MP Fitzpatrick helps float Limehouse Basin campaign

MP Jim Fitzpatrick has weighed into the debate over controversial plans to build dozens of new berths at Limehouse Basin.

The Poplar & Limehouse MP met with community groups on Thursday to discuss the plans, which they claim will be “overkill” of an already jam-packed marina.

Under the plans, British Waterways Marina Ltd (BWML) will install 44 new berths – an increase of almost 50 per-cent – by March next year.

The plans come on the back of a water taxi service which will run from the basin to the Olympic site.

However, community groups have hit out at a lack of consultation, absence of extra facilities and environmental impacts. After meeting with the Limehouse Community Forum (LCF) and Limehouse Berthholders’ Association, Mr Fitzpatrick wrote to a number of authorities including the BWML, Tower Hamlets Council, police and fire services calling for answers to residents’ concerns.

He said: “I think it’s a disservice to local residents that their lives are going to be changed dramatically by this, without consultation.

“I am very anxious for local residents. I fully empathise with their concerns and want to do all I can to get them answers.”

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Chairman of the Limehouse Community Forum (LCF) Mark Slankard, said: “Everyone is shocked by the lack of consultation on this.

“The Yacht Harbour Association (TYHA) Code of Practise says whatever changes you make to the marina must be with the consent and consultation of local residents and the local authority. Clearly that hasn’t happened.”

He added: “This is overkill. It’s something that’s being done for the Olympics but it’s also something that’s going to be with us for a very long time afterwards.”

In an email seen by the Advertiser, Tower Hamlets Council’s planning department admitted no application had been submitted and “the consultation with residents does appear to be ‘cursory’ at best and less than ideal to date.”

A spokesman from BWML has said: “Whilst BWML is not obligated to hold a consultation on this proposal, as a matter of course the company does endeavour to give both its customers and any other parties affected by such developments as much notice as possible of such improvements. In this case the notice period was limited for a number of reasons, including a delay in securing funding for the project.

“All BWML marinas conform to The Yacht Harbour Association (TYHA) Code of Practise in relation to the design, construction and operation of its marinas. The facilities available to marina customers (toilets, showers, laundry, domestic waste disposal, marina lighting etc) both presently and upon completion of this project conform to these guidelines.”