East End Waterway Group – Press Release – 27 October 2010

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.

On Monday, 25 October 2010, Jim Fitzpatrick MP (Poplar and Limehouse) and patron of the East End Waterway Group, together with several representatives of the group, gathered at the head office of Telereal Trillium to present a petition with nine hundred signatures, asking Trillium to:

allow the retention and adaptation of the former Poplar Employment Exchange at 307 Burdett Road as a training and social enterprise centre for unemployed local people, called the LANSBURY CENTRE.

The petition was addressed to Graham Edwards, Chief Executive Officer; and received by Sara Wiltshire, Head of Marketing and Communications. A meeting with Sara Wiltshire will take place after the judicial review of Tower Hamlets Council’s designation of the Limehouse Cut Conservation Area, to be heard in the High Court 11 and 12 November 2010.

The judicial review proceedings were started by Telereal Trillium in 2009 in response to the Council’s refusal to grant planning permission for the demolition of the former POPLAR EMPLOYMENT EXCHANGE at 307 Burdett Road; and its replacement by an 11-storey block of flats. One of the reasons for refusal was that the former exchange makes a positive contribution to the character and appearance of the Limehouse Cut Conservation Area. Trillium is seeking to have the Council’s designation quashed by the High Court. But the Council will be “robustly defending its position”.


  1. The Limehouse Cut Conservation Area was designated by cabinet in October 2009. A draft character appraisal and management guidelines for the CA was produced, and supported by local residents and others during a public consultation in March and April 2010.
  2. The site for the former neo-Georgian exchange was acquired and the building was designed by the Office of Works when George Lansbury MP (Bow and Bromley) was First Commissioner of Works and Public Buildings. The exchange was opened in 1934 and was probably one of the first of an improved type with separate provision for men, women, boys and girls.
  3. Proposed building for 307 Burdett Road

  4. The East End Waterway Group strongly believes that this public building should go on helping the increasing numbers of unemployed and partly employed people in Tower Hamlets. And that it must also be retained as part of the surviving historic canalscape on the Borough’s unique six mile waterway ring.
  5. The group was formed in February 2010, mainly to promote a two-way public passenger boat service on the ‘ring’, with fifteen waterbus stops for local residents and tourists.
  6. The group, therefore, hopes that British Waterways will encourage its newly-appointed Olympic boat operators to fit their boats with hybrid engines (to minimise noise and oil pollution); stop at more intermediate stops between Limehouse Marina and the Olympic Park; and employ local residents. And that after the Games, most of the boats are used for a regular two-way public passenger boat service, rather than potentially noisy trip boats and day hire boats. The group also seeks a ‘peppercorn’ mooring in Limehouse Marina for the proposed J-go education/community boat.

For further information, please contact

Jonathan Hems, Director – J-go Training Limited

420 Railway Arches, Burdett Road, E3 4AA

020 7538 0008 – [email protected]