Objectors bid to stop Westferry printworks scheme at today's public hearing
PUBLISHED: 10:00 20 August 2019 | UPDATED: 15:55 21 August 2019
Campaigners fighting a skyscraper development on the Isle of Dogs earmarked to be more than double the size first agreed by the Mayor of London are objecting at a special planning inspector's hearing tonight.
They are backed by Tower Hamlets Council which has come out against Millwall's controversial 15-acre Westferry printworks development.
Mace Developments won approval from former mayor Boris Johnson in 2016 for 700 homes and a 30-storey tower, after the scheme was originally thrown out by the council.
But the scheme was then resubmitted last year after City Hall upped its London Plan for 66,000 new homes a year across London to meet housing market demands.
Its was boosted to 1,500 homes with six tower blocks, one now stretching to 46 storeys, first revealed by the East London Advertiser in April 2018.
This led to protests by families on Millwall's Barkantine estate who were later hit by clouds of dust last summer when the old buildings were being bulldozed, fearing they were in for seven years of pollution and noise.
One family hit by dust was the Coopers in Starboard Way, off Tiller Road. Five-year-old Freddy Cooper had croup seven times since demolition work began, according to his mum, and had to use a respiratory inhaler to get through the day after being diagnosed by Barkantine GP practice.
Objectors including councillors are set to address tonight's hearing at 6.30 at the town hall after the inspector agreed to a request for a special evening session to hear the developers' appeal against the council's rejection, after Mace Developments asked the planning inspector to decide the application with the Secretary of State having 'called in' the expanded proposals.
Tower Hamlets Mayor John Biggs said: "It's important that the decision on the proposed Westferry printworks development considers the impact on the community.
"We know that many more homes are needed across London. But we need to be sensitive with decades of continual population growth on the Isle of Dogs to make sure developments are appropriate in population hotspots.
"The proposals also fall short of providing the affordable homes that we need.
"The developers' appeal should not be allowed."
Population on the Isle of Dogs is set to rise by another 40,000 in the next 10 years, adding fears that gas, water, drainage and public transport won't cope.
The printworks scheme provides "minimal public benefit", say protesters, because of its height, density, impact on wildlife in the former Millwall Docks and pressure on public transport, water and gas mains.
Site owner Richard Desmond's Northern & Shell media conglomerate had the green light for the initial scheme, which campaigners claimed was "rushed through" in Boris Johnson's last week as London mayor.
The plans include a secondary school for 1,200 pupils, community and health centres, two parks and a dockside promenade with restaurants, bars and shops.
East London Advertiser linked stories from 2018: