Condemned Victorian terrace to get facelift after campaign

Vallance Rd in 2011 Pic: Derek Harper

Vallance Rd in 2011 Pic: Derek Harper

A row of 19th-century derelict buildings in Whitechapel rescued from demolition by campaigners last year are to be redeveloped under new plans to be proposed by Tower Hamlets council.

The future of the terraced buildings on Vallance Road in Tower Hamlets was hanging in the balance until the council announced recently that they would be looking into redevelopment plans for the site.

The East End Preservation Society, who fought to protect the buildings, said: “We welcome a sensitive redevelopment of the site that retains and restores the historic terrace, as stipulated in the Council’s Conservation Area Statement.”

The redevelopment plans mark a victory for the society and other campaigners who had fought off an application to demolish the buildings put forward by Tower Hamlets council in 2013.

Their campaign, which highlighted the historical and architectural merits of the buildings, halted the plans in 2014. The Victorian terraced buildings were built in 1855, and are the last fragment linking back to the Pavilion Theatre, one of London’s largest theatres in 1858.

Alex Bowring, The Victorian Society’s conservation adviser, said: “It [the council] should now make every effort to quickly produce sensitive redevelopment proposals. Too much of Whitechapel’s architectural history has been lost to bombing, slum clearance, or redevelopment.”

“Valance Road should not be lost through inaction,” he added.

A spokesperson from Tower Hamlets council said: “We are working up plans with TfL (who are majority landowner) with the intention of a comprehensive redevelopment scheme being submitted for planning in the coming months.”

The council has also recently faced questions from the public about £123,000 being spent in August on emergency scaffolding to keep the area safe for the public and prevent the building from falling down.

Bowring said: “Tower Hamlets Council was right to erect scaffolding to help preserve 3-11 Vallance Road.”

“This bit of Whitechapel’s history could otherwise have been lost. However, time is of the essence – it has been over a year since the Council decided not to demolish these interesting but severely neglected buildings,” he added.

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