Protest in Brick Lane planned over Truman Brewery scheme

One of many protests this summer to "save Brick Lane" from commercial developers

One of many protests this summer to "save Brick Lane" from commercial developers - Credit: Sarah Ainslee

Hundreds of protesters plan to hold a rally and march through Brick Lane over controversial plans to turn the 10-acre Old Truman Brewery venue into offices and a shopping mall. 

Campaigners who are fighting plans to redevelop the historic 350-year-old site will gather at Whitechapel’s Altab Ali Park at noon on Sunday, July 18. 

People's protest top 'reclaim Brick Lane' to halt commercial inroads

People's protest top 'reclaim Brick Lane' to halt commercial inroads - Credit: Salam Jones

They are set to march through Brick Lane at 1.15pm past the old brewery site — which is home to 140 small businesses and enterprises and holds regular community events — then stage a “people’s festival” at nearby Allen Gardens in Buxton Street.

The protest follows 7,000 objections to the proposed scheme and is the latest in a series of demonstrations organised by a coalition including the East End Preservation Society, Spitalfields Trust and Bengali East End Heritage Society. 

“We are under threat with everything we feel about the area,” the Bengali heritage organisation’s Saif Osmani told the Advertiser. “This is a unique part of London that Truman’s owners want to turn into retail and office space. 


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“But we feel successive plans were promised for more housing. A shopping mall is a piecemeal approach.” 

The plans were deferred in April when they came before Tower Hamlets Council and are set to be heard again on July 22 by the authority’s strategic planning committee. 

Lights festival at Christmas 2017 with Brick Lane's famous footbridge

Lights festival at Christmas 2017 with Brick Lane's famous footbridge - Credit: Jeremy Freedman

Town hall planning officers have been holding talks with the Zeloof family, who have owned the complex 26 years since the brewery closed which was first established in Brick Lane in 1666. 

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The three Zeloof brothers want to put up a five-storey commercial building on the corner of Woodseer Street at the south end of the site. 

Annual Shrove Tuesday pancake races at Old Truman's Brewery 

Annual Shrove Tuesday pancake races at Old Truman's Brewery - Credit: Alternative Arts

The complex currently hosts art shows, food festivals and the annual Shrove Tuesday pancake race while offering low rent to market stalls and restaurants.   

Jason Zeloof, one of the brothers, has assured the local authority that these would continue, along with expanded commercial space for small and micro-businesses.  

Plans include two new restaurants, one housed across the preserved Truman's footbridge looking down on Brick Lane which linked the two halves of the old brewery.

Community feelings over Truman plans

Community feelings over Truman plans - Credit: Saif Osmani

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