East End Waterway Group – Newsflash
NEWS FLASH 12 July 2011
As part of the Borough’s consultation on its LOCAL DEVELOPMENT FRAMEWORK, there is a Fish Island Area Action Plan, which has to be commented on by 15 July 2011. This newsflash therefore includes Tom Ridge’s latest submssion on behalf of the group. Please read. It would also help if you would please add weight by sending in your supporting comments to [email protected].
Fish Island is the only place in the Borough’s LDF where the buildings which contribute to its particular sense of place have been identified. It is all the more tragic therefore that four of those buildings have been demolished.
FISH ISLAND AREA ACTION PLAN – SUBMISSION ON BEHALF OF EAST END WATERWAY GROUP
DEMOLITION OF BUILDINGS OF TOWNSCAPE MERIT
Four of the buildings shown but not labelled on Fig 6.1 Heritage assets (also shown and labelled in the Fish Island CA character appraisal and management guidelines document November 2009) have been demolished:
- three buildings between CA and Hackney Cut by Formans for their proposed Olympic Hospitality Venue.
- Lea Tavern White Post Lane for six-storey building with ground-floor restaurant (PA/10/01728) permission granted 26 January 2011
Of the three buildings demolished by Formans, the single-storey, twin-roofed building is seen on the left of the photograph of the front cover of the action plan. It could have been retained and incorporated in the proposed venue. It is clear from the file that the planning officer dealing with the case simply accepted the fact that the buildings had been demolished and showed no awareness of the fact that they were of “townscape merit” (CA doc Nov 2009).
The demolition of the Lea Tavern is particularly tragic as it had a long history of being identified as worthy of retention. Its inclusion in the CA doc. November 2009 was simply the most recent, but in many ways the most important as it was a key building in the proposed WHITE POST LANE CA:
This proposed CA must be designated as soon as possible and in the meantime PLANNING OFFICERS MUST BE MADE AWARE OF THE PROPOSAL AND THE FEW SURVIVING BUILDINGS OF TOWNSCAPE MERIT. Most of which are now covered in grafitti.
PUBLIC REALM IMPROVEMENTS
In this connection, it is to be hoped that the public realm improvements at G respect the surviving walls of the distillery where petrol was first produced in this country. And at F, they respect the surviving remnants of historic walls in the boundary walls of the Hamlet Industrial Centre on the NW corner of Hertford Union Canal and the Hackney Cut.
F includes the ROACH ROAD BRIDGE which is a superb example of a poorly designed fort bridge with ugly gabions. It is particularly tragic that British Waterways have taken a steer from this bridge and also employed gabions in its new ramp from White Post Lane to the Hertford Union Canal towpath.
Clearly, we need to know more about these “public realm improvements”, especially the ones listed on page 64 and along Dace Road/Old Ford Lock (C). The “artistic gateway” to the locks actually detracts from the character and charm of this special space. It is to be hoped that there is no more public art, nor indeed any more bridges. There is already a perfectly good, plain honest footbridge over the locks and another over the River Lea to the River Lea towpath.
CONNECTING FISH ISLAND
On Fig 2.2 the latter place is one of five places with “scope for new crossings” over waterways. Most are not needed and the considerable expenditure involved would not be justified:
OPTIONS 3, 4a and 4b completely ignore the fact that LB Tower Hamlets built the WANSBECK ROAD BRIDGE in the 1970s, following the severance of this north-east corner of the borough by the East Cross Route. It is a very good connection over the Hertford Union Canal and has not even been shown on the various figures in the action plan – possibly as a consequence of having the western boundary drawn along its route.
Option 5 “new all-modes bridge on Rothbury Road” is in fact the excellent WHITE POST LANE BRIDGE of 1904-05 linking White Post Lane with Carpenter’s Road. It appears to be currently undergoing renovation.
OPTION 7a Contractors are already on site. It is going to be far too close on the eastern side to the middle of the three crane ramps (which have been sympathetically retained within the British Waterways’ towpath enhancement). And looks as if it will be far too close to the retained circular red-brick chimney shaft.
OPTION /B and vehicular part of OPTION 19 A second and wider bridge at this location would be the ruination of this part of Fish Island. Fully support FISH ISLAND EAST as a residential area with a new school but it will have a more than adequate vehicular link with the borough via the refurbished White Post Lane Bridge and the existing WANSBECK ROAD BRIDGE.
OPTION 8 Not needed especially given its proximity to the bridge about to be built at 7a
OPTION 9 “Lea crossing at Bow Locks” is in fact Hackney Cut crossing at Old Ford Locks and is not needed for the reasons already given. The foot bridge is narrow and cyclists must be barred from using it. They can and must be made to use the bridge about to be built at 7a.
With respect to some of the non-waterway options:
OPTION 11 Completely pointless – it is but a short walk or ride to the start of the Greenway on the east side of Wick Lane or to option 12
OPTION 12 Fully support this and have done so for some years. Must include more wildflower meadow as on Greenway and seating for contemplation of site of the old ford across the River Lea
OPTION 14 This is also a dangerous road for vehicle users.
OPTION 15 There is no towpath on the west side of the Lea Navigation (Hackney Cut to Old Ford Locks and River Lea from near Old Ford Locks to boundary at mainline railway embankment. Nor should there be.
OPTION 16 Being carried out by British Waterways
OPTION 17 Towpath along east side of Lea Navigation (Hackney Cut) has just been upgraded by British Waterways. There is no towpath along the west side of River Lea. Nor should there be.
We are very disappointed that despite representations re scoping report (8.9.10) there is nothing in the action plan about passenger movement on the waterways. Nor about a marina/water activity centre in Fish Island East
WASTE TO ENERGY FACILITY
We are completely opposed to the proposed WASTE TO ENERGY FACILITY anywhere in FISH ISLAND or TOWER HAMLETS. Especially as there is no information whatsoever about the proposed facility.
Tom Ridge on behalf of East End Waterway Group
12 July 2011