An application to build seven towers between Shoreditch and Spitalfields has raised concerns about affordable housing and the gentrification in one of London’s poorest areas.
Only 10 per cent of the homes in the Goods Yard development will be allocated to affordable housing.
Meg Hillier, MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch, has expressed concerns for the character and opportunities it provides for budding innovation and independents.
She said: “Shoreditch has grown organically thanks to its creative people – in digital, fashion and the media – because there was property available for small businesses to start, grow and stay”.
Hammerson and Ballymore submitted their plans to Tower Hamlets and Hackney council last year, since the redevelopment of Bishopsgate Goods Yard crosses two boroughs it requires permission from both councils.
A spokesperson for Tower Hamlets council said: “Given the scale and complexity of the application it is unlikely to be considered before March”.
The £800m project will host 1,464 new homes, almost 600,000 ft2 for office space as well as public amenities such as a GP surgery, park areas and more on-foot access between Bethnal Green Road, Brick Lane and Spitalfield areas.
A spokesperson for the Mayor of London said that Boris Johnson is “broadly supportive of the scheme but he has asked Hackney and Tower Hamlet Councils to carry out further work on several aspects of the proposal including looking at the amount of affordable housing offered, the amount of employment space and the scale of one of the plots that is proposed”.
John Biggs, Assembly Member for City and East London, said: “The current Mayor has redefined the word ‘affordable’ – 80 per cent of the market rent may be affordable up north but not in London”.
Biggs, a Labour politician, believes that should the development get the green light, the height of the towers should be reduced. He also added that if the work spaces were made affordable then it would be a good opportunity for high tech industries which would benefit local people as well.
The East End Preservation Society, a group concerned about the areas future, have created a campaign against the application to build on the Goods Yard.
They call the plans “dramatically out of scale with the surrounding area”. This is a reference to the two 40 storey residential towers, which will block out light for 43 per cent of the surrounding buildings.
Video by: Jamie Whelan and Foladele Falana