Tower Hamlets threatens legal action over Victorian cottages demolished in Docklands conservation area

The cottasges before they were illegally pulled down

The cottasges before they were illegally pulled down - Credit: TH Council

Legal action could be launched against developers who illegally demolished Victorian cottages in a conservation area of London’s Docklands.

Peter Golds and the rubble of three Victorian cottages

Peter Golds and the rubble of three Victorian cottages - Credit: Archant

The bulldozing of the three terraced cottages at East Ferry Road, on the Isle of Dogs, was first revealed by the East London Advertiser which photographed the site with Tower Hamlets councillor Peter Golds on Thursday.

Now the mayor of Tower Hamlets may take court action against the developers who went ahead and pulled the cottages down without planning permission despite being warned, it has emerged.

Labour’s John Biggs joined Opposition Tory councillors in condemning those responsible.

“I am outraged by this unwarranted and illegal demolition,” the mayor said in a statement to the Advertiser today.

Peter Golds and the rubble of three Victorian cottages

Peter Golds and the rubble of three Victorian cottages - Credit: Archant

“The owners should be made replace these properties like for like, brick by brick. We will take the strongest legal remedy possible.”


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The council issued several reminders to the owners explaining that “it is a criminal offence” to carry out demolition works in conservation areas without planning permission from the local authority, it has emerged today.

So the authority is taking action following the “unauthorised demolition”.

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A council spokesman said: “Three properties in East Ferry Road have been demolished without planning permission. It is an offence to demolish buildings in conservation areas without permission and we are currently considering legal proceedings against the owners.”

Peter Golds and the rubble of three Victorian cottages

Peter Golds and the rubble of three Victorian cottages - Credit: Archant

The cottages were inspected two years ago after concerns were raised that they were structurally unsound.

But detailed inspections by the council’s Building Control department concluded that it was “not necessary” for any dangerous structure notice.

The cottages were the last from the Victorian era that survived when East Ferry Road was destroyed on the first night of the Blitz on September 7, 1940.

Cllr Golds alerted the Town Hall that the cottages were being left derelict and in danger of being pulled down. He was promised action when the bulldozers suddenly moved in overnight.

He said: “There were no planning applications to demolish the cottages. I want the council to take legal action and get the cottages rebuilt.”

The Mayor’s anger follows Cllr Chris Chapman, who represents the area at the Town Hall, formally asking him why “a speculative developer was permitted to demolish three Grade-II listed buildings—despite warnings that an attempt was imminent”.

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