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Public pressure sees housing plans rejected at Tower Hamlets

PUBLISHED: 13:00 24 September 2009 | UPDATED: 14:56 05 October 2010

By Else Kvist People power prevailed at the Town Hall last night as councillors were persuaded to reject plans to build blocks, up to seven storeys high, on two East End estates. It was the second tim

By Else Kvist

People power prevailed at the Town Hall last night as councillors were persuaded to reject plans to build blocks, up to seven storeys high, on two East End estates.

It was the second time councillors on the development committee at Tower Hamlets Council rejected the plans by East End Homes to provide 181 residential units, following protest from residents. Under the plans existing bedsits and flats would be demolished at Eric and Treby Estates in Mile End while others would be refurbished.

But a heated debate broke out as planning officer failed to persuade some members that it would be best to reject the plans on the ground of the loss of green space only.

Shouts of "Shame, pure fascism, and death of democracy" could be heard from the public gallery as the chair, Cllr Shafiqul Haque, refused to let cllr Tim Archer propose an amendment.

The unrest let the chair to adjourn the meeting, but after a short break cllr Haque gave in to public pressure to let the deputy leader to the Tory opposition speak.

Cllr Archer suggested that three other concerns, the lack of social housing, loss of car parking, and objections to the design and amenities were also put forward.

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Stephanie Eaton and Labour councillor Shahed Ali voted with Archer to see the amendment carried.

Spontaneous clapping broke out in the gallery followed by shouts of "Well done!"

Planning officers had argued that the loss of green space would provide a stronger argument for refusing the plans. They warned that including three "weaker" arguments, which could not be sufficiently backed up by planning policies, could leave the council open to a legal challenge.


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