London mayor Boris Johnson has given the thumbs up to a controversial development scheme by AHMM, Duggan Morris, DSDHA and Stanton Williams in the Norton Folgate area on the City Fringe
Earlier this afternoon (18 January), Johnson resolved to approve the British Land-backed plans for new offices, retail space and 40 apartments at Blossom Street, Spitalfields.
In September the plans were called in by the mayor after Tower Hamlets councillors refused permission for the scheme, despite it being recommended for approval by their planning officers. In a bid to appease the conservation lobby, the architects subsequently agreed to modify the plans - a move brokered by officers at the Greater London Authority (AJ 15.11.15).
Johnson said: ’Calling this application in provided me with an opportunity to visit the site and to have a detailed look at a development which proposes to create a significant number of jobs in an area crying out for office space.
’I have been acutely aware of the strength of feeling about the heritage of the site and I am pleased we were able to negotiate the retention of two historic buildings within this development.’
Nigel Webb, head of developments at British Land, said: ’We welcome The mayor of London’s decision to approve our plans for Blossom Street.
’We are aware of the historical significance of the site, and have worked with award-winning architects to devise an outstanding development that can support 2,500 jobs, in keeping with the character of the area.
’We now look forward to providing much-needed office space for small and medium-sized businesses, particularly those tech and creative companies who are finding expansion space in short supply in Shoreditch and Spitalfields.’
The revised scheme retains two 19th-century warehouse blocks at the heart of the project (12 and 13 Blossom Street) previously earmarked for a major overhaul.
However, objectors remained unconvinced by the revisions, saying the redesign represented only a ‘relatively minor amendment’.
Last week, the City of London Corporation turned down an audacious offer by conservation campaigners to buy the site in order to develop alternative proposals.
Paul Monaghan, director of Allford Hall Monaghan Morris
‘We’re very pleased the Mayor has recognised that the development will benefit the community and local economy whilst being sensitive to the special character of the area. We would like to thank the many people, businesses and local groups who have supported and helped to develop the scheme.’
David Hills, director at DSDHA
‘The insightful decision by British Land to work with four distinct practices on this complex and historic site has allowed the team to engage in a constructive dialogue with local stakeholders which has achieved an exceptional level of responsiveness in our designs. We are delighted that the Mayor has recognised this.’
Joe Morris, director of Duggan Morris
‘This part of London has an undeniable and distinctive quality of ancient streets, justifying its designation as an important Conservation Area. Accordingly the team has sought to positively transform an area unique in the city with housing, workplace and retail.’
Paul Williams, director of Stanton Williams
‘Having previously been a resident of Spitalfields for nearly 20 years, it is additionally satisfying that this area, sadly left semi-derelict for so long, will be brought back to life. I’m sure that all those who have been involved in the extensive local consultation will cheer the decision to approve the wonderful development.’