London Mayor’s office approves 1,500 new homes plan despite rejection by Tower Hamlets Council

Computer-generated image of the Aberfeldy Street proposal. Pic: Tower Hamlets Council

Tower Hamlets Council’s refusal to allow more than 1,500 homes to be built in Poplar has been overturned by the London Mayor’s office. 

The permission for the project was granted by London Deputy Mayor Jules Pipe last week. Tower Hamlets Council rejected the plans in early 2023.

At public hearing on January 26 Jules Pipe, London’s Deputy Mayor for Planning, Regeneration and Skills, said the scheme would make a valuable contribution to the capital’s housing targets.

Pipe said: “London is facing a housing crisis and we urgently need more housing, particularly genuinely affordable homes.

“More than ever, with the cost-of-living crisis and the need for good quality, affordable homes in London greater than ever before, we must ensure that we take all opportunities available to us to build more affordable housing, particularly low-cost social housing.”

‘Affordable housing’

More than 450 of the 1,565 new homes are proposed to be ‘affordable housing’. The plans to build them will include the demolition of 330 existing homes on the Aberfeldy Village, known as the Aberfeldy Estate, and the surrounding current underpasses as part of a wider regeneration scheme, which has been ongoing since 2012.

Originally, 1,582 homes were proposed in the planning application. This was reduced after Michael Gove, Housing Secretary, announced his intention to ban new buildings over 18 metres which do not have second staircases as a fire safety measure.

Tower Hamlets Local Planning Authority’s position refused planning permission based on the Strategic Development Committee’s unanimous vote in February 2023, despite recommendation from their own planning officers to approve it.

Their refusal was based on grounds that it would cause transport issues, increasing congestion and local traffic while not provide enough affordable housing, reduce public open spaces, and decrease daylight for surrounding buildings as the buildings are too tall for the area.

Pipe addressed these concerns saying he had weighed them against the overall impact of the plan in the hearing before announcing his decision to approve.

The new homes are set to have one or two bedrooms, spanning from six storeys to 28 storeys high. 

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