AM London City & East John Biggs asks whether Tower Hamlets can cope with the growth

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I visited the Crossrail site in Stepney last week.

Clambering 40 metres down a staircase I walked between Stepney and Whitechapel through the gigantic wormholes that will, in three years’ time, be filled with travellers to and from Essex and Kent in the East, Heathrow and Reading in the West, passing under Central London. It’s amazing what’s happening, invisibly, under our feet.

With stations at Canary Wharf, Whitechapel, Liverpool Street and in Newham, we will benefit. Although of course our house prices will go up even more. That’s good news for some, but squeezing others out, unless we get a grip on things.

And so to the Isle of Dogs, where the forest of planned 60 and 70 storey towers is causing a fair amount of anxiety. Will the schools, doctors, parks, buses, roads cope? I think we must look again at the scale of growth there – Tower Hamlets has seen so much and other boroughs must step up too.

Back in my office at City Hall I read the latest plan for Bishopsgate Goods Yard. We need something there with space for jobs, homes for everyone, respectful of the history of the area. The seven towers planned are too many, too high. Surely a compromise can be found – but I hear little from the Town Hall.


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To change the subject, the ‘Election Court’ starts next week.

A lot happens in the East End you’d be hard-pressed to make up - the court will establish whether Mayor Rahman was elected fairly last year.

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