New Local Plan

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Please note that the consultation period for Regulation 18 has now ended - the next round of engagement is due in summer 2024 and will be for Regulation 19. A summary of comments received during the various consultation events held at Regulation 18 stage can be found at the bottom of this page.

Welcome to the Tower Hamlets new Local Plan consultation page.

The council is consulting on a first draft version of a new Local Plan for Tower Hamlets. This consultation is being carried out in accordance with Regulation 18 of the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012, and will run between Monday 6 November to Monday 18 December 2023. 

As the Council’s most important planning document, the Local Plan is used to guide decisions on planning applications in the borough. This means that if someone wants to develop a new building or change its use, they should make sure it follows the policies in the Local Plan.

The Plan must be prepared in line with planning policy requirements set out by national and regional government. The current Local Plan was adopted in January 2020 and a number of the objectives, policies and guidance contained within this plan could now be considered outdated as national and regional guidance is progressively updated.

A new Local Plan has been prepared to ensure it takes into account emerging challenges and opportunities and benefits present and future generations.

It is important to ensure all communities within Tower Hamlets have the opportunity to review this draft document and its supporting evidence. Please share your thoughts and get involved as part of this consultation.

StoryMap - We have created an interactive and visual StoryMap collection, which provides a summary of each of the chapters and policy themes in the Local Plan as well as spatial representations of key policies.

Empowering the next generation: building a brighter future for Tower Hamlets, together.


Policy themes

A series of new policies have been developed to help shape the future of Tower Hamlets' places and we’d like your thoughts on them before we move onto formalising the new Local Plan over 2024-2025.

Site Allocations

A Site Allocation means that the site is designated for a particular type of development or use, such as housing, employment and leisure, within the Local Plan. 36 site allocations are provided in the new Local Plan, all expected to deliver at least 500 new homes each (or equivalent for student accommodation).


How can you have your say?

You can tell us your views using any of the ways below

1. Complete the online survey

You can fill in this survey which goes through a series of questions on the draft policies within the new Local Plan. You can also comment separately on Site Allocations.

2. In-person public engagement sessions

We will be hosting a series of in-person public engagement sessions. Council officers will discuss the project and respond to any comments or queries.

These sessions are open to anyone who has an interest in the new Local Plan.

The sessions will be split into two categories:

  • Policy themes: Housing & People Places and Spaces, Inclusive Economy, Town Centres and Community Infrastructure, and Clean and Green Future, Biodiversity and Open Space, Movement and Connectivity and Reuse, Recycling and Waste
  • Area-based: City Fringe, Leaside & Central areas, and the Isle of Dogs and South Poplar

Theme-based events will be held at the Tower Hamlets Town Hall, at 160 Whitechapel Road, E1 1BJ, on the following dates:

  • Housing & People Places and Spaces - Monday 13 November 2023 - 6pm-730pm
  • Inclusive Economy, Town Centres and Community Infrastructure - Tuesday 14 November 2023 - 6pm-730pm
  • Clean and Green Future, Biodiversity and Open Space, Movement and Connectivity and Reuse, Recycling and Waste - Wednesday 22 November 2023 - 6pm-730pm

Area-based events will be held at various locations, as below, on the following dates:

  • City Fringe area - Tuesday 28 November 2023, 6pm at the Brady Arts and Community Centre, 192-196, Hanbury St, London E1 5HU
  • Isle of Dogs area - Monday 4 December 2023, 6pm at the Canary Wharf Idea Store, Churchill Place, London E14 5RB
  • Leaside and Central areas - Tuesday 12 December 2023, 6pm at the Chrisp Street Idea Store, 1 Vesey Path, East India Dock Rd, London E14 6BT

Please email localplan@towerhamlets.gov.uk to register for an event, or just turn up on the day.

If you have any specific themes you'd like to talk about, or if you're representing a particular community group or business when attending, please let us know when registering.

3. Attend an online webinar

These will also be split into the two same categories (policy themes and area-based).

All events will be hosted on Microsoft Teams and can be accessed via the following links:

You can also email localplan@towerhamlets.gov.uk and we will send you a Microsoft Teams calendar invite.

4. In-person and virtual drop-in sessions

There will also be a series of 1.5 hour virtual and in-person drop-in sessions, with 15-minute bookable slots.

At the drop-in sessions, Council officers will be available to answer any questions or queries you might have on the project.

