More than 500 people have signed a petition against the planned closure of Rushmead One Stop Shop in Bethnal Green.
At One Stop Shop, Tower Hamlets residents can access a variety of council services, make benefits inquiries, get help for elderly relatives, and apply for parking permits.
A demonstration organised by Tower Hamlets Labour Party and Socialist Party took place on Saturday in Bethnal Green to protest against the proposed closure and further cuts in Tower Hamlets council housing services.
One Stop Shop is the only place in the borough where locals can have face-to-face access with all council services; it is also the only place of its kind open on Saturdays. Approximately 60,000 people use Rushmead’s services every year. If it closes, users will be forced to use services in Bow or Canary Wharf – which are expected to be much busier.
Ali Ahmed, 49, has signed the petition to campaign against the closure. He said: “Visiting Rushmead is the most convenient way for me to get help from the council. If it closes, I have to travel to Canary Wharf to get services, which is annoying.
“Lots of people use it from the local community, particularly elderly people, people with disabilities, and people with not very good English.”
Rushanara Ali, Labour MP to Bethnal Green, said the proposed closure was “wrong”. “The Mayor could keep it open. He has big reserves in the council budget. So he could actually protect this One Stop Shop.”
Speaking at the demonstration on Saturday, Ali told EastLondonLines: “If it closes it’s going to cost the council more because it will then be blamed for not serving people properly. That’s why we are here today to ask the Mayor to rethink the decision.”
The number of signatures on the petition continues to grow. The public can expect a response from Tower Hamlets Council on February 22.