Tower Hamlets Watch

Planning Enforcement Team have no Real Power!

May 20, 2010
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The main reason i decided to start writing this blog, is that as a lifelong resident of the borough, I’ve recently become acutely aware of the number of developments being pushed through.

A recent addition to the boroughs list of developments is the one taking place at Blessed John Roache School in Upper North Street E14. Last years initial application for the demolition of the school, and the actual development of 535 residential units was withdrawn. I’m told by sources within the council that this was due to a petition by residents who vehemtly opposed this, and also the slight pressure provided by both our MP Mr Jim Fitzpatrick and also the local conservative candidates including the prospective Conservative MP Timothy Archer.

As these things go, and they usually follow a set formula, whenever there is any opposition the developers, usually then divide the actual development into its constituant parts, and re-submit each one individually.
In this case the developer Bellway wait until the Christmas period to submit just the Demolition order;

Planning Application Registration No;PA/09/02612

Which although was apparently submitted 1st December 2009, residents actually complain that some did not recieve these until during the Christmas period, most go on to state they never recieved them at all. Sources within the planning department admit that this is not really the correct way of doing things, by submitting during the Christmas period when most are busy with their families, and cannot be bothered to campaign by knocking on doors.

I’ve been keeping a watchfull eye on the Bellway development at Blessed John Roache for some time, and have noticed they seem to be putting in applications for parts of the development process, and before they are permitted, they have already carried them out.

The recent applications; PA/10/00448 and also PA/10/00570 are a case in point. Although both applications are for minor details in the development process, one being fences around the trees and the other regarding the hoarding around the site, both have already been started weeks ago. Then fencing around the trees has been up for at least a month, but was only granted permission last week. The hoarding to be fair, although not up yet, they have still made a start with some of the posts to hold up the fence, again weeks ago.

The site has already been used for months to store materials, as a contractors carpark, to store plant equipment, and as an office for employees on North East corner of the site in the old 6th Form Building. With complaints from tenants surrounding the site regarding the noise in the mornings from lorries to and from the site.
Yet the application for all of the above under the summary title of a Construction Compound was only put in recently under planning application;PA/10/00882

Our Council recieves one of the highest budgets in the country from central government, around £1 billion a year, and yet planning officers tell me today that these type of things are going on all of the time. That planning enforcement doesn’t have the resources to track down every complaint in time, that basically when it comes to enforcement their regulatory powers are basically meaningless…….