Search

‘People’ protests planned at two town halls against Bishopsgate goods yard scheme

PUBLISHED: 12:38 10 December 2015 | UPDATED: 12:38 10 December 2015

How Bishopsgate's 'Berlin Wall of skyscrapers' would dominate skyline

How Bishopsgate's 'Berlin Wall of skyscrapers' would dominate skyline

Archant

The rebellion across east London against the controversial Bishopsgate goods yard development comes to a head tonight with both Tower Hamlets and neighbouring Hackney councils set to reject the £800 million scheme.

Shadow of 'Berlin Wall of skyscrapers' at Bishopsgate would be cast across Shoreditch, claim Shadow of 'Berlin Wall of skyscrapers' at Bishopsgate would be cast across Shoreditch, claim

The two local authorities are going ahead with their planning committee meetings despite London mayor Boris Johnson ‘calling in’ the planning application by Hammerson’s to decide himself whether to give it the green light.

He is on a collision course with the local mayors who spoke against the proposals at a joint public meeting held at Shoreditch Church last month.

The mayors are backing a people’s ‘More Light, More Power’ campaign to stop City encroachment into the East End with luxury apartments in towers 47 storeys high which they argue ordinary families can’t afford.

Hackney's Mayor Jules Pipe (right) addresses Shoreditch meeting, watched by neighbouring Tower Hamlets mayor John Biggs Hackney's Mayor Jules Pipe (right) addresses Shoreditch meeting, watched by neighbouring Tower Hamlets mayor John Biggs

Campaigners from Spitalfields and Shoreditch are picketing the separate planning meetings at both town halls this-evening to show solidarity against the “forest of skyscrapers” earmarked for the 11-acre goods rail terminal and sidings which they fear will cast a deep shadow across the district and split the neighbourhoods.

The site—derelict for half-a-century—is so large that it sweeps both sides of the boundary between the London boroughs of Tower Hamlets and Hackney.

Both councils hint that the fight could end up in the High Court, over level of ‘affordable’ homes being offered among the luxury apartments.

'Black umbrella' protest in Brick Lane against Bishopsgate 'shadow' development 'Black umbrella' protest in Brick Lane against Bishopsgate 'shadow' development

“It’s important that we make a serious challenge to this,” Tower Hamlets Mayor John Biggs said. “Boris is at risk of making a lazy decision because he’s obsessed with numbers and hasn’t thought through the implications.”

The developers have offered “up to 10 per cent” ‘affordable’ flats, well below what the local authorities say is viable.

Hackney mayor Jules Pipe said: “Our best chance (to stop the scheme) is on ‘viability’.

'More Light, More Power' founder David Donoghue at Sunday's 'Shadow' protest 'More Light, More Power' founder David Donoghue at Sunday's 'Shadow' protest

“The developers’ 10pc ‘goodwill’ gesture is against our own 49pc assessment—and even well below Boris’s overall London ‘affordable’ threshold at 25pc. That would be solid, factual grounds to challenge the scheme.”

The protesters, meanwhile, lobby the Hackney meeting at 6.30pm and Tower Hamlets half-an-hour later at 7pm.

Campaign coordinator David Donoghgue said: “The Bishopsgate site is public land owned by Railtrack, yet it’s mainly overseas speculators who will be able to afford to ‘buy to leave’ the luxury apartments to keep empty as an ‘investment’.”

The campaigners also plan a mass protest at noon on Sunday outside Shoreditch High Street station similar to last month’s ‘black umbrella’ march around Brick Lane to show the extent of the shadow they fear the tower blocks will throw across the district.

Latest East London News Stories

Yesterday, 19:00

A memorial that took 10 years to get going as a commemoration to the 173 people killed in the 1943 Bethnal Green air-raid shelter disaster has finally won a national architects award.

Yesterday, 15:19

There is no service on the TfL Rail line between Liverpool Street and Ilford this afternoon.

Yesterday, 11:57

Wendy Holland is living on borrowed time after being diagnosed with the deadly mesothelioma “asbestos disease” caused by hugging her dad as a toddler when he came home every night from working in the docks in the 1960s.

Yesterday, 07:00

A rich source of radical photography and film-making showing East End community life and political struggles of the 1970s and 80s goes on public show for the first time today at Bethnal Green’s Four Corners studio.

Thu, 18:00

A big old building in Bethnal Green had been empty for donkeys’ years until Scott Franklin’s ‘property guardians’ filled the space to make it useful.

Thu, 18:00

Investigators probing corruption, fraud and bribery in the overturned 2014 Tower Hamlets council election that brought down Lutfur Rahman are gathering fresh evidence previously “overlooked by the police”, it has emerged this week.

Thu, 17:09

What a snip for Bethnal Green’s Joshua Galvin hairdressing academy whose staff have been awarded the prestigious Matrix Standard again.

Thu, 13:00

A grueling seven-mile race that starts off by negotiating 30 tonne barges on the bends around the Isle of Dogs is being staged in “extreme rowing conditions” later this month.

Newsletter Sign Up

East London Advertiser twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Docklands and East London Advertiser
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now