Letter: Isle of Dogs – ‘greatest planning failure in British history’ warning

canary wharf councillor andrew wood tower hamlets
Canary Wharf Ward Councillor Andrew Wood

People look at the Isle of Dogs and Canary Wharf and think: ‘that’s it, it cannot get much bigger.’

But they would be wrong. Based on known developments in the planning pipeline, we are less then half way to having twice as many tall towers as the next biggest place in London.

We also have the six tallest residential buildings in England under construction – like the 241m tall Hertsmere House with 861 apartments in a 67 storey tower.

The Isle of Dogs population was 40,251 people in 2011. If you add up all of the known developments the population will go to 115,000, plus maybe an extra 110,000 workers in Canary Wharf.

That means an extra thirteen schools and thirty-six GPs.

The problem is that since Ken Livingstone’s 2008 London Plan we have been defined as an Opportunity Area which has to deliver 10,000 new homes and 110,000 new jobs by 2026.

Building so many tall buildings on an island with two roads on and off is crazy. But it is likely to continue as long as people want to buy property here and the rest of London & Tower Hamlets expect us to deliver London’s new office and residential space.

Residents have set up the Isle of Dogs Neighbourhood Planning Forum to respond to what is happening. We are now working on a Neighbourhood Plan to try and make this area work as London’s equivalent of Hong Kong, Shanghai or Manhattan.

We love living here and it could still be a great place to live.

But it is a unique area which will need unique solutions if it is to avoid becoming the greatest planning failure in British history.

Andrew Wood
Councillor, Canary Wharf Ward (Cons)

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