Weaver House, urban oasis and smashed dreams.

continuing from part 1

The East London Line Extension leaflet was unhelpful in illuminating the plans. It all seemed too glossy. Turning to Tower Hamlets Council, a bit of digging turned up the Local Development Framework. Weaver House seemed to lie within the City Fringe.

cty-fringe-plan-map

Careful squinting at this map, and at the draft proposal map, I determined that the special code to get more information, “CF3”. Appendix 1 summarized the plan for each subarea of CF3a-e, which all pretty much read as..

• New green public open space in place of railway line (which is being relocated) to cover entire site.
• Public open space should be an extension to and a continuation of green space at Allen Gardens.
• Wildlife and recreational enhancements to existing public open space.
• This open space will be delivered by allocating Site CF3e for open space within this Area Action Plan, through the development control process when the site comes forward for development, and through negotiation with the developer/site owner.

Wow! Wildlife and open space. Reclaimed railway for human scale use. I’m already making plans to remove invasive plants, build a wetland, and welcome back a bittern. Open space is in short supply in Tower Hamlets and this sounded like a fantastic project.

But I reread that last phrase .. “when the site comes forward for development, and through negotiation with developer/site owner”. Who is the site owner? What concrete steps are being taken? Who’s going to pay for such a huge transformation of the area?

I searched Tower Hamlets planning register for a number of streets in the area, and hit solidly on Pedley Street, both filed by Transport for London, for Conservation Area Consent. Apparently the whole neighborhood is a Conservation Area, even the rusting, crumbling rail yards. The first for Demolition of bridge GE19, arches and other structures between Brick Lane, Pedley Street and Fleet Street Hill, including bridges at Bratley Street and Weaver Street, and the second a request to bypass an Environmental Impact Report for the same area. Nicely, every bit of correspondence concerning the applications had been scanned and posted to the website.

aerial-pedley-st

Weaver Houser from the air in Google Maps.

So the bridges at Fleet Street Hill, Bratley Street, and Weaver Street? It took a second to realize that it meant…

aerial-pedley-st-2

Weaver House is actually situated between the old railway to north, and the East London Tube Line to the South. What a strange place to build a house, and what a strange set of bridges to destroy .. the only access to Weaver House is via these three bridges.

In part 3 tomorrow, the earth opens..

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