Tower Hamlets Council has spent £123,000 on scaffolding for an empty row of shops, it has emerged.
The authority owns the units at 3-11 Vallance Road, which have sat derelict for decades and are supported by scaffolding due to their dilapidated state.
During a meeting of the council’s cabinet on Tuesday, October 6, one of the items raised was why £123,298 of public money had been spent on August 24 to prop up the building with extra scaffolding.
A report given to councillors stated: “There is an urgent need to appoint the contractor for the provision of scaffolding services (installation, hire, and inspection), in order to enhance and strengthen the existing scaffolding system at the site of 3-11 Vallance Road.
“This is part of a package of remedial works to manage the risk to life and property from the dangerous condition of the building.
“Furthermore, the works and services are specialised, and the appointment of the contractor would utilise their previous involvement with the site, as GKR installed the original scaffolding, which the enhanced system will need to link to. This covers a 24-month period between August 2015 and August 2017.”
A council spokesman said: “Number 3-11 Vallance Road is a terrace of vacant council-owned residential properties and shops that were built in the 19th century but have been derelict for more than 20 years.
“They are dangerous structures and the purpose of the scaffolding is to prevent collapse of the building and the safe running of the London Underground line that runs close to the site.
“The site is a key landmark opportunity within the Whitechapel Vision Masterplan area and the council is currently looking at plans for the redevelopment of the site.”
The council had submitted a plan to demolish the buildings in 2013 when it was declared potentially unsafe.
The Victorian Society condemned the application as a “crushing blow to the conservation area”.
The council eventually withdrew the application in April 2014.