Campaigners opposed to PLP Architecture’s £900 million Bishopsgate Goodsyard development in Shoreditch have claimed victory after Boris Johnson shelved a public hearing of the scheme
The mayor of London has deferred plans for a hearing to determine the City Fringe project, due to be held on Monday 18 April, to allow developers Ballymore and Hammerson time ‘to address the concerns’ raised last week by Greater London Authority planning officers.
More Light More Power called for the joint-venture developers to ‘radically revise’ their proposals and claimed the decision was ‘a vindication of months of campaigning by local people and businesses’.
A statement released by the group said: ‘Hammerson and Ballymore should now go back to the drawing board to have any chance of creating something worthy of this significant site.’
The decision to defer the public hearing follows a report published by the mayor’s own planning team at the Greater London Authority criticising the £900 million scheme, designed by PLP Architecture with FaulknerBrowns Architects and BuckleyGrayYeoman. The report recommended that the proposals should be refused planning permission.
But the proposals were fiercely opposed, due both to the scale of the towers and the lack of affordable housing in the scheme.
The GLA report claims the development around Shoreditch High Street station would have ’very significant negative impacts’ on surrounding buildings.
The document reads: ‘The proposed development does not accord with the development plan in terms of neighbourhood amenity impacts, specifically daylight/sunlight.
‘This indicates that the density, height, massing and layout of the scheme are not appropriate for this site.’
The report notes that the developers, Hammerson and Ballymore, had already come back with ‘slight variations on the current proposals’ but that the amendments did not allay the planners’ concerns.
The document continues: ’Officers are of the view that a more comprehensive scheme redesign is required.’
Johnson called in the contentious proposals in September, citing fears that the local authorities, Hackney and Tower Hamlets, were taking too long to rule on the plans.
Both boroughs went on to refuse the plans, even though the final decision had been taken out of their hands by Johnson. As well as the scale of the scheme, the authorities were also concerned at the low level of affordable housing proposed in the development – less than 16 per cent.
A petition against the development has attracted 11,000 signatures.
A spokesperson for Hammerson and Ballymore
‘We remain committed to delivering the right scheme for the Goodsyard to regenerate this site, which has been derelict for over 50 years. We welcome the mayor of London’s decision to defer the public hearing, allowing us to continue to work with the GLA, the local community and the boroughs of Hackney and Tower Hamlets, to bring forward amended proposals to address the issues raised in the Stage 3 Report and ensure that the Goodsyard and its benefits help fulfil the capital’s ambitions for long-term growth.’
David Donoghue from More Light More Power
’This decision is a vindication of months of campaigning by local people and businesses and the unanimous decisions of two mayors, two planning committees and countless numbers of planning officers, legal advisers and consultants - including.those at the GLA.
’They have all been saying for months that the scheme is fundamentally flawed. It is damaging to residents, businesses, the environment and London as a whole. It lacks style, imagination and innovation. It provides no benefits.
’Worse still is the fact that it is using publicly owned land, for which the developers are paying nothing. If this scheme went ahead it would be the biggest theft of public property since the Great Train Robbery.
‘We await with interest to see what radical revisions the developers propose.’
Hackney Mayor responds to decision to delay Bishopsgate Goods Yard hearing
Jules Pipe, Mayor of Hackney
’The developer’s proposals would have destroyed the heart of Shoreditch, cast a shadow over hundreds of nearby homes and businesses, done nothing to address London’s housing crisis, stifled the growth of Tech City and damaged forever this area’s unique character and heritage.
’“It’s abundantly clear that virtually everyone is in agreement that the current application is entirely inappropriate for this area - be they the thousands of residents and businesses who wrote letters and signed petitions, the planning experts at Hackney, Tower Hamlets and the GLA, the finance experts at BNP Paribas, the light experts at Building Research Establishment, the local MPs, and myriad others.
’Let’s hope that the developers now take a creative, collaborative approach with Hackney and Tower Hamlets councils, local residents, businesses and community groups to build something which works for everyone, not just their bottom line. There is so much more potential for this site than simply the developer’s ambition to cash in on luxury flats.
’Any future application for the Goods Yard should come back to be determined by Hackney and Tower Hamlets councils in an open and constructive way, as should always have been the case. It would be completely unacceptable for the developers to return to the GLA in a few months having simply shaved off a few floors and made some other minor tweaks.