'Ghost of Limehouse Triangle' returns as Tower Hamlets Council makes 4th bid for tower block on green space
PUBLISHED: 08:00 29 December 2018
Yet another attempt is being made by Tower Hamlets Council to push through the controversial 'Limehouse Triangle' scheme to put up a tower block of flats on a nature preserve next to the Regent's Canal.
Its planning committee has already thrown out the scheme three times after protests from families on the Locksley Estate desperate to keep the green space in Salmon Lane.
The council’s housing arm unilaterally authorised the award-winning biodiversity site to be cleared even before the first planning application for housing was submitted.
All shrubs, trees and hedgerows planted in a biodiversity project 18 years ago — ironically funded by the council itself — were ripped up.
“The council has submitted another application, but nothing has changed,” Tory group leader Andrew Wood told the Advertiser.
“It appears to be the same application rejected three times, with no new public consultation.
“They just decided to have another go, perhaps thinking new councillors elected last May won’t realise that it was rejected three times already.”
The eight-storey development for 17 flats to rent, from one-bedroom to family size four bedrooms, is aimed at relieving the 19,000-long housing waiting list, with Tower Hamlets now the UK’s fastest growing population area.
But the East End has a “growing deficit in green space”, according the council’s own Local Plan.
“So it’s mad to propose building on green space that we own,” Cllr Wood added. “It sends a signal to developers that it’s okay to for them to build on green space as well.”
Neighbours have been sending in letters this week to the town hall objecting to the scheme and calling for the ‘Triangle’ to be given protected status.
The scheme originally failed to get through in October, 2016, and was then rejected outright last January after councillors learned that Tower Hamlets Homes had breached protocol by clearing the land before formally applying to build. It was rejected yet again October this year as it would “contravene planning guidelines to retain green spaces”.
The council later confirmed to the Advertiser that the application “has been withdrawn and hence no planning decision will be issued”.
Campaigner Alicia Joseph and her Locksley estate neighbours want the ‘Triangle’ back to its original biodiversity status as part of a ‘green corridor’ project between Mile End and the Limehouse Basin.
But they were cautious at the time about any victory, fearing the council would return to try and get the scheme passed. Their prophesy has been realised three months on, with a New Year application for the same scheme.