'Canaletto's view' under threat from proposed scheme

By Rob Virtue on November 8, 2012 12:48 PM |

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It's the spot where acclaimed Venetian artist Canaletto settled to create his painting of the Greenwich landscape in the mid-18th century.

But that magnificent view from Island Gardens could be taken away from many residents on the Isle of Dogs if a Telford Homes' planned five-storey building gets approval.

A planning application for the scheme, which sees the demolition and rebuilding of Calders Wharf Community Centre, has been submitted to Tower Hamlets Council, angering those living nearby.

One of those residents, Parm Mahil, this week started an online petition objecting to the scheme. It has already received over 150 signatures.

She said: "Telford Homes stands to acquire 27 flats and can sell them for a healthy profit but we don't need more flats on the Island at the expense of our local environment and our heritage.

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"No amount of work will enable the block of flats to be sympathetic to the surrounding area."

She has contacted the World Heritage Centre and asked it to consider adding the area to Greenwich's status as a world heritage site, due to the close links through the foot tunnel which connects Island Gardens to Cutty Sark.

Another Isle of Dogs resident Eric Pemberton has written to Tower Hamlets Council urging for the application to be put on hold until a decision is made on that matter.

He said: "Canaletto painted from that spot 260 years ago and that view has virtually existed in the same shape ever since.

"The view is perfect and we don't want it overshadowed by this development. If you give permission for that, it starts a precedent and then what else goes up?

"In my mind it should be a heritage area as I understand the tunnel falls within the curtilage of Greenwich's status."

Conservative councillor for Blackwall and Cubitt Town Gloria Thienel added: "There's no need for a five storey block of flats next to the Greenwich Foot Tunnel. It's a conservation area and we're backing the objections to this."

Click here to go to the petition

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