Google aerial views (undated circa 2015-2016)
Above are aerial photos of the gardens adjacent to the west of Maddocks House on the Tarling West Estate. As can be seen despite partial shadow, the space between Maddocks House and Shadwell Overground Station was clearly a green space, a well kept garden.
This map (from planning application PA/13/02358) shows the site of the garden (considered vacant land in the application) between Maddocks House and Shadwell Overground Station.
Below is a 1957s map clearly indicating the extent of the Tarling West Estate mapsite, and the location of the garden to the west of Maddocks House as part of the estate.
Below is a historic photograph showing children relaxing on the grass garden after a game of cricket in the early-1960s (courtesy of resident John Fullerton).
Between Shadwell Overground Station and Maddocks House a small green space which was historically part of our estate garden and mapsite until 2011 when the land was leased by LBTH to Rail for London (subsequently TFL) for essential maintenance works and refurbishment of the station. Associated with this lease was a covenant making clear that the land could strictly be used ‘solely in connection with the use and operation of Shadwell station’ (as residents discovered by making a Freedom of Information request, January, 2017).
Communication with Graeme Craig, Director of Commercial Development for TFL confirmed that after the maintenance works on Shadwell Station were completed TFL leased the land to a tenant (unnamed/redacted).
The tenant subsequently made two planning applications (19/03/2013 PA/13/00145 and 11/12/2013 PA/13/02358). Interested parties can view these applications in full by searching the above references here: https://development.towerhamlets.gov.uk/online-applications/ The second of these planning applications was successful.
The site has had two refurbished shipping containers placed on the site in 2016. Since then piecemeal building work has taken place often creating mess and disruption for residents and members of the public accessing Tarling West Estate. Images of the plans and some of the disruption follow:
Resumption of building circa March 2017
Resumption of building work September-October, 2017Mess ongoing (9/10/2017)
The outcome of the alienation of the land, and the planning approval finally saw its result in a rather underwhelming ‘Box Cafe’ formed of shipping containers, opening in November 2017. The cafe is located within the mapsite of Tarling West Estate, its only access is via a Private Estate Road. This means that we have a private business operating on our estate without permission, its customers’ access and any delivery or waste removal commits trespass through our estate without permission every day. Congratulations to TFL, LBTH Planning, LBTH Licensing, THH and the business owner for creating a fine mess on our estate.
The successful planning application (PA/13/02358) indicates ‘Access to the proposed site is from two sides. One entrance is from Cable Street at the south side of the site, a second entrance from Cornwall Street to the north of the site. Access to the units and bin storage is from Cornwall Street.’ This means the operation of this business will from the midst of a residential estate on a private road will involve deliveries and rubbish storage and collection on that residential estate land (the remaining part of it that hasn’t been stolen yet).
The planning permission is granted on the basis that: ‘this permission does not modify or extinguish any covenants, easements or other restrictions applying to or affecting the land, or the rights affecting the land, or the rights of any other person entitled to the benefits thereof.’
The residents of Tarling West Estate wish to challenge the planning permission on the following basis:
Regarding Planning Consent for Application PA/13/02358
Conditions and Covenant on the Land transfer from LBTH to TFL
– We, the Residents of the Tarling West Estate, wish to question the condition or covenant on the land when transferred between LBTH and TFL which is very clear: ‘Conditions were attached to that transaction restricting the use of the land solely to use in connection with the use and operation of Shadwell station as an underground station’ (FOI Tarling West TRA to LBTH, January 2017). Why would LBTH grant planning permission for building on land for Class A1/A2/B1 that was protected by the following conditions?
This was Not Vacant Land!
– In the applicant’s design statement, the land is described as requesting ‘a change of use from non specified site’ to ‘use to Class A1/A2/B1on a vacant site’. However, the use is specified clearly above. Moreover, it has always been specified as a part of the estate gardens of Tarling West Estate.
– Question that the land was vacant or of indeterminate use. For example in the Design and Access Statement the applicant states: ‘The site has remained vacant for a number of years and appears derelict.’ The site was in active use by the local community and residents of Tarling West Estate up until its use by TFL for renewal of Shadwell Station. After this, it has remained derelict. It has remained derelict and has become rat-infested under since it has been leased to the applicant. The site could have benefited ‘regeneration’ of the area by being returned to use by the residents. It has been an eyesore since it was taken away from the community and remains so. Our belief is that best use of the land, which is part of the mapsite of Tarling West Estate is for it to be returned to use as a community garden under management of THH for the residents of the estate and local community.
No Community Benefit
– The applicant states: ‘The proposed development will be good for local the economy, create employment and assist in the regeneration of the area. It will help individuals to set up new businesses, attract business to the community from elsewhere, bring disadvantaged people into the economy and will meet the needs of a diversified community.’ The proposed development has delivered none of these things. Rather it has directly divested the local community and residents, ‘disadvantaged’ or otherwise, of a popular community space – a much loved and cherished green space on our estate. Where is the community benefit?
