'Huff and puff' and three little cottages fall down on the Isle of Dogs
PUBLISHED: 15:37 18 July 2016 | UPDATED: 15:37 18 July 2016
First you see them—now you don't. Three little Victorian terraced cottages in a conservation area in London's Docklands have suddenly been reduced to rubble.
Neighbours returned after a weekend away to find the listed Victorian terrace that survived the Blitz—which destroyed all the surrounding buildings—suddenly fell pray to bulldozers.
Now Tower Hamlets councillors are demanding court action over the “unauthorised demolition” to force the developers to put the cottages on the Isle of Dogs back up again.
“There were no planning applications to demolish them,” Cllr Peter Golds told the East London Advertiser.
“I want the council to take legal action and get the cottages rebuilt. These buildings were listed and protected in a conservation area.”
The cottages in Eastferry Road, next to Marsh Wall—in the shadow of Canary Wharf—were the last from the Victorian era that survived when the entire block was destroyed on the first night of the Blitz on September 7, 1940.
Cllr Golds alerted the Town Hall that the cottages were being left derelict and in danger of being pulled down. He was promised it was being looked into—when suddenly the bulldozers moved in overnight.
“They should be made to rebuild them,” cllr Golds demanded. “Why should anyone have the right to destroy part of London’s heritage?”
Other local authorities in London, he points out, have already set a precedent for court action to restore structures illegally demolished, such as Westminster, Brent and Wandsworth.
Harry’s café next door has also had to shut down. The developers who own the land along with the demolished properties gave them two weeks’ notice to quit.
“We were away for the weekend and returned Monday to find the cottages gone,” the café owner said.
The café, one of the last ‘greasy spoons’ left on the Isle of Dogs, closed for the last time on Thursday.
Now Tory Cllr Chris Chapman, who represents the neighbourhood at the Town Hall, is formally asking the Mayor to “inform Isle of Dogs residents why a speculative developer was permitted to demolish three Grade-II listed buildings—despite warnings that an attempt was imminent”.