Residents First

Tower Hamlets People Network


Last Autumn we sent out a news flash with the Inspector’s 26th October decision to dismiss an appeal against the Councils refusal to grant planning permission for two three story houses at Bridge Wharf, Old Ford Road.

Despite this, or as a direct result, there is now another application for development on this protected open space. My own view is that in light of the Inspectors decision should not have been validated by the planners. (See application here)


The attached letter of objection has been written on behalf of the EEWG. As always, their has to bee at least 20 objections for the application to be determined by a committee of Councilors rather than planners acting under delegated powers.


We really need more than 20 to make sure that the application is refused with sufficiently robust reasons to guard against another appeal.


Please send your individual objections, with reference to the character and appearance of the two conservation areas to Mumtaz Shaikh ( as soon as possible and ideally before 28th August 2012.


This is the deadline for for comments but as a rule they are accepted after that date. Even so, please do your best

Tom Ridge



Letter of objection

Inspector’s 26th October decision

New planning application PA/12/02010

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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.

August 27th, 2012

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Please share with others who are interested in preserving our local architectural heritage.

Can you please attend the Developement Committee meeting at the Town Hall tomorrow at 7.00 pm. To suport the limiting of the  proposed Bellway development which includes the Limehouse Accumulator Tower.

By way of explanation see below an email to our patron Jim Fitzpatrick MP.

Tom Ridge

East End Waterway Group

FYI Letter to Nasser Farooq (PDF Download) –  re Hydraulic Accumulator Tower


Dear Jim,

Development Committee Wednesday , 22nd August item 7.2 Land at Commercial Road, Basin Approach, London (PA/12/00925 ).

Eastend Waterway Group objected to this application but is not named in the report and the points made are not fully or properly addressed. Malcolm Tucker of GLIAS has registered to speak and I have registered to speak on behalf of the Eastend Waterway Group.

A copy of our letter 28 May 2012 was sent to you and the waterway champions. I attach a copy for your information. The EEWG is not objecting to the development but like GLIAS, thinks that proposed block C should be reduced to 4 storeys and that the railway arch in front of the Hydraulic Accumulator Tower must be safe guarded for use and access in connection with the publicly accessible tower.


Tom Ridge

August 21st, 2012

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Since sending your copy with the 3 June 2012 Newsflash, I have been making various amendments.  My apologies for this, but I was over-keen to have the guide available before the Olympics; and I also had to send a copy to the Planning Inspectorate as part of my “additional comments”.  These had to be in by 7 June 2012 in connection with British Rail’s appeal against Tower Hamlets Council refusal to grant planning permission for the demolition of the COAL-DROP VIADUCT at Mile End (see the section on Regent’s Canal in the waterway guide, and my letter on behalf of EEWG, both attached to the 3 June 2012 Newsflash), and its replacement by a speculative student hostel.

Tower Hamlets Council has kindly offered to print the guide, with a map of the six-mile ring and illustrations.  It will be a joint publication by Tower Hamlets Council and the East End Waterway Group.



From 1 October 2012, Fish Island and adjoining parts of Bow and Bromley-by-Bow will come under the LONDON
, as the local planning authority. Tower Hamlets Council is aiming to have its FIAAP approved by the Planning Inspectorate in September.  To achieve this, a public examination by an Inspector started on 18 July and will end on 25 July 2012, with the Inspector’s report due in September.  The January 2012 Newsflash included a copy of my FIAAP submission on behalf of the East End Waterway Group.  The submission stated that the action plan is unsound on the grounds of ineffective heritage planning and will remain so until:

  • the proposed White Post Lane Conservation Area has beendesignated by the LBTH.
  • all the buildings and structures identified as buildings oftownscape merit in the Fish Island CA document  (November 2009 – last page) have been added to the Local List.

The May 2012 FIAAP document (download from LBTH here) included a heritage assets map (page 70) which included a boundary for the proposed Conservation Area.  Earlier this month, LBTH produced a draft appraisal for the proposed White Post Lane CA (download from LBTH here).


