Westferry Printworks: Robert Jenrick’s village ‘twins’ with East End in show of solidarity over scandal
PUBLISHED: 17:19 07 July 2020 | UPDATED: 17:19 07 July 2020
Extinction Rebellion campaigners have urged the government to “put community over corruption” in a protest sparked by the Westferry Printworks scandal.
Protesters called for Robert Jenrick MP to resign and held a banner saying “People over profit” on ground where the development was due to be built in the Isle of Dogs during the action on Sunday, July 5.
People protested outside the manor house home of the secretary of state for housing, communities and local government in the Herefordshire village of Eye which they unofficially “twinned” with Tower Hamlets in a show of solidarity.
Members of Extinction Rebellion’s Tower Hamlets branch have criticised the MP over his move to let billionaire developer and Tory donor Richard Desmond dodge a £45million community levy.
Cleodie Rickard from the group said: “We are uplifted that our friends across the country in Herefordshire are willing to call attention to this injustice and stand with us in solidarity.
“We see this as nothing more than theft of £45million which would’ve been spent to benefit our community.
“It’s sickening to see money siphoned off to line the pockets of the wealthy, when to tackle the interconnected issues of health, environment and inequality we desperately need that money for community investment.”
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She vowed the group would keep fighting for the health of people and planet to be put before profit.
Cllr Kyrsten Perry said: “Many are quite rightly asking why Robert Jenrick is still in post after the recent revelations around the Westferry Printworks planning decision.
“Mr Jenrick has failed to answer the serious questions raised about his involvement and his relationship with Richard Desmond, and he has undermined trust in the planning process.”
Ms Perry, who represents Canary Wharf, said councillors will continue to press the government for answers about the scandal.
Chris Parish, who lives in the Isle of Dogs and is an XR Tower Hamlets member said the East End desperately needs more affordable housing as “one of the poorest and most overcrowded boroughs in the country”.
He claimed that instead, “masses” of luxury apartments are being built catering for rich, overseas buyers who often use those dwellings as an investment to park their cash in.
A government spokesperson said a full account of the deal has been sent to a Parliamentary select committee by the secretary of state with relevant documents published online.
Mr Jenrick did not respond to a request for comment.
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