Virginia Quay development approved by LTGDC
A much maligned proposal for a 12 storey development in the heart of Poplar was approved at the second attempt by London Thames Gateway Development Corporation.
Objectors turned out in force at Stratford Town Hall at Thursday's meeting but the scheme was unanimously voted through.
At a previous hearing, plans for the 26 unit Virginia Quay construction - which nearby residents say takes up valuable open space and is counter to a previous agreement - was voted against by members of the LTGDC planning committee four to three, contrary to officers' advice.
Thursday night's meeting was originally to formulate a legal argument to scrap the proposal, until applicant Cube Developments made minor changes to the plans.
A 21-day consultation was then held in which Tower Hamlets Council voted unanimously for the second time not to support the plans.
However, members of the LTGDC - which is the planning body for the proposal as the scheme is over a certain height and faces the Thames - rejected the council's views and instead followed their officers' advice to pass through the new plans.
Blackwall and Cubit Town councillor Peter Golds, who spoke out against the proposal at Thursday's meeting, said of the decision: "It's very disappointing. There's 1,000 homes due to be affected by this and 800 signed the petition against it. You never see a political campaign like this get 80 per cent support."
Protestors were also angered by the fact the proposal was being decided on by the LTGDC, which is due to be scrapped later this year.
Objectors held up placards during the meeting urging members not to pass through the scheme.
Many also funded a report from a QC which supported their case.
Following the vote, Cliff Prior, one of the residents leading the campaign against the proposal, warned the decision could have consequences for other communities in east London.
He said: "What this decision says is anybody who lives on estate in this area could have another development placed in front of them whatever previous agreements had been made."
Defending the decision, chair of the LTGDC's planning board Cllr Conor McAuley said the applicant had met the committee's concerns in its revised plans and added this made it a "much better scheme".
"Converting all one bedroom units into two bedroom units brings the development into line with local council and London wide policies on size standards," he said in a statement released by LTGDC on Friday morning.
"Similar amendments have seen the provision of balcony space comply with existing guidance and other concerns relating to access, sunlight and over development have been addressed.
"The committee considered whether there were strong planning grounds for refusal and concluded correctly that there were not.
"To have decided in any other way would have resulted in the wilful squandering of public money in legal costs at appeal where defeat would be inevitable."
He added: "To the disappointment of the objectors to the scheme I have to tell them that our decision was informed solely by an assessment of the application against existing planning policy, including those developed by Tower Hamlets Council.
"The fact that council officers have made clear that they consider the scheme acceptable provides confirmation that our assessment of it against existing policy was consistent and correct."