THREE HOUSES in the Coldharbour Conservation Area were demolished last June – and Tower Hamlets Council has now ordered the owners to rebuild them as they were knocked down without permission.
Tower Hamlets Council has been investigating the demolition since it occurred and has said that the owners repeatedly refused to give any credible explanation for why they destroyed the buildings. The owners now have 18 months to rebuild the properties. However, they have now appealed to the Secretary of State, which may delay any rebuilding – or even remove the need to do so.
Tower Hamlets Mayor, John Biggs, welcomed the enforcement of the rebuilding, saying, “Many local people were understandably distressed by the demolition of these properties. It is right that those who show contempt for our heritage assets and flout the law should face legal action. I am pleased our legal action will help remedy the harm the loss of these buildings has caused to the area. It was my view at the time that the owners should be made to replace these properties like for like, brick by brick.”
While John Biggs has had his eye on this important flouting of conservation laws, other building has been going on in the immediate area. When rebuilt, these small properties will be overshadowed by tower blocks and overdevelopment to the north, south and west.
Many local people will be understandably distressed by the erection of these huge tower blocks on the Isle of Dogs. It is as if the developers are showing contempt for the area’s heritage and the people who live there, who are being boxed in – without laws to protect them.
John Biggs came to the Isle of Dogs earlier this year and heard hundreds of residents express their concerns about over-development in this part of E14. Unfortunately, local mayors have virtually no powers to stop large scale development in London.