Action on lighting, street cleaning, anti-social behaviour and road safety

P1070098We regularly door-knock in Wapping to introduce ourselves to residents and see if they have concerns about the area that need raising with Tower Hamlets. We have met a fantastic bunch of people in recent weeks and taken up a broad range of concerns.

This past fortnight’s concerns include youths drinking and littering in Wapping Woods; poor lighting around the Garnet Street/Shadwell Basin steel bridge and slipperiness there in winter months; persistent damp in a housing association home; poor upkeep of and graffiti on Tower Hamlets Homes communal areas; slow progress in maintenance and repairs to someone’s home; and the poor condition of the bowling green in King Edward Memorial Park where kids have gathered to take drugs. We are currently awaiting responses on all these issues and will update this website once we have them.

In the meantime, we list below some of the other issues we’ve taken up and the responses we have had from the council:

Broken Lights and Need for Lights Around the Canal

Broken Lights on Kennet Street, Waterman Way & Spirit Quay, Need for Additional Lights Around the Canal -

TH Reply – We carried out a street lighting night scout in this area on 12th February and instructions to repair the defect identified to a street lighting column have been placed with the Council’s contractor.

With regard to the defects and possible improvements to the lighting in the vicinity of the ornamental canal1 – 85338049], we are currently seeking quotes to replace the lighting unit on the bollards alongside the canal with a brighter white light and also considering the feasibility of replacement of all existing bollards with solar powered units. We will then set out the options and costs for the Head of Parks to consider in terms of funding and aesthetics.  The area around the ornamental canal is not part of the public highway so whilst Transport & Highways service maintains the lighting on behalf of the Parks division, we require their direction to implement any changes or improvements.

Elise Boon, Group Manager – Improvement Works Group

Street Cleansing and Dog Mess


TH Reply – I have assigned a Street Care Officer to inspect the locations specified with exception of Discovery Walk and New Crane Wharf which do not fall within our area of responsibility and are privately managed.  I shall update you in due course on our findings and actions.

Thank you for bringing this matter to my attention, should you require any further information relating to this issue please do not hesitate in contacting me.

Yours sincerely

Simon Baxter, Head of Clean and Green – Public Realm

Anti-social Behaviour


TH Reply –  In relation to Cork Square and Smeaton Street, we will speak to the persons responsible for cleaning that area to ensure that any evidence of drug dealing or sex are both cleaned up and recorded to give us a more accurate picture of how often this is happening.  Should the evidence show it happening on a regular basis we will review the situation and possibly request the Police to allocate resources to it.

Drug dealing is a serious offence which needs to be dealt with by the Police; we will pass the locations outlined in your letter to the Neighbourhood Policing Team for them to have a look at.

The Council recognises that CCTV is a vital tool in preventing crime and providing reassurance.   However, decisions in the installation and monitoring of CCTV is taken in accordance with the Council’s CCTV policy which sets the criteria that needs to be met to justify the use and public funding of the cameras.

The Wapping area has a very low crime rate compared to other locations in the borough which need CCTV. Regrettably, based on the information to date and other operational factors it is not possible to consider the installation of CCTV in this area at present.

A dispersal order needs to be based on statistical information, reports from residents to the Police and detailed complaints.  At present these are not being received from residents.  We have to appreciate that it may be better for youths to loiter in the open spaces like Wapping Woods and Canal areas as this keeps them away from housing estates and people’s premises where they could cause more annoyance and trouble.    After consulting with the Head of Service for Enforcement we feel that a Dispersal Zone would be too strong a sanction to use.   The new CCTV goes live in Wapping Woods in March and this will allow us to keep a closer eye on the immediate area.

Because both Police and Council resourcing is stretched at the moment, all decisions on tasking both THEO’s and the Partnership Task Force are taken at a two weekly tasking meeting.   Our analyst studies the CAD calls into the 101 number and plots where most complaints or reports are emanating from.   Tasking is then produced from this to try and resolve the issues and reduce the calls coming in.  Please could residents be requested to call 101 when they have problems with ASB or Drug Dealing.

Peter Allnutt, CCTV Manager

Road Closures/Bus Alterations/Existing Crossings


-          Several residents have complained about road closures and bus alterations when events are held – what steps do highways take to mitigate the impact on residents?

TH Reply –  I understand this complaint to relate to the use of The Highway specifically as a route for events such as the Marathon, Triathlon and Ride London cycling event.  This is of course a Red Route and managed by Transport for London.  TfL approve the closure of the road for such events and consult the Council and the Police on appropriate diversion routes.  As part of TfL, London Buses are closely involved in this planning activity.  The Council, on behalf of local residents, has written to TfL formally on several occasions to express our concern at the number of times The Highway is used for such events and the impact this has on access for residents but TfL have continued to give approval to utilise this route for such events.

In the case of the marathon, long established emergency access arrangement have been established which provide for parking of vehicles to the north of The Highway and key managed pedestrian crossing points to be retained.  It is not always possible to follow similar traffic management plans for other events due to the nature of the event, but road closures are always designed with the objective of keeping the period of closure to the minimum possible to ensure the event takes place safely but with minimum inconvenience to the surrounding area.

-    It is difficult to cross The Highway, the existing crossings are not very secure – when did the council last assess the crossing arrangements, with a view to possible improvements?

TH Reply –  As stated above, The Highway is managed by Transport for London.  The Council has lobbied TfL on several occasions to provide new and improved pedestrian crossings along The Highway, and some of those now in place are the results of those complaints.  Most recently, the council negotiated crossing improvements with TfL as part of the S106 obligations to be provided through the London Dock development.  Improved pedestrian facilities are to be provided at the Dock Street junction and a new crossing to the east will also be investigated once this development commences on site.

-          How can residents apply to become part of the new “no engine idling zones”?

TH Reply – These zones are quite a new initiave and at present colleagues in Environmental Health are working on the development of a first advisory zone at Tower Bridge.  A further advisory zone is being developed at the Royal London Hospital.  Subsequently officers will be exploring the feasibility of declaring the entire borough a no-idling zone.  Residents could express interest either direct to Environmental.Health or to the new Community Champions.

In the meantime, we are aware that tourist coaches create something of an issue for residents in the Wapping area and our mobile enforcement teams have been tasked to monitor key areas to ensure that any indiscriminate parking (with the engine idling) is enforced.

-          In the summer there is a sewage smell near the Memorial Garden.

TH Reply – This matter has been brought to the attention of the Green Team manager responsible for KEMP, who is Keith Woodard.  He has not received complaints about this before and will certainly monitor the situation.

Margaret Cooper, Head of Transport & Highways



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