Where You Live: Tower Hamlets

Where you live >> Tower Hamlets

London is more than just the City and its famous landmarks. More than its museums, theatres, palaces, taxis and red buses. It is home to some 8 million people. You live, work and socialise across London’s 32 boroughs – you make them tick. You give Tower Hamlet’s neighbourhoods, from Bow to Millwall, their unique identity. It is these distinct areas that make our great capital such a rich and diverse city. Unlike the previous Mayor, Boris is working to give all your boroughs - not just Zones 1-3 - his attention.

Boris Johnson has a nine point plan to secure Greater London’s future. He is paying for this plan by cutting waste at City Hall to free up £3.5 billion for services.

In Tower Hamlets the plan means:

  • Cutting City Hall’s share of council tax this year after freezing it for three successive years, benefitting 109,932 Tower Hamlets households and putting an average £445 back into pockets. (Point 2) (GLA, Press Release, 1 February 2012, link ;  GLA Website, ‘Budget archive’, link.)
  • Investing in transport with two Crossrail stations – Whitechapel and Canary Wharf – in the borough, completing London’s first orbital railway with 4 local stations, investing £12.9 million to boost local transport, and running Cycle Superhighways 1, 2, and 3 through Tower Hamlets. (Point 8) (TfL, Borough LIP Funding, link; TfL, Press Release, 20 November 2008, link; TfL, Press Release, 11 December 2009, link; TfL, Press Release, 16 December 2010, link; TfL, Press Release, 15 December 2011, link).

  • Boris is benefitting local pensioners by reversing the previous Labour government’s decision to stop those at 60 getting the Freedom Pass until 65.
  • He is also the only candidate in this election who can secure a better deal for London from No 10.

Freezing council tax

  • Boris Johnson has frozen council tax for three years and cutting it this year. Boris Johnson has frozen his share council tax for three years and is cutting it this year (GLA, Mayor’s Final Draft Consolidated Budget 2012-13, link).
    • This has helped keep cost of living low for 81,070 households in Tower Hamlets (DCLG, Council Tax Base, October 2011), putting an extra £445 back in the pocket of the average household.

Restoring green space

  • 771 street trees. 771 street trees have been planted in Tower Hamlets under Boris Johnson (GLA, Written answers to Mayoral questions, 25 January 2012, link).
  • 89 green spaces. 89 green spaces, which allow local residents the opportunity to grow their own food, have also been created (Capital Growth Website, link).
  • Ending garden grabbing. Boris Johnson has introduced new protections for gardens from development. His revised London Plan enables boroughs to: ‘introduce a presumption against development on back gardens or other private residential gardens where this can be locally justified’ (GLA, The London Plan 2011, July 2011, p. 86-87, link). Draft guidance also urges councils to prevent garden grabbing: ‘Such a presumption reflects Government’s recognition in PPS3 of the need to provide support for justified, local measures to prevent “garden grabbing”’ (GLA, Draft supplementary planning guidance, December 2011, link).

Making your streets and homes safer

  • 1,000 more police across London by May and £132 million more investment under Boris. The number of Special Constables has more than doubled from 2,500 to well over 5,000 (GLA, The Mayor’s Consultation Budget, 22 December 2011, link; MPA Website, Police numbers, link; GLA, Mayor’s Final Budget 2011-12, link; Evening Standard, 30 January 2012, link).
  • 1,192 more patrols per month in Tower Hamlets In 2010-11 there were 1,192 more  patrols per month in Tower Hamlets than in 2008-9. (London Assembly, Written answers to Mayoral questions, 22 February 2012, link). 
  • Total crime and youth violence in Tower Hamlets have reduced. Since May 2008, Tower Hamlets has seen a 13.6% decrease in total crime, a 4.9% reduction in youth violence and bus crime has fallen 22.3% (MPS Statistics, May 08 – Jan 12 compared to Sept 04-April 08).

Ensuring a true Olympic legacy

  • Boris Johnson has funded eight sport participation programmes in Tower Hamlets so far. They are (Mayor of London, Sporting future for London, April 2009, p. 9, link):
  • 7 organisations in Tower Hamlets are receiving Sports Legacy Programme grants to offer free sports coaching to London (Freesport Programme Website, link).

Investing in Transport

  • £12.9 million of funding for local transport in Tower Hamlets. This includes £500,000 to continue works to transform St. Paul's Way with better lighting, de-cluttering, guardrail removal, tree planting and widening footpaths as well as reduced carriageway width.  Road surfaces will also be levelled to pavement level at side roads to make it easier for people using wheelchairs or those with buggies as well as to encourage lower vehicle speeds. Other works will include making bus stops and pedestrian crossings more accessible (TfL, Borough LIP Funding, link; TfL, Press Release, 20 November 2008, link; TfL, Press Release, 11 December 2009, link; TfL, Press Release, 16 December 2010, link; TfL, Press Release, 15 December 2011, link).


