Two years of traffic chaos bad, four years worse

Below is a guest post by local resident Chris Jackson about the Brewhouse Lane development.

It makes very interesting reading, not least because it raises the possibility of Wapping being destroyed by a four year long traffic jam.

And that Wapping Rose Garden is at risk of being destroyed.

Wapping Rose Garden showing Brewhouse Lane development site behind trees

I have just attended the public exhibition of the new development proposal from Cunnane Town Planning re the new developments I emailed you about a few weeks back. I have contacted our councillors (Denise Jones, Julia Dockerill and Rachel Blake) regarding some early issues I feel they should consider.

Agree site access with Planning Application

I raised with the Cunnane staff the need for a thoroughly considered CMP and that CMP needs to be agreed with the Planning Application not afterwards. i.e. Unlike the “dogs dinner” (my opinion) of a process that has been followed with King Henry’s Wharf.

The Cunnane TP staff member indicated this would be unusual and he felt that Cunnane will follow the same practise as with King Henry’s Wharf of getting binding planning permission first and only then looking at the CMP. (I can understand the legal advantage the Developer feels they gain by doing so incidentally).

I have said to Cunnane that the experience of King Henry’s Wharf’s shows such a strategy is flawed.

Indeed as we have seen the Developer only needs to dig a hole to get (in their own QC’s legal opinion, planning permission into perpetuity if you do this).

Can I please ask TH learns from the King Henry’s Wharf’s ongoing experience (Cunnane TP gave no clue of what is happening on the legal Appeal with the Planning Inspectorate) and insists the CMP is considered with the main permission and no authorisation is given without an acceptable CMP being submitted.

As I indicated at the consultation I agree this might be unusual, but so are the construction logistics of accessing the site given it is by one very narrow lane which is blocked for hours on a daily basis by removal lorries, delivery vans, service staff (plumbers/ electricians etc) serving the + 100 apartments which compromise Bridewell Place, The Old Tower Building and Chimney Court.

Brewhouse Lane view towards Wapping Rose Garden

No parking? What about disabled residents?

I note neither of the two building is to have any parking and instead they would use on street parking. One interesting point on this was building B was to have a “few” flats for residents with disabilities.

Given the cobbled nature of Brewhouse lane and non-existence pavement that means residents with disabilities need car access and permanent car parking. i.e. If and I agree it is a good idea to have flats for residents with disabilities, please let’s think about the ramifications of not having parking for them at least.

Engage with residents early

I suggested to Cunnane, as I was leaving, that unlike the King Henry’s Wharf’s debacle the Developer should engage with local residents throughout the process.

With King Henry’s Wharf all we have had is a similar meeting to this one way back in November 2013, i.e. hardly regular engagement with residents by the Developer.

Four years of traffic disruption

One final point of note is that the Cunnane staff did acknowledge that if these 2 developments (this one and King Henry’s) both go ahead it will mean construction and traffic disruption for local residents for 4 (2+2) years.

Brewhouse Lane and Bridewell Place

Close Wapping Rose Gardens?

They indicated that that period could be reduced if TH allowed construction to run parallel with King henry’s Wharf and / or if they could use (i.e temporarily close) Wapping Rose Gardens as access for the sites.

They assume TH would not allow the park to be partially closed and thus the 4 year construction disruption period is the base case. They accepted 4 consecutive years of construction is not exactly ideal for local residents but clearly that is for TH Planning to decide.

I explicitly mentioned 4 (2+2)years when talking to Cunnane staff and the architect and they did not correct that as a ball park time line. In conclusion I feel the council needs to consider these issues as a whole not in isolation (as 2 separate developments).

I would suggest other residents consider contacting our two councillors (Denise & Julia) and Rachel Blake the Housing Development chair when they provide feed back on this development. In the end it is TH Planning who will decide on these issues and not the Developer.

LW Comment

Once again many thanks to Chris Jackson for this careful analysis of the Brewhouse Lane development. And thanks again to Cunnane staff for the exhibition last week.

Two issues stand out here:

  1. The Brewhouse Lane development could mean that the Ultimate Traffic Jam from Hell that would cripple Wapping would last not for two years but four years. Two years for the King Henry’s Wharves development, two years for the Brewhouse Lane development.
  2. One option seems to be a temporary closure of Wapping Rose Gardens.

So let’s carefully consider these details at length and evaluate them from a variety of angles in a calm and considered way.

Nah. Let’s not.

Simple fact is that there is no way in the world that people who live or work in Wapping will endure FOUR YEARS of traffic chaos. This will not happen.

The Construction Management Plan (CMP) for King Henry’s Wharves / Phoenix Wharf is still not agreed. And along comes another one?

The other simple fact is that Wapping Rose Gardens will, under no circumstances whatsoever, be ‘temporarily’ closed to allow any developer to develop anything. Not a single brick.

The travesty of King Edward Memorial Park (KEMP) being trashed by Tideway Thames to line the pockets of its shareholders shows that our green spaces in Tower Hamlets are always under threat.

Wapping Rose Gardens will not suffer a similar fate.

Councillor Contacts



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