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Plans for Limehouse Circle Line’ waterbus to Stinkhouse Bridge

PUBLISHED: 08:14 10 March 2010 | UPDATED: 15:41 05 October 2010

Limehouse Cut... and the old Poplar labour exchange

Limehouse Cut... and the old Poplar labour exchange

CAMPAIGNERS have unveiled plans to run a new waterbus service on London’s oldest canal as part of a move to stop a high-rise block of flats being built in a proposed conservation area. Regular stops would include East London’s famous Stinkhouse Bridge

By Mike Brooke

CAMPAIGNERS have unveiled plans to run a new waterbus service on London’s oldest canal as part of a move to stop a high-rise block of flats being built in a proposed conservation area.

Regular stops would include East London’s famous Stinkhouse Bridge and would link four parks, an art gallery, a university campus, museum, stadium, superstore and 16 housing estates along the way.

Veteran local historian Tom Ridge revealed the waterbus plans at a public meeting at Kingsley Hall next to East London’s Limehouse Cut, where he has joined battle to stop developers moving in which looks set to end up in the High Court.

His waterbus Circle Line’ would begin at Limehouse DLR station and steam clockwise and anticlockwise along the Limehouse Cut to Bromley-by-Bow, along the River Lea to Old Ford and Hackney Wick, joining the Hertford Union Canal past Victoria Park to Bethnal Green and back along Regent’s Canal through Mile End to Limehouse Basin.

Tom threw his idea into the ring at the public consultation to support Tower Hamlets council’s Limehouse Cut Conservation Area, which has been challenged by developers.

A conservation area would save the former Poplar employment exchange, one reason the council gave for refusing planning permission to pull down the art deco building next to the Limehouse Cut and replacing it with an 11-storey block of flats.

The refusal has lead developers to start judicial review proceedings in the High Court, claiming the conservation designation is unlawful and should be revoked.

The waterbus service would be the icing on the cake for conservationists, with regular stops at Stinkhouse Bridge in Poplar, serving three estates and two parks.

Other stops would serve London’s famous Ragged School Museum, Matt’s Art Gallery, Mile End Stadium, Queen Mary university college, Mile End Park, Victoria Park, Bow Church and the Tesco superstore at Bromley-by-Bow.

Another 13 estates would also be in the loop in Limehouse, Stepney, Bethnal Green, Bow, Bromley-by-Bow and Poplar.

Essential to the loop’ is the Limehouse Cut, a two-mile straight line’ waterway built in 1770 so that barges carrying grain to the City of London along the Lea from Hertford could bypass Bow Creek and the long haul round the Isle of Dogs—and not have to wait for the Thames tide.


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