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Citizens UK campaigners signs up St Clement’s land trust, Spitalfields forum and a Whitechapel school

PUBLISHED: 15:04 21 March 2018

Citizens UK Shadwell assembly delegates stand to greet three new member organisations. Picture: Mike Brooke

Citizens UK Shadwell assembly delegates stand to greet three new member organisations. Picture: Mike Brooke

Mike Brooke

Three more organisations have joined Citizens UK civic network’s east London founding branch at last night’s delegates’ assembly held in Shadwell.

Three more organisations sign up to affiliate to Citizens UK east London branch that now has 20 organisations in the East End on its books. Picture source: Citizens UKThree more organisations sign up to affiliate to Citizens UK east London branch that now has 20 organisations in the East End on its books. Picture source: Citizens UK

The new groups affiliating to the campaign network were St Clement’s community land trust at Mile End, the Spitalfields neighbourhood planning forum and St Paul’s Whitechapel primary school.

The land trust is bidding for a former railway yard in Cable Street next to the Fenchurch Street main-line and DLR to develop low-cost housing similar to its first scheme at the old St Clement’s Hospital site in the Mile End Road, which they won in 2014 after a decade’s campaigning.

Flats and houses on the Mile End site are sold to average families below the London market rate while the trust retains the freehold. Properties are sold back to the trust at comparable rates when families move on, to be retained in perpetuity for the community.

St Clement’s wants a similar scheme for Cable Street after it toured the neighbourhood to find suitable land.

Citizens UK founder Neil Jameson at the Shadwell assembly. Picture: Mike BrookeCitizens UK founder Neil Jameson at the Shadwell assembly. Picture: Mike Brooke

But it may face competition, with tomorrow’s application deadline for bids. A decision on who gets the site is being made in the coming weeks by the Mayor of London, who is known to favour more land trust development.

The planning forum also signing up to Citizens UK last night was finally recognised by Tower Hamlets Council in 2016 as the formal Spitalfields consultative body which is putting together a neighbourhood plan.

Citizens UK began in Whitechapel in 1996 as The East London Citizens Organisation, founded by Neil Jameson who was at last night’s assembly held at St George-in-the-East historic parish church. Now, 22 years on, it has affiliated branches throughout Britain as a non-political civil network.

It spearheaded campaigns over the years including the minimum wage and living wage which are now law, organises public hustings for candidates to put forward their policies at local and general elections. A Tower Hamlets hustings is planned next month at Queen Mary’s University in Mile End for all candidates for mayor at the May 3 polls.

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