The in-person drop-in sessions will be hosted between 12pm-1.30pm at the Tower Hamlets Town Hall, 160 Whitechapel Road, E1 1BJ. Discussions will be held at the Grocers Wing:

  • Thursday 16 November 2023
  • Wednesday 22 November 2023
  • Thursday 7 December 2023

The online drop-in sessions will be hosted between 12pm-1.30pm, on Microsoft Teams, on the following dates:

  • Wednesday 15 November 2023
  • Thursday 30 November 2023
  • Thursday 14 December 2023

Please email localplan@towerhamlets.gov.uk to book a 15-minute slot. If you have any specific themes you'd like to talk about, or if you're representing a particular community group or business when attending, please let us know when registering. We can also arrange meetings outside of the above times upon request.

5. Providing written comments to the council


What is the next stage of the new Local Plan process?

Following this consultation (Regulation 18) of the draft new Local Plan, we will review your feedback and make any necessary changes to the draft policies and allocations. Then we will put them back up for the next round of consultation (Regulation 19) – which we are currently aiming to hold in Summer 2024.

Privacy Notice

We process the data in accordance with the General Data Protection (GDPR) and UK privacy legislation. If you have any concerns, the Council’s Data Protection Officer can be contacted on DPO@towerhamlets.gov.uk. For more information, please visit the Legal Notices page on the Council’s website.

Further information

For any queries, please contact the Council’s Plan Making Team at localplan@towerhamlets.gov.uk


Regulation 18 Consultation Events Summary

These notes provide a high level summary of what was discussed in relation to the different themes of the plan, and do not act as exhaustive notes of the discussions that were held. These comments are in addition to the written representations that were received as part of the consultation process.

The following consultation events were held:

  • Wednesday 18 October 2023, 5pm – Tower Hamlets Youth Council consultation event – 40 participants
  • Monday 13 November 2023, 6pm – Themed event on housing and design policies – 16 attendees
  • Tuesday 14 November 2023, Midday – Online themed event on housing and design policies – 15 attendees
  • Tuesday 14 November 2023, 6pm – Themed event on economy, town centre, and community infrastructure policies – 8 attendees
  • Wednesday 15 November 2023, Midday – Online drop-in consultation event
  • Thursday 16 November 2023 – Drop-in consultation event – 3 attendees
  • Monday 20 November 2023, Midday – Online themed event on economy, town centre, and community infrastructure policies – 10 attendees
  • Tuesday 21 November 2023 – Open for Business Drop-in Event – 10 attendees
  • Wednesday 22 November – Drop-in consultation event – 3 attendees
  • Wednesday 22 November 2023, 6pm – Themed event on clean and green future, biodiversity and open space, movement and connectivity, and recycling and waste policies – 15 attendees
  • Tuesday 28 November 2023, Midday – Online themed event clean and green future, biodiversity and open space, movement and connectivity, and recycling and waste policies – 14 attendees
  • Tuesday 28 November, 6pm – Area-based event for City Fringe Area – 13 attendees
  • Thursday 30 November 2023 – Online drop-in consultation event
  • Monday 4 December 2023, 6pm – Area-based event for Isle of Dogs and South Poplar Area – 30 attendees
  • Tuesday 5 December 2023, 10.30am – Consultation event with Real Disabled People’s Organisation – 50+ attendees
  • Tuesday 5 December, Midday – Online area-based event for City Fringe Area – 6 attendees
  • Thursday 7 December 2023 – Drop-in consultation event – 2 attendees
  • Monday 11 December 2023 – Voluntary Sector Drop-in Event – 6 attendees
  • Tuesday 12 December, Midday – Online area-based event for Isle of Dogs and South Poplar Area – 5 attendees
  • Tuesday 12 December, 3pm – Consultation event with AgeUK East London – 7 attendees
  • Tuesday 12 December 2023, 6pm – Area-based event for Leaside and Central Areas – 4 attendees
  • Wednesday 13 December 2023, Midday - Online area-based event for Leaside and Central Areas – 4 attendees
  • Thursday 14 December 2023 – Consultation event with Isle of Dogs Tenants and Residents Association – 10 attendees
  • Monday 18 December 2023 – Consultation event with Social Action for Health
  • Thursday 21 December 2023 – Consultation event with the Blossom Project (focused on social exclusion)

Procedure and Process

  • There was a general desire across alle events for residents to have more involvement in the planning process and more ability influence the decisions of developers.
  • Concern about consultation processes in planning – it’s hard to get people’s attention, and often feels like consultation is ‘too little, too late’ to truly influence the process.
  • There was a feeling that a greater focus on the diversity of communities in Tower Hamlets is needed as part of the consultation process.
  • Concern about the accessibility and ease of understanding consultation documents – it can be difficult for laypeople to follow complicated maps with multiple layers or to understand how to access and understand evidence base documents and their relationship to the plan.

