Housing exec points to key Poplar developments

As the head of an association which manages 8,500 homes in Poplar, Steve Stride has been afforded a first-hand perspective on the changing face of social housing in Tower Hamlets.

Having set up the Poplar Housing and Regeneration Community Association in 1998, its chief executive has overseen its growth since it undertook the at times controversial process of stock housing transfers from Tower Hamlets council.

He recently spoke to the East London Advertiser about the challenges facing the borough, such as overcrowding, and three key developments in Poplar.

Mr Stride, 53, who grew up in Brick Lane and who has lived in the Isle of Dogs for 25 years, said: “It has taken 12 years to build up confidence in it [Poplar HARCA] but other people are picking up the work now.

“The council is doing well in finding further space as well.

“They are one of the best councils when it comes to building new homes.”

One development which residents have continuously called for, according to Mr Stride, is investment in the Chrisp Street shopping centre.

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�150 million, through residential and retail property sales and government investment, has been earmarked for a new site next to East India Dock Road, which HARCA hopes will attract a large supermarket and “nationally recognised stores.”

Steve said: “Whoever we asked, everybody said that they wanted a new shopping centre here.

“You will also get a focus on family housing around Bartlett Park.”

A short walk away, the Aberfeldy estate has also been crying out for investment.

Bounded in by the A12, A13 and the River Lea, HARCA are working with the Leaside Regeneration group to open the estate up through new crossings, linking it to the East India DLR station and Canning Town amongst other sites.

The estate is also set to benefit from 1,153 new homes, of which 335 will be affordable housing, and new community and health centres.

Jim Fitzpatrick, MP for Poplar and Limehouse, said: “There is going to be significant expansion in the next five to seven years with the extra housing and the plans for Culloden Primary School, so a new health centre will be vital.”

Work on the Spotlight Youth Centre, which will open in the grounds of Langdon Park school in Byron Street in 2013, is also going to be taking up much of HARCA’s time.

The �6m development, will be the new home of the celebrated Poplar Boys and Girls club and will provide boxing facilities.

Steve said: “It’s a great scheme. It will be one of the best in the UK.

“It will be focused on media and arts training as well.

“That is something young people asked for in our consultation.”