Government minister halts Isle of Dogs' Calders Wharf scheme
The brakes have been put on the construction of a luxury Isle of Dogs development heavily criticised by campaigners for spoiling a beautiful park.
Calders Wharf, a 26-apartment building, had recently been approved by Tower Hamlets Council's planning committee.
However, an 11th hour reprieve has come from the Department for Communities and Local Government after a councillor opposed to the plans wrote urging it to act.
The department will now look at the proposal before deciding whether to call it in.
Minister for planning matters Nick Boles said in a letter to Blackwall and Cubitt Town councillor Peter Golds last week: "I understand that Tower Hamlets Council has resolved to approve the application but has not yet granted planning permission.
"We are therefore considering the matters raised in your letter against my ministerial statement of October 26, 2012 and we will advise you of a decision as soon as possible.
"In the meantime, a direction has been issued preventing the council from granting planning permission without the specific authorisation of the Secretary of State."
The statement refers to a direction that applications can be called in "if issues of more than local importance are involved".
Campaigners point out the proposed development is next to the Grade II listed Island Gardens, part of the World Heritage Buffer Zone.
They say it would impede the view from the Isle of Dogs to Greenwich Palace, which was captured by acclaimed landscape artist Canaletto in 1750.
The letter to the department from Cllr Golds in December said: "The building will be in stark contrast to those which surround the World Heritage site. The drawings and visuals indicate an uninteresting four-storey cube, sticking up above the park and being in contrast to nearby buildings."
• Calders Wharf: Campaigners want answers over 'flawed' Isle of Dogs proposal
The development is proposed by Eastend Homes. The Department for Communities may now decide to ask a planning inspector to hold an inquiry on the proposal.
Cllr Golds said: "This letter, signalling the development cannot be granted without permission, is a great sign. We now may be able to at last get someone to look seriously at this proposal.
"We're not nimbys here but this development is unacceptable."