New plans for Robin Hood Gardens put forward in an attempt to stop demolition

Architects and historians campaigning against the demolition of Poplar’s Robin Hood Gardens have drawn up plans in a last-ditch attempt to change the council’s mind.

Tower Hamlets council is considering two competing bids to demolish the housing block, which has 214 flats, and replace it with new designs.

But Sarah Wigglesworth Architects, based in north London, is putting forward its own plans, which they say would save the flats from the bulldozers, make the housing more suitable for large families and be more environmentally-friendly.

The Twentieth Century Society, a group of architectural historians, previously campaigned to get the building listed and they released a book, Robin Hood Gardens: Re-Visions, last Tuesday which details the block’s history and their campaign to save it.

The society backs the new plans.

Jon Wright, their Tower Hamlets case worker, said: “When we failed to get it listed, we thought it shouldn’t be the end of it.

“These plans are open to debate, it’s not a complete scheme but since we’ve had no details from the council on how it will progress and where the funding is coming from, I think its fair game to suggest a third way.”

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The council is considering plans from Swan Housing and Countryside Properties, who would build 1621 new dwellings and from London & Quadrant and Telford Homes and has said a decision “is expected shortly”.

The “third-way designs” include building two extra storeys and using the existing car park for extra housing spaces.

“Better insulation” and “new windows” would be used to improve the housing blocks’ “environmental performance.”

Mr Wright said the society had contacted the council on a number of occasions with their reservations and would present these alternative plans to them.

He said: “I remain forever hopeful.

“There’s always time until the bulldozers move in.

“But I don’t expect them to listen.

“They’ve wanted to demolish them from day one and they haven’t deviated from that.

“I was hoping they would show more open-mindedness.”

A council spokeswoman was enquiring on Friday for the East London Advertiser to see if these plans would be considered.

She said: “The council has entered into a legal tender process.

“We are obliged to accept one of the current bids if they are suitable.”

To get a copy of the society’s book, visit or call 020 7250 3857.

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