Unions, politicians and communities unite to ban City financiers holding Christmas parties in memorial gardens


City bankers will have to look elsewhere to hold their Christmas party after unions successfully blocked them from using a memorial garden to fallen seafarers as a venue.

Event organisers planned to erect a giant marquee and Christmas lights on the lawns of Trinity Square Gardens, which honour thousands of merchant seamen who died in two world wars and the Falklands conflict.

But after a campaign by unions, politicians and the local community, the Mayor of Tower Hamlets has stepped in to stop it.

In a statement on the Tower Hamlets website, Mayor Lutfur Rahman said: “The council does not wish to cause any offence to any of the parties involved. As it [the proposed bankers parties in Trinity Square Gardens] 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 this event taking place.”

Bob Crow added: “It remains a scandal that there was ever even a proposal to hand Trinity Square Gardens, with its memorials to merchant seafarers who have given their lives since the First World War, to the bankers and speculators for their Christmas drinks parties.

“We welcome the statement from the Tower Hamlets Mayor but we now want a further statement from Tower Hamlets licensing and planning officials confirming that this whole issue has now been thrown out once and for all and will not resurface under a different guise.

“The whole community was sickened at the idea of drunken bankers dancing on what represents the graves of dead seafarers, thousands of whom made the ultimate sacrifice on the Second World War convoys in the fight against fascism.

“RMT will continue to monitor future proposals for the use of Trinity Square Gardens and we will use the union’s resources to protect this important memorial to tens of thousands of merchant seafarers.”

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