Mums protest after Tower Hamlets cut washing lines facing Canary Wharf
FURIOUS mums have been in a lather over a ‘squad’ of council housing officials and police cut their washing lines and impounded doormats and kids’ bikes left outside their homes.
A ‘council of war’ was held by Sister Christine Frost who joined the mums after the officials turned up to enforce new ‘health and safety’ rules on the housing estate in London’s East End.
“It’s absolutely blazing mad—Big Brother gone mad,” said the veteran Docklands campaigner who has lived on the working class estate 40 years.
“They cut washing lines and removed security gates and bikes including at least one child’s bike. They’ve even taken hanging plant pots from walls and our doormats.”
It has led to a petition with hundreds of names which they handed in to their local housing office after the ‘raid’ on Poplar’s Will Crooks Estate, in the shadow of Canary Wharf business district just a few hundred yards away.
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The families are angry over the “draconian measures” by Tower Hamlets Homes, which operates all the local council’s housing estates.
“We are not going to be driven out,” Sister Christine added defiantly. “To focus on this ridiculous thing about washing lines and doormats is quite stupid when there’s anti-social yob behaviour they should be dealing with.
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“If they don’t want us hanging out our washing in view of Canary Wharf, they can buy us all tumble-dryers!”
Officials accompanied by neighbourhood cops said they went on the estate “to carry out tenancy enforcement and remove obstructions” on advice from the London Fire Brigade.
The move follows a blaze in a tower block in London’s Camberwell district last year when six people died.
But the miffed families at Will Crooks point out there are no tower blocks on their low-rise estate that was built of solid brick in the 1930s. The estate also doesn’t have enclosed corridors which could trap smoke—the landings are on the outside of the blocks of flats.
The petition was handed in to housing chief executive Jonathan Gregory, who admitted the whole operation may have seemd excessive .
“I’m sorry about this,” he assured them. “We don’t want to cause offence.”
Just two hours later, his office phoned the East London Advertiser and said the whole thing was put ‘on hold’ and he promised to negotiate with the families.
He then sent letters to the protesters telling them: “Residents were concerned by the police presence when we removed the washing lines. If this appeared heavy-handed, I apologise.
“We are trying to keep landings clear of hazards in communal areas, on the advice of the Fire Brigade, following the 2009 Lakanal fire disaster.
“Clearly, however, we will apply common-sense.”
But there was no word about confiscated doormats and bikes—at least the families would not be prevented from putting out their washing again.