No Business on a Private Estate Road
– The Tarling West Estate is situated on Cornwall Street which is a private estate road.
– The Application states: ‘Access to the proposed site is from two sides. One entrance is from Cable Street at the south side of the site, a second entrance from Cornwall Street to the north of the site. Access to the units and bin storage is from Cornwall Street.’ (Design and Access Statement, p.12).
– Delivery times are specified and Cornwall street is indicated as a delivery access point. The residents already have enormous problems with deliveries via the fire escapes, and customer access to retail units situated in the railway arches on Chapman Street. Further deliveries via Cornwall Street are bound to disturb residents of Maddocks House and contribute to further congestion on this private estate road.
Length and Disruption of Building Works
– Over three years has elapsed since permission was given, yet works recommenced in the week of 2/10/2017-6/10/2017. Begun, but not completed. ‘The development hereby permitted shall be begun before the expiration of three years from the date of this permission.’
– What is ‘the alternative use permission’ in the Full Planning Permission statement? Does this conflict with, address or alter the existing covenant on the land?
Our Estate Garden has been Sold Out from Under Us!
– Residents have struggled to obtain from LBTH, THH and TFL, clarity on the status of the land given it was previously for over 60 years a part of the mapsite of the Tarling West Estate and clearly in use up to its alienation in the transfer by LBTH to TFL as was its original purpose for the enjoyment and leisure of the tenants and residents of the three blocks, Maddocks House, Richard Neale House and Newton House Tarling West.
Change of Use and Contravention of Planning Statement
– The applicant writes: ‘The proposed development is for the use of the existing vacant site for Class A1 shop units, A2 financial and professional services and B1 Business. Food and hot beverages are not to be sold within the market for the protection of Shadwell Station and the users of the station from litter, spillage and the discarding of food and the cartons and other elements associated with food and hot drinks take away.’ We are led to understand the current intention for the site is as use as a cafe. However, the Design Statement (p.8) above clearly states: ‘Food and hot beverages are not to be sold’.
Conditions on planning consent given by LBTH planning department (PA/13/02358)
Statement of positive and proactive engagement
The Local Planning Authority has worked with the applicant in a positive and proactive
manner by making available a formal pre-application process, including free duty officer
advice. The Local Planning Authority has also produced policies and provided written
guidance, all of which are available on the Council’s website and which has been followed
in this instance.
Conditions and Reasons:
1 – The development hereby permitted shall be begun before the expiration of three years
from the date of this permission.
Reason: To comply with the provisions of Section 91 of the Town and Country Planning Act
1990 (as amended).
2 – The development hereby permitted shall be carried out in accordance with the approved
plans listed in the Schedule to this planning permission.
Reason: For the avoidance of doubt and in the interests of proper planning.3 – The use allowed by this permission shall not take place other than between the hours of
08:00 – 23:30 Mondays to Sundays.
Deliveries and servicing shall take place only within the following hours: 8am – 6pm Monday
to Friday, 8am – 1pm Saturdays. No deliveries or servicing shall take place on Sundays or
Reason: To safeguard the amenity of adjacent residents and the area generally in
accordance with policies SP03(2) and SP10(4) of the Core Strategy (2010) and policy
DM25 of the Managing Development Document (2013).
4 – No development shall take place until a landscape plan for the site has been submitted
to and approved in writing to the local planning authority.
The plan must describe the long-term landscape design aims for the site and give full
details of both the hard and soft landscape works planned.
The works thus approved shall be carried out prior to the occupation of any part of the
Reason: To ensure an acceptable appearance of the development and public realm, to
provide urban greening, to ensure inclusive access and to safeguard the amenity of
adjoining occupiers in accordance with the requirements of policies SP04, SP09, SP10 and
SP12 of the Core Strategy (2010) and policies DM11, DM23 and DM24 of the Managing
Development Document (2013).
5 – No development shall take place until details of secure cycle storage for the
development hereby approved have been submitted to and approved in writing by the local
The scheme shall be implemented as approved prior to the first occupation of the
development and retained thereafter.
Reason: To ensure the provision of adequate cycle parking facilities in accordance with the
requirements of policy 6.9 of the London Plan (2011) and policy DM22 of the Managing
Development Document (2013).
1 – The applicant is advised that Transport for London – TFL’s approval for erection or
installation of the proposed structures is required prior to beginning of the development.
}2 – The applicant is advised that if implemented, the alternative use permission hereby
granted gives flexibility of use for 10 years from the date of this permission. After 10 years,
the lawful use shall revert to whichever of the uses is taking place at the time.
