East End Waterway Group Newsletter No. 8
Local residents, schools, community groups, amenity societies and businesses working with British Waterways, Tower Hamlets Council and others for the protection and beneficial use of the six mile waterway ‘ring’, its historic buildings, structures and habitats.
307 LOST AND GONE FOREVER
The Council’s October 2009 designation of the Limehouse Cut Conservation Area was quashed by Mr. Justice Ouseley in the High Court on Wednesday, 9 February 2011. His judicial review of the designation took place over three days in November 2010, but his 46-page judgment was not issued until 4 February 2011. The review was initiated by Telereal Trillium and its ending of the conservation area effectively allowed them to demolish the former Poplar Employment Exchange at 307 Burdett Road. Demolition contractors started work on 17 February 2011, using a valid demolition notice from 2010.
Richard Buxton Environmental and Public Law, together with Alex Goodman QC, worked pro bono to stop the demolition and allow the Council to appeal against the quashing order. Unfortunately, Mr. Justice Ouseley had also ordered that, should there be an appeal, the Council would have to pay Telereal Trillium’s alleged security costs of Â£5,000 per week (during the several months it would take before the appeal was heard in the Court of Appeal). For this and other reasons, the Council eventually decided not to appeal.
Accepting the tragic loss of the former Poplar Employment Exchange, the Council was going to redesignate the Limehouse Cut Conservation Area, without 307 Burdett Road. However, on Monday, 9 March 2011, Telereal Trillium obtained a legal injunction preventing the Council from taking such a decision. Consequently, the Council is now having to carry out another public consultation. And officers have to submit a new report to Cabinet. Hopefully, it will not have the sort of minor defects which allowed Mr Justice Ouseley to quash the otherwise lawful 2009 designation.
PROPOSED NEW LIMEHOUSE CUT CONSERVATION AREA
Although the new conservation area will not include the one building associated with George Lansbury MP for Bow and Bromley (the northern part of the former Metropolitan Borough of Poplar) and First Commissioner of Works and Public Buildings (1929-1931), there are still several buildings along London’s oldest canal (and the adjoining part of the River Lea) to remind us and future generations that Poplar was part of the largest waterside industrial area in London, when London was the largest industrial city in the world and the greatest port in the world.
The Limehouse Cut must also be protected as part of the Borough’s unique six-mile waterway ring. Fortunately, most of the Hertford Union Canal is in the Victoria Park Conservation Area; the Regent’s Canal (from the Hackney boundary to Limehouse Basin) is in the Regent’s Canal Conservation Area; and Limehouse Basin is in the Narrow Street Conservation Area.
We must all, therefore, support the Council’s proposed new Limehouse Cut Conservation Area. The six-week consultation period has already started and ends on 29 May 2011. The new Character Appraisal and Management Guidelines document is an extended version of the previous document. See the document (and boundary plan) on the Council’s website here. Paper copies are also available in the Planning Reception at the Town Hall and in local libraries and Idea Stores).
Email your comments to [email protected]
or write to
LBTH Development Design and Conservation, Mulberry Place (AH), PO Box 55739, 5 Clove Crescent, E14 2BY
Also, please do your best to attend the:
PUBLIC MEETING 7 pm – 8.30 pm
Wednesday, 25 May 2011
Room M73 Town Hall Mulberry Place
5 Clove Crescent E14 2BG
PUBLIC INQUIRY FEBRUARY 2011
As well as seeking a judicial review of the Council’s October 2009 designation of the Limehouse Cut Conservation Area, Telereal Trillium appealed to the Planning Inspectorate against the Council’s refusal to grant planning permission for the demolition and replacement of the former Poplar Employment Exchange at 307 Burdett Road. The five-day inquiry was held at the Town Hall on 1, 2, 3, 4 and 8 February 2011 (see EEWG newsflash 5 February 2011).
As one of the Council’s main reasons for refusal was the fact that 307 made a positive contribution to the conservation area, we thought the inquiry should have been held after Mr. Justice Ouseley’s judgment on the legality of the Council’s October 2009 designation of the conservation area. In the event, his 46-page judgment was released on the fourth day of the five-day inquiry.
All parties await the Inspector’s decision, but the preemptive demolition of 307 leaves the Inspector with only one choice: to permit the erection of the proposed replacement building or leave the site vacant. Furthermore, as part of the proceedings at such inquiries, the Council and Telereal Trillium have agreed on the conditions to be attached to a planning permission should this be granted by the Inspector.
PLEASE SUPPORT THE COUNCIL’S NEW LIMEHOUSE CUT CONSERVATION AREA TO ENSURE THAT
- ITS SURVIVING HISTORIC WATERSIDE BUILDINGS ARE KEPT AND ADAPTED FOR REUSE
- NEW BUILDINGS OUTSIDE ITS BOUNDARIES PRESERVE THE SETTING OF THE NEW CONSERVATION AREA
1934 DATE BLOCK SAVED
At our request, and with the support of Jim Fitzpatrick MP, Telereal Trillium instructed the demolition contractors to save the building’s 1934 date block. The block was carefully salvaged, and together with the contemporary Dod Street sign, was collected by senior planning officers and delivered on Wednesday, 27 April 2011, to the Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives on Bancroft Road.
As a public building designed and erected by His Majesty’s Office of Works, the Dod Street wall of the former Poplar Employment Exchange contained a moulded terracotta date block, bearing the opening date of 1934, and the King George V monogram with crown.
In February 2011, British Waterways Marinas Ltd applied to the Council for a CERTIFICATE OF LAWFUL DEVELOPMENT on the grounds that:
- proposed water taxi moorings are permitted development (see Newsletter No 7)
- proposed additional leisure moorings accord with the layout attached to a 1994 section 106 agreement between the former London Docklands Development Corporation and British Waterways Board.
The Council has still to decide to grant or refuse the certificate. One of the many issues is whether or not BWML should have to carry out an environmental impact assessment. We believe that at the very least there should be an assessment of noise and pollution impacts on the whole of Limehouse Basin and the Limehouse Cut and the River Lea (the water taxis are to run between the Basin and the Olympic Park). All we know is that there are to be six water taxis moored in front of the four blocks of flats known as Marina Heights; and that BWML’s consultants say that there is no requirement for an environmental impact assessment.
As stated in previous newsletters, we are in favour of an Olympic boat service in 2012, provided that the boats or taxis are fitted with hybrid engines to minimise noise and pollution. And that instead of trip boats or party boats disturbing residents and destroying the relative peace and quiet of the Borough’s waterways, there should be a two-way (daytime) public passenger boat service for local residents and tourists around the six-mile waterway ‘ring’ in Tower Hamlets.
Unfortunately, the planners can only operate within the constraints of the planning system, and it is up to the Mayor and Councillors of Tower Hamlets to tell BWML (and others) that they do not want noise and pollution on the Borough’s waterways. But do want a daytime public passenger boat service as part of the Olympic legacy.
EAST END WATERWAY GROUP
PATRON JIM FITZPATRICK MP POPLAR AND LIMEHOUSE