Tower Hamlets and Hackney mayors to address Bishopsgate goodsyard rally

PUBLISHED: 11:40 03 November 2015 | UPDATED: 11:40 03 November 2015

Proposed Bishopsgate goodsyard scheme as it would appear from Spitalfields

Proposed Bishopsgate goodsyard scheme as it would appear from Spitalfields

More Light More Power campaign

Two outspoken mayors are joining forces for a major “conference of the people” in an 11th hour bid to stop east London’s controversial Bishopsgate railway goods-yard development getting the green light.

Both Tower Hamlets mayor John Biggs and neighbouring Hackney’s Jules Pipe are addressing the conference at Shoreditch St Leonard’s Church on November 16.

Proposed Bishopsgate goodsyard scheme as it would appear from ShoreditchProposed Bishopsgate goodsyard scheme as it would appear from Shoreditch

They will outline their concerns about plans by developers for luxury apartment tower blocks — one reaching 48 storeys — at the disused six-acre rail sidings on the City Fringe that they fear will overshadow neighbourhoods in Spitalfields and Shoreditch.

Final preparations for the conference are being made at an open meeting of the ‘More Light More Power’ campaign at the church in Shoreditch High Street at 7pm this coming Monday, to hear updates from Tower Hamlets and Hackney councils and the GLA.

Campaigners worry that last year’s planning application to both local authorities were so complex that the time limit has run out — and would be ‘called in’ by London Mayor Boris Johnson who would give the go-ahead.

Hackney’s mayor launched a Save Shoreditch campaign earlier this year over fears the scheme would “plunge Tech City into darkness”.

He said at the launch: “These towers almost as tall as Canary Wharf might be okay for the City, but are completely out of scale for Shoreditch. They would fragment the local cluster of design and tech firms with luxury flats well beyond the reach of ordinary Londoners.”

The developers had to modify the original plans in the face of opposition and pledged to “preserve the site heritage while creating new homes, offices and shops to keep the area growing and vibrant.”

But campaigners who commissioned an alternative scheme say Ballymore’s modifications just “scratch the surface” and do not address the main concerns of the community.

They put forward their own ideas for low-rise buildings and new streets through the site to connect Spitalfields with Shoreditch on either side, with affordable start-up space for tech and local creative craft industries.

They also won backing from the Victorian Society to preserve Braithwaite’s original 1840 Eastern Counties railway arches.

The massive site has been wasteland since the Victorian rail terminal was destroyed by fire in 1964.

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