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Council rejects Chipperfield plans - but Emin battles on

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Tower Hamlets council has unanimously rejected David Chipperfield Architects’ proposals for a new East London studio for Turner Prize-winning artist Tracey Emin 

The plans included flattening 66-88 Bell Lane in Spitalfields to make way for an artist studio linked to Emin’s home next door and includes three new bedrooms on top of her existing house. 

Recommending the scheme for refusal council officers said the proposed new building was of ‘high design quality’, but concluded that this was not enough to outweigh the harm which would be caused by demolishing the existing structure. 

A submission by the East End Preservation Society labelled the plans ‘very damaging’, while SAVE Britain’s Heritage added: ‘The public benefits of this application are negligible, and seem to focus on the private working patterns of an artist.’ 

But ahead of last night’s planning meeting (10 February), Emin lodged an appeal directly with the Planning Inspectorate. 

The appeal was submitted due to Tower Hamlets council failing to reach a decision on the scheme within a six month period which ran out on 31 January – ten days before the scheme was officially rejected. 

A document supporting the appeal, drawn up by Montague Evans, states: ‘The nature of the matters at issue – architecture and heritage – and the level of public interest in this case has led the appellant to request a public inquiry, which we consider would last two days and require the involvement of an Inspector with an architectural qualification.’

Statement from Tower Hamlets Council

’An appeal has already been lodged on this application on the basis that the Council has not yet made a decision on the proposal. The timeframe was extended due to extensive local interest and the complex heritage issues involved; more time was needed to consider it. 

’However, this appeal means that the decision on the case will now be taken by the planning inspectorate, rather than Tower Hamlets Council. It should take approximately 4- 6 months depending on the type of appeal procedure. 

’The Development Committee rejected the application on 10 February and this will be the Council’s position during the appeal process.’ 


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