Truman's Brewery future being debated at Tower Hamlets Council

Protesters against Truman Brewery site development 

Protesters against Truman Brewery site development - Credit: Mike Brooke

Plans are being thrashed out over the future of the massive Truman brewery site that dominates Brick Lane following a series of mass protests. 

A protest rally on Sunday was the latest in a series of community demos over a planning application tonight being discussed at Tower Hamlets Council's September 14 development committee. 

The scheme has already had 7,476 objections registered at the town hall, against 82 letters of support. 

Protesters are worried that the authority could be ready to approve the scheme after having postponed a decision in April for a shopping mall with offices above as the first step in the redevelopment of the entire former brewery into a corporate plaza. 

Food fest at Brick Lane... campaigners fear small traders would be priced out

Food fest at Brick Lane... campaigners fear small traders would be priced out - Credit: Mike Brooke

That’s when councillors deferred any decision after concerns about pushing up rents in Brick Lane which campaigners feared would drive out small traders and independent shops that characterise Spitalfields.   

Cllr Sufia Alam said at the time that he was “disappointed” at the lack of housing in the development with the East End’s chronic shortage.  

Now the Truman Brewery has come back with an improved offer with more “affordable workspace” discount at 45 per cent of market rates. Campaigners say this is still well above current rents in Spitalfields. 

Dan Cruickshank addresses rally in June to stop Truman site redevelopment

Dan Cruickshank addresses rally in June to stop Truman site redevelopment - Credit: Mike Brooke

TV historian Dan Cruickshank headed a "last stand" rally in June that followed a march down Brick Lane which brought out hundreds of protesters.  

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The rally followed a series of blows to East End preservationists like him where development has been allowed on heritage sites like the London Fruit Exchange assembly hall in Spitalfields with its wartime air-raid shelter in tact that’s now gone. More recently, the green light was given for a “forest of skyscrapers” on the old Bishopsgate goods station. 

People's march in June that packed Brick Lane

People's march in June that packed Brick Lane - Credit: Mike Brooke

Cruickshank railed against the proposed four-storey office block when he told the rally it was “important  to protect local businesses and have housing and workshops” to encourage the unique character of the area. 

Truman's is currently home to 140 small businesses and enterprises and holds regular public events like London’s annual Shrove Tuesday pancake race.  

Spitalfields' annual pancake sprint 

Spitalfields' annual pancake sprint - Credit: Alternative Arts