The gaff prone developer!

Collection of comments from Eric and Treby residents. (First Application PA/08/02239)

Some objections to the first application. In the new application little has changed so use these comments as inspiration

Re: PA/08/02239

Public Open Space – Loss & Gain:

The claims of this map are disingenuous to say the least. There are numerous losses of open space, most notably between Wentworth Mews & the East London Tabernacle (12), Derwent & Ennerdale Houses (7), junction of Eric Street & Hamlets Way (21) and junction of Hamlets Way & Southern Grove (20), but to claim that the so called gains are in anyway an increase in public open space is a lie, most notably land behind Derwent House (8) which has been open space for more than 25 years to my knowledge, and despite a small fence (of more recent years) remains accessible with little difficulty. The assertion of February 18th 2009 that this is private open space is nonsensical, who privately owns it? The plan does not address any of the issues which may have lead to the erection of said fence. The other so called ‘gains’ may infer so qualitative improvement of the land in question, but it is nonetheless currently open space, so there can be no ‘gain’.

There would be an opportunity to make a gain at the junction of Eric Street & Ropery Street (14) but this does not seem to have been considered. I would question whether the land actually belonged to the London Borough of Tower Hamlets in order for them to transfer it to East End Homes, a matter which might prudently bear further investigation. My understanding has always been that the site (which has always been securely fenced for at least the last 25 years) contains an unexploded bomb from the Second World War, at such a depth as to make it impractical to recover.

Statement of Community Involvement:

Whilst attempts may have been made, with varying levels of success to engage the residents of the Eric Street & Treby Estates no effort has been made to engage those living around the estates on whom any redevelopment will have an impact.

Furthermore, despite being aware of the impending development and having a general interest in planning matters in the area I have had difficulty in locating any information about this development. I eventually found the planning application indexed on the LBTH website under ‘Treby Street’, not Eric Street; I don’t think this is good enough.

I am not aware of any attempts to solicit the views of other interest groups within the area – for example the Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, despite policy of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets from the Poplar Neighbourhood Standing Committee that they should be notified by the Planning Department of any major developments in the vicinity of the cemetery park. It should be added that the cemetery park is the Borough’s first Local Nature Reserve, a Site of Metropolitan Significance for Nature Conservation, a Conservation Area and Metropolitan Open Space – in short a fragile environment, but due consideration of the impact of the development upon it does not appear to have been made. I would grateful if you would advise me on these matters.

This planning application, as it stands amounts to a comprehensive over-development of the Mile End East Ward. It should be referred back to the developer and substantially scaled down. Planning consent has recently been granted for 239 dwellings on the already densely housed Bede Estate, in the face I should add of almost total opposition for residents. A similar number of dwellings is planned by HARCA on the Leopold Estate and they have already in filled most of the open space on the Burdett Estate. Add to this East End Homes own developments on the British Street Estate and the development of the old bus depot in Bow Common Lane & Ropery Street and the shameful sacrifice of Furze Green.

Set against this, no new schools have been built in the area and even before some of these developments have taken effect local schools are being forced to take in extra forms of entry in temporary huts. One has to ask of course where they might be built?

Some consideration has to be given to the overall quality of life within the area. Perhaps councillors and planners are unaware of the impact of the extent of their decisions over the last few years?

Dear Sir

I am writing to object to the proposed planning application for the Eric, Treby et al estates.

In my opinion these proposals do not take into consideration the tenants/residents rights for open space between the buildings and also the need for a good amount of natural light. It seems to me that under this proposed plan Eastend Homes are intent on building on every available piece of land without considering the impact on overcrowding and the possible affects this can have both psychologically and physically upon the existing, and any new, residents who will undoubtedly suffer from stress due to overcrowding and lack of free space and light as mentioned before. The residents can then also be prone and more vulnerable to muggings and attacks due to the narrow alley-like structures that have been created due to these unsympathetic and ill thought out plans.

