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Service updates between Christmas and the New Year


Christmas and the new year are right around the corner, which means there will be service changes to normal council open hours. On this page you’ll find all the information you may need over the next couple of weeks as we continue to respond to the ongoing challenges of the pandemic and work to ensure our communities are supported at this time.


Following a worrying rise in cases of Covid-19, the government has introduced new tier 4 restrictions in London.

Covid-19 testing is available at locations across Tower Hamlets by booking on the national testing portal.

Guidance for your visit it to the site:

  • you can walk or cycle (do not go by public transport or taxi)
  • everyone should wear a face covering, except children under the age of three
  • site staff will tell you if an assistant does the swab test for you, or if you do it yourself
  • do not go to the site if you’re unwell or if you’re at high risk (shielding) from coronavirus – choose a home test instead

Visit our dedicated Coronavirus page.

Council offices and services including Idea Stores and libraries

Idea Stores

All Idea Stores closed between 25 - 28 December

Between 29 - 31 December Idea Store Bow and Idea Store Canary Wharf closed, Idea Store Chrisp Street and Idea Store Whitechapel will be open between 10am - 4pm

All Idea Stores closed 1 January and will be open as usual from 2 January.

Local History Library and Archives

The Local History Library and Archives is closed during the weeks of Christmas and New Year.

The Library will re-open Tuesday 12 January. You are welcome to book a Tuesday or Friday appointment between Tuesday 12 January and Friday 26 February 2021. Appointment times are:

  • Morning: 11am-1.30pm

  • Afternoon: 2pm-4.30pm

Find out how to book an appointment.

Other services

Our most frequently used services can be accessed online 24 hours a day, seven days a week, without having to phone the council. Find an online service now.

Where to get emergency support

Visit our emergency contacts page for more details.

We know that vulnerable residents will continue to need help over the festive period. Remember our dedicated support line is available for anyone who is isolating because of Covid-19 and may need help accessing essentials such as food and medication.

Please contact us 020 7364 3030. There will continue to be help available on days when the council is closed.

Severe Weather

Our highways and street cleaning team will be on duty through the holidays to keep roads and pavements clear and safe.

We have two spreading vehicles, a mechanical loader and more than 2,000 tons of salt at our winter service depot.

As temperatures continue to drop, there are a few things you can do to benefit your health and home over the winter months. Find more information on staying warm on our winter page.


Parking enforcement by Tower Hamlets is relaxed on national bank holidays but please park responsibly.

Personalised disabled bays and all other restrictions are enforced, including but not limited to all types of yellow lines, dropped kerbs and footway parking.

Please remember, the message is clear that you must stay home this Christmas and celebrate with your household only.

Find out more about parking restriction on bank holidays.

Waste collections

Over the bank holiday period there will be changes to your normal rubbish, recycling, food and garden waste collection arrangements.

Check your collections times: https://www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/lgnl/environment_and_waste/recycling_and_waste/waste_collections.aspx

Christmas tree recycling

There will be a collection for the recycling of real Christmas trees from 4th to 18th January 2021

If you currently receive a kerbside food and garden waste collection, please remove any decorations from the tree and leave out for collection on your scheduled day during this period. If you do not have kerbside services, please contact your property landlord or management company who can arrange collections from the nominated communal collection points.


Tower Hamlets has over 120 parks and green spaces, which help residents access the outdoors safely.

For the latest coronavirus updates and park opening times, visit https://www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/lgnl/leisure_and_culture/parks_and_open_spaces/visit_our_parks.aspx


GP appointments are still available over the Christmas holidays in Tower Hamlets.

Knowing the right place for medical help over the Christmas holidays can help you get the treatment you need faster.

You can get an appointment with a GP from 8am to 8pm on all of the bank holidays, including for urgent appointments on Christmas day.

Out of hours appointments are also available every normal weekday evening between 6.30pm and 10pm, and between 8am and 8pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

These appointments can be booked by calling your own GP practice as usual during working hours or by calling 111 out of hours. If you have any urgent medical need, you can also visit NHS 111 online for advice any time. Appointments will be held in the best way to keep you safe from Covid.

Visit Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group for more information: https://www.towerhamletsccg.nhs.uk/news/gp-appointments-available-over-the-christmas-holidays-in-tower-hamlets/160184


If you are concerned about someone over the age of 18 that you have seen sleeping rough, you can report it to StreetLink London via their app or website: https://www.streetlink.london/Streetlink_London_HomePage

If you want to support StreetLink’s work, visit https://www.justgiving.com/streetlink


We know this Christmas is not the one we hoped for, and the restrictions will be disappointing to our residents. But cases of Covid-19 are rising and it’s never been more important to stay home and follow the rules. Thank you for the sacrifices you are all making to protect each other.

We wish everyone in Tower Hamlets a Merry Christmas and a better 2021.


Posted on Tuesday 22nd December 2020