Mayor Johnson leaves decision on Bishopsgate skyscrapers for next London mayor
PUBLISHED: 12:52 22 April 2016 | UPDATED: 12:52 22 April 2016
Boris Johnson has given up getting the controversial plans passed for a ‘wall of seven skyscrapers’ on the site of the old Bishopsgate goods station using his executive powers.
Instead, he is leaving it to the next Mayor of London to decide if the £800 million Hammerson’s scheme goes ahead after he steps down on May 5.
It follows Monday’s postponement of the City Hall public hearing in which he was to have ruled on the issue, in the face of massive public and local authority opposition to the 11-acre development that would throw a large swathe of Shoreditch into permanent shadow.
It is the first time he has backed off making a decision, having waved through all 14 strategic applications that he has taken over from local authorities during his eight years in office, the last being the controversial Norton Folgate scheme nearby which is now being challenged in the High Court.
The latest climb down over Bishopsgate, putting off a decision until the new mayor takes over, could spell victory for the More Light More Power campaigners at Shoreditch.
All candidates in the election race in two weeks’ time are known to be against the development. Both front-runners—Labour’s Sadiq Khan and Conservative Zac Goldsmith—have voiced opposition to the unpopular scheme which has already been rejected by both Tower Hamlets and neighbouring Hackney councils over its height and density and being out of character with the area.
The turning point was Boris’s own GLA planning advisors at City Hall telling him on April 7 that Hammerson’s scheme was faulty.
Hammerson’s asked on April 11 for the hearing to be postponed, which the Mayor agreed to, with no date set for a resumed application.
But the mayor’s office confirmed to the East London Advertiser today that time had run out and he was leaving it to the next mayor.
“Logistically, it won’t be before May 5,” a Mayor’s spokesman said. “The application is now back with developers—they have been told to look at issues the GLA was unhappy with.”
The proposal would have resulted in “significant building mass” which the GLA said would have an impact on the daylight and sunlight of hundreds of properties and be harmful the East End’s heritage.
This would “significantly outweigh the potential public benefits of the scheme”.