Archive for January 2nd, 2011

Housing list questions

We ran this story in the Sunday Express today. For legal reasons, I’m going to pre-approve all comments for this thread. Please keep comments generalised, eg you can talk about general policy and internal controls of housing list allocation, but nothing specific will be allowed on this particular case. Other examples will be allowed so long as no names or full addresses are mentioned.

If anyone has any more information about Mohammed Chowdhury, both in regard to his arrest and his background, as well as how he came to live in Stanliff House, can you please email me via this blog. Thanks.

By Ted Jeory

A ROW has erupted over how a man accused of plotting to blow up Big Ben was able to live in a luxury London flat, courtesy of his local council.

Mohammed Chowdhury, 20, mingled with some of Britain’s wealthiest bankers while living in his £250,000 home near Canary Wharf in Docklands.

The one-bedroom flat, in the Stanliff House apartment block on the Isle of Dogs, is owned by the Toynbee Housing Association .

The flats are reserved for people on the lengthy housing queue of the East London Borough of Tower Hamlets. Chowdhury is believed to have lived there on a special “social tenant” rent for about a year.

During his time there records show he voted twice by postal ballot, once in the General Election in May and again in a controversial poll to elect a mayor for Tower Hamlets in October, when the turnout was just 26 per cent.

Last night, however, local councillors expressed concerns about how a young single man was able to get to the front of the borough’s housing list.

Tower Hamlets Borough Council declined to comment on the matter, but the housing association said that when the authority had allocated properties, it had merely checked a prospective tenant’s ability to pay the rent.

Fears have also been voiced that flats doled out to allegedly needy individuals have then been sub-let as part of a social housing property scam.

Conservative councillor Peter Golds said: “This property is in one of the most sought-after developments of the borough. If he is the legal tenant, how did he rise up the housing list when I am told many applicants are expected to sleep in living rooms or share rooms with siblings of a different gender?”

Neighbours said Chowdhury was a “polite and friendly” student. Last Wednesday, just two days after he was charged with conspiracy to commit terrorism, his bicycle remained locked in the communal corridor and his flip-flops were on the mat outside his door.

Only the large dent in his front door showed that police had battered their way in just before 5am on December 20.

A neighbour said: “I didn’t know him, but he was friendly. He used his bike a lot. I think his sister used to come and visit him and they would go for prayers.”

She said she did not know where he went to pray but the large East London Mosque – outside of which supporters of hate cleric Anjem Choudary and Islamist party Hizb ut-Tahrir regularly distribute anti-Western leaflets – is only a few minutes’ bicycle ride away.

A little further away is the railway arch storage depot in Bethnal Green, which was exposed in last week’s Sunday Express as the HQ for Anjem Choudary’s pro-Caliphate campaigns.

Chowdhury and eight other men accused of plotting to commit terrorist attacks are due to appear at the Old Bailey on January 14.

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