Brewery site plans 'undermine cultural quality', say campaigners

A visualisation of Woodseer Street with the new development on the left, as proposed in plans submit

A visualisation of Woodseer Street with the new development on the left, as proposed in plans submitted by The Old Truman Brewery Ltd. Picture: The Old Truman Brewery Ltd - Credit: Archant

A campaign to oppose the redevelopment of the Truman Brewery site in Brick Lane, Spitalfields, launched with an exhibition this week. 

Opponents to the proposals claim that the plans for offices, shops, restaurants and a gym will “undermine the authentic cultural quality” of the famous street. 

Spitalfields Trust, backed by the art historian and television presenter Dan Cruickshank, says the 6,500 sqm of office space is irrelevant in a post-Covid world of more people working from home. 

Should permission be granted, a part two, part four-storey office building would be built on 140 Brick Lane, with number 146 shifting from office to commercial use.  

A visualisation of the finished development on the junction of Brick Lane and Woodseer Street, as su

A visualisation of the finished development on the junction of Brick Lane and Woodseer Street, as submitted in a recent application by The Old Truman Brewery Ltd. Picture: The Old Truman Brewery Ltd - Credit: Archant

The building at 25 Woodseer Street would be refurbished by performing a two-storey upward extension alongside a side extension. 


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Heloise Palin, of Spitalfields Trust, said: “The proposals are for an expensive, large building made up of large floor-plate offices and retail spaces.  

“In order for this development to be worth building it will have to attract large firms, able to pay high rates to hire the spaces.  

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“The offices will be for large corporations and the retail spaces will be for large brands. The more dominant these large corporate buildings become in the area, the less it caters for the local community and the less affordable it is.” 

The trust launched its Battle for Brick Lane campaign with a public exhibition in nearby Princelet Street, featuring photographs of the street from the past 30 years taken by Phil Maxwell. 

The Truman Brewery in its current guise. The Spitalfields site is subject to ongoing plans for comme

The Truman Brewery in its current guise. The Spitalfields site is subject to ongoing plans for commercial developments, including office space, restaurants and a gym. Picture: The Gentle Author - Credit: Archant

However, due to increased Covid restrictions, the exhibition was only open for a short while before closing. 

The trust is putting together a development brief for the site, based on the feedback it receives from those opposed to the current plans. 

Old Truman Brewery Limited submitted the planning application earlier this year. 

It claims on its website that the plans will transform the historic site in a “sensitive way”. 

It adds: “It is currently almost entirely used for car parking and is surrounded by a blank wall that does not add anything positive to the area.  

“We want to transform this important space in a sensitive way to bring it in line with the other parts of the Truman Estate and enhance Brick Lane’s offering as a unique destination for visitors, workers and residents.” 

To find out more about the Truman Brewery redevelopment proposals, the planning application reference with Tower Hamlets Council is PA/20/00415/A1. 

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