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East Enders bid to save Whitechapel’s Vallance Road Victorian terrace

PUBLISHED: 07:00 04 January 2014

Victorian terrace in Vallance Road under threat

Victorian terrace in Vallance Road under threat

Alex Pink/East End Preservation Soc

A crumbling Victorian terrace said to be “a welcome stretch of traditional streetscape” in a decaying part of London’s the East End is under threat of the bulldozer.

Sherman's surplus store... one the mecca for Mods in the 1960sSherman's surplus store... one the mecca for Mods in the 1960s

Its fete is being decided by Tower Hamlets council on Valentine’s Day next month, after public consultations end on January 14.

Preservationists are urging council planners not to pull the plug on the terrace of shops and flats along Vallance Road in Whitechapel, even though it is being propped up by scaffolding and has been almost empty for a decade.

The newly-formed East End Preservation Society insists “its rehabilitation would be relatively straightforward for a building preservation trust.”

A society spokesman said: “The terrace is partly occupied and is clearly repairable, despite its dilapidated state.

“The distinctive elevations feature delightful details such as decorative window surrounds and pierced parapets which provide a welcome stretch of traditional ‘streetscape’ in an area much fragmented by post-war clearance.

“Demolition of this terrace is completely unjustified on ‘public safety’ concerns as one house is still tenanted.”

The terrace today stands—or falls—within the Whitechapel Market Conservation Area and is owned by the council which has submitted an application for total demolition based on public safety. There are no plans for redevelopment, the authority stresses, and the site would remain empty for the time being.

A Town Hall spokesman said: “No proposals for the site have been submitted yet. The decision on demolition is expected around February 14.”

Ironically, Heritage Lottery funds paid to spruce up the A11 Whitechapel Road just around the corner, the route to the 2012 Olympics.

The Vallance Road terrace of five shops and living quarters above was left standing after the Blitz, then escaped much of the East End’s slum clearance in the 1950s and 60s.

It was a mecca for Mods and Rockers in the Sixties who flocked to Sherman’s surplus store to buy Parker military coats and to the greasy motorbike shop opposite.

The preservationists are running an 11th hour online campaign to save the terrace before the January 14 consultation deadline. The fate of the terrace is sealed on February 14 at the council’s planning meeting.

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