Decision on plan to give Raine's House a £1.3m uprade is delayed
PUBLISHED: 08:00 30 August 2018
Vickie Flores - free use as part of campaign
A £1.3million plan to upgrade an early-Georgian building in Wapping has been deferred after pleas from community groups.
Tower Hamlets Council’s development committee agreed to hold off their decision on refurbishment plans for Raine’s House, which was built in 1719, so councillors could visit the site.
Protesters said the council-owned former school is currently being used by more than a dozen community groups.
They want to hold a 300th anniversary celebration there next year, but said this would be impossible if Raine’s House was closed for upgrades.
Campaigners also complained about the scale, quality and cost of the refurbishment, arguing that the basement should be opened up to create more space.
Pensioner Kathy Bracken, who works in the Raine’s House‘s social club bar, said: “We feel the refurbishments are going to be too modern for the building.
“They want to knock the bar down and put another bar at the other end of the hall. What a waste of money. The basement is almost the same size as the ground floor. Why isn’t that being refreshed?
“We feel this is all being rushed.”
But a spokesman for the architects said it would be impossible to extend the basement and keep to the budget.
“The premise of the project is to benefit the community,” he said.
“The basement space is tricky space to get into. It is below the water table and is probably damp and is definitely cold. The brief did not require us to provide extra space.
“This is a positive scheme that will give a charming building a new life.”
A council spokesman said: “The development committee deferred the application to allow for a site visit that will give a better understanding of the proposed internal alterations to the listed building.
“The application will then be reported back to the next available meeting for the committee to make their decision.”