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THE LATEST ON COLPAI WORKING HOURS

Here is correspondence I’ve had with the City Corporation’s Policy Chair and the Community Services Chair after the government recently published guidance promoting longer working hours on construction sites:

My email to the Policy Chair and Community and Children’s Services Chair on 14 May

Will you undertake that the City Corporation, as the developer of the COLPAI project, will not seek permission to extend the working hours on the site in the light of government guidance published yesterday… on the ground that the extremely close proximity of the site to a densely populated residential estate is a “compelling reason” within the exceptions in that guidance ….?


Email from the Community and Children’s Services Chair on 15 May
It is my understanding that we will not request and will not support any request to extend the hours.

Email from the Policy Chair on 15 May


Members will have just seen the all-Court email that has just gone out http://www.goldenlaneestate.org/forum/topics/construction-hours?xg_...

My email to the Policy Chair and Community Services Chair on 18 May

I have circulated your response to residents and note that the Corporation will effectively follow the government’s latest guidance that construction working hours should not be extended where “impacts on densely populated areas would be unreasonable”, and that the Corporation will not request that hours be extended in relation to its own COLPAI development.
The latest guidance issued by the government could be interpreted as meaning that it did not expect construction work to continue at all in these circumstances for the duration of lockdown, and that it assumed that local authorities would act responsibly in dealing with this type of situation.
The Corporation's statement issued last Friday that "we understand residents’ concerns” is an instance of its words and actions not matching. It should not expect that it can use this statement to draw a line under the ongoing situation in Golden Lane.
A number of complaints have been logged by residents about the contractor’s continuing breaches of the rules, but I don’t think residents trust the Corporation to take meaningful action in response.
It is disappointing that the Corporation is not showing moral leadership in this crisis, using the pretext of doing whatever the government says, especially as the latest guidance casts doubt on whether the Corporation has actually been following the original guidance.

And now…

The Policy Chair and Community Services Chair have not replied to my last email.

Late on Friday I was informed that the contractor on the COLPAI project, ISG, had itself applied for an extension of working hours, which was turned down.
This does nothing, though, to stop the deepening harm that is being done to Golden Lane residents by the Corporation allowing normal work to continue during normal hours at this abnormal time. That is evident from the first hand testimony which Jacqueline Swanson has provided: http://www.goldenlaneestate.org/profiles/blogs/mental-health-awaren... .

Our local MP has again been asked to take this issue up with the Corporation.

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Comment by Graeme Harrower on June 5, 2020 at 13:44
I am responding to Alderman Graves comment below. His newsflash that ISGs request to extend its working hours on the COLPAI site had been turned down was posted five days after Sue Pearson reported the same thing in this blog. She added - but the alderman did not repeat this bit - that This [refusal of extended hours] does nothing, though, to stop the deepening harm that is being done to Golden Lane residents by the Corporation allowing normal work to continue during normal hours at this abnormal time”. Your alderman” is silent on this fundamental issue, because he supports the Corporations decision. In a public virtual meeting of a Corporation committee on 24 April, the Chair was asked a challenging question about that decision. As he struggled to answer it, your alderman wrote in the chat box (which is visible to councillors, but not to the public) “Isn’t it the contractor that is insisting on resumption, not us?”. Like the Chair of that committee, together with the Policy Chair and the Lord Mayor, your alderman has remained silent on the question of why the Corporation has failed to show moral leadership by allowing work to continue on its own development that harms its own locked down residents. Incidentally, his term of office expires this month. When he stands for re-election, residents can decide whether to continue having an alderman who represents the Corporation to them, instead of the other way round.
Sue concluded her blog by mentioning “Our local MP has again been asked to take this issue [the continuing work on the COLPAI site] up with the Corporation”. Nickie Aiken MP has implied that the refusal to allow extended hours was due to her lobbying (it wasn’t - it followed the correspondence from Sue set out in her blog). Your MP has since said nothing about the fundamental issue of the work continuing, except “I appreciate the issues the residents are having with the site during lockdown”. That sounds just like the Corporation, which is always saying it “understands” and “recognises” residents’ concerns, then does nothing about them. Your MP seems to have a cosy relationship with the Corporation, although her constituents are all residents, as there are no business votes in national politics. See this platform which she gave the Corporation:  https://twitter.com/NickieAiken_MP/status/1257719481092263937.

Comment by David Graves (your Alderman) on May 28, 2020 at 18:03

Just a positive Newsflash that ISG applied to extend the working hours from 7.30am to 9pm Monday to Saturday but this was refused by the Islington and the City Planning Departments. So people were right to be worried, but the right answer has been given. 

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