Bridge could be death knell for beauty spot, residents fear

A bus bridge near the world’s oldest tidal mill would ruin a unique conservation spot residents fear

But management at Three Mills in Bromley-by-Bow think it could bring more visitors to the Grade I listed building.

Residents from nearby Island House in Sugar House Lane are also worried about the scale of blocks up to 11 storeys high planned as part of a mixed used development by the River Lea.

The land earmarked for joint development by East Thames and Southern Housing Group lies just north of the A12 “Tesco Town” by the Blackwall Tunnel already approved. This latest add-on project includes more homes, transport links and a cafe or public bar.

The bus bridge over the river would link Hancock Road with Sugar House Lane.

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Vania Dalmedo, of Island House, said: “The noise and pollution will ruin this idyllic part of the river and wildlife.”

The dentist is against the bridge all together and argued a bus stop by the A12 is only a short walk away. Fellow Island House resident Andrew Briggs agrees the bridge should at least be moved further away from the conservation area.

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The 54-year-old banker is also concerned about being overlooked by new homes and losing more of the “already narrow” water stretch.

Ms Dalmedo added: “It will lead to loss of light and shadowing of the river. We don’t want this spot to be turned into an urban corridor as has happened at Limehouse.”

She is also worried about the area becoming overcrowded.

But Three Mills Trustee Beverley Charters said: “It’s very different for the residents, the bridge would be right next to them. As long as the development is sympathetic to the area we would not be against anything that might bring us more visitors.”

Residents also fear a bar could lead to anti-social behaviour. But Ms Charters said: “As long as it’s well managed we would not object if it bring more visitors.”

In a joint statement the housing associations said the brief by the Thames Gateway Development Corporation overseeing the area requires a future bridge and that their plan “simply identifies” a landing.

A spokeswoman added: “Buildings gradually step up in height as they approach the A12. This cascade design is both sympathetic to the area, while providing a buffer to noise and air pollution.”

The housing associations are applying final touches to their planning application to the corporation.

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