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‘We’re running out of public feedback to Spitalfields Neighbourhood Plan’ plea as deadline nears

PUBLISHED: 15:02 02 September 2020 | UPDATED: 15:08 02 September 2020

Historic Spitalfields struggles to preserve its heritage, cheek-by-jowl with the City skyscrapers. Picture: Jeremy Freedman

Historic Spitalfields struggles to preserve its heritage, cheek-by-jowl with the City skyscrapers. Picture: Jeremy Freedman

Jeremy Freedman

Not enough people are responding to plans that could shape the whole future of the Spitalfields town neighbourhood, it has emerged.

Outline plan to safeguard Spitalfields. Art: Lucinda RogersOutline plan to safeguard Spitalfields. Art: Lucinda Rogers

Public consultations ending in just two weeks have produced a poor feedback so far, according to Spitalfields Planning Forum.

“We don’t really have enough responses,” the forum’s James Frankcom said.

“People need to go online or email us and say what they think about the plan, if they agree or disagree about bits or think it could be improved.”

The forum was formally recognised by Tower Hamlets Council in 2016 as a “people’s checklist” tackling development issues such as environment and encroachment spilling over from the City.

Boundary of proposed Spitalfelds Neighbourhood Plan... west from Petticoat Lane and Bishopsgate, east to Allen Gardens, then north to Cheshire Street and south to Wentworth Street.Boundary of proposed Spitalfelds Neighbourhood Plan... west from Petticoat Lane and Bishopsgate, east to Allen Gardens, then north to Cheshire Street and south to Wentworth Street.

The consultation on the plan which has taken five years to put together runs until September 14 when an inspector makes sure it conforms in law before being sent to the town hall.

It then comes back to the people of Spitalfields for a referendum, likely to be next May, on the same day as a similar referendum on the Isle of Dogs which has its own neighbourhood plan.

The proposed Spitalfields Plan would require developers in the City Fringe district to add green roofs and walls and plant trees with any new building, or pay towards greening projects by default. Gardens and other green spaces would be protected against developers “nibbling away at the edges” by defined legal boundaries. This would protect Spitalfields City Farm and open spaces at Allen Gardens, Elder Gardens and Christ Church Gardens.

Historic features would be protected by restricting new structures to the same height, scale and size as surrounding buildings, while traditional layout of streets and alleys would have to be followed. Drinking fountains would be restored and hidden street cobbles that were tarred over in the post-War “modernity” years would be restored.

Comments can be added to the Neighbourhood Plan online at or by email to info@spitalfieldsforum.org.uk


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