Asda bid reignites concerns over Island overcrowding

By Rob Virtue on August 16, 2012 10:55 AM |

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A controversial housing development on top of Asda in the Isle of Dogs will be heard by Tower Hamlets' planners reigniting a long simmering row over the level of development on the Island.

The proposal is for an 850 home scheme that involves demolishing and rebuilding the supermarket by Crossharbour DLR.

Council planning officials have recommended approval ahead of Thursday evening's decision, despite criticism from Conservative councillors who say the Island's services are already overstretched.

Cllr Gloria Thienel, of Blackwall and Cubitt Town, said: "Health and schools are big issues. We're already sending some of our children off the Island to school. We have more developments on the way and we don't have the infrastructure to deal with them all."

The plan also cuts the level of services on the Island with the potential loss of the superstore's petrol station.

"We're upset as we'd lose our only petrol station on the Island," said Cllr Thienel.

"It's all very well for these people to make these proposals but they don't live here and they don't know what a vital amenity it is to us."

The two closest petrol stations off the Island are at Poplar and Leamouth where prices are higher, says Cllr Thienel.

A consultation saw 132 objections to the scheme and 97 in support. It also received three petitions against the development and one in favour.

Under the terms of the financial agreement, developer Ashborne Beech would pay over £6.5million in improving services.

These include £400,000 towards upgrading Crossharbour DLR station, £500,000 towards bus services, more than £900,000 for healthcare and £3million towards increasing school places in the borough. The scheme will be 31 per cent affordable housing.

A council report said: "The density of the site is considered acceptable given the site's public transport accessibility level and lack of overdevelopment symptoms."

The Labour Party says homes must be built in Tower Hamlets wherever there is land to build on - including the Isle of Dogs - because of a big shortage of property.

Cllr Sirajul Islam urged the borough's mayor Lutfur Rahman to confront the problem which has come about because of the influx of new residents in the borough. The recent census revealed that Tower Hamlets was the fastest growing in the country with an increase of 53,000 since 2001.

Cllr Islam said: "Overdevelopment is an issue but where there's land available for development it's got to be developed. The Isle of Dogs has lots of spaces that can be developed."

He added the section 106 agreements, which see developers pay for an increase in services, should answer concerns over loss of services.

The Labour party has called for a Mayor Rahman to host a summit of housebuilders to look at ways to confront the crisis.

2 Comments

David said:

If this goes ahead it will be a nightmare to get petrol. The nearest places are beyond two rush-hour gridlocks. The population of the Island warrants better basic services, which include a 24x7 police station AND a petrol station.
The council is simply looking at additional revenue from more raised council tax as well as being able to sell Cubitt Town Library for a few million. Strikes me as there may be some underhand deals going on.

Neil said:

I'm sure the coucillors are hell bent on turning Tower Hamlets into a tower of bombay slums. They don't care about how the locals feel.

If they could sell off all the parks and fill in the docks I'm sure they would!!

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