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Skyscraper-free Bishopsgate Goodsyard scheme unveiled

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The developers behind Bishopsgate Goodsyard have unveiled a drastic, lower-rise redesign of the controversial City fringe scheme, including the scrapping of a row of skyscrapers by PLP

Joint venture Hammerson and Ballymore’s new ‘urban quarter’ for the 4.2ha complex site surrounding Shoreditch High Street Station, by new masterplanner FaulknerBrowns, is currently out for consultation.

The downsized scheme sees the original cluster of six towers of up to 46 storeys dropping to 29, with the number of homes slashed from 1,356 to 250.

Instead of towers along Sclater Street, the residential element will now be housed in mid-rise mansion blocks of between seven and 14 storeys. 

It also includes 130,000m2 of offices and affordable workspace, 16,260m2 of retail, a 250-to-300-bed hotel and an elevated park above the historic Grade II-listed Braithwaite Viaduct.

Farrells’ original masterplan, which was submitted in 2014, faced an immediate backlash over the low levels of affordable housing and fears the skyscrapers would tower over neighbouring Spitalfields.

Unusually, the mayors of both local planning authorities campaigned against the development, with Hackney’s then-leader Jules Pipe launching a petition against the scheme.

In September 2015, then-London mayor Boris Johnson’s decision to call in the application was met with fury by Pipe, who hit back with a borough-wide advertisement campaign titled ‘a dark future for Shoreditch’.

Urging local residents to object to the plans, the adverts read: ‘We’ve had the decision taken away from us but it’s not too late for you to have your say.’

In the end, the GLA’s planning officers sided with the campaigners, recommending refusal because of its ‘unacceptable’ negative impacts.  

When Sadiq Khan took over as mayor and made the scheme’s chief opponent Jules Pipe his chief planner at the GLA, the developer asked for more time to ‘evolve the design’. 

Aerial view of bishopsgate june 2015

Aerial view of bishopsgate june 2015

Earlier design from 2015 by PLP, FaulknerBrowns and BuckleyGrayYeoman

The new scheme, with BuckleyGrayYeoman retained alongside Spacehub and Chris Dyson Architects, will be submitted to the GLA in early 2019 as an amendment to the existing application. 

PLP stated recently that it had walked away from the project in 2016 by mutual agreement.

Nick Perry of the Hackney Society opposed the original Goodsyard application. He said while the ‘devil was in the detail’, it was clear the scheme has been ‘significantly’ scaled back.

‘It remains to be seen to what extent the latest revisions address the many and various concerns of local community groups,’ he said, ‘but it’s clear the reduction in height will address the most serious of the light and amenity concerns, although to the severe detriment to the potential provision of housing.’

Perry added that the new routes through the site would appear to offer a ‘much more satisfactory’ connection to the local streetscape.

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