The Mayor of Hackney has waded into the row surrounding the proposed redevelopment of Bishopsgate Goodsyard by launching his own petition against the scheme
Mayor Jules Pipe, whose own council is one of two east London boroughs considering the joint proposals submitted by developers Ballymore and Hammerson, believes the high-rise development ‘will cast a shadow over the whole of Tech City’.
Pipe is also concerned the City-fringe scheme, which has been masterplanned by Terry Farrell and features buildings by PLP Architecture, FaulknerBrowns Architects and Buckley Gray Yeoman, could threaten the unique character of Shoreditch.
In the petition, which has been posted on change.org, Pipe claims proposals for two residential towers - the tallest a 180m-high skyscraper - would have a ‘detrimental effect on neighbouring businesses and the character of the area’ and has called on the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson to withdraw support for the scheme.
Mayor Pipe said: ‘These towers would stand almost as tall as One Canada Place at Canary Wharf; that might be OK for the City, but it is completely out of scale for Shoreditch. These luxury flats, which are well beyond the reach of ordinary Londoners, will cast a shadow over the whole of Tech City, and threaten to damage the local, creative economy.
‘Luxury accommodation does nothing to help London’s housing crisis and brings no value to Tech City, and we fear that such a major development will strip the area of its character, potentially leading to the dissipation of this growing cluster.’
Last week the developers mooted the possibility of changing the designs after they were widely criticised by opponents including the Victorian Society and the Spitalfields Society.
The mixed-use proposals for the 4.2ha site which straddle the border between Tower Hamlets and Hackney boundary were submitted for planning in July and encompass Shoreditch High Street Station. The plans for developer Hammerson-Ballymore include a cluster of high-rise residential towers and an elevated park above the Grade-II listed Braithwaite Viaducts.
Ballymore admitted it was reviewing the feedback received following the recent statutory consultation, adding that there ‘may well be some amendments made to the overall scheme following these discussions’. The Victorian Society warned that any changes should be a ‘serious overhaul’ and not ‘tinker around the edges’.
Speaking about the proposals Mayor Pipe added: ‘I’m not opposed to tall buildings in principle, but they need to be in context. The ones proposed by Hammersons for this site are far too big, too close to the road and will compromise the areas’s distinct character and economic eco-system.
‘The repercussions of this development could be so severe that they lead to the fragmentation of the local cluster of design and tech firms, leading to the loss of thousands of local jobs, and damage to London’s reputation as a global leader in these industries.’
In a joint statement, Robert Allan, assistant director, development at Hammerson and Jon Weston, senior development manager at Ballymore said: ‘Since we took on the challenging task of regenerating the Bishopsgate Goodsyard site, we have been speaking extensively to local residents, businesses, community groups and politicians.
‘Our team are already working on revised plans that, where possible, address the issues raised by various stakeholders and, more recently the Mayor of Hackney, to ensure the development preserves the heritage of the site whilst creating the new homes, offices and shops that will keep the area growing and vibrant long into the future. We look forward to coming back to the community to present our changes when the revised plans are ready.’