We have had the following response from LBTH Planning Enforcement Service (19 Oct, 2017):
TOWN AND COUNTRY PLANNING ACT 1990 (as amended)
Location: Site at Tarling Road West Estate (between Maddocks House and Shadwell
Station), Cable Street, London E1
Breach: Unauthorised use of container as a café not in accordance with planning
I refer to your enquiry of 18/10/2017 relating to a possible breach of planning control at the
Your enquiry has been registered and allocated to Sophia Stewart.
A site visit will need to be undertaken to assess what action, if any, is appropriate within the
next 28 days. Should you require an update on the case then please do not hesitate to
contact the case officer four to six weeks after receiving this letter.
When the enforcement case has been closed you will receive notification from the case
officer outlining the reasons why the case has been closed. Therefore if you do not hear
from us you can assume that the case is still open and being investigated.
Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.
Planning Enforcement Service
(another resident’s) Complaint 30 Oct:
Dear Sir / Madam.
I am writing in complaint about a commercial property being built on residential private land between Shadwell Station and Maddocks house.
Kindly confirm the use for the above-mentioned building, appropriate licences & that they have received appropriate planning permission.
Given that the above-mentioned building is a commercial premises, kindly confirm whether they have been granted permission for construction works.
If the commercial building has received the appropriate permissions, then kindly provide assurances that commercial deliveries to this property will not be granted road access via Private Entrance to Private Road (Cannon St Road to Cornwall St)
Response 14 Oct:
Your complaint 10053299 about Commercial Property on Private Estate
Thank you for your recent complaint received on 30 October 2017. I understand your complaint to refer to a commercial property being built on residential private land between Shadwell Station and Maddocks house. I have carried out a full review of all aspects of your complaint, as noted above, and will reply to each point individually. I have set out the specific elements of your complaint below in italics and my response is set out beneath each issue.
Firstly, I understand that the land is owned by Transport for London (Rail for London) and it does not fall under the management of Tower Hamlets Homes.
You ask for confirmation of the use for the above-mentioned building, appropriate licences & that they have received appropriate planning permission, and granted permission for construction works.
Based on the description of the site contained within you complaint my understanding is that your complaint relates to the planning permission (reference PA/13/02358) concerning land adjacent to Shadwell Tube Station, Cable Street, London. Planning permission was granted on 11th December 2013 for the erection of reconditioned shipping containers to provide 96sqm of retail, professional services or office use (Use Classes A1, A2 or B1) on the vacant site abutting the west side of Shadwell Station. The construction works are therefore permitted by this consent.
In October of this year, the Council received a complaint regarding the use of the site as a café. This was investigated by our Planning Compliance Team as this use is not permitted by the aforementioned planning consent. The investigating officer was unable to access the premises but considered that the café is likely to be a class A3 use (restaurants and cafés) as defined in the Town and Country Planning Use Classes Order.
Full planning permission is not required to change the use of a retail premises (Class A1 or A2) to a café or restaurant (Class A3) up to a maximum of 150 sq.m of floor space and subject to the prior approval of certain matters by the local authority or alternatively for a temporary two year period, but subject to an initial notification, No such request for prior approval or temporary change of use notification has been received and so I have asked the Compliance Team to re-open this investigation.
You also request that if the commercial building has received the appropriate permissions, you would welcome assurances that commercial deliveries to this property will not be granted road access via Private Entrance to Private Road (Cannon St Road to Cornwall St).
The Council when determining planning application (reference PA/13/02358) considered the issue of servicing in detail. Indeed a number of objection letters questioned the use of the estate road for access and servicing because it would result in congestion and disturbance to residents, in addition to existing disturbance from commercial users of the DLR arches located to the north of the application site. Objectors were also concerned about further parking stress in the area and access for emergency vehicles.
As part of its determination of the application the Council considered that it was unlikely that the proposed uses would require intensive servicing or a large number of deliveries. Any deliveries or servicing over the estate road were would not be sufficient in scale to threaten highway and pedestrian safety or result in undue congestion. The development would be unlikely to generate a large number of vehicular trips because most customers are likely to arrive on foot or as part of linked trips through the Shadwell Overground and DLR stations. Furthermore Transport for London raised no objection subject to provision of the 2m access strip along the western elevation of Shadwell Station.
I have carried out a full review of all aspects of your complaint, as noted above and consider that the issue of servicing was adequately considered during the determination of the application. The shipping container appears to be being used as an unauthorised café and the Council will seek to regularise this situation.
We do take all complaints seriously, and I hope that I have demonstrated this to you in my investigation and my response to all aspects of your complaint. I hope that I have adequately captured the nature of your concerns and addressed them with clear reasons for my responses.
However, if you are dissatisfied with the outcome and wish to progress to Stage 2 of our complaints process please provide details of why my response has not resolved your complaint and what action you would require as a resolution.
To escalate the case please use the link below;
Email us about this case
West Area Manager, Development Management
Planning and Building Control