Lanterns light way for St George’s parish campaign for better lighting and housing in Shadwell
- Credit: St George's parish
Lanterns have appeared in a park in east London as part of a church campaign for better lighting at night and more social housing in Shadwell.
Members of St George’s-in-the-East congregation are worried about public safety during the dark winter months when walking through the church gardens in The Highway because of its history of drug dealers congregating at night.
So an artist was commissioned to design the lanterns which were installed at the weekend to help light the park throughout January.
The move follows a public “listening” consultation which brought up issues including the lighting and lack of low-cost housing.
Mothers picking up their children at St George’s nursery school voiced concerns about the winter nights.
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“The lack of proper lighting worries them,” Priest-in-Charge Dr Angus Ritchie told the East London Advertiser. “There is a need for better public safety.
“The congregation wanted to do something to mark this season of light and to express the hopes that our neighbours have for this area.”
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The consultation by the London Citizens community network has led to talks with Tower Hamlets Council over the lighting issue.
Sweeps of the park were carried out by the Shadwell neighbourhood police team back in 2012 when drug paraphernalia was found. The park was made safe, but the drug dealers returned.
The church is affiliated to London Citizens which is also campaigning for more social housing in Shadwell. It is waiting for a response from the GLA on whether surplus railway land owned by Transport for London in Cable Street next to the DLR could be handed over for land trust housing.
Tower Hamlets Mayor John Biggs signed a public statement in June supporting the campaign at London Citizens’ Shadwell Assembly held at St George’s. The decision about the TfL site is expected in the spring.
This would be similar to the London Community Land Trust set up by London Citizens’ campaigners which got the go-ahead 2012 for Britain’s first urban land trust development at St Clement’s former hospital site at Mile End.