Why I object to Network Wapping NPF application (again)

This is the email I have sent to ldf@towerhamlets.gov.uk this afternoon. If you wish to submit your own comments regarding this issue you need to do it today.

Re: Network Wapping Neighbourhood Planning Forum (NPF) submission

1. I am writing to object to this application for the reasons outlined below:

2. Network Wapping have not changed the manner in which they operate since the previous NPF application which they withdrew at the last moment.

3. As a ‘forum’ they have shown no genuine interest in Wapping and I believe that if given NPF status this will continue.

4. These beliefs are based on personally attending Network Wapping meetings, reading their literature, monitoring their website and, with other concerned residents, carrying out research.

5. At Network Wapping meetings I have never received satisfactory replies to my questions. This is also true for other residents who are not part of the closed Network Wapping group who have also tried to engage members of Network Wapping in a reasonable discussion

6. I believe that the main interest of Network Wapping is in the London Dock development to the exclusion of any other planning issues such as at King Edward Park, Wapping High St (King Henrys Wharf) or the St Patrick’s development, Dundee Street.

7. The NPF application form submitted by Network Wapping is inaccurate on a number of counts. The contact details on the form have been filled in purely for the sake of appearance. In reality Network Wapping are impossible to contact. To be specific:

The email address given is not supported as emails sent to this address are not responded to.

  • The website on the form is not updated on a regular basis, much of the content is out of date and those meeting minutes that are published on this site are factually incorrect.
  • The Facebook page on the form was last updated on 3rd September 2012. Over a year ago.
  • The twitter account detailed on the form is rarely used. The last (re)tweet was on 25 October 2013.  Any tweets to this account receive no response.
  • The Streetlife page detailed does not exist.

8. There is a requirement for any forum membership to have a minimum of 21 people. The form in its current state (24 November 2013) lists the following 34 people as signatories:

Network Wapping NPF Signatories = 34

Alex Kind, Andreas Lechthaler, Carl Nash, Christine Avlon, Danielle Lamarche, Dilwara Begum, Gareth Jones, Genia Leontowitsch, Geoffrey Juden, Gren Bingham, Husna Begum, Ismail Saray, Jake Kemp, Jim Ford, John Bell, John Inglis, John Tarby, Jon Freeman, Julian Cole, Liz Gardner, Mark Willingale, Mary Nepstad, Meryl Thomas, Michael Ainsworth, Michael Nulty, Paul Kellaway, Peter Cottage, Ralph Chittock, Cllr. Shafil Haque, Suzelle Longman, Tetty Kadury, Trevor Jones, Zeke Manyika, Jennifer Jones

9. From attending numerous Network Wapping meetings it is my observation that the majority of these people never attend meetings and as a consequence have no idea of what Network Wapping does or how it operates. From examination of what minutes there are of Network Wapping meetings the following 17 signatories have not attended a meeting, certainly not since April 2013:

Network Wapping NPF Signatories who have never attended a meeting = 17

Alex Kind, Christine Avlon, Danielle Lamarche, Gareth Jones, Husna Begum, Jim Ford, Jon Freeman, Julian Cole, Mark Willingale, Mary Nepstad, Michael Nulty, Cllr. Shafil Haque, Suzelle Longman, Tetty Kadury, Trevor Jones, Zeke Manyika, Jennifer Jones.

10. I think most fair minded people would argue that simply allowing your signature to be used on a formal application form without then attending meetings to check what it is that you have endorsed is careless at best and at worst negligent.

11. It is also my belief that some of the people whose signatures have been used to support the Network Wapping NPF application are unaware of this. This could explain their non attendance at meetings.

12. If the Network Wapping NPF application progresses I will be contacting the Electoral  Commission and ask them to examine this issue.

13. Additionally this non-attendance of meetings by 50% of the signatories to the Network Wapping NPF application could invalidate the application as only 17 of the signatories have attended the meetings, 4 less than the minimum membership number required by law. It would be an interesting test case to see how ‘membership’ is interpreted on a legal basis. ‘Membership’ must mean more than a signature on a piece of paper?

14. The Wapping community does not wish to be represented by Network Wapping.  There were 150 letters of objection (against one letter in favour) for their application earlier this year. The latest submission is fundamentally the same as the one rejected.

15. The proposed boundary of the NPF is not appropriate.  Network Wapping’s main interest appears to be around the London Docks and The Highway

16. Your report of August 2013 identified a number of shortcomings in Network Wapping’s application.  Since then Network Wapping have only amended the wording of its Constitution.  All the other issues identified remain.

17. Myself and other local residents have been documenting the activities of Network Wapping and have posted these for public consumption on the Love Wapping website and distributed links to these posts via email, Facebook and Twitter. You can find an index to this public documentation via this link: http://lovewapping.org/category/planning/network-wapping/

28. In conclusion I strongly urge Tower Hamlets Council to reject Network Wapping’s Neighbourhood Planning Forum application.


Yours faithfully

Mark Baynes

8 Frobisher House

Watts Street



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