Cllr. Puru talks Liveable Streets, need for pause & equalities check

Cllr. Puru Miah (Labour, Mile End) wins the East End Enquirer Best Video of the Week award for his excellent YouTube video which clearly explains what the ‘Liveable Streets’ program is really about and suggests a way forward.

Cllr. Puru Miah

Seems Cllr. Puru has been as surprised as us at the huge number of comments about the now infamous ‘Slew Bridge’ post we published during the week.

Liveable Streets has touched a raw nerve

There have been more comments on EEE, Facebook and Twitter than any story we have published – ever.

Have a watch to find out why then read on.

Good innit? There is more context on Puru’s Facebook page. 

As mentioned in the video Puru has also written a Letter to Mayor Biggs about the ‘Liveable Streets’ Program.

In the letter (which you should read in full) Cllr. Puru calls for the roll-out of the program to be put on hold until an Equality Impact Assessment to be carried out with a particular focus on Socio-Economic Inequalities.

This is for the simple reason that it is the poor who are suffering from schemes like Liveable Streets – oh and they get to pay for them too! Nice.

The ‘London Clearances’

This extract from the letter is worth reprinting in full.

In addition, I would like to bring to your attention to a recent report by the Institute of Race Relations, the ‘London Clearances’ which on a policy basis look at approaches to regeneration in London for the past decade which has resulted in the dismantling of working-class and BAME communities throughout London.

“Regeneration’ appears to be directed at the wholesale physical dispossession of BAME and working-class residents from council and other forms of public housing. This perfect storm of mutually-reinforcing policies is now being brought to bear on a new generation of young black people.”

(As a direct result of reporting on the Labour councillors who hide their property details on their Register of Interests  despite living in Bow, the Wapping Mole has found some very interesting facts about the Roman Road area which he will publish soon. )

EEE Comment

For many of the same reasons that Covid-19 has disproportionately impacted the Black, Bangladeshi and Somali ethnic minorities, schemes such as Liveable Streets – if not implemented correctly – hit members of the BAME communities harder than people who are white.

Uncomfortable to read for some but at one level it is that simple.

Report after report after report proves that BAME people suffer from worse socioeconomic conditions – housing, income, education, employment, race, inequality – than white people. Which is not right.

And guess what? Tower Hamlets has lots of people from Black, Ethnic and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups. Anyone noticed that?

The Institute of Race Relations, ‘London Clearances’ report reveals how ‘regeneration’ projects are being used to actively dispossess working-class and low-income families of their homes. Essential reading.

Social cleansing

Not only that but the IRR report author Jessica Perera also says that “This process, often referred to as ‘social cleansing’, has previously been understood as a class issue. But the fact that BAME families are over-represented in social housing in the capital and highly racialised language was used to describe London’s post-war housing estates in the aftermath of the 2011 riots, would strongly suggest, the IRR argues, that this is also a race issue.”

Click image to find out more about the London Clearances report (free download available)

Which explains why Liveable Streets has caused so much discussion. Ordinary working class people – of all backgrounds and colours – are worried that it is yet another way to force them out of their communities.

Not bikes v cars

Liveable Streets is not about bikes versus cars it is about the wholesale cleansing of communities.

Which is why Cllr. Puru quite rightly calls for a pause on the Liveable Streets implementation and an Equality Impact Assessment with a particular focus on Socio-Economic Inequalities.

As he says “The main function of a local authority and its political decisions is not to replicate the inequalities produced by our economic system, but to mitigate against them.”

That a Labour council needs to be reminded of this speaks volumes.

Talking of which there are some interesting looking books in Puru’s video if you are a political geek. Or want to become one.


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ManOnThe339

Be great if you ran a balanced, detailed article on the issues behind the Bow scheme where most of the “heat” is currently focused. Roman Road London had such an article today ( https://romanroadlondon.com/community-campaign-response-liveable-streets/ ) which your readers may like to look at.

The rich vs poor line that is being stated by many (e.g “the majority of the roads that will be closed under Liveable Streets are home to some of the borough’s most expensive houses so would directly benefit them, whereas the streets that will be left untouched have a lot of social housing, so they will continue to have large volumes of traffic passing through and will suffer far more”), I think, doesn’t bear closer examination at least in Bow. For instance most of the poorer households in Bow live on council estates. The vast majority of these are NOT through routes, but are estates and are cul-de sacs. The boot, if anything, is on the other foot and traffic is very likely going to increase on Grove Road and Mile End Road (numerous £1,000,000+ homes on these streets).

The scheme is above all else about HEALTH not wealth. We all know about the QMUL study highlighting the decreased lung capacity of children in Tower Hamlets. Let’s try and improve the situation. Put the scheme in and fine-tune it as necessary.

Something Cllr Puru doesn’t mention is that the Bow scheme is largely funded by a grant from City Hall.