About the borough
We are one of the UK's most culturally vibrant and diverse areas. The borough is densely populated, with over 200,000 people living within eight square miles at the heart of London's East End.
The borough includes a number of London's famous attractions including the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Columbia Road Flower Market and Billingsgate Fish Market. The attractions of Bangla Town bring in thousands of tourists every year. It is also home to some amazing buildings like those at Canary Wharf and the RIBA award winning Idea Store in Whitechapel.
Tower Hamlets has won praise and recognition for its parks and open spaces, including the outstanding Mile End Park and Victoria Park.
The borough has for centuries welcomed and been home for many immigrants to Britain. Today, some 49 per cent of residents are from black and minority ethnic (BME) communities; 33 per cent are of Bangladeshi heritage, and there are also sizable Somali, Caribbean, Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian and Pakistani communities.
Local people are proud of their history of tolerance and mutual respect and the borough is regarded nationally as a beacon for community cohesion.
Deprivation and poverty is present in the area, providing a stark contrast to the wealth and prosperity that has grown around Canary Wharf and the City fringes that also lie within the borough.
Tower Hamlets is one of the best connected boroughs in London and accessibility is improving all the time. The Jubilee Line has recently been upgraded to improve capacity and frequency. The Docklands Light Railway is undergoing a major transformation with the introduction of a 'three car upgrade', increasing capacity by 50 per cent. The antiquated East London Line has recently closed to allow a major upgrade and extensions to West Croydon in the south and Dalston in the north.
In the longer term, Crossrail will provide a step change in improved public transport capacity to the borough and act as a major catalyst for further regeneration. Two new Crossrail stations are proposed in the borough at Whitechapel and the Isle of Dogs.
The borough supports the project in principle but has consistently striven to reduce the environmental impacts of such a massive engineering project. The council has led on these negotiations during the parliamentary process and has to date secured more than twice as many formal undertakings and assurance from the promoters of the project than any other borough. The tunnelling methodology has changed radically, surface interventions reduced, noise mitigation and proposed construction hours reduced directly as a result of the borough's lobbying. All these measures are aimed at reducing environmental impacts of construction.
Crossrail should open for service in 2017.