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WALLIS RD & SWAN WHARF STABLE BLOCK
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EAST END WATERWAY GROUP

NEWSLETTER APRIL 2016

PARKESINE WORKS, WALLIS ROAD

On 22 March 2016, the LLDC Planning Committee granted full planning permission for a development on the corner of Wallis Road and Berkshire Road in the Hackney Wick Conservation Area. The development includes the repair and adaptation of the four oldest industrial buildings in the Hackney Wick and the Fish Island & White Post Lane Conservation Areas.

Three of the four buildings constituted the former Parkesine Works where the world’s first plastic was manufactured. The four buildings are part of a non-designated heritage asset and, as such, are the first historic buildings in the two conservation areas to be “restored and reused” in line with the LLDC’s adopted Local Plan.

The four buildings are identified for retention in the LLDC’s masterplan for the area around Hackney Wick Station; and thanks to letters from Historic England, EEWG, Greater London Industrial Archaeology Society, The Victorian Society, SAVE Britain’s Heritage and local residents, the original proposals for the four buildings were substantially altered to retain more original fabric and better maintain the original external and internal appearance of the buildings.

The LLDC’s Planning Policy and Decisions Team is to be commended for involving its independent Heritage Advisor at an early stage in the planning process. Also M&D Silk Properties and their architect Stockwool for making the substantial alterations and creating an open yard with public access.

image wallis road

The weather proofing of the building of 1866 (to prevent further deterioration and allow the timber roof and brick walls to dry out) has been included in item 3 of the matters to be secured through an s106 legal agreement (page 102 officer’s report). The detailed report with plans and photographs in Agenda item 6 LLDC Planning Decisions Committee Tuesday 22 March 2016 (PA 15/00338/FUL), available on the LLDC website.

The Quality Review Panel Report 29.10.15 is included as Appendix 5 (pages 133-136 officer’s report).

All those interested in developments within the LLDC’s two adjacent conservation areas should read this report on the Wallis Road/Berkshire Road development. Under Response to heritage buildings, it states

“ The panel is unable to comment in detail on the restoration, repair and refurbishment of historic buildings; planning officers are best placed to assess how appropriately and sympathetically the scheme responds to retained buildings of heritage value .”

This is more or less what was said in the EEWG’s open letter to the Chair of the Quality Review Panel (EEWG newsletter 11 December 2014) in connection with its comments on the SWAN WHARF APPLICATION. We suggested that, as practically all the panel members are architects engaged in designing new buildings, the panel was not qualified to comment on buildings of heritage value, and that there should be a Conservation Review Panel.

SWAN WHARF MULTI-STOREY STABLE BLOCK

In complete contrast to the Wallis Road/Berkshire Road development, the multi-storey stable block part of the non-designated heritage asset at Swan Wharf is to be substantially demolished and replaced by a new building which extends into the yard, the riverside part of which is also set to disappear under a new building.

As indicated in the most recent “very long” EEWG letter of objection (EEWG newsletter March 2016), the LLDC has utterly failed in its discussions with Constable Homes to take account of all the relevant planning policies and its own conservation area character appraisal and management guidelines.

Despite the recent submission of “amended details” (and revised reports), we understand from an article in the April 2016 editions of the Hackney Citizen and the new East End Citizen (covering Tower Hamlets) that Constable Homes are working with officers to “ finalise the submission before it goes to the Planning Decisions Committee”. Discussions have been ongoing since 2014 and it is time for the LLDC to stop and answer some very pertinent and urgent questions:

  • Why is the Edwardian stable block not being retained (like the four buildings in Wallis Road) in line with LLDC Local Plan policy to “ restore and reuse” non-designated heritage assets? Especially as it is assessed in the CA character appraisal as belonging to a group with “medium to high heritage significance” as industrial buildings with late-C19/early-C20 ‘transitional structures’, and English Heritage has clearly stated in two letters (8 September 2014 and 21 January 2015) that the building makes a very significant contribution to the character of the conservation area

  • How can the QRP possibly justify its decision that “ the high architectural quality of the proposal outweighed any harm deriving from the substantial demolition of the unlisted stable building ”? (QRP chair in 17.12.14 email reply to EEWG’s open letter). Especially as English Heritage has clearly stated in two letters (8 September 2014 and 21 January 2015) that the public benefits of the proposal would not outweigh the harm to the historic environment.

  • Why is the LLDC still engaged in ongoing discussions about a totally non-compliant set of proposals which would cause substantial harm to its own designated conservation area, and establish a precedent for the substantial demolition of all the other non-designated heritage assets in the Fish Island & White Post Lane Conservation Area? Especially as most of the NDHAs constitute the largest surviving group of historic industrial buildings in the whole of the Lower Lea Valley, and probably the largest group in London with late-C19/early-C20 ‘transitional structures’.

  • Why has the LLDC’s independent Heritage Advisor not been involved in these discussions?

  • Why is the LLDC not responding positively to the comments made by local residents, East End Waterway Group, Greater London Industrial Archaeology Society, The Victorian Society, SAVE Britain’s Heritage and the 1,458 people who have signed the online petition?

If you or others you know haven’t signed the online petition and would like to do so, it is featured in Spitalfields Life under the title “ The Modest Wonders of Hackney Wick”: a wonderful collection of the Gentle Author’s photographs of non-designated heritage assets in the Fish Island & White Post Lane Conservation Area (in the north east corner of LB Tower Hamlets). All the “modest wonders” are likely to share the same fate as the multi-storey stable block at Swan Wharf unless the LLDC takes account of all the national and regional planning policies, and its own adopted Local Plan together with its CA character appraisal and management guidelines and 2014 guidance (as fully set out in EEWG letter of objection 28 February 2016 – see Newsletter March 2016).

PLEASE READ “THE MODEST WONDERS OF HACKNEY WICK” AND IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY DONE SO, PLEASE SIGN THE ONLINE PETITION

AND ASK THE LONDON MAYORAL CANDIDATES HOW THEY PROPOSE TO MANAGE DEVELOPMENT IN THE LLDC’S CONSERVATION AREAS.

(The Mayor of London is Chair of the Board of the London Legacy Development Corporation)

Tom Ridge

new eewg logo East End Waterway Group
PATRON JIM FITZPATRICK MP POPLAR AND LIMEHOUSE
Local residents, schools, community groups, amenity societies and businesses working with the Canal & River Trust, Tower Hamlets Council and others for the protection and beneficial use of the six mile waterway ‘ring’, its historic buildings, structures and habitats.
Copyright © 2016 EAST END WATERWAY GROUP, All rights reserved.


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