Housing

  • Concerns were raised about the affordability of new developments and the displacement of existing communities due to new development. Increased levels of affordable housing were strongly supported.
  • Some attended raised a concern that a focus on family housing for new affordable units would reduce overall delivery of affordable homes, as affordable housing is calculated by habitable room rather than on a unit-by-unit basis. Other suggested that there needs to be a supply of 1 or 2 bedroom flats for single people, not just a focus on families.
  • Concerns about the price and charges relating to new homes – including the affordability of social rent, and high service charges.
  • Disabled people and older people raised the poor adaptability and design of housing as a problem, and noted that housing design should not only account for mobility impairments, but also consider factors such as deafness and neurodiversity. There was particular concern around reliable lift access for those that cannot use stairs.

Design

  • Generally, development of taller buildings was not supported by attendees at the events – seen as not providing enough benefits in terms of affordable housing or cheaper workspace, living conditions for those with children, and increasing pressure on existing services and open spaces through significant increases in density.
  • The proposed Tall Building Zone F was criticised for having no clear rationale and being much taller than existing heights in some areas – unclear how much weight will be given to the existing character within these areas.
  • Concerns about tall buildings being placed too close together, resulting in poor quality living spaces and poor quality public realm.
  • Concern was raised about ‘poor doors’ – separate entrances for private market housing and affordable housing.
  • Some residents raised concerns about the impact of conservation policies on householders, such as when people want to change windows to improve energy efficiency or add mansard roofs to properties, but in general the importance of conserving the borough’s heritage was recognised.
  • Disabled people noted the importance of considering disability-inclusive public realm design – suggested that specific guidance could be provided to assist with this.

Biodiversity and Open Space

  • Attendees were concerned with the lack of access to parks and open spaces in the borough, and stated that new, high-quality green spaces of sufficient size to support the borough’s growing population need to be provided.
  • Concerns about the quality of amenities in open spaces as well – in particular, the need for clean and accessible public toilets. Young people also noted a lack of places to sit and other facilities that would make parks attractive for teenagers.
  • Concern that children’s play space is often located near busy roads with heavy traffic, and residents do not feel safe letting their children use them.
  • Attendees noted that parts of the Thames Path are often closed or remain incomplete, and that completing this pathway should be a priority for river-facing developments.
  • Attendees raised the importance of and potential for biodiversity improvements around the River Lea, the canals, the docks, and the sidings of the DLR tracks.
  • Frustration over lack of maintenance for green spaces and planting after they have been installed.

Clean and Green Future

  • Attendees expressed a desire for improved air quality and reduced pollution, but felt this was being held back by high levels of car use in the borough.
  • Attendees asked for additional clarity about how energy efficiency will be measured in new buildings, and the potential impacts, benefits and costs of solar panels in new developments.
  • Support for the transition to electric vehicles, but concern over the lack of charging infrastructure at the moment.

Economy

  • Attendees raised concerns about the increasing price of workspace in Tower Hamlets – in traditional commercial spaces, but also in less standardised spaces that were previously cheaper options, such as railway arches and light industrial units. Concerns were also raised about how well the affordable workspace policy will be enforced.
  • Attendees raised concerns that the number of empty offices in the borough is increasing, and doubts were raised about whether Canary Wharf will continue to be an economic success.
  • Concerns were raised about the type of shops that arrive with new development – that these are aimed more at those who purchase the private market housing and are less affordable or relevant to other residents.
  • Attendees wished to see prioritisation of smaller, local businesses ahead of chains.
  • Young people raised the importance of creating more accessible pathways into higher-skilled employment opportunities.

Town Centres

  • Some concerns were raised about the impacts of the nighttime economy on residents, particularly around Redchurch Street, and potential further impacts if nighttime economy uses are further encouraged.
  • Residents in the south of the Isle of Dogs expressed a desire for a new town centre with a range of retail provision.
  • Attendees raised the question of how policies can preserve the viability and diversity of town centres now that the retail use class has been folded into the more general planning use class E.
  • Young people raised the importance of youth facilities and youth centres in town centres, with Bow noted as an area with a particular need for these facilities.

