Residents on the Isle of Dogs are bracing themselves for another siege weekend (March 5, 6) with roads off the island either shut or severely restricted.
A perfect storm of disruptions caused chaos on Saturday and Sunday when Prestons Road was shut for a crane removal and escape via the west of the Island was hampered by the City Pride construction works.
Islanders are in uproar about the congestion, all caused by weight of development south of Canary Wharf – and they are planning to show their fury in an unusual way.
Resident Glenn Sontag is spearheading an “Isle of Clogs” protest, with neighbours urged to hang up their shoes on a section of Marsh Wall to demand better treatment.
He said: “Underneath the glitz of Canary Wharf lies serious social problems and stresses that have a major impact on people’s lives. The traffic chaos has to be seen to be believed. It’s like a war zone.
“Residents are forced to endure massive restrictions to accessing their Docklands, their home, for what – more construction, more towers casting a shadow on their well being. Residents have limited safe places to cross roads as pavements, pedestrian crossings and roads are shut down to allow construction.
“Growth and change are important for any progressive civilization, but there has to be a balance between the needs of developers and the needs of those affected by the plans.”
A launch of the shoe protest will take place on Thursday, March 3, at 3pm with shoes added afterwards.
Mr Sontag also has the support of Canary Wharf councillor Andrew Wood, who started the Isle of Dogs Neighbourhood Planning Forum to co-ordinate residents' response to the weight of construction in the area. In the last month, Hertsmere House was added to the roster alongside City Pride, Newfoundland and South Quay Plaza developments with more in the pipeline.
The protest will start this Thursday (March 3) at 3pm at Marsh Wall, with shoes and laces being added.
Cllr Wood said: “Tower Hamlets Council should have asked Telford Homes to delay their crane removal until Westferry Road was fully re-open or vice versa. The failure to co-ordinate these two closures means huge gridlock.”
He said that he would be writing to all the developers in the area to set up an informal group to co-ordinate construction traffic.
He said: “Some developers are apparently discussing setting up an informal group themselves to co-ordinate construction traffic in the area but not all developers are aware of this or have joined and neither have the council.”
A further strand of the protest centres on the encroachment of the City Pride development construction on to Marsh Wall and Westferry Road, causing a bottleneck. It is not clear if this was an original part of City Pride’s traffic management plan.
Cllr Wood said: “Borrowing these two parts of the road will cause road disruption for another four years.”
The Wharf has also asked Tower Hamlets Council and property developer Chalgrove Properties about this encroachment and currently await replies.