Another part of the Thames could be restricted
Locals are warring with wealthy flat owners over public access to a wharf by the river
Morning — here’s what we’ve spied in the capital on Thursday, March 09, 2023:
🛑 Public access to a picturesque spot by the Thames in east London could be restricted under plans locals are calling “elitist”. Representatives of tenants and leaseholders of a pricey flat block at Tower Bridge Wharf, near Wapping, are proposing to change the opening hours of the wharf’s gates from 8am to 11pm to 6am to 7pm. Their justification is growing concerns over anti-social behaviour, including reports of verbal and physical attacks by members of the public using the wharf late at night.
The final decision to ban the public after dusk is up to Tower Hamlets council, which is weighing up opposition from other locals who say that the plans will just increase inequality in the area. One resident wrote to the council saying that it’s “unacceptable that only a small number of wealthy people will have exclusive access to the area in the evenings rather than the whole community. An attempt to shut out the general public". Another said: “Attempting to restrict access is elitist, creates a class divide and is not promoting mixed and balanced communities.”
Tower Bridge Wharf is just one small spot of many dotted along the Thames. But, as detailed in the Guardian a few years ago, Londoners’ access to their city’s river is increasingly choppy. In some parts of London, particularly in the centre, it’s still possible to stroll along the river uninterrupted. That’s in large part thanks to the protected footpath status of the Thames Path. Elsewhere gates, spikes and CCTV ushered in by residential development make it quite clear the riverbank is a messy mix of public and private space.
🚶♂️ Londoners overwhelmingly back the idea of 15-minute neighbourhoods, a new poll suggests. As the Spy has previously reported, the seemingly mundane urban planning concept — that everyone in a city should have basic amenities within a 15-minute walk — has ended up triggering a lot of conspiracy theorists. Now a poll from YouGov has found 75% of Londoners back their local councils targeting the idea, with just 14% opposed. Most (64%) also reckon it’ll be fairly easy to implement in the capital. It’s worth noting though that the poll didn’t ask about specific measures councils will have use to create 15-minute neighbourhoods — pedestrianisation, restrictions on car use, etc. It’s the reality of these that might put some Londoners off.
🏧 Police have raided several sites in east London suspected of housing illegal ATMs that distribute cryptocurrencies. The Met led a joint operation with the Financial Conduct Authority, which is cracking down on unregistered crypto ATMs. These machines let customers convert traditional currencies into cryptoassets like bitcoin.
🏚️ Housing secretary Michael Gove has hit out at Lambeth council for the way it’s treating social housing tenants. In a letter to the council, Gove said he was "appalled" to read about three maladministration cases currently under investigation – one about damp and mould, and another involving a disabled man left without a toilet for weeks.
🚨 Most of London's anti-terrorism referrals are for “Islamist activity”, bucking a national trend, London's Police and Crime Committee has heard. Latest figures from Prevent show there were more than three times the number of referrals compared to right-wing extremism, the meeting heard.
🎫 The end is nigh for paper tickets on TfL services. Bosses confirmed at a transport conference that final paper tickets are expected to be removed from 2024.
Thanks for reading London Spy! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support our work.