  • Omana Gangadharan, Labour
  • Lester Hudson, Labour
  • Mohammed Ali, Conservative 
  • Mufti Islam, Conservative 
  • Masbah Khan, Conservative 
  • Amalraj Kakumanu, Christian Peoples Alliance 
  • Shashir Kakumanu, Christian Peoples Alliance 
  • Hannah Sell,  Trade Union & Socialist Coalition

Canning Town North

  • Ann Easter, Labour
  • Shaban Mohammed, Labour
  • Delphine Tohoure, Labour
  • Ahmed Faqai, Conservative 
  • Maxwell Marah, Conservative 
  • Rachel Nabudde, Conservative 
  • Alan Craig, UKIP
  • Stuart Goodwin, UKIP
  • Chishala Kumalinga, Christian Peoples Alliance 
  • Bapu Rani, Christian Peoples Alliance 

Canning Town South

  • Rohit Dasgupta, Labour & Co-operative
  • Alan Griffiths, Labour & Co-operative
  • Belgica Guana, Labour & Co-operative
  • Marc Pooler, Conservative 
  • Mark Seymour, Conservative 
  • Mahyar Tousi, Conservative 
  • Danny Keeling, Green Party
  • Caroline Carey, Liberal Democrats
  • Myrtle Laing, Christian Peoples Alliance 
  • Prossy Namwanje, Christian Peoples Alliance 
  • Sharmila Swarna, Christian Peoples Alliance 

Custom House

  • James Beckles, Labour
  • Patricia Holland, Labour
  • Sarah Ruiz, Labour
  • Nicole Garrett, Conservative 
  • Akram Mwanga, Conservative 
  • Tim Roll-Pickering, Conservative 
  • Paul Banjoko, Christian Peoples Alliance 
  • Cynthia Owusu-Addai, Christian Peoples Alliance 
  • Kay McKenzie, Democrats and Veterans Party
  • Daniel Oxley, Democrats and Veterans Party

Forest Gate North

  • Sasha Das Gupta, Labour & Co-operative
  • Anam Islam, Labour & Co-operative
  • Rachel Tripp, Labour & Co-operative
  • Abdul Chowdhury, Conservative 
  • Ariful Islam, Conservative 
  • Brian Maze, Conservative 
  • Nate Higgins, Green Party
  • Michael Spracklin, Green Party
  • Frankie-Rose Taylor, Green Party
  • Christian Moon, Liberal Democrats

Forest Gate South

  • Mas Patel, Labour
  • Tahmina Rahman, Labour
  • Winston Vaughan, Labour
  • Matthew Edwards, Conservative 
  • Olenka Gradosielska, Conservative 
  • Shaeb Khan, Conservative 
  • Hugh Barnard, Green Party
  • Michael Fox, Liberal Democrats
  • Madeleine Haysey, Liberal Democrats
  • James Jones, Liberal Democrats 
  • Lois Austin, Trade Union & Socialist Coalition

Green Street West

  • Hanif Abdulmuhit, Labour
  • Mushtaq Hussain, Labour
  • Mumtaz Khan, Labour
  • Muhammad Chishti, Conservative 
  • Kamran Qureshi, Conservative 
  • Abdul Sheikh, Conservative 

Plaistow North

  • Zulfiqa Ali, Labour
  • Joy Laguda, Labour
  • Daniel Lee-Phakoe, Labour
  • Fokoruddin Ahmed, Conservative
  • Aimee Alado, Conservative 
  • Walye Jahedi, Conservative 
  • Alexander Fisher, Liberal Democrats
  • Paul Jobson, Christian Peoples Alliance 
  • Winky Newman, Christian Peoples Alliance 

Plaistow South

  • Carleene Lee-Phakoe, Labour 
  • Jane Lofthouse, Labour 
  • Neil Wilson, Labour
  • Farhana Firdous, Conservative 
  • Nazrul Islam, Conservative 
  • Rois Miah, Conservative 
  • Edward Lynch, Green Party
  • James Raymond, Liberal Democrat
  • Flora Amar, Christian Peoples Alliance 
  • Earna Gibson, Christian Peoples Alliance 
  • Hugh Robertson, Communist League

Stratford and New Town

  • Joshua Garfield, Labour
  • Nareser Natalie Osei, Labour
  • Terry Paul, Labour
  • Andrius Kavalaiauskas, Conservative 
  • John Oxley, Conservative 
  • Shardi Shameli, Conservative 
  • Rachel Collinson, Green Party
  • Gareth Evans, Liberal Democrats
  • Sheree Miller, Liberal Democrats
  • James Rumsby, Liberal Democrats
  • John Falana, Christian Peoples Alliance 
  • Esther Smith, Christian Peoples Alliance 

West Ham

  • John Gray, Labour & Co-operative
  • Charlene McLean, Labour & Co-operative
  • John Whitworth, Labour & Co-operative
  • Abul Abdullah, Conservative 
  • Thomas Barber, Conservative 
  • Natalie Pendrous, Conservative 
  • Kenneth Lyle, Green Party
  • Alexander Tuppen, Liberal Democrats
  • Sheila Brown, Christian Peoples Alliance 
  • Barbara Chukwarah, Christian Peoples Alliance 
  • Dieutane Parson, Christian Peoples Alliance 

Compared to 2014

Party 2014 2018 Change
Labour 60 60 0
Conservative 60 60 0
Christian Peoples  Alliance 55 24 -31
Liberal Democrats 11 14 3
TUSC 8 4 -4
UKIP 7 2 -5
Independent 3 2 -1
Green Party 2 11 9
Communist 1 1 0
Communities United 1 0 -1
Democrats & Veterans 2 2
Total 208 180 -28