There is also the question of parking, although this is generally dismissed in this present culture of environmentally friendly attitude, it is none-the-less a part of our everyday life, and under these proposed plans they would do away with most of the existing car parking space and garages to build more homes for more people who will also, even under the proposed no car policy, then require a space for their vehicle as their family grows. This will eventually cause more stress and concern for the existing residents who will have nowhere to park and also for the new residents who will be equally frustrated.

There is also the question of open space, also previously mentioned, under these proposals there will not be any except suddenly declaring to provide pieces of land that are already currently in existence but are fenced off as though this will make up for the cramped living conditions that all the residents will now be living under. It then seems that the expectation will be that we will still be allowing our children to start playing in a now precarious and dangerous environment or on the road which will now be one of the only “open spaces” left available, without the ability that we have now to keep an eye on them due to the proposed cramped living conditions we would then be living under.

There are numerous issues regarding these plans that need addressing, among them the lack of proposed social housing in relation to the ones already destroyed to make way for the building of private “money making” housing, which seems an odd way of justifying these plans, along with the aesthetics of the proposed designs and how they fit in with the present environment and the future impact they will have. If these building end up being built they will be here for a very long time and stand as a poor example of ill thought out social housing like the much despised tower blocks of the sixties and seventies, the supposed advantage of history is to learn from previous mistakes and not to repeat them!

I urge you not to pass these plans and instead to inform Eastend homes to re-visit them and this time also involve and consult with the residents, which although claimed, seems not to have been done or at least undertaken properly as when the residents of Ennerdale and Treby Estates were recently petitioned the majority of residents had no idea of these proposals which would naturally cast doubt on the effectiveness of the consultation process.

Once again I urge you not to pass these plans as they do not stand up to scrutiny with regards to being aesthetically and sympathetically designed or thought out along with being environmentally and socially friendly to the local residents.

The residents of the estates are not against building new housing but they would like to be considered and consulted on their opinions to create an environment and neighbourhood that they feel comfortable and proud to live in and not have to end up living in a cramp and socially and psychologically damaging environment.

Yours sincerely and in good faith

Name and address supplied

To all distinguished councillors and strategic development committee members,

I hope this finds you well.

As a resident and leaseholder of the above stated estate, I would like
to voice my concern on the planning application for the redevelopment
and regeneration of the area.

I do not want to bore you with a full list of concerns, as you are
fully aware from the numerous letters and emails that you have already
received from my fellow residents. However, it concerns me greatly
that Eastend homes have been so arrogant as to not fully consult the
residents on their application and not to provide Bengali translations
for a significant section of the population that do not speak English.
I do not see transparency in Eastendhomes conduct and question their
motives. Furthermore, I have great concern on the lack of soft play
area, limited car parking spaces and also the over-development of the
area which will take away the needed open spaces and light.
Specifically, I would like you to please consider rejecting the proposed
Estate Homes management office on Site 1. This proposal looks
grotesque and will make the residents feel boxed in. As the entrance
will be less visible from the road, area over time this will be a hotpot
for anti social behaviour. Such proposal is also concerning as the
management will have a budget deficit and the short term sales market
for the new properties look very bleak. This leads me to believe
that myself and other leaseholders will be hit the hardest with inflated
building redevelopment fees and subsequent annual service charges. I
would hope you can consider ways to protect leaseholders with caps on

I could go on but I hope this short note encourages you to reconsider
the application or at the least force Eastend homes to amend the
application to consider all queries from residents.

