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Hackney mayor slams Bishopsgate Goodsyard proposals

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Hackney mayor Jules Pipe has slammed amended proposals for Bishopsgate Goodsyard as ‘superficial tinkering’ and has urged residents to resist them

In June the design team behind the project - PLP Architecture, FaulknerBrowns Architects and Buckley Gray Yeoman - submitted revised plans including a reduction in the height of the tallest buildings.

But Pipe says that the new version, being promoted by developers Ballymore and Hammerson, still threatens the character of Shoreditch and nearby heritage assets and could threaten the area’s Tech City status.

He said: ‘These amended plans are little more than superficial tinkering with the original proposal and remain wholly inappropriate for this part of Shoreditch, with the developers having made no real attempt to meet Hackney’s housing or business needs.

‘The buildings are still far too high and there remains an unacceptable lack of affordable homes. The amount of and type of commercial space, making it likely to be taken up by financial firms, also brings no value to Tech City and could actually lead to the dissipation of this growing and increasingly renowned cluster of design and tech companies.’

He said that Shoreditch was not the right location for luxury high-rise apartments and urged people to respond to a new public consultation on the plans taking place in advance of a decision by the council set for October.

‘Hopefully that way we can save Shoreditch from these damaging proposals,’ he said.

The redesign saw  three of the towers cut by four storeys - to 26, 30 and 38 storeys respectively - with the tallest 48-storey skyscraper trimmed by the ‘equivalent’ of one storey. Only 10 per cent of the properties have been allocated for affordable housing.

The council has worked with a local firm of architects to produce an alternative, scheme, which it says would be more in keeping with the area.

Pipe said: ‘With a bit more thought and imagination it’s entirely possible to design a site more appropriate in scale, which generates the right kind of business space for growth and job creation, and provides a good mix of housing, while still meeting any reasonable expectations on the part of the developer.’

Further comments

Jon Weston, senior development manager, Ballymore

‘We have worked hard with our design team to address many of the points raised by the GLA, Hackney and Tower Hamlets Councils, and the local community during the earlier consultation process.

‘Overall we have sought to redefine The Goodsyard as being more employment-led through the creation of additional flexible commercial floorspace in excess of 200,000sq.ft, including a new modern warehouse office building suitable for creative and start-up businesses through to established organisations looking to expand.

‘The proposals will deliver in excess of 7000 new jobs and will help cater for the growing demand for media and technology businesses spilling out from the surrounding Tech City.

‘This is in addition to making other significant changes such as reducing the heights of the tallest buildings, and re-designing the residential buildings to respond to the comments received during the consultation period.

‘We are confident that the proposals strike the right balance of accommodation and result in the most appropriate and deliverable scheme to regenerate one of Inner London’s last major strategic brownfield sites, which has lain largely unused for half a century.’

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