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I back challenge to 25-storey eyesore nodded through committee

PUBLISHED: 20:10 12 August 2008 | UPDATED: 13:32 05 October 2010

From George Galloway, MP: REFUSING permission for a development which would destroy the historic Light bar in Shoreditch shows Hackney council has a more democratically-organised planning process than neighbouring Tower Hamlets. They really do listen to residents. Campaigners mounting a legal challenge to the 25-storey eyesore promised in Bethnal Green nodded through by Tower Hamlets have my full support

From George Galloway, MP

Dear Editor,

I WELCOME the decision by Hackney council to refuse permission for a development which would have led to the destruction of the historic Light bar in Shoreditch High-street in East London (Trial by Jeory, East London Advertiser, July 31).

This is just reward for the excellent campaign led by the Light's redoubtable owner James Goff.

Hackney's decision itself is all the more surprising as a leaked document prior to the Town Hall planning meeting suggested council officers were recommending going ahead with the proposal to construct skyscrapers over 50 storeys high.

There was also, of course, the small issue of what they like to call a 'planning gain' of £45 million to Hackney Council, a windfall apparently to have been used to build an extension to Hackney Town Hall.

Hackney council seems to have both a more-democratically organised planning process and some independent-minded councillors, never mind their formal political allegiance, as Ted Jeory points out. They really do listen to residents' concerns.

Even more amazing is the sudden concern shown by neighbouring Tower Hamlets council about the effect of these skyscrapers in Shoreditch on the conservation area nearby within its boundary.

I now understand campaigners against the 25 storey eyesore promised for Sclater-street in Bethnal Green, off the historic Brick Lane, are going to mount a legal challenge to the process which saw this planning blight nodded through Tower Hamlets' so-called "development" committee.

They will have my full support, just as James Goff did over the Light in Shoreditch.

No-one wants to stand in the way of change that will bring improvement to the environment, housing for those in need and jobs for people.

The fundamental problem is that too much of what is happening in Tower Hamlets meets none of these criteria.

This now unpopular New Labour government is also proposing to 'streamline' the planning system to reduce the ability of residents to make their voices heard over big planning decisions.

I have raised an Early Day Motion in parliament opposing these iniquitous and undemocratic proposals.

George Galloway (Respect)

MP for Bethnal Green & Bow

House of Commons

Westminster

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