167 extra homes added to plans for Poplar development

Riverside areas of Poplar on both the Lea and Thames have seen high development activity in recent years. Pic: sludge gulper/Wikimedia Commons

Plans for a high-density housing development in Poplar have been expanded to include a further 167 new homes.

The planned Ailsa Wharf project, overseen by global architecture firm Broadway Malyan, is now proposing 952 new homes on one of the last remaining brownfield sites in Tower Hamlets.

Building Design promised affordable housing targets would remain the same as before the new homes were added to the plans, at 35 percent by habitable room.

Under the Fast Track Route program, developers who provide at least 35 percent affordable housing are insulated from financial review at late development stages. 

Sian Smith, a 26-year-old Master’s student from Tower Hamlets, is a member of Tower Hamlets London Renters Union. She told ELL: “We need more housing, but we can’t really rely on private housing developers to build affordable housing for working people in the area.”

Smith said that targets for affordable housing are not mandated by regulation, and that this can often mean only a slight discount on the normal market rate, adding that she does not believe Ailsa Wharf will be the exception to the rule.

She continued: “The general trend of gentrification in the borough, with local people being priced out, is proof that affordable housing doesn’t really exist in the private sector.”

The additional homes were approved by Tower Hamlets Council’s Strategic Development Committee on October 18.

As well as the new homes, the Ailsa Wharf development will contain new retail, office, and leisure spaces across its 13 buildings. 

The site, situated between the A12 and River Lea, is currently heavily contaminated brownfield, land which was previously host to developments but has since been cleared.

According to Building Design, the site is jointly owned by Chinese firm Country Garden and an unnamed Hong Kong fund. 

Broadway Malyan have not yet responded to ELL’s request for comment.

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