Emergency measures needed over failure to collect rubbish

th-rubbishNot only have bin collectors gone on strike but also an action of vandalism of our bin lorries, stops rubbish being collected.

Whilst many are asked to self-isolate, not travel unless absolutely necessary, the only journey many will make is to deposit rubbish and recycling into bins.

How can this be allowed to go on when we have a pandemic forcing school closures and the cancellation of social gatherings?

We need the hygiene to also extent to our streets and not only our homes. Alhtough this picture is not from our estate, it is a general situation throughout the borough. I understand our own caretaker does his utmost to distribute rubbish through empty bin chambers, there is only so much room available.

Mayor, do something now.

The practical side of estate based gardening

Any community gardening, container gardening, shared gardening has to be seen as a practical logistics operation.

There are many factors that play a role

  1. Accessibility
  2. ability to maintain
  3. moving on
  4. water source
  5. light and space
  6. containers or ground based

These are just some factors playing a role.

The most classic form of community gardening is to have an allotment and there are some available through the council website, but I suppose there is a waiting list.

There are some newer initiatives on other local estates, which have had a very positive impact on the community and those estate based gardening projects usually utilise large lawn areas to grow container based gardens, whereby an individual gets a container to maintain.

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Rocky Park on Hollybush Estate is our most famous local gardening project, visited by Prince Charles. There are three other local food gardens with Cranbrook being most relevant to us.

cranbrook-garden

Cranbrook community garden volunteers. They have an event coming up on 25. April 2020, 11:30 – 14:30 on Cranbrook estate. See their Facebook page

Every gardening project needs to be highly maintained. It also needs to look pleasing and produce foods we are fond of. It can be quite labour intensive and time-consuming. So just putting up a few containers is not going to make a gardening project.

If you have a balcony, there are some great pot-based gardening items on sale currently in the local Lidl store. Like potato towers and herb  or tomato kits.

Plus on council estates, people come and go. Most plants need at least one season to establish and those require regular watering and weeding. People actually need to have the strength time and space to do so. Where is the nearest water source and can you carry water containers from the source to the plants?

Planting fruit trees results in ripe fruits falling onto the ground and attracting wasps. Even though this is bug friendly, it is very unsightly on your lawn and produces the growth of seedlings and needs regular maintenance. Fruit trees also get considerable crowns and can take away a natural light source for residents in flats. Bees and wasps will swarm around the rotting fruit, not good if you have children in the vicinity.

Perhaps, if people look at the practical side of community gardening and consider how much time they actually have doing it, we are getting a good platform on which to discuss the subject for Parkview estate.

Parkview is a landscaped estate with small parcels of land around blocks, which are meant for shallow rooted rose bushes and similar plants, requiring regular pruning. Unfortunately the wrong type of trees were allowed to establish around some houses as explained in the previous post.

I think it needs a proper strategic meeting with trained specialists to come to a solution.

Unsuccessful attempts

I tried to make use of some sunny spot on my north-facing front-garden and an up-stairs neighbour wanted to grow potatoes. Yet she never did more than putting the seed potatoes into the ground. She did not weed and even asked me to water them for her. Unfortunately it soon became an unsightly and overgrown mess. They have now moved away.

Reynolds-house-containers

THH what is the point of having those containers there?

Reynolds House in Approach Road has six containers placed outside the house, on the pavement and those containers have been abandoned. They were put there by Tower Hamlets Homes and look awful now. Some have, provided by Tower Hamlets Homes, plagues on but they are not exactly a glowing advertisement for THH community gardening in such a prominent location with plenty of footfall to and from the park.

 

 

 

proposed Beehives

Just come off the phone with Tower Hamlets Homes, who assured me that a beehive will not be installed in the estate without prior and thorough consultation of all residents. Unfortunately the latest leaflet of the Residents Assocation is missleading.

I have contacted Tower Hamlets Homes about that and queried whether a full risk assessment had been carried out and whether residents had been consulted. Apparently some people are allergic to bees.

A full assessment will now be carried out.

About the proposed bee colony

So far there has not been any consultation about whether residents and those affected want to have bees on the roof of one of the blocks, which are to be maintained by Hackeny City Farm.

Snowdrop bulbs were planted on the estate to provide food / nectar for the bees during the colder winter month and early spring.

gardeners

The Parkview gardening Volunteers prepare a lawn area for mixed natural habitat planting. Doesn’t it remind us of Extinction Rebellion diggin up the lawn in Cambridge?

My concerns are around the behaviour of the bees in such a close environment to do with pedestrians using the foot pathes. A lot of snowdrop bulbs were planted along the footpath in front of Rosebery House. The path is very busy with small children, parents and residents who either walk past the block or live in it. Also the lawns around Rosebery House have been adapted with bee-friendly plants.

Also we do have a large school in the middle of the estate and the school must be agreeing to having bees nearby whilst children are playing in the playgrounds or having windows open in the summer.

My family kept bees for centuries in the country-side and honey is one of my favourite sweeteners and I am all in favour of bees as very important and instrumental for our food production. But there is a question whether a busy housing estate with a school is the right place to keep a beehive.

I do understand there are bees in the city. But I think there are no housing estates, they are on a law building in Russell Square and the Museum of London, which are different environments.

I think more research needs to be done and questions asked why our estate was chosen for the scheme.

There is now a lot of emphasis on planting fruit trees and fruit bushes and bee-friendly plants. I understand that in other countries fruit trees are planted all around a town. In Copenhagen fruit trees are grown in cities as a project to support the whole city.  There the project is paid for by the Council and the maintenance is the local governments responsibility. Yet this scheme here seems to be only happening on Parkview estate in London and it brings its own problems.

Fruit trees shed fruit and that can cause a problem with removing the rotting fruit, there needs to be planned maintenance. Rotting fruit causes a lot of methane, which is very dangerous for the environment unless the rotting fruit gets recycled, which is again a lot of maintenance in a city environment. Many farmers can’t even recycle their unsold rotting produce. We do have a large fruit tree in Bishops way, the fruits are bright red and nobody ever eats them, they rot away on the pavement and lawn each year.

We do not even have food recycling in the area. And who is going to recycle all the falling fruit?

I think in general the Council only plans to plant normal trees in Tower Hamlets. We should not become an enlargement of Hackney City Farm, because this is what’s happening right now.

I have written to Tower Hamlets Homes and to Councillor Sirajul Islam and have asked for the reasoning behind it and wonder what other residents think about it.

This will be a budget decision also as the money for the fruit trees and bushes and bulbs is paid for by the Residents Association budget and not by Tower Hamlets Homes or Tower Hamlets Council. So the long-term maintenance will fall on us.

Health Festival 2020

Everyone is welcome at the Tower Hamlets Homes Health Festival and Community Fun Day.

Saturday 29 Feb 2020 – 11am to 3pm (Collingwood Community Hall)

Saturday 7 March 2020 – 11am – 3pm (Mulberry & Bigland Green Centre)

Come and meet local and national health and wellbeing providers at THH’s annual Health Festival with all activities free of charge.

At the event you can boost your wellbeing by visiting free information stalls, take a health check, enjoy a head or shoulder massage, have a go on smoothie bikes or try your hand at street art plus loads more.  Free refreshments will be available.

Games and activities for younger residents will be available too.

Venues

1.  Collingwood Community Hall, Collingwood St, E1 5RB  – Saturday 29 Feb 2020

2. Mulberry & Bigland Green Centre, 15 Richard St, E1 2JP – Saturday 7 March 2020

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