Canary Wharf Group’s closure of a footpath linking the east of the Isle of Dogs to the estate has caused anger among its 1,400 estimated regular users .
The walkway by Preston’s Road, connecting Coldharbour to Canary Wharf, was shut on Monday, April 25, so work could continue on the New Phase development at Wood Wharf.
Those who use the path to access the shops and the Jubilee line said their journeys were now a mile longer along busier roads.
Coldharbour resident Carolina Reyes said: “As someone who commutes to central London six times a week, this not only significantly increases my travel time, it also makes it impossible to rely on the shops of Canary Wharf.
“I have grave concerns that the alternative routes proposed by Canary Wharf Group are not safe enough for 1,400 residents, having witnessed the aftermath of more than one accident on Marsh Wall Road.”
The alternative routes are via Preston’s Road, Harbour Quay or Marsh Wall.
The walkway, known locally as the Wood Wharf path, could be closed until New Phase is finished in 2019.
The development will include 3,200 homes , nearly 2million sq ft of office space and 335,000 sq ft of shops, restaurants and community facilities.
Cllr Andrew Wood said: “We are disappointed that with only two weeks’ notice pedestrian access from Preston’s Road to Canary Wharf via Wood Wharf is being blocked for the next four years.
“Planning documents and earlier communication from Canary Wharf Group all imply that pedestrian access would be maintained throughout construction with the occasional change in route for safety reasons.”
He urged Canary Wharf Group, Tower Hamlets Council and TfL to work together to find a solution.
Canary Wharf Group’s managing director of strategy Howard Dawber said: “We are sorry that this temporary path through the Wood Wharf construction site cannot be kept open during the next phase of construction.
“We had hoped to maintain a walking route throughout the work, but we now know that it is not possible to do this safely due to the heavy construction across the whole site.
“We understand that a number of residents will have a few minutes longer walk into Canary Wharf, and we would like to apologise to them.
“Local residents are our customers and neighbours, we do not want to inconvenience them unless it is completely unavoidable.”
The company has been in touch with local councillors and with Mayor John Biggs about trying to find an alternative solution.
Mr Dawber said: “If it becomes possible to re-open a temporary walkway safely, we will do it. We will keep working on other temporary solutions which might make things easier for people.”