Residents First

Tower Hamlets People Network

JUDICIAL REVIEW 11 and 12 November 2010

Trillium (Developers) made two planning applications for the demolition of the former POPLAR EMPLOYMENT EXCHANGE at 307 Burdett Road, and both were refused by Tower Hamlets Council. One of the reasons for refusing the 2009 application for demolition and replacement by an 11-storey block of flats was that the building makes a positive contribution to the character and appearance of the Limehouse Cut Conservation Area. Trillium responded by starting judicial review proceedings in the High Court against the Council’s designation of the conservation area, with a view to having it quashed.

The judicial review will be held on 11 and 12 November at Administrative Court Office
The Royal Courts of Justice,

It is absolutely essential for local residents and others to attend so that the judges can see the extent of support for the conservation area. Please meet up outside by 9.45 am on Thursday 11 November 2010; and, if necessary, please also attend on Friday 12 November.

Should Trillium win in the High Court, the Limehouse Cut Conservation Area would be revoked. Consequently, the former POPLAR EMPLOYMENT EXCHANGE, and several other buildings in the construction area, would almost certainly be demolished for tall blocks of flats. Most of the historic canalscape on London’s oldest canal would be lost and the canal would become a sunless concrete canyon.

We cannot say or do anything in the High Court but we can at least try to present our petition asking Trillium to allow the former POPLAR EMPLOYMENT EXCHANGE to be retained and adapted as a training and social enterprise centre for unemployed people, called the Lansbury Centre.

Sitting on your terrace, enjoying breakfast and watching the boats pass by your balcony as the sunlight catches the water, it can be easy to forget that you're living in the heart of London......!!

Public Inquiry

Trillium also appealed to the Planning Inspectorate with respect to both refusals and it has just been announced that there will be a full public inquiry after the judicial review and possibly in February 2011. Of course, should the Council lose in the High Court, one of the main reasons for refusal would be removed. A third planning application would be likely, and the Council might prefer to grant planning permission for the demolition and replacement of the former POPLAR EMPLOYMENT EXCHANGE, rather than risk having to bear all the costs of a full public inquiry.

October 9th, 2010

Posted In: East End Waterway Group, Uncategorized


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British Waterways is currently seeking a commercial operator to run a boat service from a new moorings at Limehouse Basin, along the Limehouse Cut and up the River Lea to a floating pontoon at Three Mills and on to a terminus below Old Ford Locks for the Olympic Park. BW and its partners London Thames Gateway Development Corporation and the Olympic Delivery Authority would like the service to start before the 2012 Olympics. The route may be seen below and a large version here. The LTGDC-funded pontoon at Three Mills is at our proposed waterbus stop no. 11 and the BW-funded terminus is at our proposed waterbus stop no. 9.

East London Waterway map

Click image to view larger version

This is very good news as it could be the start of EAST END WATERWAYS. However, we hope that the operator’s boats will have hybrid engines (diesel and electric) to minimise pollution of the Borough’s ‘green’ waterways; and that their boats will stop at our intermediate waterbus stops on the Limehouse Cut and River Lea (nos. 15, 14, 13, 12 and 10) for the benefit of local residents and others. If not during the Olympics, then before and after. We also hope that the commercial operator will employ local residents, especially as the service develops into our proposed two-way waterbus service and there is a need for more waterbus staff, lock keepers and maintenance staff. In particular, for the overnight recharging of batteries.

Obviously, a large overnight mooring basin will be needed for the waterbus fleet and the good news is that such a facility could be incorporated at the ODA’s proposed marina on the Hackney Cut in Fish Island East (in LBTH between waterbus stops nos. 8 and 9) and/or at the proposed basin on the Limehouse Cut in Cotall Street / Bartlett Park (just east of waterbus stop no. 14). Also staff training facilities at the overnight mooring basin and at the proposed Lansbury Centre 307 Burdett Road (other side of A1205 from waterbus stop no. 15).

July 14th, 2010

Posted In: East End Waterway Group


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East End Waterway

Click image to enlarge

As an alternative to cars and overcrowded buses, we would all benefit from a new public transport system going round the Regent’s Canal, Hertford Union Canal, Hackney Cut, River Lea, Limehouse Cut and Limehouse Basin.  Called East End Waterways, this would be a commercially operated regular two-way, eco-friendly waterbus service; with stops at bridges for local residents, workers, students and tourists.

Click image to enlarge

British Waterways is setting up Limehouse Quay in Limehouse Basin for passenger boats along the Limehouse Cut to the Olympic Park, and for restaurants and other boats. Fortunately J-go Training Ltd has expressed interest (on behalf of Concordia Partnership, an intercultural consortium of third sector organisations) in providing an educational training community boat service from Limehouse Quay. It is hoped that this will also encourage a commercial operator to run East End Waterways, employing local people and providing an alternative form of local transport for all, which also takes local residents and tourists to all the places of interest: such as the Ragged School Museum, Mile End Park, Bow Wharf, Victoria Park, Fish Island, Olympic Park, Three Mills and the proposed Lea River Park. Download route info here

Obviously, the historic buildings, structures and habitats must be protected and enhanced where necessary. Fortunately, Tower Hamlets Council has good green and blue grid policies and about three-quarters of the ‘ring’ is now in conservation areas. Limehouse Basin is in its own conservation area and most of the Hertford Union Canal is in the Victoria Park CA. The Council has recently designated the Fish Island CA (near Hackney Cut and on the west bank of the River Lea), Limehouse Cut CA and Regent’s Canal CA.

The Limehouse Cut opened in 1770 and is London’s first canal. On the advice of English Heritage, the new CA includes the former Poplar Employment Exchange at 307 Burdett Road. The site for this was acquired and the Neo-Georgian building was designed when George Lansbury MP was the First Commissioner of Works in the 1929-31 Labour government. Clearly this historic building makes a positive contribution to the character and appearance of the Limehouse Cut CA.

Permission for its demolition and replacement by yet another block of flats was refused by the Council’s Strategic Development Committee. Unfortunately, the owner /applicant TRILLIUM (PRIME) PROPERTY GROUP LTD is now seeking a judicial review of the Council’s recently designated Limehouse Cut CA, with the intention of having it quashed. We must therefore, send letters and a petition to TRILLIUM asking them to reconsider their judicial review and instead work with the Council and others to allow the retention and adaptation of the building as a training and social enterprise centre called the LANSBURY CENTRE. As such, the building would be a living memorial to George Lansbury MP and his campaigns against poverty and unemployment. As soon as possible would you please:

  • Join East End Waterway Group by emailing or sending a brief message of support
  • Send a letter to TRILLIUM on behalf of your organisation with a copy to East End Waterway Group (Mr Ross Fraser, President, Trillium (Prime) Property Group Ltd, Bastion House, 140 London Wall, London EC2Y 5DN)

Tom Ridge

East End Waterway Group

email: [email protected] and entitle your e-mail ‘East End Waterway Group’

April 16th, 2010

Posted In: East End Waterway Group


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