Community news and investigative journalism for Wapping E1W and Tower Hamlets London

It’s silly to try stopping LW publishing facts. Really silly.

By on August 5, 2017 in Comment, Wapping Lido

After the police meeting at St. Georges Town Hall some months back we were just leaving when we were stopped by Geradine Davies, one of the Turks Head Company trustees.

Expecting the usual chitchat we were a little surprised to discover that Ms. Davies was intent on stopping Love Wapping writing about certain aspects of the Turks Head Company’s operations.

So this post is dedicated to certain aspects of the Turks Head Company’s operations.

Sorry Geradine, but we don’t like people who try and intimidate us. As we told you at the time, we were never intimidated by the abuse of Lutfur Rahman’s thugs and you just ain’t in their league.

It’s the Wapping Mole! He lives in a hole!

One one notable occasion Tower Hamlets police very kindly facilitated having a patrol vehicle outside the Prospect of Whitby as we had (a) really annoyed Tower Hamlets First and (b) then tweeted where we were going to go drinking that night. Oops.

For a couple of years we had to adopt counter surveillance techniques every time we were in public. At the same time we had to implement improved physical security where we lived and have an escape route planned in case the front door was being assaulted.

So when someone complements us on the ‘wonderful work you usually do’ then complains that it would be even better if we did not mention their mother in a story we ran months ago as she is ill we get a little peeved.

Sorry your mum was ill Geradine and hope she has recovered.

The story that you objected to your mother being mentioned in – and it was just a factual mention – was this one Wapping Lido planning application submitted your views count.

Fact is that Maureen Davies was a trustee of the Tower Hamlets Environment Trust (1997–04–01 to 2003–11–01) and at the same time was a trustee of The Turks Head Company (1992–07–28 to 2009–02–18).

The fact that Maureen Davies was a trustee of the Tower Hamlets Environment Trust at the same time that she was a trustee of the Turks Head Company is (a) a matter of public record and (b) a matter of public interest.

The reason it is a matter of public interest Geradine is that, as you know, there is still some disquiet in Wapping about the whole Tower Hamlets Environment Trust deal and why the Turks Head Company decided to loan £130,000 to the TH Environment Trust to invest in a housing project in Sheffield and then had to write off the loan.

Indeed many newcomers to Wapping are completely oblivious to this. Well, they were.

So for those of you unfamiliar with this sorry episode here is the back story from What’s in Wapping:

Why do we publish this? Because John Aldenton’s Turks Head Company and the Shadwell Basin Outdoor Activity Centre have submitted Planning Application PA 16/01978 for the Wapping Lido which is going to cost several million pounds (between £3.5 and £6.5 million) of presumably mainly public money.

So the residents of Tower Hamlets have a right to know about the historical facts of the way money is managed by the Turks Head Company. You obviously think this should not be a matter of public record Gerardine. We are inclined to disagree.

Time for some clarity

Anyway more about the Turks Head Company later… For the moment let’s get some clarity on the Wapping Lido project shall we?

As other stories we have published recently clearly show the consultation and planning process for the Wapping lido application has been neither transparent or open. This is not surprising considering Tower Hamlets planning weirdness such as the long-running saga of Calders Wharf on the Isle of Dogs which we intend to cover in more detail in future.

The consultation by the Turks Head Company only paid lip-service to the requirement to ask residents views and the Council’s planning procedure seems incapable of delivering 679 letters to Shadwell Basin residents.

Here are links to our other stories about the Wapping lido application:

Some more of those pesky fact things.

Google Maps showing Shadwell Basin (left), Shadwell Basin Activity Centre and King Edward Memorial Park (right).

For those unfamiliar with the area the map above shows the proximity of Shadwell Basin, the Outdoor Activity Centre and KEMP.

The Wapping Lido application (PA 16/01978) is a joint application by the Shadwell Basin Outdoor Activity Centre and the Turks Head Company (although it is referred to as ’Turks Head Charity’) on the application itself as shown below.

E.L.M.V Shadwell Basin Project

Shadwell Basin Outdoor Activity Centre, managed by Mike Wardle, is more formally known as the E.L.M.V Shadwell Basin Project in its filings at Companies House here and the Charity Commission here.

King Edward Memorial Park Foreshore Community Liaison Working Group

As part of the Thames Water supersewer work in King Edward Memorial Park (KEMP) the King Edward Memorial Park Foreshore Community Liaison Working Group was established to provide a formal means of communication between Thames Water and local residents.

John Aldenton and Mike Wardle have taken an active role in the Thames Water Working Group as they seem to rotate chairing group meetings between them as the screen grabs from two documents published by the the Liaison Working Group below show:

King Edward Memorial Park Foreshore Community Liaison Working Group meeting minutes Monday 5th June 2017 – chair is Jon Aldenton

 

King Edward Memorial Park Foreshore Community Liaison Working Group meeting minutes Tuesday 31st January 2017 – chair is Mike Wardle

You can see all documents relating to the King Edward Memorial Park Foreshore Community Liaison Working Group meetings here at their Forum Document Library (tip:search for KEMPF-CLWG)

Shadwell Basin Outdoor Activity Centre and the Turks Head Company also share the same architect, Anna Versteeg, as the below extract from the Accounts and trustees’ annual report 31 March 2016 for E L M V Shadwell Basin Project shows on page 5 (PDF)

The Shadwell Basin Outdoor Activity Centre has had a new slipway constructed for them by Thames Tideway Tunnel as some recompense for the massive inconvenience the KEMP work will impose – and quite right too! It’s the least Thames Tideway can do.

