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Tower Hamlets plans for tower block on ‘Limehouse Triangle’ sent packing for 3rd time

PUBLISHED: 10:41 09 November 2017 | UPDATED: 16:46 09 November 2017

The threat to build a tower block in east London on open land next to the Regent’s Canal was thrown out last night by Tower Hamlets councillors for the third time this year.

Their development committee rejected the scheme for a block of flats on the ‘Limehouse triangle’ green space in Salmon Lane where trees and hedgerows were torn up by the council’s own housing organisation before even applying for planning consent.

Opposition councillors managed to block the scheme by a single vote against the Labour administration’s pressure for more social rental housing to meet the East End’s chronic shortage.

Neighbours on the Locklesy Green Estate led by fashion stylist Alicia Joseph, who was at last night’s meeting, breathed a sigh of relief at the town hall after their third victory in 11 months.

“I wish the council developers would just leave us alone and let us have or green space back,” she told the East London Advertiser afterwards.

“It’s time they gave up and let us use the land to improve the environment in Limehouse.

“There are many other vacant sites they can use in the area that would be more suited for housing. We can’t have high rise towers everywhere without any green space.”

Now the families are campaigning to have the land declared official parkland and be used as a public open space and for environmental education for schools in the area.

They have support from Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park and the East End’s Stepping Stones and Mudchute city farms, as well as Bethnal Green’s Cranbrook estate further along the Regent’s Canal near Victoria Park which fought to retain its own green space.

The controversial scheme first reared its head in October last year, but was put back till January after two petitions and a wave of protest in Limehouse after hedgerows had been ripped which had been planted in a community biodiversity programme by the council itself in 2000.

It was then rejected by the council’s development committee in January, only to reappear for a second attempt last month when it was narrowly defeated again.

Objectors wanted the lost open space restored, after trees had been removed “in an underhanded way” to prepare for the first planning application.

Labour members wanted the land to ease the 19,000-long public housing waiting list, in the face of opposition from Tory, Lib Dem and independent councillors.

Labour’s Danny Hassell suggested at the October planning meeting that the next time a family with “a horror story about their housing” came to Tory Cllr Chris Chapman’s surgery he would be able to “look them in the eye”.

Cllr Chapman’s response was that families at his surgery also complained at lack of open space for their children.

The scheme was tabled yet again last night, to the horror of conservationists and the Locksley Estate families, only to be rejected by opposition councillors by three votes to two.

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