Opponents of Terry Farrell’s designs for the redevelopment of Bishopsgate Goodsyard have dubbed the scheme ‘the biggest thing to hit the area since the plague’
Leaders of the More Light, More Power campaign, which has been co-ordinated by local residents’ group OPEN Shoreditch, have issued a statement urging the public to speak out about the project earmarked for the long-abandoned east London plot before consultation closes next month.
Campaign spokesman David Donoghue believes the £800million scheme, which has been designed with PLP Architecture and FaulknerBrowns and features two 48-storey residential towers, was ‘bland’ and should be sent back to the drawing board.
He said: ‘[The project] is zombie-esque. It is massively too tall, casting a shadow over the whole area, particularly the public park. It should be dead and buried. We are not against development per se - far from it - but believe this scheme needs a fundamental rethink.
‘As well as the architectural and design issues, we are particularly concerned that this development [fails to address] some of the major social inequalities that exist including the need for affordable housing for local people and employment and training provision.’
He added: ‘Given it has taken 50 years for a scheme to be put together, the idea that all these critical social issues can be sorted out through a 21 day public consultation exercise is ridiculous. This scheme will have a massive affect on the area for generations to come: we need to get it right.’
The Bishopsgate scheme straddles the border between Hackney and Tower Hamlets and is being developed by a joint venture between Hammerson and Ballymore. if approved the scheme would see 1,500 homes built on the 4.2ha site in Shoreditch.
However despite opposing the plans by Farrell, the campaign group have ruled out coming up with their own alternative plans for the former goodsyard.
‘If you do not own a site coming up with alternative schemes isn’t really addressing the issue,’ Donoghue added.
Defending the scheme, the managing director of Ballymore UK John Mulryan told the Hackney Citizen: ‘You don’t get a chance to open up such a large slice of London for public use very often, so we are keen to make this a flagship development.
‘Londoners will get the chance to enjoy this important part of the capital’s heritage after years hidden from view. We want to create a great place to live, work and visit.’
A spokesperson for Joint Venture, said: ‘Our vision for The Goodsyard is to open up a fantastic space in the heart of London’s most interesting areas, one that has been hidden from view for far too long, and create a place for people to live, work, relax do business, be inspired and exhilarated.
‘Whilst the statutory consultation period may be 21 days we’ve been in dialogue with the community from The Goodsyard’s inception back in 2009 right through to submission of the planning application and will continue to do so.
‘We firmly believe that this is the right scheme to help to tackle London’s housing crisis, provide a new elevated park with city views unrivalled in the world, bring the historic arches back into use through a unique retail offer, provide the opportunity for local creative industries to shape the new commercial space and to create at least 5000 new jobs which we’re committed to ensuring that local people can access.’
The Tower Hamlets public consultation deadline is 8 November, and Hackney is 10 November.