Movement and Connectivity

  • Concerns raised that the parking permit transfer scheme will conflict with the very low levels of parking on new developments, leading to increased pressure on the limited number of parking spaces and potentially obstruction of footways by parked cars.
  • Attendees noted that the concept of active travel needs to include consideration of those with reduced mobility, including older people and those with disabilities. Obstructions on the footway and a lack of places to sit can pose considerable obstacles to some residents.
  • Disabled people reported a lack of places to park, and problems where parking is only available to blue badge drivers and not for disabled people who are driven by family members or partners.

Waste

  • Attendees stated that insufficient space for domestic waste storage is leading to an increase in fly-tipping and littering.

Community Infrastructure

  • Concern over the costs of redeveloped community infrastructure – for example community centres charging considerably higher rent after redevelopment, and being left vacant as a result.
  • Concern that community and play spaces that are promised as part of developments are not being delivered, or are not being made accessible to the public.
  • Questions were raised around the infrastructure shortfall presented in the Infrastructure Delivery Plan, and how much spending would be needed to address this. Questions were also raised about how CIL funding is spent, particularly with relation to money raised through development on the Isle of Dogs and how much of this income is spent in the Isle of Dogs.
  • Questions raised around the need for a new energy substation on the Isle of Dogs and where this could be located.
  • Young people highlighted the importance of sports facilities, swimming pools, and youth centres.

Site Allocations

  • There were strong objections to the inclusion of the Samuda Estate as a site allocation.
  • Concern that further development around Whitechapel could impact existing residents.
  • Attendees asked for greater clarity over the methodology of the site capacity assessments.
  • Concerns raised about the number of site allocations on the Isle of Dogs, and that this represented over-development which would further stretch infrastructure capacity and impact on quality of life in the area.
  • Attendees noted that Westferry Printworks in particular has the opportunity to provide a significant new open space.
  • Residents of Teviot Estate were concerned that development on the site might lead to loss of green space.

Please note that the consultation period for Regulation 18 has now ended - the next round of engagement is due in summer 2024 and will be for Regulation 19. A summary of comments received during the various consultation events held at Regulation 18 stage can be found at the bottom of this page.

Welcome to the Tower Hamlets new Local Plan consultation page.

The council is consulting on a first draft version of a new Local Plan for Tower Hamlets. This consultation is being carried out in accordance with Regulation 18 of the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012, and will run between Monday 6 November to Monday 18 December 2023. 

As the Council’s most important planning document, the Local Plan is used to guide decisions on planning applications in the borough. This means that if someone wants to develop a new building or change its use, they should make sure it follows the policies in the Local Plan.

The Plan must be prepared in line with planning policy requirements set out by national and regional government. The current Local Plan was adopted in January 2020 and a number of the objectives, policies and guidance contained within this plan could now be considered outdated as national and regional guidance is progressively updated.

A new Local Plan has been prepared to ensure it takes into account emerging challenges and opportunities and benefits present and future generations.

It is important to ensure all communities within Tower Hamlets have the opportunity to review this draft document and its supporting evidence. Please share your thoughts and get involved as part of this consultation.

StoryMap - We have created an interactive and visual StoryMap collection, which provides a summary of each of the chapters and policy themes in the Local Plan as well as spatial representations of key policies.

Empowering the next generation: building a brighter future for Tower Hamlets, together.


Policy themes

A series of new policies have been developed to help shape the future of Tower Hamlets' places and we’d like your thoughts on them before we move onto formalising the new Local Plan over 2024-2025.

Site Allocations

A Site Allocation means that the site is designated for a particular type of development or use, such as housing, employment and leisure, within the Local Plan. 36 site allocations are provided in the new Local Plan, all expected to deliver at least 500 new homes each (or equivalent for student accommodation).


How can you have your say?

You can tell us your views using any of the ways below

1. Complete the online survey

You can fill in this survey which goes through a series of questions on the draft policies within the new Local Plan. You can also comment separately on Site Allocations.

2. In-person public engagement sessions

We will be hosting a series of in-person public engagement sessions. Council officers will discuss the project and respond to any comments or queries.

