Why does Network Wapping ignore the Save KEMP campaign?

I wrote this little opinion piece for a local residents website but thought I would share it with everyone else in Wapping. Yes, I am lazy. And if you are too lazy to read this or scroll down to the bottom of the page here are other posts about Network Wapping on this website.

Further information, opinion and a comedy sketch about Network Wapping

You want to read the rest? Sure? OK then.

I moved to Wapping three years ago and since then have been working with Emma and Carl and the Save KEMP team doing what I can to protect the park and ensure resident’s views are heard.

No interest at all

A while back a friend mentioned Network Wapping to me and asked me to go to a meeting and see what I thought. I had no real interest in Network Wapping and even less in local planning.

But what I discovered at that first meeting and subsequent ones first surprised me, then baffled me and now worries me. I am not sure what Network Wapping’s real agenda is but I am fairly sure it has little or nothing to do with local planning issues. Strong words? Maybe but they are based on experience.

Just three examples. There are lots more.

Here are three examples that should concern those who love King Edward Memorial Park.

  1. Network Wapping did not consult with the Save KEMP team before submitting their application to become a Neighbourhood Planning Forum (NPF) despite including KEMP in their proposed are of operations.
  2. No one from Network Wapping attended the PINs Planning meeting held in May regarding KEMP. I know because I was there. When Carl Dunsire challenged Network Wapping’s leader John Bell on this seeming lack of interest in KEMP Mr Bell’s reply was that there was no need for Network Wapping to show support for Save KEMP.
  3. Apart from Thames Water’s plans for KEMP and the London Dock development the other major planning application in Wapping at the moment is the Phoenix Wharf / King Henry’s Wharves development. When I asked Network Wapping for their views on this application the only response I managed to obtain was that Network Wapping has ‘no views’ on the application.

My personal experience and close observation of Network Wapping over the last few months has led me to the following conclusions:

  • Network Wapping does not operate in an open or democratic manner
  • Only after repeated verbal and written requests by numerous people did Network Wapping publish meeting minutes.
  • Those whose views differ to Network Wapping’s will be ignored, shouted down or both
  • Network Wapping has no real interest in local planning issues
  • Network Wapping has no interest in the fate of King Edward Memorial Park
  • Network Wapping is only now ‘consulting’ with other long-standing community groups such as Save KEMP because they have been told to do so by Tower Hamlets Council.
  • Network Wapping has ignored formal objections by Save KEMP, Friends of Saint Katharine Docks and Limehouse Community Forum re their proposed area of operation
  • They have recently started to drop the word ‘Wapping’ from their organisation’s description.
  • I am convinced that this ‘consultation process’ is a sham.

What are Network Wapping really up to?

What worries me is that I still do not know what Network Wapping is really up to. And if the NPF submission they have made is passed they will then have legal powers regarding planning in Wapping. So what will they do?

If Network Wapping gets power and they still continue to ignore KEMP as an issue and the views of local residents what message will that send to Thames Water?

Submit your views by 30th July 2013

I have made my objections to Network Wapping known to Tower Hamlets and I would ask you to review the evidence and make your own mind up. But you only have until 30th July 2013 to do so.

Whatever Network Wapping do the rest of us will continue to fight to save King Edward Memorial Park for the people of the East End of London.

To express your opinion about the application by Network Wapping to become a Neighbourhood Planning Forum to Tower Hamlets Council please use the contact details below.

Responses should be sent to ldf@towerhamlets.gov.uk or to:

Neighbourhood Planning Consultation
Strategic Planning – Plan Making
London Borough of Tower Hamlets
PO BOX  55739
E14 2BG
Telephone: 020 7364 5367

Further information, opinion and a comedy sketch about Network Wapping

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