As comments have to be made by 5 pm on 30 July 2012, I have commented on behalf of EEWG.  A copy is attached (see links below). Although I have responded on behalf of the Group it would be a great help should others also email their comments and support for the Group’s qualified welcome for the over-due designated of a White Post Lane CA (


During the first session of the public examination on 18 July 2012 I had to assure the Inspector that my EEWG comments would be made by the 30 July deadline.


I am also in the programme for the afternoon session on 24 July.


In addition to my written EEWG comments I will be meeting the author of the draft appraisal on 23 July 2012.

Tom Ridge



Comments on behalf of EEWG for the proposed White Post Lane Conservation Area (pdf)

Comments on behalf of EEWG for the proposed White Post Lane Conservation Area (Google docs)

White Post Lane Conservation Area Consultation – Have your say on the proposed designation of the Whitepost Lane Conservation Area (on LBTH website)

Fish Island Area Action Plan (FI AAP) and Managing Development – Development Plan Document (MD DPD) Submission and Examination (full documents on LBTH website)

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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.

July 23rd, 2012

Posted In: East End Waterway Group

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The London Fire Authority has tested a new fire engine route from the Grove Road car park, via the archway and the covered way alongside the former warehouse, to the application site at the western end of Bow Wharf.  Whilst the fire engine was able to negotiate this route, it took too long.  The Fire Authority has therefore issued a formal complaint and the applicants have been given the opportunity to address the problem.

They are likely to be presenting a solution in the very near future.  We therefore have a last chance to write more letters of objection, as soon as possible.

It has been pointed out to me that whilst I have written on behalf of EEWG, my letter(s) only count as one objection.  The Greater London Industrial Archaeology Society has recently written again to restate its objections to block B.

Whilst the application is likely to go to the Development Committee (having been withdrawn in March 2012) we need as many letters as possible, restating our objections to blocks A, B and C.

Please use my short restatement for objection (PDF download) on behalf of EEWG as a basis for your personal letter of objection.  The same form of words must be used to ensure that your letter is treated as a material planning consideration.  Cllr. Amy Whitelock is taking a strong interest in this case and has been told by planners that amenity issues raised by residents on the west bank of the Regent’s Canal are not “material planning considerations” as their properties are over 18 metres away from Bow Wharf.

Please send copies of your personal letter of objection (with PA numbers) to EEWG, and to all the Councillors in Bow West and Mile End & Globe Town, and all the Waterway Champions.


See self-explanatory EEWG letter (PDF Download) about a proposed Bellway development which includes the Limehouse Accumulator Tower.  GLIAS has also written, but we need at least 18 other letters of objection by 6 June to ensure that this application is determined by a committee of councillors.

Again, please send copies to EEWG, and to all the Councillors in Limehouse and all the Waterway Champions.




Network Rail has appealed against the Council’s refusal to grant planning permission for a speculative student hostel on the site of the redundant coal drop viaduct between the QMUL campus and the mainline railway from Liverpool Street.  The viaduct with its 25 arches is well seen from the Regent’s Canal and is featured on my forthcoming East End Waterway Guide.

We must try to persuade the Inspector to refuse the application so that a new application would include the retention of at least 5 arches near the canal.  I have to write an EEWG letter by 7 June.  GLIAS has already written about the viaduct’s historic significance (as the only surviving example of its particular type in London).  I will try and get my letter written asap and send it you in the next newsflash.

Tom Ridge

East End Waterway Group


Letter to Mary O’Shaughnessy (Google docs) – re Bow Wharf

Letter to Mary O ‘Shaughnessy (PDF Download)

Letter to Nasser Farooq (Google docs) – re Hydraulic Accumulator Tower

Letter to Nasser Farooq (PDF Download)

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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.

May 30th, 2012

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Following the withdrawal from the Development Committee meeting on 8 March, the applications did not go to the 5 April meeting: mainly because of ongoing negotiations re existing fire engine route, which is to be tested by a fire engine!

I understand that there will be another public consultation. In which case it is vital that as many local residents as possible write in again with their personal concerns but also on matters which are “material considerations”. For the difference between the two, please read the officer’s report which was going to the Development Committee meeting on 8 March.

As you read the attached letter to Mary O’Shaughnessy, you will also appreciate that it is vital for at least 20 local residents to object so that the applications are determined by a committee.

