The mayors of Hackney and Tower Hamlets have joined forces to rally opposition to six controversial new towers due to go up in the heart of Shoreditch on the borders of the two boroughs.
At a meeting on Monday the two Mayors, Jules Pipe from Hackney and John Biggs, from Tower Hamlets will seek support to convince the Greater London Authority, headed by Mayor Boris Johnson, to scrap the scheme. Johnson has used his powers to ‘call in’ the application for a decision by the Authority.
A Hackney Council spokesperson told EastLondonLines: “Boris has called it in, it’s up to him to decide, it’ll go to a public hearing but in the end it’ll be decided by one man.”
Criticism from the two boroughs has been fierce, particularly from Pipe. “I am disgusted at the decision to call in this development to City Hall for determination,” he said. “It shows outrageous disregard for the local democratic planning process and demonstrates complete contempt for the residents and businesses of Hackney and Tower Hamlets.”
The development’s highest tower is set to be a 46-floors skyscraper with only 10 per cent of the units earmarked for affordable housing, despite a 2014 Hackney Council report showing significant demand for affordable housing in the borough.
The report added: “Welfare benefit reforms, most notably the limits on Local Housing Allowance, which helps to meet private rents, could further increase demand for social housing in the borough.”
Despite these statistics, Johnson, has given his backing to the development which will primarily be made up of luxury apartments and corporate offices.
Pipe said: “Luxury accommodation does nothing to help London’s housing crisis and brings no value to Tech City, and we fear that such a major development will strip the area of its character.”
Last month EastLondonLines reported local fears that the new high rises would block out the sun, casting shadow over 44 per cent of nearby buildings for large parts of the day.
A spokesperson for the developers told the Hackney Citizen that the redevelopment will “not only breathe life back into this derelict site but will also create 7,000 new jobs, provide 2.4 acres of new park for Londoners and preserve historic architecture like the listed Braithwaite arches.”
If the application is successful the six towers will be placed along the Goodsyard and span Shoreditch High St to Brick Lane.
The developers, Hammersmith and Ballymore, revised their plans in June by lowering four of the buildings, but the tallest remains at 46-floors.