Campaigners bid to stop Truman Brewery plans in the courts

Community fury at plans for office block at Old Truman Brewery

A rally was held last year in opposition to the plans - Credit: Mike Brooke

Campaigners against plans for offices, shops and restaurants on the site of Old Truman Brewery are hoping a judicial review will halt the proposals.

Members of the Save Brick Lane campaign were granted a judicial review into Tower Hamlets Council's decision in September to approve planning permission for the Brick Lane development.

The proposal put forward by Old Truman Brewery Ltd includes a part five-storey office building with ground and first-floor commercial space and a basement gym at 140 Brick Lane, commercial units in the neighbouring building at 146 Brick Lane and refurbishment and extension of 25 Woodseer Street for a shop and office space.

The approved scheme features more than 3,500 square metres of new office space, 15 retail units and two restaurants.

But the plans saw more than 7,000 objections and campaigners have argued they would seriously damage the history and culture of Brick Lane and the surrounding area.

Saif Osmani, campaigner and founder of the Bengali East End Heritage Society, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service he hoped the controversial development would be overturned. 

He said the planned building would set a dangerous precedent throughout the UK for eroding historical sites.

“Not to make a joke of it but Brick Lane is a lane – it’s not a high street and it’s being treated like some kind of high street.

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"We’ll see what the High Court say about it. I think we have a chance. 

“All put together there is a case to be made that the East End is a special historic place in London.”

The judicial review was successfully invoked after campaigners raised enough in legal fees.

The Save Brick Lane campaign is now looking to collect £20,000 to fight the development and is already £10,000 towards this total. 

A spokesperson for Tower Hamlets Council said: “The scheme approved by the development committee would provide affordable workspace at 45 per cent market discount, as set out in the draft Spitalfields Neighbourhood Plan.

"There wouldn’t be a new large open plan office space, or loss of existing shops, restaurants or other businesses.

"The building is proposed on the site of what is currently an open car park and it will also be lower in height than the neighbouring buildings.

"It is also estimated that the scheme on completion will provide over 700 jobs.

“We await the outcome of the judicial review.”

The Local Democracy Reporting Service contacted Truman Brewery Ltd for comment but has not received a response.