Shadwell Basin Outdoor Activity Centre new slipway courtesy Thames Water

Additionally some S.106 money has been earmarked for landscaping the Brussels Wharf area of Shadwell Basin. This is about the same spot where the Wapping Lido buildings are planned to be, but it would seem daft for Thames Tideway to do the work then someone else comes along and bulldozes the lot.

The real reason we have a Wapping Shindig

The Charity Commission investigation into the Turks Head Company (see above) concluded on November 2010 but publication of the report was initially blocked.

What’s in Wapping was not happy with this and asked for a review of the decision and the final report was released and published by What’s in Wapping here Charity Commission investigation into the Turks Head Company FOI Decision Review (PDF).

As you can see one of the recommendations is this:

“There is no statutory requirement for a charity to spend at least a certain proportion of its income on direct charitable expenditure. Nevertheless, it is reasonable to conclude that the trustees need to focus their attention on increasing the level of charitable expenditure.”

In other words if you are a charity act like one. Do not lend £130,000 to some housing project in Sheffield and lose the lot.

After all it does say on the plaque outside the Turks Head building, “income from renting the Turks Head Cafe and Studios above pay for charitable activities.”

A few months after the Charity Commission gave their words of advice to the Turks Head Company the first Wapping Summer Shindig was held on Saturday 9th July 2011.

Probably pure coincidence.

The Wapping Shindig is great fun and is the result of a huge amount of work by volunteers every year. Sad fact is that the Shindig only came into being to keep the Charity Commission happy, no other reason.

Wapping Shindig.

LW does not like saying this and has refrained from doing so for many years. But it sticks in our throat to see the Shindig promoted as some sort of wonderful philanthropic gesture by the lord of the manor. It ain’t.

The reason we make this clear now is that residents of Wapping, Shadwell and Tower Hamlets have the right to know exactly who is behind the Wapping Lido application.

Sorry Geradine, it’s just another of those pesky fact things.

Credits

Many thanks once more to the numerous Wapping residents who actively helped Love Wapping with research on this project, in particular the residents who provided us with the link to the King Edward Memorial Park Foreshore Community Liaison Working Group documents. 

Relevant Internet Links





 

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There Are 8 Brilliant Comments

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  1. You couldn't make it up! says:

    According to the Press, Jon Aldenton has a track record of very poor money management, failed projects and people being left unhappy with his involvement in their projects.

    Here’s just a couple of articles you might not be aware of relating to the demise of some of his previous projects
    1) THET – which went into liquidation https://www.theguardian.com/society/2008/nov/25/voluntary-sector-housing-regeneration-credit-crunch-hard-times and
    2) Clapton Improvement Society and doing the dirty on the Nanas Community Cafe https://munchies.vice.com/en_us/article/53jez3/a-granny-run-cafe-housed-in-a-former-public-toilet-has-been-forced-to-close

    I guess some people with very long memories may even remember some more…..

    • Mark Baynes says:

      Thanks for that, we were aware of these two issues and have written about them in the past but it is always useful for others to be made aware of them so they understand the full context.

  2. Frank Muldoon says:

    Mark
    What seems to be missed here is the change to the Memorandum & Articles of Association of The Turks Head company
    The Charity Commisiom advised any who were concerned about the activities of the Turks Head crew to join the company, a number of us tried but our applications were declined
    Shortly thereafter the Mem & Arts were changed creating a new tier off associate membership effectively disenfranchising the membership and preventing any challenge to existing regime
    The Charity Commision failed to investigate this
    We were told it had been looked at previously, it had not.

    • Mark Baynes says:

      Very interesting Frank, we were not aware of this at all. A key point that hopefully the Charity Commission will now look at. Your invaluable comment shows how a community can work together to look into issues that affect us all. Many thanks, Mark.

  3. Roman says:

    Birds who live around Shadwell Basin: tits, dunnocks, jays, blackbirds, robins, magpies. There are also bees. If the existing trees and bushes are removed, their habitat will be gone. The wetland included in the current planning application is no substitute for that.

    • Mark Baynes says:

      Well said Roman. The wetlands are only included in the planning application as a sop as they know there is no chance of it being approved without it.

  4. Mark as you are aware we had dealings with Aldenton in 2010, it was felt by us all then that he should not be allowed anywhere near public monies. Maybe he thought after time memories may fade, however I am sure that those who knew more than my few instances with him, living in Wapping still, would not wish his intervention in any project unless it was his own funds and that would seriously e challenged.

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