  • Improving reliability on Tube lines running through Tower Hamlets. This is part of the Tube upgrade programme secured by Boris Johnson:
    • Circle and Hammersmith and City Lines. This will improve capacity by 65% on the Circle and Hammersmith & City line, an additional 17,000 passengers per hour at peak time. From 2012, 53 new trains will be introduced on the two lines. These will be air-conditioned, have walk-through carriages, and wider doors and walkways to improve accessibiliy (TfL Website, ‘Circle line upgrade plan’, link).
    • District Line. This will improve capacity by 24% on District line, meaning the line can carry an additional 10,000 passengers per hour at peak time. 80 new trains will also begin to be introduced from 2013, with all new trains in service 2016. These will be air-conditioned, have walk-through carriages, and wider doors and walkways to improve accessibility (TfL Website, ‘District line upgrade plan’, link).
    • Jubilee Line. Capacity has increased by 33%, providing more frequent trains and a 22% reduction in journey time. The line is now able to carry an additional 12,500 passengers per hour at peak time compared with before the upgrade (TfL Website, Jubilee line upgrade plan, link).


  • Oyster Cards rolled out on national rail. After years of talk under Ken Livingstone, Boris Johnson secured the roll-out of Oyster cards onto national rail. Tower Hamlets is now the 31st highest oyster (TfL Website, ‘Oyster on National Rail’, December 2009, link).
  • Two Crossrail Stations are in Tower Hamlets. Building Crossrail will improve two stations in Tower Hamlets, helping to provide a better East-West Link for the borough: Whitechapel and Canary Wharf. (HMT, Spending Review, 22 October 2010, p.23, link)
  • London Overground. London’s first orbital railway has four stations in Tower Hamlets: Shoreditch High Street, Whitechapel, Wapping, and Shadwell (TfL Website, ‘London Overground’, link)

Roads and congestion

  • Introduced the roadworks Permit Scheme. Boris Johnson introduced the roadworks Permit Scheme in 2010, resulting in an average 17% cut in the number of road works by utility companies in those boroughs, such as Kensington and Chelsea, which have adopted the scheme (GLA, Press Release, 11 January 2010, link London Councils, London Permit Scheme: First Year Evaluation Report, 27 May 2011, link). 37% of applications by utility companies to dig up roads in Kensington and Chelsea have been refused following the introduction of the permit scheme (ibid.).
  • Scrapped the Western Extension Zone. Boris Johnson scrapped Ken Livingstone’s Western Extension of the Congestion Charging Zone in December 2010 after 69% of residents voted in favour of cancelling the zone (TfL, Press Release, 20 October 2010, link).
  • C-Charge. Boris also scrapped Ken Livingstone’s plans to introduce a £25 charge for family vehicles (TfL, Press Release, 20 October 2010, link)


  • Cycle Superhighways. Three Superhighways will run through Tower Hamlets: Cycle Superhighway 1 running from Tottenham to the City by 2015; Cycle Superhighway 2 runs from Bow to Aldgate; and Cycle Superhighway 3 runs from Barking to Tower Gateway. (TfL Website, ‘Cycle Superhighways: About the scheme’, link; TfL Website, ‘Cycle Superhighways’, link).


  • Bus improvements. 23 bus routes in Tower Hamlets have been expanded and/or improved under Boris Johnson and 5 news routes have been introduced. (TFL, Bus service changes borough by borough, May 2008-January 2012)  
  • Bendy Buses removed. Nearly 500 new vehicles boasting the latest clean engine technology will replace the Bendy buses. Transport for London estimates it was save more  than £7 million a year (TFL, Press Release, 5 October 2011, link).
  • Tower Hamlets had two bendy bus routes removed. Former bendy bus routes 25 and 12 running through Tower Hamlets have had the bendy buses withdrawn (TfL, Press Release, 13 November 2009, link).


  • 4,670 total affordable housing units completed in Tower Hamlets. 2,800 social rented and 1,870 intermediate affordable housing units were completed in Tower Hamlets between 2008/09 and 2010/11 (DCLG, Affordable Housing Live Tables 1006,1007,1008).

Mayoral visits

  • Boris Johnson has made more visits to Tower Hamlets in four years than Ken Livingstone made in eight. Boris Johnson has visited Tower Hamlets 29 times since July 2008 whilst Ken Livingstone visited Tower Hamlets 21 times in his eight years as Mayor (GLA, Mayor’s Report to the Assembly, May 2000 – April 2008; GLA, Mayor’s Report to the Assembly, May 2008 – March 2012).

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