Rejection of plans to redevelop historic stable block is ‘a big step in the right direction’

Swan Wharf in Dace Road.

Swan Wharf in Dace Road. - Credit: Archant

The rejection of plans to redevelop an historic stable block has been ‘cautiously’ welcomed by heritage campaigners.

Campaigner Tom Ridge

Campaigner Tom Ridge - Credit: Archant

Developer, the Anderson Group, wanted to demolish a rear courtyard and build two blocks of flats next to the site of a former Edwardian multi-storey stable block in Swan Wharf, Dace Road, Old Ford.

The plans saw 17 objections from neighbours concerned about overcrowding, overshadowing and the loss of a stableyard within the Fish Island and White Post Lane conservation area.

One objector complained the design was ‘bland, uninteresting and obtrusive’ and that it would ‘dominate and diminish’ the area.

Tower Hamlets Council also weighed in against the development over a lack of affordable homes.

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Heritage campaigners from groups including SAVE Britain’s Heritage, the Canal and River Trust and East End Waterway Group (EEWG) feared the plans would get the green light.

But London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) planning committee threw out the bid in a meeting at the end of January citing concerns over heritage, pressure on services, loss of business space and insufficient parking.

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However, the EEWG’s Tom Ridge said on Thursday: “This is not a triumph, but it is a big step in the right direction in keeping more of the East End’s disappearing heritage. The stable is an important part of our industrial heritage.

“It’s a big step, but it could be so easily thrown into reverse.”

That’s because neighbours and campaigners fear the developer will go to the government’s Planning Inspectorate to appeal the decision.

An Anderson Group spokesman said: “We are understandably disappointed with the result, especially given the seven-year journey that we have been on with the LLDC in ensuring this scheme meets their ambitions for the area.

“We remain confident of the true benefits of the proposals and are currently in the process of considering our options. “Relevant stakeholders will be notified when a decision has been made.”

The three-storey block housed up to about 117 horses. It was built between 1906 and 1912 for Charles and Alfred Knifton’s carting business which traded as Henry Crane who established Swan Wharf in 1901.

Its yellow brick facade and blue stone window surrounds were particularly striking features, Mr Ridge said.

The Planning Inspectorate said that to date it has not received an appeal.

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