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Final legal bid to stop Norton Folgate plans fails

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Conservationists have lost their appeal against a High Court ruling allowing AHMM, DSDHA, Duggan Morris and Stanton Williams’ Norton Folgate scheme to proceed

The decision effectively ends the Spitalfields Trust’s legal options in the long-running row over plans by British Land to redevelop the streets and buildings dating from the 18th century on the edge of Spitalfields in east London.

The campaign group launched the challenge in May after an unsuccessful judicial review of former London mayor Boris Johnson’s decision to approve the City Fringe project.

In its initial court action the trust claimed Johnson had failed to follow correct procedures when he called in the controversial mixed-use proposals just hours after they were rejected by Tower Hamlets council.

But earlier this year Justice Gilbart, a planning judge, upheld Johnson’s decision and dismissed the trust’s application for a judicial review.

Now Lord Justice Vos has rejected Spitalfields Trust’s appeal, saying the outcome of Johnson’s call-in decision would have been ‘highly unlikely’ to have been different, regardless of the procedural flaws argued by the Trust.

Led by architectural historian Dan Cruickshank, the trust battled against the proposals for almost two years, warning that the new development would destroy part of London’s heritage with the demolition of many buildings in the area (see AJ 12.02.15). The trust even drew up its own alternative plans for the site with architect John Burrell of Burrell Foley Fisher.

Commenting on the result, a spokesman for British Land said: ’We are acutely 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 look forward to providing much-needed office space for small and medium-sized businesses, particularly tech and creative companies finding expansion space in short supply in Shoreditch and Spitalfields.’

The developer intends to build 33,040m² of office space, 3,550m² of shops and restaurants, 40 apartments and 1,400m² of public space in its ‘Blossom Street’ development.

Spitalfields Trust said it would be issuing a statement about its next steps later this week.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • If the first two images are anything to go by, the developer's claim to be 'acutely aware of the historical significance of the site' appears to be no more than skin deep. Onwards and upwards.

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