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Not enough homes in Bishopsgate Goodsyard redesign, say Hackney planners

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Planners in Hackney have raised concerns that FaulknerBrowns’ recently downsized masterplan for the Bishopsgate Goodsyard scheme in east London does not contain enough new homes 

The housing element of the scheme proposed for the 4.2ha Shoreditch site was slashed from 1,356 to 250 in a radical redesign unveiled last year, which saw the scrapping of a pair of residential skyscrapers designed by PLP. 

The decision to shrink the project followed major opposition from critics including local authorities Tower Hamlets and Hackney over the scale of the original cluster of six towers, which ranged in height up to 46 storeys. The tallest proposed building is now a 29-storey office block.

Since the amended scheme was revealed in November, joint venture backers Hammerson and Ballymore have upped the number of homes to 450. But, according to a pre-application report from Hackney, this is still ‘a significant under-provision’.

’It is considered that a strategically significant site such as this should have the capacity to provide a substantial provision of residential floorspace,’ it said.

The AJ understands the councils and the GLA are pushing for 500 homes across the scheme, but developers are saying that anything above 450 would result in increased tower heights or a reduction in workspace.

The report also claims the developers initially indicated they would be prepared to meet the GLA affordable homes target ratio of 50 per cent but have since ’rowed back’ from this commitment and the developers are now aiming for a lower offer of 35 per cent.

In its report, to be discussed at a public meeting next week, the planners also query the need for 10,000m² of hotel use, noting the high number of recently approved hotels in the Shoreditch area.

To meet the demand for more residential, the developers are understood to be making a number of tweaks to the proposals, including replacing commercial buildings with residential and adding homes to the hotel element of the scheme.

The new council report acknowledges the amended Goodsyard scheme ’differs significantly’ from the original designs, and called the reduction in massing a ’positive development’.

While Hackney and Tower Hamlets are taking part in pre-application process for the amended scheme, councillors will not get to vote on the plans, as the scheme has been under the determination of the GLA since it was called in by the then mayor Boris Johnson in 2015.

A spokesperson on behalf of The Goodsyard joint venture said it had been ‘carefully reviewing’ feedback from its public consultation. 

’As a result of these discussions we have reviewed our proposals with the aim of further optimising the residential provision, increasing the number of new homes to 450, while maintaining a balanced mix of uses, including new public realm and 130,000m² of workspace aimed at enhancing Shoreditch’s local and international reputation as a hub for tech and entrepreneurs.

’We have also significantly increased the size of the proposed public park in response to local feedback, creating an area of over 4,000m² to the eastern end of the park and increasing the total public realm to over 1.25ha at park level’.

In January Eric Parry was announced as the latest architect to join the FaulknerBrowns-led design team. He was appointed to draw up plans for a 29-storey office building, now the highest structure within the new scheme.

The developers are planning on submitting a planning application to the GLA in late Spring, following a second public consultation on the updated proposals. 

Goodsyard ©faulknerbrowns (2 of 2) colour

Goodsyard ©faulknerbrowns (2 of 2) colour

Bishopsgate Goodsyard design team

  • FaulknerBrown Architects (masterplanners)
  • BuckleyGrayYeoman (commercial)
  • Eric Parry Architects (commercial tower)
  • Spacehub (public realm)
  • Chris Dyson Architects (residential, heritage and public realm)
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