Isle of Dogs residents await decision on new towers vote

A pioneering public referendum on proposed curbs on construction of huge residential towers in Docklands could be given the go-ahead next week. 

Isle of Dogs residents want to make it illegal for developers to build large schemes unless they guarantee that infrastructure, such as schools, utilities and transport links are put in place.

The demand for a public vote follows a Tower Hamlets council report that concluded over-development had left the area — which includes the Canary Wharf district — with an infrastructure funding gap of almost £1 billion.

Tower Hamlets has the fastest growing population in Britain and it is projected to soar by more than a quarter to 355,400 by 2024. Over-development has put extreme pressure on gas and water mains and Thames Water has warned that sewers will not be able to cope.

The Isle of Dogs Neighbourhood Planning Forum spent three years drafting a plan to force the council and City Hall to consider the existing population’s needs before approving huge new developments. An independent examiner is expected to decide next week if it can go to a public vote this year. 

Six neighbourhood plans have been put in place in the capital since they were introduced under 2011 legislation. If approved, the Isle of Dogs plan would be the first in east London.

However, Tower Hamlets council and several developers have argued that the plan is “too restrictive”.

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