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Fight is on to stop working class families being ‘priced out’ of Poplar by Canary Wharf development

PUBLISHED: 00:01 01 June 2017 | UPDATED: 08:40 01 June 2017

Mayor John Biggs supporting social housing. Picture: LABOUR PTY

Mayor John Biggs supporting social housing. Picture: LABOUR PTY

TH Lab Pty

Campaigners want to set up a neighbourhood planning forum in Poplar to stop “overspill” developments from nearby Canary Wharf swallowing up the neighbourhood and pricing out working class families.

Glyn RobbIns... Move to set up Poplar planning forum by 'Spash' acrtion group. Picture: MIKE BROOKEGlyn RobbIns... Move to set up Poplar planning forum by 'Spash' acrtion group. Picture: MIKE BROOKE

The forum would give them clout when developers move in to snap up land for luxury Docklands housing.

The move has been sparked by a planning application to Tower Hamlets Council for Canary Wharf’s North Quay site.

Members of ‘Splash’, the neighbouring South Poplar and Limehouse Action for Secure Housing campaign, began a petition last month which has been presented to Tower Hamlets mayor John Biggs at a public meeting at Poplar’s St Mathias church hall, signed by 600 people. It calls for “more genuinely affordable homes” in the area.

The mayor added his support when he told the meeting: “I want people in this community to get angry because we’re being screwed at the moment.”

Sister Christine Frost at protest meeting in 2006 to stop council estates being given away. [Picture: ADVERTISER ARCHIVE]Sister Christine Frost at protest meeting in 2006 to stop council estates being given away. [Picture: ADVERTISER ARCHIVE]

Four buildings reaching between 30 to 67 storeys are planned in a mega development at North Quay for more than 1,400 new homes—but campaigners fear being pushed out with “no place for working class families”.

Petition co-ordinator and housing activist Glyn Robbins warned: “Another massive wave of corporate property development is heading towards Poplar High Street.”

One 19-year-old at the meeting asked what chance he had of finding a home in the district he grew up in.

Elderly council leaseholders said they faced crippling service charges. A housing association tenant asked where “working class people” were supposed to live, with rents leaping up.

Sister Christine Frost, who founded ‘Splash’ nearly 30 years ago, said: “We’ve been fighting all this time for decent, secure, affordable homes.

“But this is the biggest fight we’ve yet faced. Our whole community is now at risk.”

Her organisation is now looking at options for setting up a Poplar neighbourhood forum with legal consultation powers, if it gets council recognition.

It would be similar to forums already recognised or being recognised covering Spitalfields, the Isle of Dogs, Roman Road in Bow and East Shoreditch that have influence over what gets built.


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