Community concern over new housing development

Developers' visualisation. Pic: Londonewcastle

Developers’ visualisation. Pic: Londonewcastle

Proposals for the construction of a 56-metre tower on Bethnal Green Road has been criticised by a community group which claims it fails to meet the mixed housing needs of the Tower Hamlets population.

“Stop the Bulk,” a campaign initiated by the Jago Action Group, a community organisation of residents from Shoreditch High Street opposes the erection of the tower because of its size and lack of affordable housing.

At a public consultation, the tower’s development company, Londonewcastle, presented plans which included 10 units of affordable housing on the Huntingdon Estate tower and an extra 34 units of affordable housing on a different site, Fleet Street Hill, which is located nearby.

Londonewcastle say 40 per cent of housing across both sites will be affordable.

Nevertheless, Rebecca Collings, Co-Chair of the Jago Action group, says the development still fails to meet the borough’s wider policy of mixed housing: “Tower Hamlets policy is to have mixed tenure buildings to represent the diversity of the borough.”

Collings also says the development is a “missed opportunity” to provide more affordable housing in the Huntingdon Estate tower.

She argues that if the development were to actually combine private and social housing, it would be “a fantastic opportunity for an exemplary [housing] scheme.”

However, at present, Collings argues that the current development proposals “will create a rich persons ghetto and a poor persons ghetto – we regard this as bad planning.”


Campaigners' visualisation. Pic: Jago

Campaigners’ visualisation. Pic: Jago

The new design follows an unsuccessful planning proposal for a 25-storey building by Londonnewcastle last year.

Robert Soning, Chief Operating Officer and founding partner of Londonewcastle, said: “After an intense local consultation period, we’re confident that our new proposals counteract previous objections and will provide a landmark development that complements the buildings of the local area.”

However, the community group is still unhappy with the new, shorter 14-storey design.

Collings says the 14-storey building is “not compliant with the low-rise Redchurch Street Conservation Area considerations” and will “dwarf” other buildings and impact inhabitants’ “rights to sunlight.”

Jago Action Group is urging local people to send their official objection letter to Tower Hamlets planning committee and to display “Stop the Bulk” posters in their windows.

Tower Hamlets Strategic Development Committee will review the planning application in a meeting on November 21.


Campaign poster. Pic: Jago

Campaign poster. Pic: Jago

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