2009, 1 Aug. LAP 1 tour

The grass wedge on the Ocean estate where shrubs would improve the environment
The grass wedge on the Ocean estate where shrubs would improve the environment

As you may be aware I am a representative on the LAP 1 Steering group and we helped to prepare the “You decide” events in which residents could vote on how budgets are going to be spent.

 Today 1 August 2009, we went on a tour of the LAP 1 area and looked at community resources and also how money allocated for shrubbery could be used and I agreed with Councillor Bill Turner that the Ocean estate could do with a few bushes alongside Mile End Road.
I noticed that some very ugly looking sheds ruined the otherwise clean estate feel and asked Councillor Turner to take action and also enquired how the water pressure problems in the blocks had been solved.
SA702373Our tour today began at the Keddlestone Walk community centre where I was very impressed with the poster that greeted visitors to show that there is a cleaning points system in place whereby the dirtiest places get a red and the best places get a beige. I shall request such grading for our own estate and even ask for a poster to display on the Glasshouse.
Also attached to that Community Centre is a nice Garden at the back of the centre, maintained by volunteers, from plants recycled from discarded plants used to maintain local parks. When I asked how the centre looked so nicely done up, I got the answer that volunteers scour SA702374local shops for free paint and do it up themselves. Margaret Cox is very inventinve and down to earth and gets local businesses to donate paint and other materials to the community centre without getting any grants. They now are getting a Healthy Eating Grant for the splendid Community Garden created from donated materials and volunteer man hours.
Maintained by volunteer is the Middleton Street Community Garden project, whereby a wooden trough is allocated to one houshold who plant in it what they wish to plant.  Attached in a small shed like hut that is used for coffee breaks and it all looks very pleasant. The wooden troughs were made by the contractors who renovated the estate at the time and they also made up the little house free of charge.
Another very impressive initiative is the gardening project on theJK_SA702380  Cranbrook estate, whereby locals plant wooden containers filled with organic earth with the vegetable and salad plants of their choice to share them when the harvest is upon them. If you are lucky you can purchase some freshly cut veggies, like Courgettes,Pumpkins, Salads, Cabbages, Tomatoes.
On Parkview Estate Dolly O’Neill and I, Dolly is the vice-chair of the LAP 1 Steering group, who incidentally also lives on Sewardstone Road, considered whether our estate has suitable places to establish community gardening and immediately the space between the canal and some houses alongside it came to mind. We want you to come to the Parkview TRA meeting on 1 September at 7:15pm to comment on this please.
Meath Gardens
Meath Gardens

Meath Gardens currently houses the Park Wardens normally to be stationed at Bethnal Green whilst the park ranger station there is being refurbished.  There are some plans to create 6 new housing blocks along the canal amongst them 1 multi-storey housing block.

We then also went to the Bancroft Library to hear that the sotrage area has become too small and that the whole building is to become a local
Bancroft Library
Bancroft Library

history museum and or activity centre.

It is an exciting thought to know that a local history centre is in the making where local school children and others can learn about the history of Tower Hamlets. The lending library including librarians have been moved to Idea Stores around the borough.  With more storage space needed for the paper records it is likely that the more of the ground floor will be used to keep those records but that is mere speculation. It was nice to see this historic building to remain for community use.
glasshouseJK_MCWe also visited the Glasshouse Community Centre on our estate and I told people about the funding problems and that we are planning to re-structure the running of the centre at the next full meeting on 1-9-09.
You can see the lovely small community garden at the front and I Johanna Kaschke, said how much locals enjoyed the use of the hall that unfortunately is not sound proof. The boxing classes were a real asset for boys and also art classes and Mothers and Toddlers are very popular but more could be done with the centre.  You can see Margaret Cox there who runs the Keddlestone Walk Community Centre and has an unbeatable enthusiam for the community centre and is a tireless and wonderful volunteer.
Bethnal Green station with the disused toilet block just visible behind the bus and underground sign
Bethnal Green station with the disused toilet block just visible behind the bus and underground sign

Also on our list of places to visit was the old toilet next to Bethnal Green station and my favourite use for them is the community cafe project proposed by St. John’s on Bethnal Green church, which is next to it. Also to be considered is bicycle storage near the station for the many commuters leaving their bikes near the station. I am also a member of Connect 2, that currently works on the establishment of biking routes through our area.

Last but not least the friends of Arnold Circus led us to their patch and

Arnold Circus with the bandstand

we saw the improvement made by local school children who planted the round bandstand area with wild flowers, proudly pointing out to their parents that they had planted the blooms. Sadly Arnold Circus’ TRA has become defunct and volunteers are needed that wish to set up a new one.

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