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New rules agreed by Tower Hamlets Council to shape the East End’s future till 2035

PUBLISHED: 17:00 17 January 2020 | UPDATED: 17:12 17 January 2020

The Whitechapel Road... epicentre of expanding East End with its booming population growth. Picture: LBTH

The Whitechapel Road... epicentre of expanding East End with its booming population growth. Picture: LBTH

LBTH

A step towards shaping the future of the East End has been taken by Tower Hamlets Council adopting a formal Local Plan.

Mayor John Biggs says the governments Fair Funding review will 'funnel money away from Tower Hamlets into leafy Tory shires like Hampshire and Sussex'. Picture: Mike BrookeMayor John Biggs says the governments Fair Funding review will 'funnel money away from Tower Hamlets into leafy Tory shires like Hampshire and Sussex'. Picture: Mike Brooke

All future development up to 2035 in the most crowded urban area in the country now has a guideline to conform to an overall pattern that avoids controversial planning decisions.

The priorities are to manage population growth and "sharing benefits with the people" which have evolved from four years of public consultations on rejuvenating one of the fastest growing areas of London.

"This sets out how we'll manage the unprecedented population growth," Mayor John Biggs said. "It ensures that we share benefits with all residents over the next 15 years.

"The East End's population has doubled in the past 30 years and is predicted to rise by another 100,000 by 2031.

Massive expansion... London's East End looking from the Tower of London (far right) towards Canary Wharf on the horizon. Picture: LBTHMassive expansion... London's East End looking from the Tower of London (far right) towards Canary Wharf on the horizon. Picture: LBTH

"So we need to plan for the change that growth at this pace will bring."

The Local Plan to "shape our future" sets out expectations on what is needed such as mains supplies, transport, schools and health care to cater for massive housing expansion. It also has visions for employment opportunities and protecting the environment including air quality.

Deputy Mayor Rachel Blake, cabinet member for planning, explained: "This plan after four years of preparation has policies on affordable housing, affordable workspace, tall buildings the impact of construction and the impact on health and air quality."

Future planning applications can now be assessed legally to see if they comply with the overall vision for Tower Hamlets.

The plans for the Westferry site. Picture: MaceThe plans for the Westferry site. Picture: Mace

The planning authority now has a legal framework when dealing with developers going over their heads directly to Whitehall to push through schemes that might go against the spirit of the Local Plan.

An example was last week's green light when developers went to the Secretary of State to push through the massive controversial skyscraper scheme at Millwall's old Westferry printworks site on the already overcrowded Isle of Dogs, which had previously been rejected by the council.

The mayor called it "an attack on local democracy".

New development from now on have to "meet the needs of the borough". Large scale schemes, for example, will be required to have funding up front to support an increasing population with new schools, health facilities and even parks.


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