Tower Hamlets council gives go-ahead for demolition of Robin Hood Gardens in Poplar

Controversial plans to demolish Robin Hood Gardens in Tower Hamlets were given the go ahead but a historic school nearby may still be saved from the bulldozers.

The strategic development committee last night gave the go-ahead for the 1960s housing estate to be torn down, ending a piece social housing history, to make way for up to 1,575 new homes.

But councillors on the committee requested plans to demolish nearby Woolmore Primary School, as part of the proposals for Blackwall Reach, were reconsidered.

It came after local historian and former school teacher Tom Ridge told the committee the building is one of the best examples of neo-Georgian schools build by the London County Council between 1912 to 1918. English Heritage also opposed its demolition.

It is understood the council’s department for Children, Schools and Families will now have the opportunity to appoint an architect to develop plans for the school, in collaboration with the school, which will then have to come back to the committee.

Mr Ridge said after the meeting: “The committee was concerned and listened. The future of the school is now back in the hands of the school governors, teachers and children. They now have a chance to consider whether to keep most of the building, refurbish it and extend it.”

The scale of the housing scheme was reduced from 23 to 15 storeys.

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Mr Ridge said: “In my view that is still far too high given how near it is to the All Saints Church. The present view of the church will be completely ruined.”

Around 700 of the planned homes will be for social rent and shared ownership.

The council’s acting director or Development and Renewal, Jackie Odunoye, said: “The provision of essential new community facilities and fit-for-purpose homes has taken a major step closer to becoming a reality.”

The outline application will now go to the London Thames Gateway Development Corporation and the Greater London Authority for approval.

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