Residents First

Tower Hamlets People Network

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November 23rd, 2013

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Whilst the application is likely to go to the Development Committee (having been withdrawn in March 2012) we need as many letters as possible, restating our objections to blocks A, B and C.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

WW LogoEast End Waterway Group


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

WW LogoEast End Waterway Group



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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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

WW LogoEast End Waterway Group


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

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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 [email protected] – 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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These pictures were taken yesterday (Sunday 15th January 2012) at Underwood Road in Whitecahapel. The 1911 cottage at the former Jewish Maternity Hospital has been demolished by social landlord/developer Peabody. Below are some comments we have received. Read many more on Facebook

I shall never look on Peabody in the same way again.

How very, very sad (which is putting it mildly).

You must be heartbroken
After all your hard work

I cannot believe that Peabody and LBTH allowed this to happen


Thank you so much for your campaign

I supported it in ways I could

I am just stunned this actually happened

What a world

This is incredibly sad, not to say outrageous. Is there any form of legal or moral redress?

Regret that the cottage has been demolished and powers to be thought our case was not strong enough to save the cottages we all strived to retain and our efforts were not enough, due mainly to the other factors involved. As expressed by Peabody Trust letter, and also not listed by English Heritage, and not in a Conservation area, also lack of enthusiasm after its closure in 1939.

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


January 16th, 2012

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Former Jewish Maternity Hospital On-line Petition

Hi sign this

We the undersigned petitioners ask Peabody to keep and convert the front parts of 22 & 24 Underwood Road as a small but important remnant of the former Jewish Maternity Hospital and as a memorial to the pioneering achievements of Alice Model MBE.



** Please check your email inbox to confirm **

**your signature**

573 signatures

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Plus 145 hard copy

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January 10th, 2012

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