Councillor Nathalie Bienfait’s report on Full Council meeting 16 November 2022

Tower Hamlet’s council holds ‘Full Council’ meetings every two months which are a chance for all the councillors and Mayor to debate key issues and hear from member of the public.

The agenda and other papers are here: Meeting Documents

A link to the recording is here: Council Meeting

Here is our Councillor Nathalie Bienfait’s report from the latest meeting on 16 November:

There were several important issues raised in this meeting which I was keen to have a say on. The following is a summary of my comments on various agenda items:

Motion on School Streets (agenda item 8)

The recent removal of the Chisenhale School Street in Bow West was a shocking event that underlined the carelessness that the Mayor is showing towards children in Tower Hamlets. I had the following points to make:

  • While the Chisenhale school street has not been without its controversy, solid agreement has now been reached by all stakeholders and the community want this scheme to stay.
  • The Mayor of London recently announced nearly £70 m funding per year for councils that implement school streets. The Mayor’s decision to remove Chisenhale School Street seriously jeopardises our borough’s ability to attract really important funding from TfL.
  • We know that this act will progressively increase air pollution around the school and will make pick up and drop off times more dangerous for children because of passing cars. The children who will be affected by this removal did not and could not vote for the Mayor, so his claimed mandate to reopen roads is shaky. At the moment it looks like he is risking children’s lives to score political points and claim a ‘win’ for his supporters, many of whom I’m sure will be horrified that their trust is being used in this way.

Gambling policy report (agenda item 9.1)

This was a routine adoption of the council’s gambling policy which is required by law to be adopted every year. The consultation showed that residents want the law to go further in restricting gambling premises, however the council doesn’t have the power to further regulate the industry.

In my speech, I called on the Mayor to write to the Minister for Tech and the Digital Economy, Paul Scully MP to urge him to impose far deeper controls on the gambling industry to reduce harm from gambling addiction.

Nathalie’s contributions

Executive question on Advisory Board for Climate Change

In the Aspire Manifesto, a pledge was made to residents to set up a Mayor’s Advisory Board for Climate Change. Could an indication be provided for when this advisory board will be set up and who will be members of it?

Motion on Road Safety (not debated for lack of time)

This council notes that: 

  • There have been a recent spate in road traffic accidents across Tower Hamlets, including:
    • In St Katherine’s & Wapping on 29 February 2022 – a motorcyclist was left with life changing injuries.
    • In Whitechapel in May 2022 – in which a cyclist was rushed to hospital after having been hit by a lorry.
    • In Limehouse on 22 August 2022 – a man was left with life threatening injuries.
    • In Shadwell, a man died on 11 September 2022 after being hit by a lorry.
    • On Mile End Road on 9 October 2022 – in which a teenager was seriously hurt.
    • Along Bow Road on 21 October 2022 – in which a several pedestrians were injured.
    • In Bow West, along Old Ford Road, a young man was left with life changing injuries after a crash in August 2022.
    • Also along Old Ford Road, two crashes in 2022 left neighbours with serious property damage which is still being repaired.
    • Outside Olga Primary School, a child was hit by a car in October 2022, and is mercifully unharmed but the experience was very traumatic for all witnesses.
  • A number of campaign groups have highlighted the need for road safety improvements in the last few months.
  • Traffic speed limits in all areas of the borough are consistently flouted and there are few areas where speed cameras enforce the speed limits on drivers.
  • That the most vulnerable road users and those going about their lives should be protected from poor driving behaviour.

This council acknowledges that:

  • Railings and other protective infrastructure for vulnerable road users is not sufficient to genuinely ensure pedestrian safety.
  • The removal of Chisenhale School Street and other school streets risks the safety of children and their carers when attending schools in the borough.
  • The regular serious accidents make people across the borough feel unsafe around roads, discouraging residents from choosing healthier modes of transport 

This council resolves to: 

  • Request the Mayor of Tower Hamlets to set up a comprehensive programme to improve safety for road users which echoes the Highway Code’s hierarchy of road users which acknowledges the risks of vehicle transport and gives priority for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians.
  • Increase the number of speed cameras and other speed enforcement infrastructure by 100%.
  • Encourage and support local groups to engage in speed watch with local police teams.
  • Make all school street schemes which are currently under experimental traffic orders across the borough permanent.


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