Members of a planning committee last night deferred a decision on the project, as they are awaiting a conservation report that could preserve the popular Victorian Light Bar building currently standing on the site, at the expense of a 51-storey skyscraper at the centre of Foster's scheme.
The committee also requested a meeting with developer Hammerson to discuss the potential for an alternative scheme that would leave the Light Bar intact.
Hammerson project director Joanna Axon said: ‘We are disappointed with the decision to defer the scheme given how many years we have been in discussions with them.
‘The report from the council's own officers recommended approval and was very clear in stating that we had previously been asked to review the inclusion of 233 Shoreditch High Street [The Light Bar].The report clearly highlighted that the loss of the building was acceptable as a result of the benefits being delivered.’
Campaign group Save Shoreditch has been fighting to keep the 19th-century Light Bar building, and has petitioned up to 7,000 names including artist Tracey Emin and architectural historian Dan Cruickshank.
Save Shoreditch campaigner Lucy Rogers said: ‘We are delighted that the councillors have rejected the plan to demolish the Light Bar, and that any new proposal must include the preservation of the building.
‘We welcome this brave decision that will protect Shoreditch and its character, and keep it distinct from the City.’