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‘Stop all new building work till we sort out our mains and drains’ Isle of Dogs forum demands

PUBLISHED: 07:00 13 June 2018 | UPDATED: 12:18 13 June 2018

Major construction on Isle of Dogs continues unabaited. Picture source: Isle of Dogs Planning Forum

Major construction on Isle of Dogs continues unabaited. Picture source: Isle of Dogs Planning Forum

Isle of Dogs Planning Forum

All new development should stop around Canary Wharf and the Isle of Dogs because critical services now identified by the Greater London Authority haven’t been put in place, campaigners are demanding.

Construction staging work being carried out at Cuba Street without planning permission, says council. Picture: Mike Brooke Construction staging work being carried out at Cuba Street without planning permission, says council. Picture: Mike Brooke

Another 20,000 homes are now under construction or have planning permission, as well as more Canary Wharf office skyscrapers, while TfL has looked into the effects of an additional 59,000 homes by 2031 “if development is unconstrained”.

But nothing has been done to improve mains and drains, or provide the schools, medical and public transport services that are needed, the Isle of Dogs’ neighbourhood forum points out.

“What residents need is water, electricity, GP surgeries, schools, better bus services and leisure facilities,” the forum’s secretary and Tower Hamlets councillor Andrew Wood tells tomorrow’s East London Advertiser.

“But the Mayor of London has focussed resources on a new bridge to Rotherhithe and Tower Hamlets has concentrated on the new civic centre in Whitechapel.

Tower Hamlets Cllr Andrew Wood at the 'construction staging' site where enforcement notice has been served. Picture: Mike Brooke Tower Hamlets Cllr Andrew Wood at the 'construction staging' site where enforcement notice has been served. Picture: Mike Brooke

“These projects divert resources and don’t deal with the impact of population growth in the fastest expanding corner of the UK.”

He is urging the mayors of London and Tower Hamlets to set up teams “to deliver the vital infrastructure we need as soon as possible”.

The forum is also calling for developers to put back any planning applications “until there is a clear strategy to catch up with the backlog”.

It estimates £41m earmarked for improvements in the past 12 months alone have not been spent, while pressure on over-stretched existing services continues with more and more major housing being added unchecked.

Isle of Dogs Forum chairman Richard Horwood with its members at Neighbourhood Plan public hearingon May 10. Picture: Mike Brooke Isle of Dogs Forum chairman Richard Horwood with its members at Neighbourhood Plan public hearingon May 10. Picture: Mike Brooke

GLA consultants say another £40 million should be spent in South Poplar and the Isle of Dogs by March 2020 as “critical” before any further development. Their report held back for seven months and finally released last month stresses: “Without these works, development cannot proceed.”

City Hall came under fire this week for delaying the report until just 15 hours before a crucial public examination hearing on March 10 into the local forum’s long-awaited Neighbourhood Plan to tackle the Isle of Dogs’ population explosion crisis—even though the study “was ready in November”.

The delay led to the announcement this week that the plan was failed by the public examiner, which means it is now put back for another six months before it can be resubmitted and go to a public referendum.

The local authority which took part in the March 10 public examination learned this week of the failure to get the Neighbourhood Plan through.

A Tower Hamlets spokesman told the Advertiser today: “We’ll look closely at the examiner’s recommendation that it doesn’t go forward to a referendum at this stage. The forum could bring a revised plan later for which the council of course would provide assistance.”

The council’s own Infrastructure Plan identifies £1.9bn likely to be needed up to 2031 across the whole borough. It also identifies an extra £650m investment required and is using the projection “to plan ahead to meet this need”.

The forum has been calling for tougher planning laws to make it illegal to give the green light to major housing schemes without first funding the infrastructure needed.

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