Old garages turned into flats to ease Tower Hamlets waiting list

This used to be a lock-up garage... now home to a family from the housing waiting list.

This used to be a lock-up garage... now home to a family from the housing waiting list. - Credit: Rehan Jamil

More unused lock-up garages have been turned into flats to rent or lease in Bow Common. 

Another 16 lock-ups have been converted to four apartments at Mollis House in Gale Street, by the Limehouse Cut, with tenants now moving in. 

Another 16 homes created out of old garages in Bow Common

Another 16 homes created out of old garages in Bow Common - Credit: Rehan Jamil

One of the four homes has gone to Lisa Bajada, who had been on Tower Hamlets Council’s 19,000-long housing waiting list for 10 years. 

“My housing needs increased in the last two years because my son is autistic,” she revealed. 

“I’ve now moved from a second-floor flat in a block to a ground-floor home with a garden at Mollis House.  


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“My son finds it difficult to socialise, so having our own garden means he’s now able to have outdoor space where he can go on a trampoline, which helps his muscles and sensory processing needs."  

Her son now has his own bedroom and is closer to his primary school.  

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“Mollis House ticked all the boxes,” Lisa added. “It’s my dream home.”  

Another 16 homes created out of old garages in Bow Common

Mollis House in Gale Street where 16 lock-up garages have been turned into four garden flats. - Credit: Rehan Jamil

The conversions are the third phase of a programme started a year ago by Poplar Harca housing organisation to make use of lock-ups built in the 1960s that have been left derelict for years. 

The organisation’s Hidden Homes programme has so far transformed unused space into 17 new homes. These include a disused boiler room, a former oil tank room and unused loft space that has been turned into six flats.  

Another seven homes were created from a redundant NHS clinic and dental practice and an empty store.  

Paul Dooley, Poplar Harca’s newly-appointed regeneration director, said: “We have been identifying potential spaces which have the capacity to be converted to provide much-needed living space in the East End.

"There’s no limit to what can be achieved.”   

Tenants recently moved into 10 flats made up of six social rentals and four shared-ownership properties leased at Agate House, part of the Stone Studios development at Hackney Wick between Victoria Park and the Olympic Park. 

Planning permission has also been granted by the council for seven flats, four social rents and three shared-ownership leases at Poplar’s Plimsoll House in Sturry Street, off East India Dock Road.

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