Big development decisions made by Tower Hamlets during the pandemic

15-acre Westferry development on Millwall's waterfront on the Isle of Dogs

15-acre Westferry development on Millwall's waterfront on the Isle of Dogs - Credit: Mace

Major planning decisions continued to be made by Tower Hamlets Council during the pandemic, some controversial.  

Here are a few examples of the developments approved by the town hall as it had to carry on “business as usual” during lockdown. 

Westferry Printworks 

Most applications sailed through, unlike the riverside Westferry scheme on the Isle of Dogs, where the council’s objections were overturned.

Work has begun on the huge 15-acre redevelopment at Millwall's waterfront after the council’s refusal was overturned by housing secretary Robert Jenrick, sparking a row in the Commons.

It originally got the go-ahead in 2016 for 700 homes, but developers later wanted to double the size of the scheme which was rejected by the council. 

The rejection was over-ruled by the secretary of state whose timing meant the developers avoided a £40million planning levy being brought in just a day later.


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This was then successfully challenged in a High Court. A final decision by the government is due in October, but the council notes that some preparation work has begun on the site. 

Westferry hotel 

Not so controversial was the towering Westferry Hotel getting the go-ahead as one of London’s tallest Holiday Inns, sited close to Canary Wharf next to Westferry DLR station

How the old Bethnal Green gasworks redevelopment is shaping up

How the old Bethnal Green gasworks redevelopment is shaping up - Credit: Paul Latham

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Bethnal Green gasworks 

A campaign by 8,000 petitioners failed to stop the Bethnal Green gasworks next to the Regent’s Canal being redeveloped into a housing complex.

The scheme for 550 new homes will see circular residential tower blocks installed inside the last two remaining wrought-iron frames, which held massive Victorian gas storage tanks.

Empress coachworks development rescued by the bank 

Empress coachworks development rescued by the bank - Credit: Aitch

Empress coachworks 

Close by the gasworks, developers managed to get a £24 million bailout from the bank to finish a development at Bethnal Green's former Empress coachworks which was delayed by the coronavirus emergency.

The partially completed scheme is set to be finished by next March.   

Limehouse Triangle 

The Limehouse Triangle was finally given the green light after being overturned multiple times on grounds of environmental damage.

The triangle site by Regent’s Canal had been a wildlife reserve since 2000 before it was levelled by Tower Hamlets Homes in 2016.

Once Britain's biggest begal bakery... now a studio complex in Hackney Wick

Once Britain's biggest begal bakery... now a studio complex in Hackney Wick - Credit: Aitch

Bagel factory 

An old industrial bakery converted into commercial studios in Hackney Wick has been launched onto the market amid increasing pressure for more creative workshop space.

The Bagel Factory in Whitepost Lane has been turned into an art deco warehouse-style complex by Aitch developers. 

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