PEABODY STARTS ILLEGAL DEMOLITION AT 24 UNDERWOOD ROAD
Despite a written assurance to Dr. Sharman Kadish that they would not start demolition before the public consultation on Monday 7 November, and without submitting a demolition notice to Tower Hamlets Council, Peabody’s contractors have started to demolish the oldest and most attractive of the two ‘cottages’. The entire roof and stepped gable have been removed and machines have started devouring the brick walls behind the scaffolded front walls.
It was obvious that Peabody was doing all in its power to stop any normal democratic ‘debate’ about keeping the two ‘cottages’. But their preemptive and deliberate destruction of the 1911 ‘cottage’ at 24 Underwood Road is an insult to the people of Tower Hamlets and to the memory of all the people associated with the former Jewish Maternity Hospital.
The 1911 ‘cottage’ has lasted 100 years and would have lasted another 100 years, but Peabody has chosen to destroy this attractive and unique little building in the very year of its onehundredth anniversary.
Clearly, Peabody intends by this appalling and illegal act of gross cultural vandalism to make sure that there will be little or no point in our trying to save the ‘cottages’ at their public consultation on Monday 7 November.
However, thanks to Mayor Rahman and Councillors from all four political groups, Owen Whalley wrote to Peabody on 3 November urging them to stop demolition. Peabody’s contractors have stopped work but will resume after Monday 7 November. They will not say when that will be but we suspect that it could be by the end of next week.
We must, therefore, fight on to save the ‘cottages’. Nearly six hundred people have now signed the online petition to keep the two ‘cottages’ and we will present this petition to Peabody on Monday 7 November at about 5.30 pm. Arrangements are also being made for us to present the petition to a full meeting of Tower Hamlets Council on 29 November 2011.
So, even after 7 November, please sign and encourage others to sign the petition for presentation to the Council on 29 November (www.residents-first.co.uk).
Our thanks to all those who have already signed the petition, especially Sir Arnold Wesker (born JMH 1932) and Councillors from all four political groups. Our thanks also to those who have written to Peabody, especially Dr. Sharman Kadish, Director of Jewish Heritage UK; the chairs of the East London History Society and the Jewish East End Celebration Society; Tower Hamlets Councillor Bill Turner, the Secretary of SAVE Britain’s Heritage; and Tower Hamlets Councillor Rabina Khan (Lead Member for Housing).
Please do your best to attend the consultation event at the Osmani Centre, Underwood Road, E1, on Monday 7 November from 3 pm to 7 pm to register your strong support for the retention and conversion of the ‘cottages’ at 22 & 24 Underwood Road:
4 November 2011
admin7 November 4th, 2011
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.
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.
29 October 2011
admin7 October 30th, 2011
PEABODY CONSULTATION EVENT ON 7th NOVEMBER
(Details received from Peabody via email 25 October 2011 09:27)
from [email protected]
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 Centre, Community 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 [email protected].
PLEASE DO YOUR BEST TO ATTEND THIS CONSULTATION EVENT AT THE OSMANI CENTRE (new building on the corner of Vallance Road
DEMAND THE RETENTION AND CONVERSION OF THE ‘COTTAGES’ AT 22 & 24
REFUTE THE ENGLISH HERITAGE STATEMENT THAT THE FORMER HOSPITAL WAS
REFUTE THE ENGLISH HERITAGE STATEMENT THAT THE FORMER HOSPITAL ‘has negligible architectural interest‘
AGREE TO PEABODY’S PROPOSALS TO COMMEMORATE THE SITE’S HISTORY
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
25 October 201
admin7 October 25th, 2011
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 ([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.
admin7 October 23rd, 2011
Posted In: Uncategorized