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People on Tower Hamlets estate protest over residents association

PUBLISHED: 08:00 19 October 2009 | UPDATED: 15:05 05 October 2010

By Else Kvist PEOPLE on an East End estate say they have lost confidence in the only residents association recognised by their housing association. Residents at Stepney s Exmouth Estate, run by Swan Ho

By Else Kvist

PEOPLE on an East End estate say they have lost confidence in the only residents association recognised by their housing association.

Residents at Stepney's Exmouth Estate, run by Swan Housing, who feel they have no voice have now formed their own association, Exmouth Leaseholders Group.

Their spokesman Dave Coker told councillors at last week's full council meeting that unlike the Exmouth Estate Residents Board he had been democratically elected to represent residents.

In a deputation to Tower Hamlets councillors Mr Coker called the board's claim to power a "fallacy".

Mr Cooker who described himself as an American farm boy said that back home they had an expression: "You can put lipstick on a pig but it is still a pig."

He went on to say: "I've never granted the board any authority whatsoever and it does not have signed mandates. But they continue to claim they and they alone speak for residents."

He also criticised the board for not being ethically representative and almost exclusively white

Mr Cooker appealed to councillors to recognise their newly formed association instead.

But Labour's housing chief Marc Francis said: "Swan advises us that the board seeks to represent all residents.

"The board work to a clearly defined constitution and holds an annual general meeting that any resident may attend."

He added that vacancies for the board had recently been advertised and that they were keen to recruit people from other ethnic backgrounds.

Cllr Francis then went on to say: "This council is not persuaded the board lacks authority to speak for residents or that it is not representative."

Instead he urged all residents to engage "positively" in the boards' work to help transform the estate.

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