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5th attempt to push through tower block on 'Limehouse Triangle' at Monday's Tower Hamlets planning committee

PUBLISHED: 10:39 30 March 2019 | UPDATED: 09:51 02 April 2019

Limehouse Triangle biodiversity site created next to Regent's Canal in 2000, now lost, already surrounded by tower blocks. Picture: LBTH

Limehouse Triangle biodiversity site created next to Regent's Canal in 2000, now lost, already surrounded by tower blocks. Picture: LBTH

LBTH

Yet another attempt is being made to push through the controversial 'Limehouse Triangle' building scheme to put up a tower block on a nature preserve next to the Regent's Canal which had its trees and shrubs bulldozed.

Rejected tower block now gets go-ahead for Limehouse Triangle by Tower Hamlets Council. Picture: LBTHRejected tower block now gets go-ahead for Limehouse Triangle by Tower Hamlets Council. Picture: LBTH

A planning application is being put to Tower Hamlets Council’s planning committee on Monday evening—in the face of stiff opposition from families on the Locksley Estate to keep the green space in Salmon Lane.

The bid also flies in the face of the council’s own policy of maintaining a ‘green corridor’ along the canal from Limehouse to Victoria Park.

The authority’s own housing organisation unilaterally ordered the award-winning biodiversity site to be cleared even before submitting its first planning application two-and-a-half years ago.

All the trees, shrubs and hedgerows planted in a biodiversity project 16 years before funded by the town hall were ripped up.

The cabinet chaired by the mayor last Wednesday endorsed a biodiversity programme for the ‘green corridor’ with its current ‘housing open spaces’ review drawn up on March 12 to “improving health, environmental, economic and social outcomes through open spaces”. The review urges all social housing providers to “maximise these spaces to improve health and wellbeing”.

Cllr Andrew Wood... asking planning committee to reject building scheme Cllr Andrew Wood... asking planning committee to reject building scheme "so we can make better use of limited open space". Picture: Mike Brooke

Opposition group leader Andrew Wood is using this evidence at Monday’s planning meeting to try and prevent permanent destruction of the Limehouse Triangle’ habitat.

“The council is currently looking at how we can use open space like the Triangle for the environment to improve air quality,” he told the East London Advertiser.

“The mayor said this week that open space is in short supply. So I am asking the planning committee to reject this building scheme to make better use of the limited open space we have.”

The eight-storey development for 17 flats is aimed at helping ease the 19,000-long waiting list.

But the East End also has a “growing deficit in green space”, according the authority’s own Local Plan.

Lost world... trees and shrubs that were torn up by Tower Hamlets Homes in 2016 against planning protocol. Picture: GoogleLost world... trees and shrubs that were torn up by Tower Hamlets Homes in 2016 against planning protocol. Picture: Google

The building scheme by Tower Hamlets Homes originally failed to get through in October, 2016, then rejected outright the following January. The housing organisation had breached planning protocol by clearing the land before formally applying to build on it, councillors were told.

It was rejected yet again in October last year as it would “contravene planning guidelines to retain green spaces”.

Alicia Joseph and her Locksley estate neighbours want the Triangle returned to its original biodiversity status as part of the ‘green corridor’ between the Limehouse Basin and Victoria Park.

But three months on, a New Year application for the same building scheme was back on the table—but had to be withdrawn. Now the bid is back yet again with a fifth attempt on Monday.

“It appears to be the same scheme already rejected several times,” Cllr Wood pointed out. “They just decided to have another go, perhaps thinking new councillors elected last May won’t realise it’s already been thrown out.”

Last time children in Poplar played skipping games in the street was in the 1960s! Picture: LBTHLast time children in Poplar played skipping games in the street was in the 1960s! Picture: LBTH

The council is engaged in a tree-planting project in Victoria Park today (Sat) which it describes as forming a link in the East End’s “green corridor from the Thames at Limehouse along the Regents Canal” up to the park stretching on to the Olympic Park north of Stratford.

Earlier stories on the Limehouse Triangle:

Tower block on Limehouse Triangle rejected—after Tower Hamlets breaches own planning rules

Limehouse Triangle tower block rejected 3rd time by Tower Hamlets Council

Wildlife would disappear in ‘Limehouse Triangle’ with plans for new tower block

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