Home / Community / John Biggs pays tribute to Mayor Lutfur Rahman’s prizewinning development
Mayot Lutfur Rahman (second from left) is present as bulldozers begin work on transforming Blackwall Reach.

John Biggs pays tribute to Mayor Lutfur Rahman’s prizewinning development

“Congratulations to everyone involved in delivering the scheme,” said John Biggs after the Blackwall Reach Regeneration Project scooped the Award for Planning for Housing Growth at the Planning Awards 2015. This was a scheme which Mayor Lutfur Rahman had driven forward, assisted by Cllr Rabina Khan, Cabinet Member for Housing, who took on the day to day work of making sure the scheme delivered. John Biggs seems to have forgotten to mention either of them by name.

The Regeneration Scheme replaces the Robin Hood Gardens estate and some surrounding low rise properties, taking an estate of 282 homes to an area providing 1,500 homes. This scheme clearly demonstrated Mayor Lutfur Rahman’s policy of increasing the number of homes in the borough in order to house the 20,000-plus residents on the borough’s housing waiting list. It contrasts with John Biggs’s own approach, which is to try to ensure new schemes are not too dense and to prioritise being able to charge lower rents for the new properties. Which policy is best is a matter of opinion – except, perhaps, to those households which are on the waiting list. However, John Biggs did seem to acknowledge that Mayor Rahman’s efforts to increase the number of homes was important, saying, “The scope of Blackwall Reach is very ambitious and will help us address the chronic shortage of good quality housing that we face in the Borough.”

Geoff Pearce, Executive Director of Regeneration and Development, Swan Housing Association welcomed the Award, saying: “Swan has a fantastic track record of delivering award winning regeneration projects.” He did not mention that staff at Swan Housing Group were found to have falsified documents in order to draw down government grant earlier than it should have been, which does somewhat mar its record in delivering regeneration projects.

Cllr Sirajul Islam, Statutory Deputy Mayor of Tower Hamlets and Cabinet Member for Housing echoed John Biggs’s implied congratulations to Mayor Lutfur Rahman, saying, “Many congratulations to all those involved in the Blackwall Reach scheme.”



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