Group says Bethnal Green tower will ruin the area

A group is campaigning against a 25-storey block in a low-rise part of Bethnal Green, saying it will ruin the area and mark the start of City skyscrapers encroaching on the East End.

Jago Action Group says it has hundreds of signatures opposing developer Londonewcastle’s plans for a tower on the Huntingdon Estate, on the corner of Betnal Green Road and Chance Street, arguing sunlight to surrounding homes will be blocked out.

But the developer insists the design, which has a twisted plinth, will not compromise light and says it has many backers who are in favour of the modern design, retail space and jobs it could bring.

A showdown between the two parties is now set for April 19 when the consultation period ends and Tower Hamlets planning chiefs hear the arguments.

Brendon Pinch, JAG secretary, said: “The site is surrounded by conservation areas. We agree it needs work but it should be a mixed development of a scale that’s consistent with the area.

“Londonewcastle’s original plans a few years back were for a 16-storey block and now the recession has hit it’s 25-storeys. They’re making money at the expense of residents.”

Rejecting the group’s stance as “short-sighted”, Londonewcastle said the block could represent “landmark quality” as it is being designed by acclaimed architect Amanda Levete.

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A spokesperson said: “This scheme brings significant improvement works, job creation, community spaces and much needed affordable housing, not to mention quality architecture.”

Cllr Anna Lynch, Weavers ward, said she has been approached by residents opposing the plans and is speaking against it during the meeting.

Cllr Kabir Ahmed said has had letters both for and against.

Meanwhile, the developer’s plans for a separate site with 43 affordable homes - which it must build as a condition of planning permission - have also caused a storm.

Londonewcastle says the properties at Fleet Street Hill cater perfectly for the community, with large homes with up to six bedrooms and green space.

But JAG says the site is inappropriate.

Mr Pinch added: “The affordable housing is isolated and stuck between two railway lines in a vastly inferior position.”