The East London Garden Society

Community Right to Challenge

Many laws have been brought in recently which allows communities to take more control of the services offered. In Tower Hamlets residents have been badly served by the Council’s management organisation ‘Tower Hamlets Homes’, although nearly £1 million pounds are expended on the gardens, they are sadly treated as a poor relation in how they are managed. Roses are not looked after and gardens are left closed allowing debris and rubbish to accumulate.

Tower Hamlets is next to the City of London so it is a shame that the Council has little respect for the gardens that are within their control. Having suffered for too long with the way gardens and other services are managed, groups in the community have applied under The Localism Act 2012 to assert their rights under the act, namely ‘A Community Right to Challenge’ to manage the services themselves.

However, although the procedures are straight forward and should take one year at most to complete, it has taken The London Borough of Tower Hamlets twenty‐six months to recognise the law and that’s only after involving National Government.

An ‘Expression of Interest’ must be given for the management of the garden services and a reply must be received within a thirty‐day period. This then triggers a three‐month period during which the Council has to provide the necessary information for the community to make a good and proper bid.

After being told by National Government that they must adhere to the law, the Council is still ignoring the community’s wishes. A law is only of use when it is observed by all parties. This process which should take a maximum of one year is still ongoing and entering its third year. The gardens deserve better.