Library Cancels SELA Meeting

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.

 

Dear 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:

 

https://www.towerhamletslabour.org.uk/biggs-scrap-tower-hamlets-homes

 

 

SELA intends to keep applying pressure for change and we hope you will continue to support us in doing so.

 

Yours sincerely,

Allison
Chair – SELA

4 Comments

  1. “it was a shame SELA didn’t plan a hustings with ALL Mayoral candidates.”

    It wasn’t a hustings.

    SELA did invite Lutfur Rahman to attend. I was at the SELA meeting where it was decided to also invite the sitting Mayor to attend. Lutfur Rahman, the head of the council which controls THH, declined to attend.

    The issue here is that LBTH agreed that this event could take place. Then, after the leaflets were printed and distributed at cost to SELA, LBTH went back on their word, and the meeting had to be cancelled.

    Also at the time of circulating the resident scrutiny review only John Biggs formally responded and asked to meet with SELA. As such SELA could only extend his offer of support, in the absence of any formal response from the Mayor or LBTH. As a courtesy to the incumbent Mayor, he too was invited to answer questions.

    “My other issue with SELA in general is that it differentiates between leaseholders and tenants, yet everyone is affected by service charges etc.”

    SELA is is a leaseholder organisation which leaseholders of THH from ALL OVER Tower Hamlets are welcome to join. I live miles from St. Stephens estate, and when I discovered SELA existed I thanked god: I wasn’t alone in this 10 year battle with LBTH/THH.

    “Our Resident Association in Bow, the TML, is for all residents regardless of their status (tenant AND leaseholder).”

    In the main TRA’s steer away for leasehold specific issues due choosing to focus on the generic needs of the body, as such there is absolutely a need for a leaseholder-specific association which addresses those issues whilst not detracting from the work/efforts of the local TRA’s with whom SELA would be happy to maintain a dialogue and exchange of relevant information/support.

    The next SELA meeting is on Weds 26th March.

    https://sela-towerhamlets.org/events/sela-general-meeting

    There will also be a Leasehold Focus Group (held by THH) on Weds 27th March.

    https://sela-towerhamlets.org/news/when-is-a-focus-group-not-a-focus-group-1

  2. Hi All Service Charge Residents of Tower Hamlets Homes. Nigel is right, whether you Rent or are a Leaseholder of all the Registered Social Landlords in the Borough. You pay Service Charges and it’s not only THH’s that these charges need challenging. I am a Leaseholder in Hewison St E3 for the last 22yrs. Our charges over that time have constantly gone up above inflation. With less Services. I now see a great Election clue from John Biggs to bring back into the Counci’sl ownership THH’s properties. Though unless there is a radical review of our Service Charges proportioned to individual properties. We will be back to square one again.

    1. ” I am a Leaseholder in Hewison St E3 for the last 22yrs. Our charges over that time have constantly gone up above inflation. With less Services.”

      You are welcome to join SELA. I live on the other side of the borough from St. Stephens estate. SELA is open to all leaseholders whose landlord is Tower Hamlets Homes.

      Your experiences are shared by me and the leaseholders in my estate, and with the leaseholders in St. Stephens. I’m very grateful to those who started SELA.

      The Audit Commission report and the Beavers and Struthers report into THH show that the problems are systemic. The real issue is why THH have not implemented the recommendations of those reports. They have had 4 years to fix the problems.

      Have a look at the details of this council meeting about THH.
      https://sela-towerhamlets.org/lbth-documents/council-meetings/sela-petition-with-debate/lbth-video-debate-following-sela-petition

      If SELA had not produced their Scrutiny Review and petitioned LBTH, we would not have that video of councillor after councillor bemoaning the dire predicament in which leaseholders find themselves.

  3. I can see why the event was cancelled – in fact I even mentioned to Ray this week, that it was a shame SELA didn’t plan a hustings with ALL Mayoral candidates. To have only Labour is a breach of good practice in the run-up to an election. SELA said the Mayor refused to attend, which is rather disingenuous as the Cabinet Member for Housing in the Mayor’s Administration had agreed to attend, yet strangely this wasn’t mentioned in any SELA publicity. My other issue with SELA in general is that it differentiates between leaseholders and tenants, yet everyone is affected by service charges etc. Our Resident Association in Bow, the TML, is for all residents regardless of their status (tenant AND leaseholder). In fact even people who sub-let on a short term basis from leaseholders are welcome to attend if they so wish. This approach brings neighbours together, helps to foster a community spirit and it is a shame that SELA did not open up their membership to ALL people in the St Stephen’s area whatever their residential status.

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