Birds and bees want their Limehouse Triangle 'feeding station' back!
PUBLISHED: 13:24 10 February 2017 | UPDATED: 19:16 10 February 2017
The birds and bees who used to stop off at the Limehouse Triangle in London's high-density concrete East End have been given a belated reprieve.
Their biodiversity stopover next to the Regent’s Canal with its trees and hedgerows—all flattened by Tower Hamlets council housing contractors to make way for a tower block even before the planning application was made—could soon be replanted after development plans were withdrawn this week.
Neighbours campaigning to have Limehouse Triangle listed as a public space want to replant the hedgerows after learning that the nine-storey tower block was no longer being built, following a campaign in the East London Advertiser begun in December.
Neighbours like Alicia Joseph who grew up in Limehouse persuaded the council’s own planning committee on January 11 to reject the scheme.
“Hee hee! I hope I’ve frightened the socks off them,” she emailed to the paper last night.
Her impassioned plea to bring back the biodiversity wildlife site—a ‘feeding station’ for birds, bees and butterflies in the area already full of tower blocks—won councillors over, after discovering the council had cleared the land before making a application to its own planning committee.
One council member, Andrew Wood, saw red at the January meeting and stormed: “If a private developer had done this in advance of a planning application, we’d have strung them up by their ‘nether regions’!”
He told the Advertiser today: Your articles were very helpful and I know Mayor John Biggs got involved and I suspect he quashed it—so thank you!
“The next step is to try and re-grow the area as a wildlife refuge which seems to be the majority view of people who responded to a survey we ran. So I will be contacting them to help with that.”
There was scorn by council officers claiming that the land could not be returned to its natural state after the committee chairman described “the damage being done”.
Campaigners interrupted the planning manager responsible for the planning application while he was giving evidence to support the tower block scheme, arguing that any land “could return to its natural state” by planting trees and allowing hedges to re-grow—which is what the families now intend.
A petition started by neighbour Christine Phillips revealed that in 2000 the Limehouse Triangle was made part of a ‘green corridor’ wildlife stop-over between Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park and the Limehouse Basin as a wildlife feeding station “badly needed with so many tower blocks being built”.
Cllr Wood argued that the land should not have been cleared before the planning application. There were mature trees on the Limehouse Triangle land, so he was surprised they had been chopped down as it was “meant to be a public garden”.
Town Hall funds were given for community planting of native-species hedges to increase the East End’s chronic lack of biodiversity, which seemed to have been forgotten by the council’s own housing department.