Please remember that although I am writing letters to the Council on behalf of EEWG, they are regarded as being from one resident only.  It would help, therefore, for short emails (with full postal address) in support of the attached EEWG letter to be sent to Mary O’Shaughnessy and copied to your local councillors.


Tom Ridge

East End Waterway Group

Downloads and Info
Letter to Mary O’Shaughnessy (on-line)
Letter to Mary O’Shaughnessy (PDF Download)
Applications from H2O UrbanPA/11/03371 and PA/11/03372 (withdrawn at Development Committee meeting 8 March)
Plan of site location

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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.


April 21st, 2012

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Today (Thursday) the Strategic Development Committee at LBTH will consider the Blackwall Reach planning application (PA-12-00001-2)

This application is going to Committee with LBTH planing officers recommendation for approval. This decision seems to indicate (as some of us suspected already) that some LBTH planers live in a bizarre Nania type land accessed through the back of a plan chest on the 5th floor of Anchorage House.

Along with concerns expressed by CABE, English Heritage, Twentieth Century Society, GLA and local residents groups (Millennium Green Trust, All Saints Church and Poplar Mosque & Community Centre) Thames Gateway Development Corporation officers are recommending that the portion of the Blackwall Reach development they are responsible for as the planing authority be refused. This is what they say…..RH Gardens

GLA has advised:-

….the proposal does not presently comply with the London Plan……. The principle of development at this density is not justified in terms of creating a sustainable community……

TFL say:-

The application indicates that Preston’s Road roundabout is currently operating at capacity and will be over capacity in future years as a result of this and other developments in the area. The report also suggests that Poplar High Street east will be very close to capacity.

CABE have indicated:-

In terms of the overall masterplan, CABE consider that there is a lack of clear logic in defining building blocks, spaces and routes. There are concerns that the open spaces will be fractured and overshadowed by the taller buildings and that the north-south route through the site could be detrimental to the quality of Cotton Street.

And English Heritage:-

We recommend that the Council seek amendments with regard to the scale and form of Blocks A1, B, C1, O and N and that additional detail is obtained at this stage, particularly with regard to these aspects of the development.

Twentieth Century Society:-

Re Woolmore School (to be demolished) – Despite the replacement fenestration, we consider main neo-Georgian part of this building makes a positive contribution to the townscape, and urge Tower Hamlets Planning Authority to reject plans incorporating its demolition

The Twentieth Century Society consider that the existing Robin Hood Gardens Estate have very high heritage significance and therefore strongly object to the proposed demolition.

So why are the unelected officers in Tower Hamlets so keen to get this through…..

This application was only submitted in January 2012 and LBTH, the applicants along with the HCA, have been pushing this through at speed in order to hopefully gain a positive recommendation prior to the introduction of the Mayor Boris’s Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) to help fund Crossrail. This new charge will be collected by the borough and is set at £35 per square metre of any new development.

From the report to LTGDC Developement Commttee 19 th March recommending refusal (full report download here  on the LTGDC’s Planning website)


10.1 This report has outlined all material planning considerations associated with this development and has focused on the area for determination by the Corporation. It is recognised that the delivery of affordable housing is a priority for the Borough and that this site is identified as a location for the delivery of housing led redevelopment. However, having balanced these local needs against the quality of accommodation being delivered, officers can draw no other conclusion other than that at the time of completing this report the scheme will not deliver adequate standards of residential amenity in the Blocks located in the Corporation’s Planning Functions Area. Specifically, and on the information provided in the application information and independent reviews, it is considered that Blocks J, K, M, N, P, O and Q will receive insufficient levels of daylight to be considered acceptable. Much emphasis has been placed on the detailed design of these development blocks, particularly through the controls within the Design Code. With this in mind, Members requested at the Committee Meeting of the 8th of March that it be demonstrated that it is possible to rectify the failures shown at outline stage in the detailed design at reserved matters stage. At the time of writing, no further information has been provided.


The proposal, by virtue of the inadequate levels of daylight and sunlight to blocks J, K, M, N, O, P, and Q, is considered to result in a substandard level of residential amenity to future occupiers and is therefore contrary to policy 7.7 of the London Plan 2011, policies DEV1 and DEV27 of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets Interim Planning Guidance (2007) for the purposes of development control, policy DM25 of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets Managing Development Plan Document (proposed submission version January 2012).


