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Mayor Lutfur Rahman standing outside the iconic Royal London Hospital building - which he saved for the public sector by acquiring it for a new Town Hall.

Biggs progresses Lutfur Rahman’s Town Hall

TOWER HAMLETS COUNCIL has announced that there will be two snap exhibitions this week where the public can see the most up to date plans for the new Town Hall in Whitechapel. This is the last chance to see the plans before a formal planning application is submitted later this month.

Friday, 13th October, 12noon-6pm, Osmani Centre (E1 5AW)
Saturday, 14th October, 12noon-4pm, Idea Store Whitechapel (E1 1BU)

Although the Town Hall will serve the whole borough of Tower Hamlets, the Council is concentrating the exhibitions on the area immediately affected – Whitechapel. However, the exhibitions are open to all the Borough’s residents. There will be scale models and CGI images as well as the more conventional plans and members of the Council’s Project Team will be on hand to answer questions.

The Council believes that the current plans incorporate suggestions made by members of the public earlier this summer during a consultation in which 161 people took part (approximately 0.0005% of the borough’s population). The suggestions include adding in accessible toilets and changing facilities (presumably baby-changing facilities).

Tower Hamlets Mayor John Biggs has referred to these responses in the summer consultation as “overwhelming public support” for the new civic centre. He confirmed that the summer consultation took place over the summer, saying that he was referring to the “summer consultations that took place over the summer”. He added, “There were many valuable contributions from residents, as a result, we will make the building more accessible and go even further in protecting the heritage of this landmark building.”

Moving the Town Hall to the historic Whitechapel building vacated by the Royal London Hospital was the brainchild of Mayor Lutfur Rahman. When John Biggs took over as mayor, he built a delay into the process while he scrutinised the proposal before admitting that it was indeed a good one.

Curiously, John Biggs forgot to acknowledge Mayor Rahman’s role in the new Town Hall project, saying, “Now there is a last chance to see the plans before we submit a planning application. Then we can start work on the creation of his exciting new space where residents can access a range of public services all under one roof, which will provide a new heart for the borough.”

The Council has admitted that the move to Whitechapel will save it £5 million a year, which it has to date been paying to rent the luxury but hard to reach Mulberry Place. Saving this money was one of Mayor Lutfur’s largest motivations for going ahead with the scheme – an aim which John Biggs now seems to share.

•Read more about it:
Bungle-Biggs leaves tenants in the doo-doo
Bungle-Biggs wastes £3.5 million on consultants


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