These sessions are open to anyone who has an interest in the new Local Plan.

The sessions will be split into two categories:

  • Policy themes: Housing & People Places and Spaces, Inclusive Economy, Town Centres and Community Infrastructure, and Clean and Green Future, Biodiversity and Open Space, Movement and Connectivity and Reuse, Recycling and Waste
  • Area-based: City Fringe, Leaside & Central areas, and the Isle of Dogs and South Poplar

Theme-based events will be held at the Tower Hamlets Town Hall, at 160 Whitechapel Road, E1 1BJ, on the following dates:

  • Housing & People Places and Spaces - Monday 13 November 2023 - 6pm-730pm
  • Inclusive Economy, Town Centres and Community Infrastructure - Tuesday 14 November 2023 - 6pm-730pm
  • Clean and Green Future, Biodiversity and Open Space, Movement and Connectivity and Reuse, Recycling and Waste - Wednesday 22 November 2023 - 6pm-730pm

Area-based events will be held at various locations, as below, on the following dates:

  • City Fringe area - Tuesday 28 November 2023, 6pm at the Brady Arts and Community Centre, 192-196, Hanbury St, London E1 5HU
  • Isle of Dogs area - Monday 4 December 2023, 6pm at the Canary Wharf Idea Store, Churchill Place, London E14 5RB
  • Leaside and Central areas - Tuesday 12 December 2023, 6pm at the Chrisp Street Idea Store, 1 Vesey Path, East India Dock Rd, London E14 6BT

Please email localplan@towerhamlets.gov.uk to register for an event, or just turn up on the day.

If you have any specific themes you'd like to talk about, or if you're representing a particular community group or business when attending, please let us know when registering.

3. Attend an online webinar

These will also be split into the two same categories (policy themes and area-based).

All events will be hosted on Microsoft Teams and can be accessed via the following links:

You can also email localplan@towerhamlets.gov.uk and we will send you a Microsoft Teams calendar invite.

4. In-person and virtual drop-in sessions

There will also be a series of 1.5 hour virtual and in-person drop-in sessions, with 15-minute bookable slots.

At the drop-in sessions, Council officers will be available to answer any questions or queries you might have on the project.

The in-person drop-in sessions will be hosted between 12pm-1.30pm at the Tower Hamlets Town Hall, 160 Whitechapel Road, E1 1BJ. Discussions will be held at the Grocers Wing:

  • Thursday 16 November 2023
  • Wednesday 22 November 2023
  • Thursday 7 December 2023

The online drop-in sessions will be hosted between 12pm-1.30pm, on Microsoft Teams, on the following dates:

  • Wednesday 15 November 2023
  • Thursday 30 November 2023
  • Thursday 14 December 2023

Please email localplan@towerhamlets.gov.uk to book a 15-minute slot. If you have any specific themes you'd like to talk about, or if you're representing a particular community group or business when attending, please let us know when registering. We can also arrange meetings outside of the above times upon request.

5. Providing written comments to the council


What is the next stage of the new Local Plan process?

Following this consultation (Regulation 18) of the draft new Local Plan, we will review your feedback and make any necessary changes to the draft policies and allocations. Then we will put them back up for the next round of consultation (Regulation 19) – which we are currently aiming to hold in Summer 2024.

Privacy Notice

We process the data in accordance with the General Data Protection (GDPR) and UK privacy legislation. If you have any concerns, the Council’s Data Protection Officer can be contacted on DPO@towerhamlets.gov.uk. For more information, please visit the Legal Notices page on the Council’s website.

Further information

For any queries, please contact the Council’s Plan Making Team at localplan@towerhamlets.gov.uk


Regulation 18 Consultation Events Summary

These notes provide a high level summary of what was discussed in relation to the different themes of the plan, and do not act as exhaustive notes of the discussions that were held. These comments are in addition to the written representations that were received as part of the consultation process.

