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Campaigners set to fight 'wholly incompatible' Bethnal Green plans

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Local campaigners have demanded the deputy prime minister block plans for a 14-storey tower by Pollard Thomas & Edwards in London's Bethnal Green.

The Weavers Field Action Group (WFAG) is furious that Tower Hamlets council is minded to give the residential scheme the go-ahead - despite it falling on a site designated as parkland in the local UDP. They are campaigning for the project to become subject to a planning inquiry.

If it gets the go-ahead, the project, which is currently subject to a holding directive, would involve the construction of a residential tower along the lines of the French 'Foyer Initiative', which provides a home and retraining facilities for young homeless people.

An insider in the local planning office told the AJ the scheme was widely supported and that the planning committee is determined it should happen.

However, the WFAG has set up a petition, which has been signed by more than 500 people, and has held meetings with the local MP, Labour's Oona King.

A WFAG spokesman said the project is hugely unpopular in the immediate area. 'The proposals are wholly incompatible with the existing setting of a Grade II-listed school and will dominate the area, ' he said. 'It is visually damaging and excessive. The tower will overlook people using the park and surrounding dwellings. We must not allow this kind of overdevelopment to be forced on an area where open space is already rare, and lose the social benefits that the park provides to the community, ' he added.

And the group has also accused the developer - East Thames Housing - of exaggerating support it has won from English Heritage. EH itself was unavailable for comment.

Pollard Thomas & Edwards Architects' project architect Dominic May told the AJ that the practice was delighted to have secured planning permission.

'We have yet to negotiate a Section 106 agreement but I am confident the project will be built, ' he said.

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