Well, this shows you the power of a good campaign. Yesterday, I called on Mayor Lutfur Rahman to overturn the decision by his council to rent out a national war memorial gardens to a catering company for a giant month-long bankers’ booze-up.
Tower Hamlets Council has just released the following statement:
Commenting on the Trinity Gardens proposals, Mayor Lutfur Rahman said: “Staging events in the Gardens was an idea put forward by Trinity House who have been working with the Council and the proposed event organisers so I am surprised by comments made this weekend. The Council do not wish to cause any offence to any of the parties involved. As it no longer has the support of Trinity House and the maritime community I have put a stop this event.”
Ward Councillor and Cabinet Member for the Environment, Cllr Shahed Ali, added: “These gardens are an important part of the borough’s heritage and I am extremely glad the Mayor has used his executive powers to stop the event taking place.”
Job done. Well done – and thanks to Jim Fitzpatrick for airing it in the first place. At least he had some common sense. I have no idea why no one at the council, which says it cares about the heritage of the borough, saw this as a crass idea from the outset. A really good politician who had a feel for the symbolic nature of the multicultural nature of the memorials, would have seen it that way and made capital by squashing the proposal at the beginning. And then publicising it.
Why is this council so reactive?
UPDATE – October 11, 8am
Tory leader Peter Golds has pointed out something curious in the council’s statement above, that Shahed Ali is described as the “ward councillor”. Shahed, who was kicked out of the Labour group when he joined Lutfur’s cabinet, represents Whitechapel, while Trinity Square Gardens is in St Katharine’s and Wapping.
As Peter asks, has Lutfur now assumed the powers to redraw boundaries – or is just another clue to how familiar he is with this historic part of London?
And another thing, as they say, the statement on the council’s website refers twice to Trinity Gardens; it’s always good to be accurate about these things isn’t it because it shows you care? The name is Trinity Square Gardens. Here’s the sign on the park entrance to help the council’s communications team: