Residents First

Tower Hamlets People Network


Peabody article here

(Details received from Peabody via email 25 October 2011 09:27)

from [email protected]

Proposed new build

to  “[email protected]

25 October 2011 09:27


Dear Mr Ridge

22-28 Underwood Road, E1 – Consultation Event – Monday 7th November 3pm-7pm

Peabody are currently finalising plans for a residential housing development at 22-28 Underwood. On 25th July 2011 a meeting was held to discuss our initial proposals. Since that time our design has progressed. We would therefore like to invite you to a consultation event to view our latest proposals and raise any questions or concerns that you may have.

The event will be held at The Osmani CentreCommunity Hall 2, 58 Underwood Road, E1 onMonday 7th of November from 3pm to 7pm.  It will be a drop-in event so please come along for as little or as long as you want.  Plans and sketches of the proposals will be available for you to view, and staff from Peabody and the project architects will be on hand to explain the proposals.

Peabody is one of London’s leading housing providers, owning and managing approximately 19,000 homes in the capital.  We manage a range of tenures including social housing, shared ownership, leasehold, and key-worker housing.  Peabody is committed to building and developing good quality, environmentally sustainable, affordable homes that foster economic and social regeneration, and engaging with our residents and the community to provide support services that reflect their needs.

If you are unable to visit the exhibition we will also be providing the development proposal documents online at – you can then make your comments to us by telephone, email or post.

If you have any questions regarding the exhibition or the proposed development please contact me on 020 7021 4834 or by email at  [email protected].

Yours sincerely

Zoe Moorhouse

and Underwood Road – see map here).


Proposed replacement from Peabody


  • as large family homes for rent, shared ownership or sale
  • as built evidence of the former Jewish Maternity Hospital (the only Jewish maternity hospital in England)
  • as a memorial to the pioneering achievements of Alice Model MBE
  • as a memorial to all the doctors and nurses who worked there and all the people born there between 1911 and ca. 1940.

‘(not)’ a unique instance of Jewish welware provision in the ‘East End’

  •  of course there were others, but this was the only maternity hospital and following the demolition of the London Jewish Hospital (Stepney Green) is now the only surviving former Jewish hospital in the East End


  • just because they were not sufficiently grand to be listed by English Heritage does not mean that they have little or no architectural interest. The four buildings on Underwood Road constitute a unique and attractive group of buildings, especially the two ‘cottages’. (see second open letter to Owen Whalley 12 October).


  • but point out that this would not be a substitute for at least retaining and converting the two ‘cottages’ as part of the scarce built evidence of the Jewish East End and of the fact that the East End is renowned as a historic point of arrival for migrants from all over the world.


  • Peabody could still demolish the other buildings but leave the two ‘cottages’ for conversion, and alter their plans and planning application accordingly.

Between now and 7 November, please sign and encourage others to sign the online petition and write to Peabody’s Chief Executive (see Campaign Newsletter No. 3).


25 October 201

October 25th, 2011

Posted In: Jewish Maternity Hospital, Uncategorized

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Comment

Former Jewish Maternity Hospital – Update 22 October

The former Jewish Maternity Hospital in Underwood Road, known affectionately as “Mother Levy’s”, was the only Jewish maternity hospital in England. Built in stages between 1911 and 1927 thanks mainly to the fund-raising efforts of Alice Model MBE, the former hospital includes four separate buildings on Underwood Road. Attractive, but not sufficiently grand to be listed by English Heritage, they and the utilitarian buildings at the back are to be torn down by Peabody Housing for a five-storey block of 33 flats for rent, shared ownership and sale on the open market.


This gross act of cultural vandalism was sanctioned by Tower Hamlets Council planning officers on 18 October. Peabody got this totally non-democratic but legal seal of approval by applying for what is called ‘prior notice of demolition’. It allows them to hold a so-called public consultation meeting in early November, demolish all the buildings and then submit a planning application for their proposed block of flats on the cleared site. With your readers’ help, I intend to go on fighting to save the two small ‘cottages’ at 22 & 24 Underwood Road. Each is practically ready made as a large family house and would represent the only Jewish maternity hospital in England and serve as a memorial to Alice Model MBE and all the people born there between 1911 and ca. 1940.


So far, my online petition to Peabody ( has been signed by about 250 people, including Sir Arnold Wesker (born JMH 1932) and Tower Hamlets Councillors Stephanie Eaton, Alibor Choudhury, Joshua Peck, Rachael Saunders, Gloria Thienel and Amy Whitelock.


As well as signing the petition, please write to Peabody’s Chief Executive ([email protected]), asking him to at least spare the ‘cottages’ and convert them to family houses for rent, shared ownership or sale. Send a copy to Tower Hamlets Head of Planning ([email protected]) and a copy to me ([email protected]). Letters already sent include letters from the Director of Jewish Heritage UK, the Chairs of the East London History Society and the Jewish East End Celebration Society, Tower Hamlets Cllr. Bill Turner, and the Secretary of SAVE Britain’s Heritage.


Tower Hamlets is fortunate to have the listed 1913 Jewish old people’s home in Mile End Road (now Albert Stern House) and the listed 1903 Soup Kitchen for the Jewish Poor in Brune Street, Spitalfields. Surely, we can at least keep the 1911 ‘cottage’ at 24 Underwood Road and the 1927 ‘cottage’ at 22 Underwood Road, as part of the scarce built evidence of the Jewish East End and of the fact that the East End is renowned as a historic point of arrival for migrants from all over the world.


Tom Ridge

22 October

October 23rd, 2011

Posted In: Uncategorized

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Comment





Possibly as a result of my second Open Letter to Owen Whalley (Tower Hamlets Head of Planning), the Council’s EnvironmentAL Impact Assessment Officer has considered whether or not Peabody’s proposed demolition requires an EIA.


According to EIA regulations, the demolition site must be in excess of half a hectare and contain one or more nationally listed buildings. The site at 22-28 Underwood Road fails on both counts, so the Council cannot require Peabody to carry out an EIA.

22 & 24 Underwood Road


It is more than likely that by 19 October this EIA ‘screening opinion’ will be issued with the Council’s approval of Peabody’s proposed demolition of all the buildings at 22-28 Underwood Road.


This will allow Peabody to go ahead with a totally non-democratic process including a so-called second public consultation in early November, quickly followed by the actual demolition of all the buildings and the submission of their planning application for the proposed redevelopment of the cleared site.

All the more reason to go on demanding that they keep and convert the two ‘cottages’ at 22 & 24 Underwood Road as part of the residential redevelopment – in line with the Council’s own 2008 planning statement (see Campaign Newsletter 11 October 2011) and growing public opinion:

  • Please write to Owen Whalley ([email protected]) asking him and his colleagues to at least recognise the historic importance of the two ‘cottages’ and do all that they can to persuade Peabody that the two ‘cottages’ should not be demolished and that their conversion to residential use should be included in Peabody’s forthcoming planning application. (Please send us a copy.)
  • Please write to Stephen Howlett ([email protected]) in support of Dr Sharman Kadish’s suggestion to keep and convert the two ‘cottages’, see Campaign Newsletter 11 October 2011. (Please send us a copy.)
  • Please sign and encourage others to sign our online petition, see Campaign Newsletter 11 October 2011.
  • Please attend and demand the retention and conversion of 22 & 24 Underwood Road at Peabody’s early November public consultation at the Osmani Centre, Underwood Road.

Although the two small ‘cottages’ are not nationally or locally listed they are unique and distinctive buildings and would represent the only surviving former Jewish maternity hospital in England and the pioneering achievements of Alice Model MBE.


The first Jewish maternity hospital, also in the East End, was established in the 17th or 18th century in Mile End Road as a lying-in hospital and hospital for poor Sephardic Jewish women. It changed into a home for the aged and infirm and it was for this purpose only that the sole surviving building was built 1912-13. Listed Grade 2 in 2010, this building was not a ‘hospital and alms houses for Sephardic Jews’ as stated incorrectly by English Heritage in its letter of 23 April 2010.


The London Jewish Hospital in Stepney Green was demolished in the 1980s. The former Jewish maternity hospital is therefore also the only surviving former Jewish hospital in East London.


Tower Hamlets is fortunate to have the listed former Jewish old people’s home in Mile End Road (now Albert Stern House) and the former Jewish soup kitchen in Spitalfields. We must therefore keep at least two small buildings from the former Jewish maternity hospital as an essential part of the built evidence of the Jewish East End.


TOM RIDGE (0208 981 7361)

October 21st, 2011

Posted In: Uncategorized

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Leave a Comment

The re-designation of the Limehouse Cut Conservation Area goes to the LBTH Cabinet this evening at 17.30.

It is the second item on the agenda so should be heard early in the proceedings. It would be good if people could spare the time to come to the meeting to show support in the Committee Room, 1st Floor, Town Hall, Mulberry Place at 17.30.

You can read the recommendations from officers below. Not totally ideal as 83 Barchester Street is missing from the List of Locally Listed Buildings. Quite possibly after comments from the owner found in the summary of comments here.

Leaside Regeneration and Harca made a lot of comments to protect their interests in regeneration. Poplar Harca subsequently withdrew their objections to the designation of the Conservation Area Following revision of the Conservation Area Character Appraisal (PDF) and Management Guidelines by officers.

Click image to enlarge

Full report details here (PDF) Full meeting details on LBTH website here

Cabinet is recommended to:-

2.1  Note the decision of the Judicial Review in the High Court, which whilst quashing  the original designation accepted that designation of the area as a Conservation  Area might be appropriate.

2.2 Note the responses to the public consultation considering the proposed  designation and the supporting Limehouse Cut Conservation Area Character  Appraisal and Management Guidelines.

2.3 Agree the Designation Statement at appendix C which sets out the special  character of the area. 2.4 Agree the designation of the Limehouse Cut Conservation Area, with boundaries  as indicated in the map at appendix A, including the transfer of land to include  Violet Road Bridge and a section of canal and landscaping to the front of Caspian  Wharf from the Langdon Park Conservation Area to the new Limehouse Cut  Conservation Area. [This land already has conservation area status, thus the status of this land remains unchanged, and the alterations are a prudent  rationalisation of boundaries because the canal and this small area of land are  more logically located within the Limehouse Cut Conservation Area].

2.5 Agree the amended boundaries to the Langdon Park Conservation Area to reflect  the suggested rationalization in paragraph

2.4. The revised boundaries of the  Langdon Park Conservation Area are shown in appendix B.

2.6 Agree the addition of the following buildings identified during the public  consultation to the List of Locally Listed Buildings within the Limehouse Cut  Conservation Area, Dowgate Wharf (22-23) Gillender Street, 24 Gillender Street,  Towpath House on Dod Street; Printers Gate on Dod Street; The Sail Loft on Dod  Street; and The Spice Store on Dod Street .

2.7 Adopt the attached draft Conservation Area Character Appraisal and Management  Plan at Appendix D which supports the proposed designation, setting out the  character of the Limehouse Cut, identifying those buildings which are to be Locally  Listed and putting forward proposals for the preservation and enhancement of the  Conservation Area.

August 3rd, 2011

Posted In: East End Waterway Group, Uncategorized

Leave a Comment


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.


Click image to download full PDF

Download Action Plan here



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.




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.



Fig 2.2 Click image for larger version


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



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


July 13th, 2011

Posted In: East End Waterway Group, Uncategorized

Leave a Comment


Share bid launched off starting blocks

Last week, the East London Community Land Trust launched a major membership drive. In just under a week over a hundred East Enders bought a share in East Londons most exciting community controlled developer, and many hundreds more look set to join, as trusted, local East London institutions pledged their support with the membership drive.

Over the next week local business leaders will be joining the land trust. “We believe that business supports the extension of affordable housing. We’re going to be asking local business leaders to show their support,” said land trust member, Nick Durie. “If we sustain this momentum, with your application for membership, and with your help in forwarding this email, we are certain to reach our target of 1000 new members in time for our AGM!”

East London Comunity Land Trust are bidding to buy the St Clement’s hospital site, in Mile End, so we believe now, more than ever, is a great time to join the land trust. We may soon be building homes in this community.
With the AGM coming up, in order to ensure your membership is processed in time to participate, we advise you to join before the 8th of August.

Why are people joining the East London Community Land Trust?

What our members say…
“Affordability is a big issue for us as it is for many in the Capital and I support this move to provide it. I have lived in the East End for 12 years and have been an active member of the local community around St Paul’s Shadwell.”

“I have grown up in various parts of the East End and since childhood noticed the difficulties people have in attaining decent accommodation.”

“I am a local resident living in cramped conditions due to the high cost of housing in Bow. I do not want to leave the area as my children (aged 11 and 14) love attending their school at Central Foundation Girls School, which is opposite St Clements Hospital. I want St Clements hospital to become a genuinely mixed community and to help support the building become an exemplar affordable, sustainable award-winning housing complex.”

“I am a strong supporter of the Community Land Trust model as being an effective and workable model for ensuring housing is available to everyone, no matter if they are on social rent, can afford to buy, or are in private rental housing. It offers the chance to build communities together, without leaving large sections of society behind (I think this counts for both those on low incomes, but also those on middle incomes who are not eligiable for tradtional models of help, but earn nowhere near enough to afford to buy, and who just get ripped off by private landlords)”

Membership is open to all East Enders. It costs just £1 to join, but members can stand for election, get a chance to move into a land trust home, and take part in the democratic stewardship of land. Members will receive a welcome pack, and share certificate, and will be posted regular updates through our newsletter, The St Clement’s Rider. Isn’t it time you joined?


July 12th, 2011

Posted In: Uncategorized

Leave a Comment


Homes for who

News from Tower Hamlets Tenants Federation

Tower Hamlets landlords were challenged at a conference on Saturday (9-7-11) to stop the rot, protect tenancies, rents and benefits, and build council and housing association homes for rent.

Over fifty tenants from thirty estates at the Tower Hamlets Tenants Federation conference heard that only one in five of new homes in the borough is really affordable and for rent.

Councillor Rabina Khan of Tower Hamlets Council, and Joan Murphy of Poplar HARCA (on behalf of the Tower Hamlets Housing Forum of the Borough’s 67 Registered Providers) were questioned on the loss of secure, genuinely affordable homes, new rents up to 80% of market rents, how housing benefit cuts will hit tenants, leaseholder charges, and whether tenants voices were really heard.

Joan Murphy said Poplar HARCA will charge 70% market rents for new one-beds, and slightly less for bigger new homes. They will also charge up to 80% market rents on a proportion of re-lets of existing homes. HARCA will maintain life-time assured tenancies even on these high-rent homes, she said. (more…)

July 11th, 2011

Posted In: Core Strategy, LBTH Cuts, Uncategorized


Leave a Comment

Join Thames21 and help us makeover a section of Limehouse Cut and improve the green space at Kiln Court in East London. Help us beautify these sites with planting, weeding and removing rubbish and graffiti, so everybody can enjoy it.

No experience necessary, just enthusiasm and willingness to get stuck in!

All equipment provided, please wear old clothes.Under 16s need to be accompanied by an adult.

Meet on the Limehouse Cut by the entrance of the canal on Commercial Road E14
For more information, contact Vicky D’Souza – [email protected] – 07827 852 599

May 16th, 2011

Posted In: Uncategorized

Leave a Comment


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.


As fully detailed in Newsletter No. 8, the Council is consulting on its proposed new Limehouse Cut Conservation Area. This supplement contains Tom Ridge’s email letter on the draft character appraisal and management guidelines. Please read the email letter (in conjunction with the draft document) and write or email by 29 May should you wish to support Tom Ridge’s formal requests to:

  • transfer the former Spratt’s Biscuit Works and Violet Road Bridge from the Langdon Park Conservation Area to the new Limehouse Cut Conservation Area
  • add the former Spratt’s Biscuit Works and six other buildings in the new Limehouse Cut Conservation Area to the Council’s local list and include them as locally listed buildings in the final document to be approved by Cabinet.

Also, please support or comment on the urgent need for a design code for sites adjacent to the waterspaces and the boundaries of the conservation area. And support or comment on some or all of Tom Ridge’s amendments to the draft character appraisal and management guidelines.

Download the Draft Character Appraisal and Management Guidelines here (PDF)
Download the Limehouse Cut Conservation Area Map here (PDF)
Limehouse Cut Conservation Area Designation Consultation on LBTH website


Vicki Lambert
Development Design and Conservation Officer
Mulberry Place (AH)
PO Box 55739
5 Clove Crescent
London E14 2BY
[email protected]
10 May 2011

Dear Vicki,


I am writing in support of the proposed new conservation area and to welcome the improved and extended character appraisal. Also to formally request that the former Spratt’s Biscuit Works and Violet Road Bridge are transferred from the Langdon Park Conservation Area to the new Limehouse Cut Conservation Area. Although included in a recent extension to the Langdon Park Conservation Area, the works and the bridge are separated from the latter by a railway embankment. Furthermore, the works was supplied mainly by barge, and the canalside elevation still bears evidence of the loading doorways and three examples of the company name.

And to formally request that the former Spratt’s Biscuit Works and the following buildings are locally listed, and appear as such in the final document to be approved by Cabinet:

  • former mid-1930s bonded warehouse at 24 Gillender Street
  • former 1880-81 still house at 23 Gillender Street
  • former c.1865 furniture factories, Dod Street (Towpath House and Printer’s Gate)
  • former 1872 provision warehouse, Dod Street (The Sail Loft)
  • former c. 1892 provision warehouse, Dod Street (The Spice Store)

As you know, PPS5 sets out a presumption in favour of the conservation of designated heritage assets. In this respect, I note that locally listed buildings in the Elder Street Conservation Area are considered to be designated heritage assets and are to be retained and refurbished. It seems to me only right and proper that exceptionally rare and important surviving buildings in the proposed Limehouse Cut Conservation Area should also be locally listed and protected as designated heritage assets.

The four buildings in Dod Street are described in the character appraisal and should more information be required for local listing, it may be found in my January 2009 report. The warehouse at 24 Gillender Street is fully described in the character appraisal; and there is plenty of information about Spratt’s at the Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives. However, the situation at 23 Gillender Street has been complicated by the 1994 English Heritage delisting of the “four-storey” building, in the mistaken belief that it was a boiler house.

As Malcolm Tucker states in his 12 April 2010 letter, only the two-storey parts are still listed. My research indicates that the “four-storey” building was built by a local builder as a new still house for the Four Mills Distillery, together with adjacent two-storey spirit store and two-storey bonded warehouse. Until its adaptation as a warehouse, the “four-storey” building was a windowless building providing a three-storey-high hall for distilling apparatus, heated by steam for the production of raw alcohol from fermented malt. The steam was raised in a single-storey boiler house with three boilers (demolished) served by a 140ft hexagonal chimney shaft (truncated). Although floors have been inserted in the three-storey-high hall and window openings inserted in the formerly blind tall recessed bays, this remarkable building is one of the few surviving representatives of the formerly important London distillery industry. Its national importance is enhanced by the complete survival of its adjacent two-storey spirit store and the partial survival of its two-storey bonded warehouse. As English Heritage is unlikely to be persuaded to reverse the 1994 delisting, I sincerely hope the Council will add the former still house to its local list, together with the other five named buildings.

As designated heritage assets, the former still house (with spirit store and bonded warehouse walls) and the former warehouse at 24 Gillender Street are more likely to be sensitively adapted for reuse. Especially now that such an excellent development is proposed for Sun Wharf (site currently occupied by three single-storey warehouses on the peninsula between the River Lea and Bow Creek).

I cannot end this section of my letter without reference to the totally disrespectful development right next to the listed former Bromley Public Library at 45 Gillender Street. Not only does it seriously harm the setting of the listed building but it harmed the setting of the original Limehouse Cut Conservation Area and will harm the setting of its proposed replacement. Clearly, your planning colleagues are going to need far more guidance than the fine words contained in the summary on page 19. In this respect, I am disappointed to see that the preparation of “a design code for sites adjacent to this waterspace” is still no more than a suggested priority for action (page 31). Given that the appraisal acknowledges past failures (pages 5 and 17), it is imperative that, in addition to the fine words in the summary, there is a clear statement on the necessity for all new developments in and adjoining the boundaries of the conservation area to fully respect the setting of the landsides as well as the watersides of the proposed Limehouse Cut Conservation Area. In this respect, I for one would ask that the preparation of a design code for sites adjacent to the waterspaces and the boundaries of the conservation area is made the number one priority for action, together with “identifying opportunity sites within and adjacent to the Conservation Area (page 26). On a more positive note, may I say how pleased I am that page 26 also includes reference to “a two-way passenger boat service” and the need to replace the “diagrammatic maps” provided by British Waterways.

I end my letter with the following amendments to the draft document.

  • page 6 line 1: change “Bow Locks to “Bromley Lock”
  • page 10 lines 23 and 24: to read “Containerspace Ltd (Nicholas Lacey and Partners)”
  • page 11 line 11: to read “John Currie and Co’s”
  • page 11 line 13: please insert after Bow Creek, “The tall building was the still house where pure alcohol or spirit was distilled. The adjacent two-storey building was the spirit store and the breached front wall is all that survives of the bonded warehouse.”

N.B. The twin-roofed former still house is mentioned on page 18

  • page 11 lines 17 and 18: move c.1930 to between “built” and “by”
  • page 12 Barchester Street change to 83 Barchester Street
  • page 12 line 7: delete “and was intended” and after joinery works, insert “but by 1931 was being used for the storage and packing of christmas crackers”.
  • page 12 line 10: delete “slightly later 1960’s building” and insert large c. 1956 extension”
  • page 12 line 13: delete “The style of this building is”
  • page 12 lines 14 and 15: move the rest of the sentence, preceded by “; and is” to page 13 line 5
  • page 13 line 7: insert after Violet Road Bridge “(original 1890 brick piers with 1971 box girders)”
  • page 13 lines 9-11: delete “whilst … Conservation Area” in line with transfer request at the start of my letter
  • page 13 line 16: after “c 1865” insert “by Charles Dunk of Burdett Road”
  • page 13 line 21: delete “are a rare survival of buildings built for that purpose” and insert “are the only surviving former large nineteenth century furniture factories in Tower Hamlets”.

N.B. all the other representatives are small workshops

  • page 13 line 23: insert “built” between “(1872)” and “by”
  • page 14 line 12: change “plan” to “plant”
  • page 14 line 15: insert “and appearance” between “character” and “of the”
  • page 14 line 22: delete “horse ramps”
  • page 14 line 26: delete “known as Bow Locks” and insert “Bromley Lock and the western of the two Bow Locks”.
  • Page 15 line 2: after “Mills” please insert “There were old tide mills on the peninsula between the River Lea and Bow Creek” followed by the first sentence from paragraph 2.
  • page 15 line 5: change “isthmus” to “embankment”

N.B. The “southern end of the River Lea” was either the main channel of the River Lea or one of its many braided channels. In either case, it probably flowed more or less alongside and at the same slightly falling height above sea level as Bow Creek, joining it in the vicinity of the bay downstream from the peninsula between the River Lea and Bow Creek. It is more than likely that by the thirteenth century the narrow spit of land between the western and eastern channels had been artificially raised or embanked, and the mouth of the western channel had been dammed to form a mill pond or head for the tide mills on the dam.

