Chisenhale Road Bow victim of latest LTN gentrification by stealth

Would you like to convert the street outside your flat into a training academy for jugglers? Go ahead! Want to build a papier-mache museum in Whitechapel Road? No problem! What about a pop-up artisan pasta shop in your neighbours driveway? Why gnocchi?

All these stupid middle-class nonsense eminently practical ideas and more are now likely to spring up in our streets as unidentified Labour councillors have given verbal support to the Open Block Chisenhale Road Learn, Play, Create Community Space.

That’s nice of them, isn’t it?

A five-day Open Block workshop starts today 5th April and runs all week (arctic breezes permitting) until 9th April and is organised by Heat Island architecture & urban ecology, a design studio working across architecture, urbanism, software and environmental engineering run by Christopher Burman.


More information can be found on the projects funding page at crowdfunding site Spacehive where it is clearly stated that ‘Our project has received verbal support from councillors, but does not yet have written permission.’

Hey, who needs written permission when councillors are your mates?

It’s another Low Traffic Neighbourhood!

‘Tis the curse of the planter!

By written permission do they (whoever they are? Blocks? Blockers? ) mean Planning Permission, that old-fashioned system still used by everyone else? Seems the plan is to turn some low-traffic streets (the junction between Vivian Rd and Chisenhale Rd in E3) into a shared community space.

Why does the phrase Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) spring to mind?

This ‘shared community space’ will consist of a pop-up playground to allow the children at Chisenhale School to have longer playtimes in their new ‘covid-secure’ year group bubbles, an outdoor classroom, space for safer drop offs and pickups, a pocket-park for the community to use outside of school hours, and an outdoor venue for a programme of arts workshops, street dance.

More street dance. Just what the poor of the borough need.

“This VR kit will be great for kids to imagine what a square meal looks like!”

Tower Hamlets Council has given £4,849 to the project via its Innovation Fund, around 50% of the total costs. Heat Island has pledged £1,500 and Chisenhale Parents Teachers Association (PTA) £800. You can see other backers here.

You can also see the names and phone numbers of everyone who has signed up for the workshop via the project’s Sign-Up Sheet , an Excel spreadsheet which is interesting reading if not exactly the best example of Data Protection.

There are spaces still available.

Wait just one second

It seems those behind the Open Block Chisenhale Road Learn, Play, Create Community Space have forgotten one small detail.

That they are not the only people who live in the area. And the other people have been ignored.

Seems that Chisenhale Road residents were consulted on being a school street, i.e. restrictions on vehicles for a couple of hours a day and the usual street widening etc and this was implemented under the Covid-19 rules as a ‘temporary’ measure – no consultation, no planning permission. An experiment.

Residents only learnt of the latest gentrification development through an Instagram post. Not exactly inclusive.

La La Land yummy mummy landgrab

Local residents contacted the Enquirer asking if we could find out a bit more about the project and help find out what is going on because nobody else is telling them, especially the council. “Chisenhale Road is officially an outstanding conservation area with streets that are relatively quiet so this goes far beyond traffic measures into a landgrab la la land for yummy mummies,” said one resident.

The scope creep from the original project has only been discovered in the last few days but some of the residents have already got together and written an open letter which is below.

You can get in touch via

Enquirer Comment

This seems to be a brazen case of gentrification. For those in doubt check out the profiles of Heat Island staff and the names in the Sign-Up Sheet and financial backers.

Notice anything? Yep, makes the ethnic makeup of the London Cycling Campaign look positively diverse. How does that happen in one of the most culturally varied boroughs in London? By accident? Or design?

Or can you only get involved if you are really good with a box of chalk maybe?

Once again gentrification of our communities is being led by Labour councillors. We are not sure which Labour councillors in particular as they have yet to pop their heads up above the parapet. However when we first heard of this Blocks event we knew we had written about Chisenhale Road before but could not place it.

Yep. In July 2015 we wrote about the five Labour ward councillors who refused to reveal they live in Bow E3 and in September 2015 solved the mystery of who asked for Skew Bridge to be closed. Skew Bridge being the only road in all of Tower Hamlets to be closed because of Covid-19.

It’s fun time!

So would the Labour councillors who have verbally given the green light to the extension of the original temporary experimental Chisenhale school streets project into something bigger get in touch please?

There are an awful lot of your neighbours who would like to chat to you.

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