Countdown to chaos: two-year traffic jam from hell to descend upon Wapping

As the last remaining obstacle to the granting of planning permission for the Phoenix Wharf / King Henrys Wharves / Brewhouse Lane development has been brushed aside by the Council it seems Wapping is just about to become a very unpleasant place to live and work.

As always Chris, a very local resident, has been tracking the case and his explanation of what the sudden skip activity at Phoenix Wharf this week means is given below.

Gridlock anticipated

In case anyone needed reminding the key issue with the Planning Application is how the developer will access the site which is situated either side of the narrowest and busiest road in Wapping at the junction of Brewhouse Lane and Wapping High Street.

LW does not want to alarm those who live and work in Wapping but we have been warning about the possible gridlock the development will cause since June 2013 when we wrote this story “Planning Application for King Henry’s Wharf, Phoenix Wharf to chop Wapping in half”.

We have no reason to believe that the reality of the situation has changed.

Aerial view of Wapping High Street – click to view on Google Maps

Bottom line is with these developments has always been the risk of the construction traffic bringing Wapping to a halt.

There is only one route through Wapping and that is along Wapping High Street.

And Wapping High Street, just outside Phoenix Wharf is very narrow indeed. With very narrow pavements.

Analysis by Chris

The case is still pending a decision by the Planning Inspectorate (PI).

However to manage expectations it seems highly likely (at least in my opinion) that the PI will okay permission shortly. [LW Emphasis]

I come to that conclusion based on the documents filed by Tower Hamlets and the Developer which can be found on the Tower Hamlets Planning website. The reference to search for is PA/17/00453/S

The key document for me is summarised by the Developer as below:

Paragraph 5.1 of the Council’s Statement of Case states the following:

“To reiterate, there is no dispute on this appeal, in terms of the discharge of condition

  1. This was agreed in the joint Statement of Common Ground as submitted by the appellant on 15 February 2018.”

It is welcome to see that the Council’s position remains firm on this, and it is obviously a key consideration for the Inspector that both parties are in agreement that the information provided is satisfactory to allow the discharge of Condition 12.”

Condition 12 is the Construction Management Plan which is really what the whole appeal to the Inspectorate is all about and as you can see above Tower Hamlets has now agreed the condition is “discharged” i.e. it has been rubbered stamped by the council and in effect the whole appeal is somewhat moot.

As such since it seems Tower Hamlets has effectively dropped any opposition to construction starting I find it unlikely that the Planning inspectorate will decide differently. Since effectively in this appeal they are meant to be the two opposing sides and they now agree, the PI is just acting as a Judge between the two.

Clearly Phoenix Wharf is being cleared of debris to allow construction to start once the PI signs off.

This is of course just my opinion based on what I can see on the website. i.e. The statements from the Council & Developer. If interested, residents can look for themselves and decide.

Hope this helps


LW Comment

So it seems that is that then – the Planning Application is as good as granted. Many thanks to Chris who has provided a valuable service to everyone in Wapping by tracking the course of this planning application.

There seems little point in writing more about this at the moment as we have a nasty feeling we will be writing much more about it for some time to come.

Our belief is that if the traffic jams caused by this development are as bad as we believe they could be then Wapping itself is at risk.

Skips being removed by lorry at 5am this morning.
Skips being removed by lorry at 5am this morning.

The developer’s intentions to abide by the details of any site access site requirements might be illustrated by the lorry photographed above removing the skips at 5am today – not via the river as has apparently been agreed.

This follows on from a previous incident where security guards allegedly used dogs to chase out the family of foxes from the waste ground.

Wapping residents are already beginning to taste the medicine the foxes were treated to.

And if you are reading LW because you are thinking of buying a property in Wapping we suggest you put your purchase on hold until the full extent of the traffic chaos reveals itself.

It is so much easier to buy a flat with a permanent traffic jam outside its windows than to sell it.

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