Application for a “Community Centre” on Island Gardens park

We are writing to inform you of an application received by Tower Hamlets Council to erect a “Community Centre” housed in a Portakabin on Island Gardens Park. The site is the area in the north where for over a century, park keepers have stored their tools and where leaves cleared up in autumn have been placed waiting for collection.

The park was acquired from William Cubitt in 1850 by the Greenwich Hospital Commissioners expressly to preserve the view of Greenwich Hospital and now is an integral part of a conservation area and the World Heritage buffer zone incorporating The Royal Borough of Greenwich situated directly across the river. Island Gardens is a planned landscape, safeguarded from any development early in the 19th Century and features in Canaletto’s world famous painting of the Palace of Greenwich.

Adjoining Island Gardens to the south is the Calders Wharf Community Centre and there are other Community Centres proposed within existing planning consents for the Isle of Dogs.

Furthermore, the application indicates that far from being a community centre, this will be primarily for one particular group, featuring separate accommodation for men and women. In addition many of the proposed activities are for religious purposes, which are not compatible with a public park and recreation.

The proposed use would see a significant increase in traffic. It goes against existing Planning Guidance which states that the council is: “Preserving and enhancing heritage assets as an important part of the history and uniqueness of the Isle of Dogs” and “Existing public open space will be protected”. The Portakabin itself will scarcely enhance the masterpiece of Greenwich. It should also be noted that apart from the former Bandstand there has been no building on Island Gardens, indeed the designation as Island Gardens was to prevent the development of this site, and this ugly proposal will undermine 163 years of conservation.

As Island councillors and residents, we strongly oppose placing a Portakabin on Island Gardens, but residents also need to register their objections. You can do so by emailing: and copying in the Mayor of London at: with your views and copying us into your response. Please do this as soon as possible. There is also an online petition opposing this application at 

We will keep you informed of any further developments and future consultation regarding this application.

Cllr Tim Archer

Cllr Peter Golds

Cllr David Snowdon

Cllr Gloria Thienel

Posted on by admin in Tower Hamlets Conservatives

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