March 14th, 2012

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At about 1 pm on Thursday, 8 March 2012, I was informed that item 7.3 (Bow Wharf) had been withdrawn from the 8 March meeting of the Development Committee.

Nevertheless, we decided not to cancel our attendance at the meeting and 12 of us were there to hear the Chair state (without reasons) that item 7.3 had been withdrawn.

You will recall that my 29 November 2011 letter of objection included concerns about the serious inadequacy of the existing fire route from Grove Road to the western part of Bow Wharf. I understand that comments from the London Fire Authority were received by the Council on Tuesday 6 March, and I suspect it was the failure of last-minute efforts to make any necessary alterations that led to the last-minute withdrawal of item 7.3.

The application may go for determination at the next Development Committee meeting on 5 April 2012. So please keep a look out for the next Bow Wharf Newsflash and do your very best to attend and encourage others to do the same. Believe me, it really does make a difference. Next time will be decisive and we need 50 people to fill the public gallery.

It would also help for local residents near Bow Wharf to convey your concerns to your local councillors. One of dozens of issues is the ridiculously small consultation area – see online Development Committee agenda 8 March 2012.

Others issues concern the listed Stop Lock Bridge, for which there are two separate Listed Building Applications. As the proposed replacement water pipe on the east side of the bridge will no doubt be supplying water to the new homes on Bow Wharf, British Waterways should be removing it from the listed bridge and putting in a new water pipe from Grove Road or Wellington Road.

So much confusion now surrounds the H2O alterations to the bridge and its associated walls, the application (PA/11/03373) should be withdrawn and replaced by a more sympathetic set of proposals. And the new application should be determined as a separate item at the same meeting and after the determination of the H2O application for residential development.

Yours sincerely

Tom Ridge
9 March 2012

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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.

March 9th, 2012

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Further to my East End Waterway Group letter of 29 November 2011, objecting to the proposed residential development at Bow Wharf (PA/11/03371 and PA/11/03372).

The applications are going to the Development Committee on THURSDAY 8 MARCH with a recommendation to grant planning permission (item 7.3 PDF)


My 8-page letter of objection on behalf of EEWG has been reduced to a 6-line paragraph. And its points have either been passed over or inadequately addressed. For example, my concerns about the serious inadequacy of the existing fire route from Grove Road have
been ignored and the fire authority has not yet commented on the application.


I have asked to speak for 3 minutes, but there needs to be a good number of concerned residents in the public gallery for the committee members to defer or refuse the application. A leaflet is going out to residents on or near the canals this weekend.


Could you and others please come along. The meeting is at the Town Hall, Mulberry Place, and starts at 7 pm. But we need to be in the foyer at 6.30 pm to sign in and go up to Council chamber as a group.


It would also help if you could convey your concerns to your local councillors.

For more information please ring Tom Ridge (020 8981 7361).

Tom Ridge


March 6th, 2012

Posted In: East End Waterway Group, Uncategorized

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TFL would like your views on a package of proposed new Thames crossings in east and southeast London, which includes:

  • Gallions Reach Ferry. A new vehicle ferry at Gallions Reach which could replace the Woolwich Ferry;
  • Silvertown Tunnel. A new road tunnel at Silvertown

Details here .

Boris Johson claims a new road tunnel under the Thames linking Silvertown and Greenwich peninsula

“will be completed within a decade” he also argued for further investment in “a package of new river crossings for the east of the capital,” to “address existing congestion problems” and “enable future growth.”

Environmentalists have hit out at the plans to build a new road crossing. Friends of the Earth’s London Campaigner Jenny Bates said

“A new road tunnel and car ferry will bring misery to Londoners by creating more noise, more traffic and more pollution. If Boris Johnson wants to keep his pledge to make London the world’s greenest capital his transport policy needs to go in a different direction.”

What will the affect on Tower Hamlets be in future with even more traffic passing through our borough.

Why can’t Cross Rail take the strain. Park and ride from Plumstead to the City and Canary Wharf? Maybe not as Boris will not want to upset his voters in Bexley.

