'Halt to development draining services' after win for neighbourhood plan

Massive developments on Isle of Dogs now face checks and balances after referendum victory

Massive developments on Isle of Dogs now face checks and balances after referendum victory - Credit: Neighbourhood Forum

Campaigners have won the referendum to make the long-awaited Isle of Dogs Neighbourhood Plan legally binding and temper developments putting strain on mains supplies. 

The newly-recognised neighbourhood forum, which has been campaigning since 2014 for more planning controls, got 7,874 yes votes and only 1,264 no votes  - an 86 per cent win for adoption - in a referendum held on May 6.

Neighbourhood Forum at 2019 public hearing at Jack Dash House in Canary Wharf  

Neighbourhood Forum at 2019 public hearing at Jack Dash House in Canary Wharf - Credit: Mike Brooke

There was a 37pc turnout out of the 25,000 registered voters in the Isle of Dogs planning area for the referendum, held the same day as the Tower Hamlets referendum for mayor and London Assembly elections. 

Richard Horwood... "Council now has to take account of strain any new development has on services."

Richard Horwood... "Council now has to take account of strain any new development has on services." - Credit: Mike Brooke

“This means the council has to now take account of the strain any new development will have on services,” the forum’s founder Richard Harwood told the East London Advertiser

“It forces developers to do a proper impact assessment before they can go ahead, while the town hall legally has to reject applications if there is a strain on services that cannot be addressed, after the overwhelming referendum result.” 


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The stalled Neighbourhood Plan went to its second independent public examination in 2019 and would have gone to a vote last year but was delayed by the Covid emergency.

The plan, which forces developers to put forward cash for services such as gas, electric and water mains supplies as well as transport, health and education services, was approved by the public examiner last year.

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The first attempt to get the neighbourhood plan approved was stymied in 2018 by then-unreleased documents showing a £1 billion gap in funds to pay for extra services needed to cope with developments, the Isle of Dogs Neighbourhood Planning Forum said.

The figure was leaked to the Advertiser and there was a second public hearing in 2019, which finally approved the plan.  

Media magnate Richard Desmond's Westferry printworks site scheme now facing Neighbourhood Plan controls 

Media magnate Richard Desmond's Westferry printworks site scheme now facing Neighbourhood Plan controls - Credit: Northern Star

The new rules could affect the controversial scheme for 1,500 homes on the massive former Westferry printworks site overlooking the Millwll Docks and nearby Barkantine estate, which goes to a public hearing next week. 

Find out more about the plan at https://www.isleofdogsforum.com/

Isle of Dogs referendum result

Isle of Dogs referendum result - Credit: Andrew Wood


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