Treasury Minister David Gauke tours Isle of Dogs to see massive scale of development for himself
PUBLISHED: 18:36 13 February 2017 | UPDATED: 19:16 13 February 2017
The Chief Treasury Secretary got an eyeful of just what the overcrowding problem is in London's East End where planning development "overdrive" aims to treble the crammed population of the Isle of Dogs in the next 10 years.
David Gauke was invited by the Isle of Dogs Neighbourhood Forum to see the massive scale of home-building that will send the 40,000 population of the two-square miles to well over 100,000 by 2027—but without enough utilities, transport or roads to cope.
There are only two roads onto The Island, just one branch of the DLR linking it to the rest of east London and a pedestrian tunnel to Greenwich.
Members of the Forum—who are calling for Whitehall cash from the new national Infrastructure Fund to be ploughed into the area—took Mr Gauk to the Attic Bar on the 48th floor of Pan Peninsular Tower at South Quay, from where he could see the scale in one panoramic view.
“We pointed out massive developments like Galliards in Millharbour, Wood Wharf and Westferry Printworks,” Forum secretary and Isle of Dogs councillor Andrew Wood told the East London Advertiser. “It’s hard to know just how much is going on without seeing it for yourself.
“We’re not against new homes. But if you’re going to add more and more into this tiny area then we need infrastructure—and someone has to pay for it.”
There are already 31,000 new homes in the pipline—but the Forum says even if the development stopped at that level, The Island would need help.
Mr Gauk, who was accompanied by the Mayor of Tower hamlets, could see at least 30 high cranes visible from the bar.
The tour follows a packed meeting at the nearby Jack Dash community centre on Wednesday when families, local councillors and the Mayor warned the government that “enough is enough”.
The government had “no idea” that developers were cramming so much into The Island, hemmed in by Canary Wharf and the loop in the Thames, the meeting heard.
Forum chairman Richard Horwood told the Advertiser: “The Isle of Dogs is being turned into a massive residential neighbourhood, more dense than Manhatten—it’s going to be ‘Hong Kong in East London’, but without the infrastructure to support it.”
Mayor John Biggs pledged to call for immediate Whitehall funding and for future mass development to be spread to other parts of London to take the pressure off the Isle of Dogs.
Demolition began today at one of the development sites, the 15-acre former Westferry printworks, which got planning permission last August for 700 homes and a new secondary school, as well as restaurants, bars, shops, healthcare and a community centre.