Nobody Owns Their View Of The River Thames

If you are lucky enough to have a view of the Thames from where you live please remember that you do not own the view.

You may live in an expensive flat for which you paid many millions of hard-earned pounds.

You might live in social housing.

You might live on the street and have nowhere to call home.

Fact is that wherever and however you live you are very lucky indeed to have a view of the River Thames, the very heart of London.

But you do not own that view.

Thames Path at Tower Bridge Wharf

Proposal to further restrict access to Tower Bridge Wharf

This fact has escaped the attention of those who have submitted Planning Application PA/21/02602 which seeks to further restrict access to the Thames Path at Tower Bridge Wharf.

The Enquirer understands that the proposal is to limit access to the public to Tower Bridge Wharf and the tremendous view of the river to dusk or 7pm, whichever is later, rather than the current time of 11pm which was agreed back in 1986.

Planning Application PA/21/02602 should be available for you to view and comment on at the Online Planning Register but you can’t at the moment as the system is broken.

Hopefully this will be fixed soon. In the meantime you can comment on a planning application by sending an email to development.control@towerhamlets.gov.uk

(The page states that the problem is restricted to people logging in to make comments on planning applications and that searching and viewing cases and documents is working as normal but when we did a basic search for PA/21/02602 around 5am this morning we just got an error message.)

Not deja vu, this really is happening again

This is not the first time there has been an attempt to further restrict access to the Thames Path at Tower Bridge Wharf.

The main excuse reason put forward for wanting to restrict access to Tower Bridge Wharf is anti-social behaviour (ASB) in the evenings.

As with all ASB this will just move it to somewhere else.

ASB is a scourge across Tower Hamlets which the Council is unable to control. It can be just a minor annoyance, it can be a huge problem. Either way it is unpleasant.

There is nowhere in Tower Hamlets that is free from ASB. Nowhere.

And the main reason is because Tower Hamlets is a deprived inner London borough.

The only way to escape ASB is to move to another part of the country. Seriously. The East End is not the country.

The Enquirer was alerted to the latest attempt to further restrict access to Tower Bridge Wharf by local resident Martin White (who has alerted us to previous attempts to do the same thing.) A management consultant by profession he has lived in Wapping for 12 years.

Martin has kindly allowed us to use his photo as the featured image which you can see at the top of the page.

“I took this photo at 8.30 this evening of Tower Bridge, an iconic view of London, which wouldn’t be possible under the planning proposal. I didn’t witness any anti-social behaviour, in fact I was the only person there!,” says Martin.

Access to Thames vitally important

“Public access to the Thames is vitally important and gives Wapping its character. It shouldn’t be restricted just to those who can afford it, or the hours of access dictated by those same people,” he continued.

“These properties [at Tower Bridge Wharf] were built knowing what the public access conditions would be. The current hours were a condition back in 1986 when the flats were built. Those flats were bought and rented knowing what those conditions were, and it’s wrong that now they want to change the goalposts.

Tower Bridge Wharf in particular is a large stretch of riverfront, with iconic views of Tower Bridge which local residents and tourists alike have enjoyed for 35 years, and it’s outrageous that our ability to enjoy this space should be curtailed.”

Martin acknowledges that there is anti-social behaviour across Wapping, but believes restricting hours of access to the river just shifts the problem elsewhere at the cost of local residents losing their access rights.

Note: The Enquirer would like to hear from those resident at Tower Bridge Wharf who submitted Planning Application PA/21/02602 so we can hear your view.

Enquirer Comment

This planning application must be objected to and stopped.

If it is allowed then it will set a precedent that will mean that the limited access residents currently have to views of the Thames will be reduced even more.

We are still in a pandemic and need to be outside exercising as much as possible, not suffering further restrictions on where we can get some river air.

Further restricting access to the Thames Path cannot be allowed.

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