Name and address supplied

I sent a lengthy e mail to several councilors yesterday. I want to share with you the main points, because I realized at the public meeting last week, that we all share common issues regarding the way this application has been presented and handled.
I am strongly concerned that DETAIL HAS BEEN OVERLOOKED here (I provided several examples in my mail), possibly due to the scale of this planning application. Many others at the recent public meeting were making similar comments about detail being overlooked, and to a surprising degree.
This issue is exacerbated by the LACK OF DETAIL IN RESONSE TO QUERIES. I have made two requests for detailed comments to the planning department: the first on 23rd December 2008, and the second on 6th March 2009. The replies tend to be of a very general nature: “we will consider your views before we make a decision” and “Thank you for your original and updated comments. They will be taken into account when the application is determined”.
And the information provided with regard to the proposal can be VERY MISLEADING, and OBSCURES IMPORTANT FACTS. The proposal says, correctly, that the proposal for Site 15 (formerly 106-128 Hamlets Way), has now been scaled down to 6 storeys along Hamlets Way and 4 storeys along Eric Street. BUT then it goes on to say that “In terms of scale this complements the adjacent 4 storey block along Eric Street. This might lead anyone to believe that the new structure will be the same height as the adjacent block. However it needs to be clearly borne in mind, that although both the existing and proposed structures would be 4 storeys high, the REALITY is that THE PROPOSED NEW STRUCTURE WILL STILL BE HIGHER THAN THE ADJACENT BLOCK.

Interestingly an issue I raised through a councillor resulted in a more detailed response than the issues I raised directly with Development Control. But the response was EQUALLY MISLEADING. I was that “Sites 15 and 14 are set back from the pavement edge to a COMPARABLE DISTANCE to the adjoining building on Eric Street (the actual distance varies as the building is articulated)”. BUT WHAT IS A “COMPARABLE DISTANCE”? Here again important detail is being obscured. In reality, looking at the document referred to above it appears that in fact the structure proposed for Site 15 IS IN FACT SET FORWARD FROM THE EXISTING BUILDING. However it is not possibly to be entirely clear on this. WHY? Because we have been referred to THE ESTATE MASTERPLAN in response to a request for detailed information. Surely a detailed document must exist showing this relationship.

* Conclusion
Perhaps we go beyond a question of detail here. Perhaps we have here, as one resident said, having consulted alternative professionals, a flawed plan. Some of the extraordinary proposals in this plan would certainly appear to support this view that the plan is inherently flawed. I’m sure we all have our own examples that we can send to the councilors. But by e mail now as the meeting is only two days away. If you are going to write a letter make sure it is delivered by hand.
The proposal for this Estate contains liberal use of expressions such as “an acceptable solution” and “falls within acceptable standards”. The fact remains that THESE CHANGES WILL HAVE A VERY SIGNIFICANT IMPACT ON THE LIVES OF A CONSIDERABLE NUMBER OF PEOPLE. We deserve, at the very least, DETAILED RESPONSES to our concerns, and A REAL SENSE THAT OUR CONCERNS ARE BEING HEARD AND ADRESSED BY OUR COUNCILLORS.
In the circumstances we feel that THE COMMITTEE SHOULD reconsider its recommendation to grant planning permission, and to TAKE THE HARDER, BRAVER, BUT, WE BELIEVE, CORRECT DECISION TO REEXAMINE THE DETAIL OF THESE PROPOSALS that are currently insufficiently clear, in order to establish more clearly whether this proposal is soundly based or whether it is flawed. WE CONSIDER THAT, UNLESS THE COMMITTEE HAVE ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS THAT ARE NOT BEING MADE PUBLIC, SIGNIFICANT DETAIL HAS NOT YET BEEN PRESENTED IN A SUFFICIENTLY CLEAR AND STRAIGHTFORWARD WAY FOR THE COMMITTEE TO BE ABLE TO MAKE AN INFORMED DECISION.

Name and address supplied

Development & Renewal
Town Planning
Mulberry Place (Anchorage House)
PO Box 55739
5 Clove Crescent

25 June 2009

Ref: PA/08/02239

Dear Jerry Bell (case officer, Development & Renewal)
and all Members of the Strategic Development Committee

Objections to EastendHomes’ Plans for Eric & Treby estates

From a personal perspective I must say that this whole project makes me feel very sad; from my window I will be able to see FIVE new developments. I am on the 12th floor and actually not concerned about my private view, but I am VERY concerned about the future of the estate. On the ground there will be the same claustrophobic feel as on the British Street estate after the in-fill.