  • page 15 line 6: change “store” to “stone”
  • page 15 line 8: insert “probably” between “was” and “built”
  • page 15 line 10: change “drain” to “dam”
  • page 15 line 15: add after “Limehouse Cut” “and is included in the St Anne’s Church Conservation Area. One of the youngest is Poplar Borough Council’s 1929 Bow Common Bridge, known locally as Stinkhouse Bridge”
  • page 17 lines 17 and 18: change “a narrow peninsula bridge by Bow Locks” to “the peninsula between the River Lea and Bow Creek”
  • page 17 line 18: change “this space” to “the open space on the peninsula”
  • page 17 line 22: change “2004” to “2003”
  • page 17 line 23: change “this peninsula of land” to “the peninsula”
  • page 17 line 24: delete “and a characterful Victorian gothic building” and insert “a disused 1908 single-storey engine house, two single-storey warehouses on the site of the Four Mills, and a third towards Gillender Street.”
  • page 23 Locally Listed Buildings: 21 Gillender Street as well as 22 Gillender Street, making up the pair of semi-detached cottages known as Emu Cottages
  • page 28 line 11: please insert “and locally listed buildings” between “buildings” and “make”; also insert “and appearance” between “character” and “of”
  • page 30 under following organisations: please add “& Archives” to “Tower Hamlets Local History Library”; the direct telephone number is 020 7364 1290, email address is [email protected], and webaddress is
  • page 31 Listed Buildings at Risk: as the “Aplins Spirit and Liqueur Warehouse” name runs across the front elevations of the two-storey and four-storey buildings and it appears that only the two-storey part is still listed, may I suggest that the Aplins name is deleted. Instead, insert “two-storey former spirit store and part front wall of two-storey former bonded warehouse”
  • page 31 Any other threats to the Conservation Area

As well as the threatened listed two-storey buildings at 23 Gillender Street, there is also the threatened unlisted “four-storey” building. Hopefully, this will be locally listed and included in the final documents list of Locally Listed Buildings.

  • page 31 under Priorities for Action: please move and amend no. 3 and move to no.1; delete “at the junction of the Limehouse Cut and the River Lea” from existing no. 1 and insert “on the peninsula between the River Lea and Bow Creek”

Finally, to end with reference to the section on opportunities and potential for enhancement. My view is that ‘landmarks’ are not appropriate nor needed anywhere in the proposed conservation area. The straight and hard-edged urban canal in its dramatic cutting, and the tidal Bow Creek (in and beyond the NE end of the conservation area) already have appropriate landmarks in the shape of their bridges, locks, historic buildings, and the one or two reasonably well-designed recent developments along the canal. However well-designed, ‘landmarks’ would in fact detract from the special character which the conservation area is intended to protect.

Yours sincerely,

Tom Ridge


May 10th, 2011

Posted In: Uncategorized

Leave a Comment

May 2011

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 Burdett Road

307 Burdett Road


April 1st 2011

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 £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.


307 plan

Planned building for the site of 307

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:

Limehouse Cut Conservation Area

PUBLIC MEETING 7 pm – 8.30 pm
Wednesday, 25 May 2011
Room M73 Town Hall Mulberry Place
5 Clove Crescent E14 2BG


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.




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.


Tom Ridge



[email protected]

May 4th, 2011

Posted In: East End Waterway Group, Uncategorized

Leave a Comment

« Previous PageNext Page »