Poplar residents' fury at quango's role
Protesters have been left frustrated by a planning process that has seen a proposal for a heavily opposed building in Poplar given another chance.
Cube Developments' plans have already been voted down by councillors at Tower Hamlets twice and refused approval by the London Thames Gateway Development Corporation.
However, tonight it is due to return to Stratford Town Hall where officers are recommending LTGDC members approve the plans for the Virginia Quay site.
It's left Poplar residents furious with the system, especially as the LTGDC is due to be scrapped later this year, with its powers transferred to Tower Hamlets Council.
Blackwall and Cubit Town councillor Peter Golds, who is backing the protestors, said: "What's annoying us is the whole process involving this unelected body, the LTGDC.
"We're fed up about the LTGDC determining decisions against us, the elected council. We want to know why these officers are recommending the development is approved when it's been opposed so many times?"
Tonight members of the planning board of the LTGDC will hear changes by the applicant to its proposal. These were last week dismissed unanimously in a vote by Tower Hamlets' planning committee after a new consultation was launched. Despite the council's opposition, the LTGDC's planning officers believe the changes make the proposal more suitable.
Cllr Golds said he feels the changes shouldn't even have been allowed to be made and sees it as moving goalposts on a plan both the council and residents are wholly against in principle due to overdevelopment of the area.
"The LTGDC members rejected it four to three last time and then we were told it would come back for officers to draw up a legal argument for grounds of refusal," he said.
"The applicant then said it would tweak its plans. We try to see what is happening only to see them change the plans at the last minute"
However, the LTGDC claims it has to accept the changes. The officer's report said: "Unless those amendments fundamentally change the nature of the application such that the consultation exercise previously carried out becomes meaningless, the authority must accept the amendment.
"The amendments in this instance are not such as to fundamentally change the nature of the development."
Changes include adding larger two bed apartments and more balcony space to comply with the Mayor's London Housing Design Guide.
The proposal by Cube Developments is for 26 new homes over a 12 floor building.