Hackney Mayor urges response against luxury high-rise flats


The Mayor of Hackney is again urging people to speak out against a luxury high-rise development in the heart of Shoreditch by responding to a new public consultation.

Mayor Jules Pipe is warning that amended proposals for Bishopsgate Goodsyard still threaten the unique character of Shoreditch and its nearby conservation areas and listed buildings, does nothing to address the borough’s housing needs and could be hugely detrimental to Tech City, leading to the loss of local tech and design jobs.

Earlier this year the Mayor launched a campaign against Hammerson and Ballymore’s original application for the site, which included two residential towers standing at 47 and 43 floors.

That application has now been amended with the submission of a revised scheme. The largest tower still stands at 47 floors with the second largest reduced by just four storeys. There have been other minor reductions in height across the development, but it still dwarves the surrounding area. Only ten percent of the properties have been allocated for ‘affordable housing’.

A public consultation on the new proposals is now open and people have until the end of October to respond, before it is due to come before the Council’s Planning Committee. It is recommended that people who responded to the original proposals still respond to the re-consultation if they remain unhappy with the amended plans.

Jules Pipe, Mayor of Hackney
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.

“The two colossal towers will cast a long shadow over Shoreditch, affecting the quality of life for nearby residents and dwarfing the industrial heritage landscape of this hugely creative and popular destination. The expensive flats within will be far beyond the reach of most Londoners and do nothing to help address the capital’s housing crisis.

“Shoreditch has a very distinct character and economic eco-system and is not the place for more luxury high-rise apartments. I’d urge everyone who feels these plans are inappropriate to respond to the new public consultation, even if they have already objected to the original application, so there can be no doubt over the continued strength of opposition. Hopefully that way we can save Shoreditch from these damaging proposals.
Jules Pipe, Mayor of Hackney

The Council has worked with a local firm of architects to produce an alternative, viable scheme, which would be more in keeping with the area and provide much needed employment space. Little of its proposals have been taken on by Hammerson and Ballymore, and Mayor Pipe is calling on the developer to explain more fully the details and rationale behind its proposals, and to adopt a more collaborative approach.

Mayor Pipe added: “Bishopsgate Goodsyard represents a fantastic opportunity for regeneration, provided the developers work transparently and collaboratively with the Council, local businesses and residents. 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.”

People can comment on the application online via www.hackney.gov.uk/bgy-planning.asp and clicking ‘Add Comments Here’, or by post to Hackney Planning Service, 2 Hillman Street, London, E8 1FB, and quoting the reference number 2014/2425.