People power sees off development bids
Two major planning applications were thrown out by Tower Hamlets councillors last night against the advice of officers and the weight of planning policy.
A bid to regenerate the Asda site at Crossharbour and a renewed attempt to revive cargo handling at Orchard Wharf were both rejected in moves that signalled a shift of persuasive power - perhaps only temporary - from developers to residents.
The Asda application offered a new supermarket and retail space as well as community facilities and a new high street but councillors pointed to the lack of social housing, the overbearing height of the building and the lack of school places for new residents as concerns.
Protesters also mourned the potential loss of the last petrol station on the Isle of Dogs.
Cllr Peter Golds highlighted an overriding concern about the lack of infrastructure on the Island to cope with 800 more homes. The schools were full, the roads were full, the trains were full and mitigating money from the developer - more than £6million - could provide no meaningful solution, he said.
"People have to get up at the crack of dawn to take their children to school in Whitechapel as it is," he said.
He said campaigners were now alert to the possibility of a new application or the existing one going to appeal.
A planning appeal is the likely fate of the Orchard Wharf application which looked to revive cargo-handling at the mouth of the River Lea, neighbouring East India Dock basin.
The Port of London Authority had reaffirmed the protected industrial status of the wharf despite calls by nearby residents to re-designate the brownfield site.
Protesters had said that 200 vehicle movements a day from a concrete batching plant was incompatible with the current residential and community feel of Virginia Quays and Trinity Buoy Wharf.
The plan is being considered by two authorities, with the London Thames Gateway Development Corporation ruling on Thursday.
Cllr Peter Golds said he would be pressing the Mayor of London to help in a strategy that would ease the pressure for development in and around the Isle of Dogs.
Full reports in The Wharf on Thursday