Local people are submitting feedback for Queen Mary University’s proposal for its new School of Business and Management building on the Regent’s Canal.
Queen Mary University is consulting the community on a new proposal to build a six-storey building on the Regent’s Canal, but you don’t have long. All feedback is due on February 16th.
The proposals seek to redevelop the former Hatton House site, which is not currently in use, with a new home for the School of Business and Management on the University’s Mile End Campus.
Under the plans, the Lock Keeper’s Cottage on the canal will be turned into a café open to the local community. This historic cottage was refurbished and extended in 2005 to great acclaim. Grand Design’s Kevin McCloud described it as ‘canned energy, fit to burst’.
The current proposal comes after Tower Hamlets Council refused a planning application for the site submitted by Queen Mary University in June 2019, due to concerns about the treatment of heritage assets including 357 Mile End Road, the Lock Keeper’s Cottage, the canal edge and towpath, and Mile End Lock.
The new proposal reflects feedback from residents who wanted to conserve local heritage sites and protect the canal side. The plans include the retention and refurbishment of 357 Mile End Road, which was set to be demolished in the 2019 proposal.
As well as improvements to the university’s educational facilities, the redevelopment is set to improve accessibility to the canal walkway by adding more access points and new paving.
However, Queen Mary University faces criticism over the handling of the consultation. Mike Mitchell, local resident and member of the Roman Road Neighbourhood Forum, said that local people had not been adequately informed about the consultation process.
Mitchell’s main concerns are that the community has only been given two and a half weeks’ notice to give feedback, and that there has been a lack of detailed information to enable local people to assess the proposal.
The Roman Road Neighbourhood Forum was set up in 2017 to develop local planning policies for the local area. As a legal and recognised body, the Council is obliged to inform the Forum on all planning matters that pertain to the Forum’s recognised area.
Speaking in a personal capacity, Mitchell said: ‘I’m really keen for there to be closer links between the University and the community so it’s been really disappointing that this consultation about this particular proposal has been so poorly managed.’
‘I’m not opposed to the proposal per se,’ said Mitchell. ‘It’s just sad that the university has gone through Kanda consulting company who have very little knowledge of the local community … it indicates that [the university] haven’t given serious thought about how to engage with the local community on their doorstep.’
A spokesperson from Kanda Consulting, acting for Queen Mary University for the development, said: ‘The University has a huge stakeholder list of existing relationships and community partnerships … they provided us with a list of these groups who we communicated with about the proposals.’
News and culture publication Roman Road LDN, whose weekly newsletter is sent to nearly 7,000 local residents, can confirm that they received no notification of the consultation.
Kanda added: ‘Whilst 16 February is the formal deadline, if anyone has been missed we will talk to them and incorporate any feedback they have.’
Richard Halsall from Queen Mary’s University said: ‘We have had a really good response so far – nearly 40 responses and over 350 visits to the project website. We will continue to talk to local people and groups as the application progresses, but thanks to everyone who has taken part so far.’
Have your say on the Queen Mary University development here: https://queenmaryconsultation.info/feedback/
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