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Borough's stark divides revealed in 'deprivation' levels ranked by postcode

PUBLISHED: 12:00 28 October 2019 | UPDATED: 15:22 28 October 2019

Aspen Way is all that separates Canary Wharf from some of Tower Hamlets' most 'deprived' postcode areas. Picture: Mike Brooke

Aspen Way is all that separates Canary Wharf from some of Tower Hamlets' most 'deprived' postcode areas. Picture: Mike Brooke

Mike Brooke

More than 40 neighbourhoods in Tower Hamlets are among the 20pc most "deprived" in the country, according to government figures.

The area around Leven Road in Poplar has been ranked at number 2,763 of 32,844 areas in England suffering from high levels of deprivation.

Statistics by the Ministry of Housing and Local Government classed huge swathes of Poplar, Limehouse and Shadwell among the 20pc most hard-up in the country - a stone's throw from the "least deprived" zones, including Canary Wharf.

In some areas, including part of Blackwall & Cubitt Town, government data suggests living conditions have worsened since 2015.

Our interactive map and postcode tool shows how deprived your area is considered to be compared to the rest of the England.

Community stalwart Sister Christine Frost says young people in Poplar need better training opportunities. Picture: Mike BrookeCommunity stalwart Sister Christine Frost says young people in Poplar need better training opportunities. Picture: Mike Brooke

Sister Christine Frost, who runs the Neighbours in Poplar volunteer network supporting vulnerable people in the community, said sky-high rents, the roll-out of universal credit zero-hours contracts were exacerbating difficulties locally.

She said: "Poverty isn't easy to spot because people are very proud, and rightly so. People don't want to be described as poor unless you're going to do something practical about it.

"There are so many things that need to be done in Poplar. Young people are constantly surrounded by drug activity, which makes it harder, and our dreams and aspirations are not as high as they should be."

Citing new developments such as Wood Wharf, which have proclaimed they will bring 20,000 new jobs to the area, she said the level of training locally was not up to scratch.

She added: "I don't know what people who live here and are born here - not just people whose address is E14 - are being offered.

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"If you're near Aspen Way or the DLR you see trains of cars coming into Canary Wharf every day, like cattle cars, full of people - but it's not local people coming to those jobs.

"A lot of what's done is tokenistic and a lot more can be done."

Oban House in E14, which is classed as among the 10pc most deprived areas in England. Picture: Polly HancockOban House in E14, which is classed as among the 10pc most deprived areas in England. Picture: Polly Hancock

The government's statistics combine levels of low income, unemployment, education, health, crime, barriers to housing and the quality of the local environment.

The most deprived neighbourhood borders on the River Lea in Poplar and includes Leven Road and Oban Street.

Lansbury ward Cllr Kahar Chowdhury, who grew up in Poplar, said: "The private sector could do more, especially providing work placements. They do work with schools to some extent and we hear local success stories, but not a great deal and there could be more."

An area off Old Bethnal Green Road also ranked among the 10pc most deprived in England at 3,968.

Aspen Way is all that separates Canary Wharf from some of Tower Hamlets' most 'deprived' postcode areas. Picture: Mike BrookeAspen Way is all that separates Canary Wharf from some of Tower Hamlets' most 'deprived' postcode areas. Picture: Mike Brooke

Cllr Kevin Brady, who represents St Peter's Ward, said: "I'm not surprised to see this. Although Tower Hamlets has, since 2004, moved from having 55pc of its neighbourhoods in the 10pc most deprived to only 1.4pc now, we still have worryingly high levels of deprivation.

"An influx of wealthier residents into the borough doesn't change the difficult circumstances many residents are experiencing after years of Tory austerity.

"Public services are at breaking point. We need the government to step up and address the severe deprivation that blights too many of our residents.'

The most comfortably-off area in Tower Hamlets was identified in the south of the Isle of Dogs off Westferry Road, which includes Burrel's Wharf Square and St David's Square.

The area around Spirit Quay in St Katherine's & Wapping was also ranked among the 10pc least deprived - separated by two roads from one of the 20pc "most deprived" neighbourhoods surrounding St George's Gardens.

Other prosperous neighbourhoods were mostly found along the riverbank in the Isle of Dogs and Wapping.

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