Have your say now as consultation ends Monday 5th March (Tomorrow) – email – on line consultation form here.



March 4th, 2012

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Having restarted work in the first week of January 2012, Peabody’s demolition contractors completed the demolition of the 1911 cottage at 24 Underwood Road on Friday 13 January 2012.



No amount of commemoration by Peabody will compensate for this shocking and needless destruction of a little building which meant so much to so many people. And as an affordable family home would have been a living memorial to a unique maternity hospital.


There are now only two historic Jewish welfare buildings which stand testament to that extraordinary outburst of vitality and creativity known as the Jewish East End. But the old people’s home in Mile End Road and the soup kitchen for the Jewish Poor in Spitalfields are relatively unknown and unloved buildings, compared to the pride of place which was embodied in the name “Mother Levy’s”.


The name and the remarkable history of the unique hospital run by women for women will live on in the history books about the East End but as built evidence and a living memorial for future generations to understand and appreciate the Jewish East End, and the East End as an historic point of arrival for migrants from Europe and indeed the whole World, Mother Levy’s is dead.
All the buildings at the former hospital are being demolished by Peabody, aided and abetted by officers in Tower Hamlets Council but against the  unanimous wishes of its elected Councillors.


All four hospital buildings on Underwood Road could and should have been adapted for residential use (with the utilitarian buildings at the back replaced by new homes). We began the campaign with this proposal but discovered that Peabody’s architects had already drawn up their plans for new buildings on the site of the former Jewish Maternity Hospital, which Peabody had purchased from Tower Hamlets Council in March 2011.


It was at this point that Dr Sharman Kaddish, as director of Jewish Heritage UK, made her compromise proposal for the retention of the two cottages and their conversion to family homes.


Our petition to Peabody was based on this proposal and signed by about 760 people, including Arnold Wesker and former MP Mildred Gordon and councillors from all four political groups on Tower Hamlets Council. Dozens of letters were written to Peabody’s Chief Executive, Stephen Howlett. They included letters from the chairs of the Jewish East End Celebration Society and the East London History Society, Cllr Rabina Khan, and Cllr Bill Turner, the secretary of SAVE Britain’s Heritage and Lord Janner of Braunstone QC.
Councillor Rabina Khan as lead member for Housing arranged meetings with Owen Whalley, Head of Planning in Tower Hamlets. At the full council meeting on 29 November 2011, Cllr Judith Gardiner proposed the Labour group’s motion calling on the Mayor to negotiate with Peabody, and Peabody to spare the cottages. The motion noted that Peabody has a duty to optimise the amount of housing it provides but also to protect the borough’s heritage. Cllr Peter Golds, Leader of the Conservative group, spoke in support.


John Penrose MP, Minister for Tourism and Heritage recommended engagement between the Campaign, Council and Peabody for an amicable settlement to keep the two cottages.


But Peabody was unmoved and in demolishing the oldest and most attractive part of the former hospital Peabody has committed the gross act of cultural vandalism which we all tried to prevent.


Tower Hamlets Council has the highest housing target in London and unless it formally identifies all its unlisted buildings which are heritage assets; and insists on their retention and adaptation by developers and housing associations, the borough will go on losing historical buildings capable of re-use. It is said that the Council has a list of 600 planned building sites for new housing. Most of the 600 sites will have existing buildings and doubtless many of them are unlisted buildings of some architectural and/or historic interest.


Although none of them are likely to have been loved as much as Mother Levy’s, her tragic death must signal a new start for Tower Hamlets.
The former Jewish Maternity Hospital was one of the very few redundant council buildings actually sold by Tower Hamlets Council.


Had the 2008 Planning Statement for the redevelopment of the former hospital been made available for public comment, an altogether more transparent process may well have resulted in the retention and adaptation of the two cottages.


Several years ago, Planning Statements for three redundant Tower Hamlets Council buildings were made available for public comment. As a matter of extreme urgency, all present and future council disposals must be subject to the same good practice. And as an integral part of this process, the Council must draw up a list of all unlisted heritage assets for retention and adaptation.


Tom Ridge 17 January 2012

You may wish to comment on the Save ‘Mother Levy’s’ Facebook page.


January 17th, 2012

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