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Public hearing throws out desperately-needed Neighbourhood Plan for Isle of Dogs public services

PUBLISHED: 19:00 11 June 2018 | UPDATED: 11:44 14 June 2018

Rejected... Isle of Dogs plan for public services to cope with population explosion. Picture source: Isle of Dogs Forum

Rejected... Isle of Dogs plan for public services to cope with population explosion. Picture source: Isle of Dogs Forum

Isle of Dogs Forum

Proposals for a formal plan for public services to cope with the Isle of Dogs population explosion crisis have been rejected.

Isle of Dogs Forum chairman Richard Horwood with its members at Neighbourhood Plan public hearingon May 10. Picture: Mike BrookeIsle of Dogs Forum chairman Richard Horwood with its members at Neighbourhood Plan public hearingon May 10. Picture: Mike Brooke

The Neighbourhood Plan for better mains, drains, schools and transport put forward by the area’s planning forum has been turned down by the Public Examiner, it has emerged this week.

It means the voluntary forum’s long-awaited Neighbourhood Plan won’t go to a referendum this summer, despite months of public meetings and consultations.

The rejection was caused because it included data from the GLA’s Infrastructure Study for the Isle of Dogs and South Poplar which was not yet in the public domain—even though it had the same information that Tower Hamlets Council issued last October.

The GLA held onto its study for seven months and only released it 15 hours before last month’s public examination hearing at Jack Dash House on the Isle of Dogs, which the independent examiner ruled was not enough time to be legally considered.

Richard Horwood (centre) giving evidence at May 10 public examination of Isle of Dogs Neighbourhood Plan. Picture: Mike BrookeRichard Horwood (centre) giving evidence at May 10 public examination of Isle of Dogs Neighbourhood Plan. Picture: Mike Brooke

The Neigbourhood Plan has now been delayed another six months before it can be resubmitted—while more development schemes are passed without legislation to guarantee funding for services needed for the population rise.

The GLA had been working on the publicly-funded study since 2014 and promised to have it ready by 2016, but postponed it until February 2017, then again until last summer and finally got it ready in November.

But its findings still hadn’t been released until the evening before the Neighbourhood Plan public examination at Jack Dash House on May 10 when they were too late to be included.

Yet Tower Hamlets had used the GLA data in October for its own Local Plan on what schools, GP surgeries, parks, public transport, mains supplies and even bridges are needed in the next 25 years.

The study has already identified a funding shortfall of almost £1 billion that’s needed to sort out gas and water mains, drains, sewers and other services needed for major schemes already given the go-ahead, the East London Advertiser first revealed on April 3.

Campaigners have been calling for tougher planning law to make it illegal to give the green light to housing schemes without first funding the infrastructure needed.

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