The St Stephens Leaseholders Association has been banned from holding a meeting at Bethnal Green Idea Store.
SELA who represents the leaseholders on St Stephen’s Estate (Bow) and other leaseholders in the Borough is currently petitioning the Council about the ever increasing cost of housing services managed by Tower Hamlets Homes whilst their concerns about the quality of service remain unaddressed.
As part of their campaign SELA organised an evening of discussion, questions and answers with John Biggs, London Assembly Member for City and London East and Tower Hamlets Mayoral candidate this year.
This has now been cancelled by the Idea Store on the basis that it is a politically motivated event.
Alison, chair of SELA has written the following letter to the leaseholders.
I regrettably have to inform you that the SELA event scheduled for the 19th February 2014 has been cancelled.
The prospect of the opportunity to discuss local and housing issues with John Biggs received much support from our existing members and visitors, with one describing the event as ‘a very good initiative’.
Unfortunately The Idea Store (Bethnal Green Library) disagreed and is refusing to honour the hall booking which apparently should not have been accepted. We have been told that council policy prohibits public facilities from being used for politically motivated events in the lead up to the local elections. They consider that Mr Biggs’ attendance at a residential leaseholder meeting could be perceived as being politically motivated.
My protestations that SELA is not and has never been affiliated to any political party, coupled with the fact that Mayor Rahman was also invited to attend, but declined, has thus far failed to elicit a reconsideration, or even a response.
At this late stage we feel cancelling is the most practical option. My gratitude and apologies to the SELA volunteers who distributed leaflets for us.
In the meantime we are encouraged by the unanimous support the SELA petition received at full council on the 22nd January. [view the full video here: https://www.towerhamlets.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/125319].
The petition was immediately followed by a motion condemning THH, with total cross-party support for the petition. Subsequently the motion against THH was unanimously carried – the events of which may or may not have influenced this subsequent statement released by John Biggs:
SELA intends to keep applying pressure for change and we hope you will continue to support us in doing so.
Chair – SELA