Fish Islanders launch Algha Works petition

Algha Works
Fish Island’s last industrial building: Algha Works. Photograph: Google Maps

A local historian has hit back at plans to build an extra floor on a historic print works on Fish Island.

Tom Ridge from the East End Waterway Group said the development will “seriously harm” the character and appearance of Algha Works, one of the tallest and best preserved multi-storey printworks in London.

Built in 1907 for the printers Waterlow & Son Ltd of Shoreditch, the building has been identified by Historic England as a “significant heritage asset”, and is the only one still in industrial use in the area.

In a letter to the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC), which is responsible for planning in the Fish Island and White Post Lane Conservation Area, Tom Ridge wrote: “Waterlow’s three surviving printing works are probably the only purpose-built, multi-storey printing works in London.

“The regional to national significance of this outstanding building, and the architectural interest of the superbly composed five-storey elevations (with their original metal window frames and original stallboard lights) would be harmed by the proposed set-back rooftop addition.”

He dismissed claims the extra storey would not be seen from street level as “irrelevant”, saying: “Algha Works is the most prominent historic building in the conservation area and the rooftop addition would be readily seen from various road junctions in the vicinity”.

The building currently houses Algha Group, which manufactures handmade gold framed spectacles.

Robin Totterman, the company’s owner, said he was concerned the development would harm building’s historical integrity, and turn the area into a “commuter area” of residential buildings.

He said had not been told about the development, which will impact on his business.

A petition to halt the development has been signed by residents and workers.

The LLDC said it would be “inappropriate” for them to comment at this stage.

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