That is why I have dedicated so much of my time and energy in the last couple of months to informing neighbours of the issues of the plans, none of which are explained by EastendHomes in their literature, at their few meetings or by the Council on their website or anywhere else.

I would like to point out some more material points as the above will be disregarded in the decision of granting planning permission; which is also rather sad as the project will affect PEOPLE: People who have lives, feelings, the right to space and air, some light through their windows and lastly an opinion. All will be bulldozed if the plans get the go-ahead.

Demolition (p.24 Agenda Item 8.1, point 3.4 Conditions) – “No demolition until permission granted for replacement buildings.”
How come two blocks have already been demolished (Hamlets Way and Burdett Road) and now the inside of 1-14 Brokesley Street?

The estate is in dire need of homes for families but the proposals are mainly for 1 and 2 bedroom units: 132 studio, one & two-bed and 49 three & five-bed, no four-bed units.

What is affordable?? According to the latest Scrutiny Meeting the Council has no definition of what is affordable. There is no such thing as affordable!

Lack of consultation:
According to the latest EastendHomes newsletter (Issue eleven: June 2009, front page) “a series of public meetings will be arranged for residents” – once the plans get granted permission! Why not now? Why are EastendHomes so afraid of bringing residents together in a big meeting? I was part organiser of a public meeting for the estate last week; 70 people attended and all were against the plans – except the vice chair of the MECHT board (predictable of course as board members by contract must firstly serve EastendHomes and not residents). In spite of being invited, EastendHomes did not show; it would have been the perfect opportunity for them to explain their good intentions! Instead their style of ‘meetings’ is one-to-one open days taking the format of “you ask – we answer” and no discussion.

Agenda Item 8.1, p.25 point 5.10: In the plans the “level of Children’s playspace meets the LBTH policy minimum” – why the minimum?? The children are our future and there should not be compromises in this area especially when the London Plan asks for 10sqm per child, these plans will provide 3sqm per child – a significantly lower figure.

The response in Agenda Item 8.1, p. 24-25 points 5.4 – 5.12 is ludicrous. Basically it says that we should be happy that at least we will get some playspace for children since there is none at the moment.

We are referred to Mile End Park as a play area and an open space we should go to but we would have to cross a dangerous road to get there, not suitable for little children.

Loss of open space

The same points state that any open space left will be landscaped (5.11) – and the letter/email to Richard Murrell 2 June 2009 from Leaside Regeneration’s Juliet Heap (‘Eric & treby comments’. Attachment: comments on reasons for deferral.doc) states: “Currently, the open spaces throughout the estate are poorly organised and ill defined. They suffer from a lack of investment…”

Landscaping is the bare minimum I would expect of a regeneration project; the under used space should have been made usable the moment EastendHomes took over the estate, such as the hard-standing to the side of Ennerdale House along Southern Grove. I do believe it would not have required more creative planning or money than the painting of the inside of the block which has taken place THREE times since the take over in 2004.

Ill-definition, “no demarcation” and under use are NOT justifications for building on a space.

There are STILL TOO MANY ISSUES relating to these proposals and I urge the members to vote against them in their present form. True, more housing is needed and there is room for SOME development in the area but not at this ridiculous level – and please not at the expense of us who live here.

In anticipation of a positive outcome for all my neighbours, my daughter and myself.

Dear Sir,

I am writing to object to the proposed planning application for the Eric,
Treby and Brokesley Estates (PA/08/02239)

The claimed consultation carried out by the applicant was flawed and
clearly did not engage with residents in an open, effective and transparent
manner and did not involve residents in a manner that promoted empowerment.

In the plans submitted claims are made that there will net gain of 4 sq metres
of open space – this is an illusion – over 800 sq metres of existing open
space has been added to the “gained public open space” figure on a pure
technicality as although it is an open space it is not classified for planning
purposes a “public” open space.

