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Sainsbury's scraps plans for 28-storey tower in Whitechapel overshadowing Wren's Trinity Green almshouses

PUBLISHED: 11:30 07 June 2017 | UPDATED: 15:04 07 June 2017

Campaigner Thomas Antoniw and the victorious Trinity Green residents. Picture: MIKE BROOKE

Campaigner Thomas Antoniw and the victorious Trinity Green residents. Picture: MIKE BROOKE

Mike Brooke

The controversial plan for a 28-storey tower block of luxury flats overshadowing historic Trinity Green almshouses in Whitechapel have been scrapped.

How the 28-storey skyscraper would have looked.How the 28-storey skyscraper would have looked.

Supermarket giants Sainsbury’s has agreed to reduce the height of the skyscraper in Cambridge Heath Road to eight storeys and intends to resubmit an application to Tower Hamlets Council.

Jubilant residents of the Grade I-listed almshouses who campaigned against the tower just 200ft from their 1695 Wren-designed homes are now setting up a Trinity Green preservation trust.

“Full credit to Sainsbury’s for listening to us,” campaign organiser Thomas Antoniw told the Advertiser.

“The revised plans are an opportunity to regenerate Whitechapel with affordable housing while being sensitive to its historic character.”

Whitechspel Square scheme to be resubmitted to Tower Hamlets Council by Sainsbury's —but without the skyscraper.Whitechspel Square scheme to be resubmitted to Tower Hamlets Council by Sainsbury's —but without the skyscraper.

Nine heritage bodies got involved in the campaign topped by TV historian and Spitalfields preservationist Dan Cruickshank who made a television documentary about Trinity Green almshouses last summer.

The tall structure was the stumbling block for the Whitechapel Square development of 559 apartments which was rejected by the council in December.

Sainsbury’s is holding a consultation with residents at the Whitechapel Idea Store centre next Thursday at 6pm, to explain their modified plans.

The company’s development manager Michael Adenmosun said in a letter to residents: “We have reviewed our proposals and intend to resubmit the application without the 28 storey tower. This has now been reduced to only eight storeys which will entirely remove the visual impact on the Trinity Green almshouses and the surrounding area.” This was layer amended to nine stories.

The company, which wants to redevelop its supermarket site behind the Crossrail scheme opening next year, has taken stock of the council’s refusal and has “reflected on the views and feedback from the community”.

The refusal “was of course a disappointment to us”, Mr Adenmosun added.

The scheme also drew opposition from nearby Collingwood estate which would also have been overshadowed by the skyscraper.

Sainsbury’s scheme aims to blend with the council’s Whitechapel Vision masterplan with £7million community investment and £4m for a new Whitechapel Market.

The families in Trinity Green are now getting legal advice on establishing a preservation trust to restore the almshouses and ensure Christopher Wren’s 1695 structures are protected for future generations.

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