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Backlash begins over Farrell’s Bishopsgate scheme

A campaign group is attempting to halt Terry Farrell’s Bishopsgate Goods Yard scheme amid a chorus of concern over the project’s height and impact

The More Light, More Power campaign, co-ordinated by local residents’ group OPEN Shoreditch, has called the huge development created for Hammerson and Ballymore ‘big, ugly, imposing and not fit for purpose’.

The long-awaited scheme, drawn up by Terry Farrell and Partners with PLP Architecture working on the homes and FaulknerBrowns on the retail, was submitted for planning last week.

But the masterplan - which includes six high-rise towers, ranging from 15 to 48 storeys as well as offices, shops, a new park and open space - has come under fire with the campaign group comparing it to Hong Kong describing the development as ‘impenetrable, dull and monolithic’.

OPEN Shoreditch called for the high-rise towers and ‘wall of glass’ to be ditched and replaced with smaller massing and improvements to the ‘quality and diversity of architecture’.

Group co-chair Rebecca Collings said: ‘The towers [at Bishopsgate] turn their back on Tower Hamlets and smile at the City. We are destroying what makes us unique and replacing it with bland modernity.’

Nicholas Boys Smith, director of the Create Streets organisation, which lobbies for low-rise development, said that while Hammerson and Ballymore had been open and transparent in their consultation on the scheme so far, their own submission made it clear that an ‘overwhelming majority’ of local residents were strongly opposed to the scheme’s height and urban form.

‘They have clearly received more objections about height and massing than any other subject,’ he said.

‘Create Streets conducted an analysis of the surrounding blocks.

‘Only 8 per cent of surrounding buildings are above four storeys. And only 1 per cent are above seven storey: Does this urban context, does the strong local opposition really suggest that this is the right way forward?’

John Biggs, Labour London Assembly member for City and East, has also called on Hammerson and Ballymore to come up with a ‘more appropriate’ height for the scheme.

In November last year the OPEN Shoreditch group challenged a 14-storey mixed-use scheme earmarked for a site opposite the Goods Yard, on Bethnal Green Road, that was designed by Robin Partington for Londonewcastle. The project was rejected by Tower Hamlets Council.

Hammerson was unavailable for comment on OPEN Shoreditch’s latest campaign.

Previous story (AJ 23 07 2014)

Farrell’s huge Bishopsgate scheme submitted for planning

The long-awaited scheme has been drawn up with PLP Architecture, which has been responsible for the new homes, and FaulknerBrowns Architects - the design team working on the retail element.

Space Hub Design has the brief for the urban park and Chris Dyson Architects is responsible for the historic properties.

The Bishopsgate freight terminus was severely damaged by fire in the 1960s and the new plan proposes retaining some elements of the remaining structure including arches, the Grade II-listed Oriel and gates to Shoreditch High Street, and a row of weavers’ cottages near Bethnal Green Road.

Terry Farrell said the proposals demonstrated the way that former railway sites could play a major role in regenerating town centres.

‘The Goodsyard was once one of the key commercial drivers for an expanding and growing 19th Century London, which supplied the capital with essential foodstuffs and vital provisions to sustain its growth,’ he said.

‘The Goodsyard will again play its part in London’s growth and intensification through the regeneration of its redundant land and post-industrial structures, combined with new high-density living alongside the newly opened Shoreditch High Street Station.’

Developers Ballymore and Hammerson have submitted a hybrid planning application to both Tower Hamlets and Hackney, with detailed elements including four residential along with retail and the refurbishment of listed buildings.

Outline elements comprise 58,500m²of commercial space, three additional residential buildings, a new park and open space. 

Pre-application consultation events last month indicated that the developers would initially seek detailed approval for residential towers of 29 and 33 storeys in height above Shoreditch station, with retail space at ground-floor level.

Taller blocks of more than 40 storeys are envisaged for later phases.

Previous story (AJ 16.05.13)

PLP and FaulknerBrowns joins Bishopsgate team

Terry Farrell, PLP Architecture and FaulknerBrowns Architects have been selected to take on the long-awaited overhaul of the Bishopsgate Goods Yard, east London

Chosen by joint developers Hammerson and The Ballymore Group, the practices will deliver 2,000 new homes, shops and a new park on the plot around Shoreditch High Street Overground station, which has lain empty for more than 40 years.

The developers started working with Tower Hamlets and Hackney councils on developing interim planning guidance for the former railway yard in 2008, winning planning in early 2010.

Farrell, who drew up the guidance and proposed a high-level park similar to the famous New York High Line, will continue in a masterplanning role.

PLP, is to design the first stage of the housing, while FaulknerBrowns will oversee the 18,000m2 of retail space, which will ‘integrate’ with the Grade II-listed Braithwaite viaduct.

Pre-application consultation starts this month and a planning application is expected to be submitted at the end of 2013.

The team also includes Chris Dyson Architects, DP9, WSP, Gardiner & Theobald, Hoare Lea and Peter Stewart Consultancy.

Readers' comments (1)

  • More ugly, ubiquitous glass and steel lumps to disfigure the eastern part of the city of London. Peter Rees has a lot to answer for in encouraging the overdevelopment of the City over recent years. It will be hard to stop now.
    Yet more office and retail space. Why? Who for? What for?
    At least the secretary of state has put a stop to the hideous proposal from McAslan and Henderson Global Investments on the vandalism they wanted to wreak on Horace Jones remarkable West Smithfield market buildings on the western edge of the City of London

    Unsuitable or offensive?

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