The plans proposed create a claustrophobic feel to the estate. Loss of green
space and parking areas. Lack of social housing – only 19 new affordable flats
after the build – EEH calculations for additional units are based on a
“habitable rooms” calculation which like the “gained open space” figures is a
smoke and mirrors approach and misleading.

The plans shown to us during the “Housing Choice” program from LBTH on which
residents decisions were based for the Mile End East estate wide ballot have
change significantly since the vote and current plans do not reflect the plans
put forward during the pre ballot consultation. You will find no reference to
sites 2a, 2b or 11. This is the document we received from LBTH via the Housing
Choice programme to assist us in making the correct choice for our estates.
Also the impression given by later newsletters distributed to residents show a
plan far different from the one presented.

The application the committee is considering now whilst superficially correct
in its logic and slickly presented is built on the erroneous premise that the
applicant has won a mandate through the Housing Choice programme and
subsequent ballot to regenerate our homes and environment in what manner it
deems fit and bears little relation to the plans set out in the original
proposal document presented to us.

I ask the committee to take into consideration the points I have raised above
and refuse permission for this application in order to:-

1) Allow EastendHomes and their partners the opportunity to re-engage with
residents and amend the regeneration programme to take into account the views
of the majority of people effected.

2) Dissolve the growing disillusionment with local democracy within the
electorate at large and get local government back on track to play the part it
was elected for.

Opposition to eastend homes being given planning permission
Objections ref : PA/08/02239

This email is to state opposition to eastend homes being given planning permission for their building proposals, building on any and all green spaces and various other sites etc.., around the Eric Street Estate, unlike the individuals who are responsible for coming up with these intended plans and who do not have to suffer the consequences and nightmare their ideas will cause for these local areas and its local residents, because these outsiders do not live here but us local residents do live in these areas and it is an outrage to have to suffer such a nightmare and consequences of outsiders interferences, it will become nothing other than living in a prison complex environment.

We are against all the intentions of eastend homes to build on such locations / sites and we are not alone in being against these intentions, we amongst many who oppose the losing of any further green or open spaces / areas, car parks and the like.

Tower Hamlets should be keeping its promise on safeguarding our existing green spaces and creating more of them and be clearly seen doing so, sadly, there is no proof of this being the case, in fact it is nothing but the reverse.

It needs to be stated, the effects of eastend homes intentions, will be to create a huge increase in neighbourhood conflicts between residents and between residents and non residents, over a range of problems that will both increase in number and also in intensity.

One such instance can be given here, this is regarding the green space at the rear of Derwent House ( located adjacent to residents car park off Hamlets Way ), we heard recently from residents of another block of flats, that the boundary fence of this green space, is to be removed, thus making it accessible to anyone, as residents of Derwent House we are totally against this fence being removed, thus causing our green space to be made accessible to everyone and anyone.

If the above is allowed to happen, eastend homes will be creating an intolerable situation, at present this fenced off green space provides something of a minimal peace and quiet buffer zone, which was always it intended purpose since the estate came into existence, with this fence removed, the little sense of security residents have will be gone, residents living room / bedrooms back directly on to this green space.

It is no exaggeration but a fact, that following the removal of this fence, here are some of the definite things amongst others that will take place –

Loss of the minimal peace / quiet that manages to still exist most of the time at present which this segregated green space provides, residents of the effected block of Derwent house will be driven up the wall and to despair by whomever accesses this green space, causing noise and disturbance at close proximity to the residents living rooms and bedrooms, which back on to this green space, broken windows from playing of football or other causes, antisocial behaviour of different forms, intimidation, threats, violence, criminal damage, graffiti, these are things that have already taken place numerous times and eastend homes took little or on the majority of occasions no satisfactory action on, including against perpetrators, even when given enough information the removal of this boundary fence, will make matters far worse in the extreme.

Residents of Derwent House


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