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Monstrous’ building threat to put East Enders in shade

PUBLISHED: 20:41 01 July 2008 | UPDATED: 13:24 05 October 2010

FAMILIES and business bosses along a quiet canal by the park are furious over proposals for a modern monstrosity’ housing development on the site of a First World War arms factory. Developers want to throw up 150 new homes at the historic Gun Wharf by East London’s Victoria Park

Ted Jeory

FAMILIES and business bosses along a quiet canal by the park are furious over proposals for a modern monstrosity’ housing development on the site of a First World War arms factory.

Developers want to throw up 150 new homes at the historic Gun Wharf by East London’s Victoria Park.

The land which nestles between the Hertford Union Canal and Old Ford Road in Bow is home to the last 20-odd industrial units in the area which will be turfed out if Tower Hamlets council gives Durkan Estates the green light.

Durkan wants to build tower blocks up to seven storeys for 500 people.

But neighbours are furious in the next door former warehouse blocks of Connaught Works, where the Town Hall’s housing chief Marc Francis himself lives, and nearby Albany Works.

The families have organised a petition over what they feel was a lack of genuine and rigorous consultation.

Environmental fears centre on potential damage to the Victoria Park Conservation Area and the famous Three Colt Bridge, a Scheduled Ancient Monument that straddles the canal.

They also worry about the crippling effect on the already hard-pressed Number 8 bus of 500 extra commuters.

One resident, Kate Marten, says in a letter to the East London Advertiser: “For those people who already struggle to get onto the bus in the morning, this is far from ideal.

“The scale and style of the proposed development is not in keeping with the area. Neighbouring Albany Works is six storeys, but is a beautiful listed building with a relatively small footprint.”

Others feel sad that yet another part of East London’s industrial heritage is being done away with.

Gun Wharf housed the London Small Arms factory during the First World War which used to transport ballistics on the canal to and from their other factory in Enfield.

More recently, the site has been used by printers and roofing contractors.

But Durkan Estates bought the land last year and claims its proposals will be a major benefit to the area.

It will mean affordable’ and family-sized homes and designs will be in keeping with the character of the area, the company has pledged.

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