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Mile End student complex finally gets the go-ahead

PUBLISHED: 15:00 11 February 2010 | UPDATED: 15:35 05 October 2010

PLANS for a nine-storey student complex in the East End have been given the go-ahead after the Town Hall was offered more cash. Councillors threw out two applications last year for an education facility opposite Queen Mary University in Mile End Road

PLANS for a nine-storey student complex in the East End have been given the go-ahead after the Town Hall was offered more cash.

Councillors threw out two applications last year for an 'education facility' opposite Queen Mary University in Mile End Road after backing residents' concerns that it would be too high, too bulky and would not provide enough affordable housing.

But last week Tower Hamlets council's Strategic Development Committee gave its approval on a third amended application after developers offered a bigger wodge of money under the Section 106 agreement.

And the council is hoping to use £500,000 of the cash to help with its refurbishment of near-by Bancroft Library.

Mile End Limited partnership together with the global organisation INTO University Partnerships is planning to replace the Peugeot car-showroom with the complex which would provide 580 bed spaces and foundation courses for pre-university students.

Developers came back with an amended application in December, with the maximum height of the building reduced from 11 to nine-storeys.

But while the application was deferred to give officers time to draw-up reasons for refusal, developers came back offering around an extra £1.8m.

The committee gave its approval to the development subject to the developer agreeing that some of the money goes to Bancroft Library.

Strategic Development vice-chair Marc Francis said: "The application is different to the one we discussed in December because of the mitigation through the 106 money.

"The development is on the door-step of Bancroft Library.

"We have provided money to do some work but the library needs more and this seems like the best way of trying to get that."

But Tory Opposition's Tim Archer who originally campaigned against the development said he was "shocked" this week to hear it had been given the go-ahead.

He said: "It was originally turned down for legitimate reasons and now is has come back looking identical with a lot more money on the table.

"My fear is that residents may conclude if you write a big enough cheque you can get what you want."

The money under the Section 106 Agreement includes £1.5m for youth services, £500,000 on Bancroft Library and £120,000 for environmental improvements to the area.


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