Isle of Dogs faces threat of population boom
Shocking figures reveal the population of the Isle of Dogs has nearly doubled in the last decade - and could be set to rocket in the future with a flurry of development on the horizon.
The numbers were highlighted by Cllr Peter Golds who says there is a major threat of overdevelopment on the Island, which surrounds Canary Wharf.
There were 24,831 people in the wards of Millwall, Cubitt Town and Blackwall back in 2001, rising to 46,410 last year. The list of major developments either approved or currently under consideration by Tower Hamlets Council in these areas is at 17.
According to Cllr Golds, the potential population, calculated at an average of two persons per flat, is another 25,854, meaning the number of inhabitants on the Island is predicted to grow to 71,241 in the coming years.
"These are extraordinary figures," said Cllr Golds, who represents Blackwall and Cubitt Town.
"It's not only education and health that worry me but issues such as water pressure.
"With so many flats at the top of these buildings needing water pumped up it has an impact on the whole island. Then there's mobile phone reception and broadband which is already notoriously poor. And, as for the transport, what is Crossharbour station going to be like? What's the future for those of us who live here?"
He said the pressure on services was already at breaking point. Currently there are nine schools on the Island - with just one of those secondary - and only five NHS medical practices.
Cllr Golds is backed by his fellow Conservative councillors on the Isle of Dogs. Cllr Zara Davis, who represents Millwall, opposed an application for a development on the same grounds.
"Squashing such a huge number of people into such a small area will have a negative impact on residents' quality of life," she said. "The local infrastructure is not designed to cope with such a high number of residents."
Cllr Gloria Thienel pointed out many families were already having to send their children to schools off the Isle of Dogs.
She has also campaigned to save the Island's only petrol station, which last month was condemned when the new Asda development was given the go-ahead by Tower Hamlets Council.
While many of the developments have been given approval there is little sign of building work. In many cases finance is still needed for construction and off-plan sales are needed to convince banks to back the schemes.
Carl Mulvey, managing director of Stonewater Property on the Isle of Dogs, said the future would not be a disaster.
"If there were 17-odd developments put up today it would cause a problem and certainly not be good for the market," he said. "But these will be phased in over years as developers look at what others are doing.
"However, as they come in, responsible development is needed and it's also down to the local council to ensure the facilities, such as libraries, are in place."
Mayor of Tower Hamlets Lutfur Rahman said: "Our borough is at the heart of a global city and this growth indicates a thriving and exciting place where people want to live and work.
"Whilst I am of course concerned about the demands of supporting a growing population at times of government cuts, the council has effective plans in place for growth, including using tools such as population projections for our work on planning for pupil places.
"The council is well placed to manage, and benefit from, this growth and I'm committed to continuing to support it with my plans for 4000 additional new homes and our ongoing work to support our residents, especially the borough's younger people, into work."