The following consultation events were held:

  • Wednesday 18 October 2023, 5pm – Tower Hamlets Youth Council consultation event – 40 participants
  • Monday 13 November 2023, 6pm – Themed event on housing and design policies – 16 attendees
  • Tuesday 14 November 2023, Midday – Online themed event on housing and design policies – 15 attendees
  • Tuesday 14 November 2023, 6pm – Themed event on economy, town centre, and community infrastructure policies – 8 attendees
  • Wednesday 15 November 2023, Midday – Online drop-in consultation event
  • Thursday 16 November 2023 – Drop-in consultation event – 3 attendees
  • Monday 20 November 2023, Midday – Online themed event on economy, town centre, and community infrastructure policies – 10 attendees
  • Tuesday 21 November 2023 – Open for Business Drop-in Event – 10 attendees
  • Wednesday 22 November – Drop-in consultation event – 3 attendees
  • Wednesday 22 November 2023, 6pm – Themed event on clean and green future, biodiversity and open space, movement and connectivity, and recycling and waste policies – 15 attendees
  • Tuesday 28 November 2023, Midday – Online themed event clean and green future, biodiversity and open space, movement and connectivity, and recycling and waste policies – 14 attendees
  • Tuesday 28 November, 6pm – Area-based event for City Fringe Area – 13 attendees
  • Thursday 30 November 2023 – Online drop-in consultation event
  • Monday 4 December 2023, 6pm – Area-based event for Isle of Dogs and South Poplar Area – 30 attendees
  • Tuesday 5 December 2023, 10.30am – Consultation event with Real Disabled People’s Organisation – 50+ attendees
  • Tuesday 5 December, Midday – Online area-based event for City Fringe Area – 6 attendees
  • Thursday 7 December 2023 – Drop-in consultation event – 2 attendees
  • Monday 11 December 2023 – Voluntary Sector Drop-in Event – 6 attendees
  • Tuesday 12 December, Midday – Online area-based event for Isle of Dogs and South Poplar Area – 5 attendees
  • Tuesday 12 December, 3pm – Consultation event with AgeUK East London – 7 attendees
  • Tuesday 12 December 2023, 6pm – Area-based event for Leaside and Central Areas – 4 attendees
  • Wednesday 13 December 2023, Midday - Online area-based event for Leaside and Central Areas – 4 attendees
  • Thursday 14 December 2023 – Consultation event with Isle of Dogs Tenants and Residents Association – 10 attendees
  • Monday 18 December 2023 – Consultation event with Social Action for Health
  • Thursday 21 December 2023 – Consultation event with the Blossom Project (focused on social exclusion)

Procedure and Process

  • There was a general desire across alle events for residents to have more involvement in the planning process and more ability influence the decisions of developers.
  • Concern about consultation processes in planning – it’s hard to get people’s attention, and often feels like consultation is ‘too little, too late’ to truly influence the process.
  • There was a feeling that a greater focus on the diversity of communities in Tower Hamlets is needed as part of the consultation process.
  • Concern about the accessibility and ease of understanding consultation documents – it can be difficult for laypeople to follow complicated maps with multiple layers or to understand how to access and understand evidence base documents and their relationship to the plan.

Housing

  • Concerns were raised about the affordability of new developments and the displacement of existing communities due to new development. Increased levels of affordable housing were strongly supported.
  • Some attended raised a concern that a focus on family housing for new affordable units would reduce overall delivery of affordable homes, as affordable housing is calculated by habitable room rather than on a unit-by-unit basis. Other suggested that there needs to be a supply of 1 or 2 bedroom flats for single people, not just a focus on families.
  • Concerns about the price and charges relating to new homes – including the affordability of social rent, and high service charges.
  • Disabled people and older people raised the poor adaptability and design of housing as a problem, and noted that housing design should not only account for mobility impairments, but also consider factors such as deafness and neurodiversity. There was particular concern around reliable lift access for those that cannot use stairs.

Design

  • Generally, development of taller buildings was not supported by attendees at the events – seen as not providing enough benefits in terms of affordable housing or cheaper workspace, living conditions for those with children, and increasing pressure on existing services and open spaces through significant increases in density.
  • The proposed Tall Building Zone F was criticised for having no clear rationale and being much taller than existing heights in some areas – unclear how much weight will be given to the existing character within these areas.
  • Concerns about tall buildings being placed too close together, resulting in poor quality living spaces and poor quality public realm.
  • Concern was raised about ‘poor doors’ – separate entrances for private market housing and affordable housing.
  • Some residents raised concerns about the impact of conservation policies on householders, such as when people want to change windows to improve energy efficiency or add mansard roofs to properties, but in general the importance of conserving the borough’s heritage was recognised.
  • Disabled people noted the importance of considering disability-inclusive public realm design – suggested that specific guidance could be provided to assist with this.

