Residents First

Tower Hamlets People Network

Proposed new build image

CAMPAIGN NEWSLETTER NO. 5

The above image from the Peabody website 20 October is an ‘artist’s representation’ of their proposed new development on the cleared site of the former Jewish Maternity Hospital.

 

It appears to show the north side of a six-storey block, which ‘will provide much needed affordable homes for local people while also commemorating a neglected piece of local history’.

 

The accompanying text states that, after the public consultation event on 7 November (see Campaign Newsletter No. 4), they will submit their planning application and demolish the existing buildings.

 

This suggests that their planning application will be for demolition of the existing buildings and the erection of a replacement building. And that the application for demolition and replacement will be granted planning permission after a public consultation and approval by a committee of councillors.

 

Peabody building

In fact, after the event on 7 November, Peabody are ‘proposing to begin demolition prior to the submission of the planning application‘ for their five- or six-storey replacement building (13 October letter from Peabody to Dr. Kadish).

 

Peabody can do this because they avoided the normal democratic process by applying for ‘prior notice of demolition’. They did this knowing that as an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) would not be required in this case, the proposed demolition would be what is called ‘permitted development’ and officers would simply have to give ‘prior approval of the method of demolition’.

 

The Council’s EIA officer issued a thorough Screening Opinion on 17 October, which concludes that an EIA was not required. But states that ‘The Council acknowledges that the buildings do represent a non-designated heritage asset in accordance with PPS5‘ (see second Open Letter to Owen Whalley October 12).

 

This was followed on 18 October by a delegated officer report, which concludes that prior approval is given subject to the demolition being carried out ‘in accordance with the submitted methodology’.

 

The report also mentions the receipt of 18 letters referring to the historical and townscape interest of the buildings. And requesting that the Local Planning Authority ‘should secure the retention of the existing buildings’.

 

TOWER HAMLETS HAS NOT GIVEN PEABODY PERMISSION TO DEMOLISH THE BUILDINGS: OFFICERS HAVE BEEN OBLIGED TO ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THE DEMOLITION AT 22-28 UNDERWOOD ROAD CONSTITUTES ‘PERMITTED DEVELOPMENT’ AND HAVE GIVEN ‘PRIOR APPROVAL OF THE METHOD OF DEMOLITION’.

PEABODY HAS STILL GOT TO SUBMIT A DEMOLITION NOTICE TO TOWER HAMLETS BUILDING CONTROL.

 

PEABODY COULD STILL DEMOLISH THE OTHER BUILDINGS AND LEAVE THE TWO ‘COTTAGES’ FOR CONVERSION TO FAMILY HOMES.

 

Please do your best to attend the Peabody consultation event at the Osmani Centre 7 November to demand the retention and conversion of the ‘cottages’ at 22 & 24 Underwood Road (see Campaign Newsletter No. 4 and latest Peabody web post.

 

TOM RIDGE

29 October 2011

Between now and 7 November, please sign and encourage others to sign the online petition and write to Peabody’s Chief Executive

October 30th, 2011

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PEABODY CONSULTATION EVENT ON 7th NOVEMBER

Peabody article here

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

from Zoe.Moorhouse@peabody.org.uk

Proposed new build

to  “east.end.waterway.group@gmail.com”

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 www.peabody.org.uk – 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  zoe.moorhouse@peabody.org.uk.

Yours sincerely

Zoe Moorhouse

PLEASE DO YOUR BEST TO ATTEND THIS CONSULTATION EVENT AT THE OSMANI CENTRE (new building on the corner of Vallance Road
and Underwood Road – see map here).

DEMAND THE RETENTION AND CONVERSION OF THE ‘COTTAGES’ AT 22 & 24

Proposed replacement from Peabody

UNDERWOOD ROAD

  • 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.

REFUTE THE ENGLISH HERITAGE STATEMENT THAT THE FORMER HOSPITAL WAS
‘(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

REFUTE THE ENGLISH HERITAGE STATEMENT THAT THE FORMER HOSPITAL ‘has negligible architectural interest

  • 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).

AGREE TO PEABODY’S PROPOSALS TO COMMEMORATE THE SITE’S HISTORY

  • 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.

REFUTE ANY POSSIBLE CLAIM THAT PEABODY HAS GOT TO DEMOLISH ALL THE BUILDINGS BECAUSE THEIR APPLICATION FOR PRIOR NOTICE OF DEMOLITION HAS BEEN APPROVED BY THE PLANNERS

  • 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).

TOM RIDGE

25 October 201

October 25th, 2011

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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 (www.residents-first.co.uk) 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 (stephen.howlett@peabody.org.uk), 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 (owen.whalley@towerhamlets.gov.uk) and a copy to me (east.end.waterway.group@gmail.com). 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

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CAMPAIGN NEWSLETTER NO. 2

 

UPDATE 18th OCTOBER

PEABODY REJECTS COMPROMISE PROPOSAL FOR RETENTION AND CONVERSION OF PART OF FORMER JEWISH MATERNITY HOSPITAL

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 (owen.whalley@towerhamlets.gov.uk) 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 (stephen.howlett@peabody.org.uk) 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

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