Now Tower Hamlets asks public about idea of setting up a ‘Spitalfields town council’
PUBLISHED: 09:00 10 October 2018
A study into whether London’s first town council for 100 years should be set up has been started by Tower Hamlets Council.
It would cover the historic neighbourhood of Spitalfields sitting between the City and Whitechapel which last governed itself as a civic parish between 1729 and 1911.
The move was agreed last month by the authority’s cabinet which was triggered by a petition of residents, organised by Spitalfields planning forum under the 2010 Local Governance Act.
The community governance review is looking into settting up a ‘Spitalfields town council’ to oversee day-to-day management such as bin collections and street lighting and having a handle on how planning revenues are spent.
Tower Hamlets is now consulting residents in Spitalfields and Weavers electoral wards as well as organisations and business with an interest.
The first of two consultations began on Monday. Submissions online have to be received by 5pm on December 31. A second stage putting forward the council’s draft recommendations takes place next spring, with the review being completed by July.
The Spitalfields Forum which was recognised by Tower Hamlets in 2016 as a formal representative neighbourhood body.
It has issues beyond planning such as funds generated by developments that need to be spent in the area. A locally-elected town council would be “a fair way of determining how that money is spent”, the forum says, in a unique and historic parish now facing pressures of a night-time economy and encroachment by developers spreading out from the City.
Spitalfields was last a self-governing civil parish from 1729 until it was absorbed into the Metropolitan Borough of Stepney in 1911, which itself was merged into the new London Borough of Tower Hamlets in 1965.