Biodiversity and Open Space

  • Attendees were concerned with the lack of access to parks and open spaces in the borough, and stated that new, high-quality green spaces of sufficient size to support the borough’s growing population need to be provided.
  • Concerns about the quality of amenities in open spaces as well – in particular, the need for clean and accessible public toilets. Young people also noted a lack of places to sit and other facilities that would make parks attractive for teenagers.
  • Concern that children’s play space is often located near busy roads with heavy traffic, and residents do not feel safe letting their children use them.
  • Attendees noted that parts of the Thames Path are often closed or remain incomplete, and that completing this pathway should be a priority for river-facing developments.
  • Attendees raised the importance of and potential for biodiversity improvements around the River Lea, the canals, the docks, and the sidings of the DLR tracks.
  • Frustration over lack of maintenance for green spaces and planting after they have been installed.

Clean and Green Future

  • Attendees expressed a desire for improved air quality and reduced pollution, but felt this was being held back by high levels of car use in the borough.
  • Attendees asked for additional clarity about how energy efficiency will be measured in new buildings, and the potential impacts, benefits and costs of solar panels in new developments.
  • Support for the transition to electric vehicles, but concern over the lack of charging infrastructure at the moment.

Economy

  • Attendees raised concerns about the increasing price of workspace in Tower Hamlets – in traditional commercial spaces, but also in less standardised spaces that were previously cheaper options, such as railway arches and light industrial units. Concerns were also raised about how well the affordable workspace policy will be enforced.
  • Attendees raised concerns that the number of empty offices in the borough is increasing, and doubts were raised about whether Canary Wharf will continue to be an economic success.
  • Concerns were raised about the type of shops that arrive with new development – that these are aimed more at those who purchase the private market housing and are less affordable or relevant to other residents.
  • Attendees wished to see prioritisation of smaller, local businesses ahead of chains.
  • Young people raised the importance of creating more accessible pathways into higher-skilled employment opportunities.

Town Centres

  • Some concerns were raised about the impacts of the nighttime economy on residents, particularly around Redchurch Street, and potential further impacts if nighttime economy uses are further encouraged.
  • Residents in the south of the Isle of Dogs expressed a desire for a new town centre with a range of retail provision.
  • Attendees raised the question of how policies can preserve the viability and diversity of town centres now that the retail use class has been folded into the more general planning use class E.
  • Young people raised the importance of youth facilities and youth centres in town centres, with Bow noted as an area with a particular need for these facilities.

Movement and Connectivity

  • Concerns raised that the parking permit transfer scheme will conflict with the very low levels of parking on new developments, leading to increased pressure on the limited number of parking spaces and potentially obstruction of footways by parked cars.
  • Attendees noted that the concept of active travel needs to include consideration of those with reduced mobility, including older people and those with disabilities. Obstructions on the footway and a lack of places to sit can pose considerable obstacles to some residents.
  • Disabled people reported a lack of places to park, and problems where parking is only available to blue badge drivers and not for disabled people who are driven by family members or partners.

Waste

  • Attendees stated that insufficient space for domestic waste storage is leading to an increase in fly-tipping and littering.

Community Infrastructure

  • Concern over the costs of redeveloped community infrastructure – for example community centres charging considerably higher rent after redevelopment, and being left vacant as a result.
  • Concern that community and play spaces that are promised as part of developments are not being delivered, or are not being made accessible to the public.
  • Questions were raised around the infrastructure shortfall presented in the Infrastructure Delivery Plan, and how much spending would be needed to address this. Questions were also raised about how CIL funding is spent, particularly with relation to money raised through development on the Isle of Dogs and how much of this income is spent in the Isle of Dogs.
  • Questions raised around the need for a new energy substation on the Isle of Dogs and where this could be located.
  • Young people highlighted the importance of sports facilities, swimming pools, and youth centres.

Site Allocations

  • There were strong objections to the inclusion of the Samuda Estate as a site allocation.
  • Concern that further development around Whitechapel could impact existing residents.
  • Attendees asked for greater clarity over the methodology of the site capacity assessments.
  • Concerns raised about the number of site allocations on the Isle of Dogs, and that this represented over-development which would further stretch infrastructure capacity and impact on quality of life in the area.
  • Attendees noted that Westferry Printworks in particular has the opportunity to provide a significant new open space.
  • Residents of Teviot Estate were concerned that development on the site might lead to loss of green space.
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