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Nov 21, 2014

Network Front | The Guardian: Let’s move to Poplar, east London

Network Front | The Guardian
Latest news, sport, business, comment, analysis and reviews from the Guardian, the world's leading liberal voice 
Let's move to Poplar, east London
Nov 21st 2014, 16:30, by Tom Dyckhoff

It may not be the prettiest place, but it has its moments… and the gentrifiers have it in their sights

What's going for it? This is not the loveliest of spots. Poplar, of all places in London, has been perhaps the biggest victim of the Grand Plans of politicians. In the 1950s it was chosen for a well-meaning model estate in the Festival of Britain, demonstrating all the virtues that would come to welfare state-land. You can still make out the outline of the Lansbury estate around Chrisp Street and the main square. Since then the area has been endlessly "improved", so that it feels like an island on an island, besieged by infrastructure, such as the roaring Blackwall Tunnel and the hulk of Canary Wharf, in whose shadow it sits. But it has its moments: the fabulous Chrisp Street market, Billingsgate, a great library and the peace of the Limehouse Cut. And in these days of Property Price Madness, beggars can't be choosers. The latest grand projet est arrivé: Crossrail. And gentrifiers are moving in. One new luxury development is called, without irony, New Festival Quarter. It's only a matter of time before the Cupcakes Phase begins.

The case against Not the calmest, least polluted of places. You'll have your fill of legging it over barriers, up hill and down dale to get to physically near but actually distant destinations. Not much green space. Not a great variety of property.

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