Work is finally set to start on the contentious AHMM-led Norton Folgate scheme on the City fringe, three years after it was approved amid a long-running row with conservationists
Developer British Land has confirmed work will get underway in the second quarter of 2019 on the office-led project, also known as Blossom Street, on the edge of Spitalfields.
The approved scheme includes 33,040m² of office space, 3,550m² of shops and restaurants, 40 apartments and 1,400m² of public space.
The developer said its plans involve a mix of uses, to appeal to small and growing businesses, particularly in the technology and creative sectors.
The proposals, drawn up by an AHMM-led design team including DSDHA, Duggan Morris and Stanton Williams, were given the green light in January 2016 by then London mayor Boris Johnson.
Johnson ‘called in’ the scheme after it was rejected by local councillors in Tower Hamlets following opposition from conservationists concerned over the impact on historic Victorian warehouses.
The campaigners, led by the Spitalfields Trust, later lost a High Court challenge against Johnson’s intervention, as well as a subsequent appeal.
The trust, led by architectural historian Dan Cruickshank, battled against the proposals for almost two years, warning that the new development would destroy part of London’s heritage with the demolition of many buildings in the area.
The campaigners even drew up their own alternative plans for the site with architect John Burrell of Burrell Foley Fisher.