On The Bishopsgate Goodsyard
As many readers are painfully aware, a monster development is proposed for the Bishopsgate Goodsyard which threatens to blight the East End for generations to come – already described by one commentator as “the biggest thing to hit Shoreditch since the plague.” Today, I publish this guide to how to object effectively which has been prepared by the East End Preservation Society.
THE BISHOPSGATE GOODSYARD PROPOSALS – HOW TO OBJECT
This is intended as a clear and simple guide on how to object to the Bishopsgate Goodsyard Proposals.
The formal deadline for comments is 8th November and it is best to submit your letters and emails by this date. However, we understand that objections will be accepted until the New Year.
It is important that you use your own words because if Tower Hamlets and Hackney councils receive lots of identical responses, they will treat these objections as one in their report, devaluing the number of objections received. It is therefore just as important that you add your own, personal reasons for opposing this development.
At some point in your response state clearly that you are objecting to the application, so there can be no doubt that they should take your correspondence as opposition.
The following are known as material considerations and are valid reasons for Councils to refuse applications:
This is one of the key points to make. Two of the proposed buildings are 48 and 46 storeys tall (plus service equipment on the top which roughly equates to another 4 storeys).
Two of the other towers are 30 and 34 storeys tall (plus service equipment on the top).
The height is dramatically out of scale with the surrounding area.
It will harm the setting of the surrounding 5 conservation areas and their many listed buildings.
Even a 20 storey building in this area would be a ‘tall building’.
The new buildings do not respond to the character of the surrounding areas and, as generic modern tower blocks, will appear out of place.
The massing of the proposed development is overwhelming.
The surrounding areas are defined by comparatively small plot sizes and have much lower buildings.
The proposed buildings will not integrate with the existing urban grain because of their disproportionate massing.
4. LEVEL OF DEMOLITION
A large amount of 19th-century historic fabric surviving on the site will be demolished including many of the brick arches (labelled in the application as vaults V1-V11) and the handsome Victorian wall that runs along Commercial Street.
5. IMPACT ON THE SURROUNDING AREA
Light levels in surrounding areas will be seriously compromised. Casting much of the area to the north into shadow.
43% of the existing surrounding buildings surveyed by the developer’s consultants will suffer major loss of sunlight. Obviously, this is not an acceptable level of impact.
The development will also affect the character of East London around the Bishopsgate Goodsyard site. This is a colourful area, of markets, small businesses, creativity and innovation that only exists because the existing urban grain is small scale and historic.
Hackney and Tower Hamlets councils have published their own planning guidance for the Goodsyard site. This sets out key requirements for the new development, one of which is that it should ‘integrate with the surrounding area, taking into account the local character.’ On page 99 of the Design and Access Statement the applicant duly agrees that the first principle of their development is to ‘ensure the site integrates with the surrounding area, taking into account the local character.’ However, in section 3.1.20 of the same document the applicant says ‘It [the proposed development] will be a new place with its own distinct scale, identity and character; it will not attempt to become a seamless part of the existing neighbourhood.’
This is a direct contradiction of their earlier statement and a rejection of the planning guidance to which they should adhere.
We cannot find any details of affordable housing provision in this outline application. However, should you find any more details within these documents please alert us – and we can pass it on!
There are seven ‘Townscape Character Areas’ [areas of distinct architectural identity] outlined by the applicant which are listed below. We have summarised what they say about how each area will be affected by the development. If you live in any of these areas, you might want to comment on whether you think they are correct!
1. The Bishopsgate Goodsyard Site is described by the developer as having ‘low sensitivity to change’ (i.e. they consider that its townscape is of little value) and that the Grade II listed structures are ‘remnants of utilitarian structures in an immediate context of poor urban townscape quality.’
2. Shoreditch is characterised by the developers as having ‘moderate sensitivity to change’ because ‘The townscape settings of the grade I and II listed buildings [here] have a densely developed urban setting on the City fringe.’
3. Bethnal Green Road is defined by the applicants as having ‘moderate sensitivity to change’ - this is a way of saying that it will not be greatly affected by the proposed massive new development.
4. Spitalfields is described, surprisingly, as having ‘moderate sensitivity to change’ despite the fact that this is an area with an extraordinarily high concentration of listed buildings – and one of the most important historic districts of London.
5. The City (Liverpool Street Station, Spitalfields Market) again is described as having ‘moderate sensitivity to change.’
6. Boundary Estate (Arnold Circus) – one of the most interesting, complete, important and revered late 19th/ early 20th century philanthropic housing schemes is lumped into the category of having ‘moderate sensitivity to change.’
7. Eastern Fringe (towards Bethnal Green) is dismissed as having ‘low sensitivity to change’ due to the fact that it is further away from the site and is an ‘overall piecemeal townscape.’
WHERE TO SEND YOUR OBJECTION
The planning officers to send your objection to are:
Quoting application numbers: PA/14/02011 and PA/14/02096
Quoting application numbers: 2014/2425 and 2014/2427
Both Tower Hamlets and Hackney Council will potentially be deciding the applications.
COPY IN THE SECRETARY OF STATE
This application is so potentially damaging to East London, both in scale and impact, that we believe strongly it should be decided by the Secretary of State at a public inquiry, not by the local planning authorities. Anyone can ask for an application to be decided by the Secretary of State (it is called a ‘call in’ request) so we recommend you email Eric Pickles and voice your concerns:
Elder St, before
Elder St, after
Boundary Estate, before
Boundary Estate, after
Great Eastern St, before
Great Eastern St, after
Commercial St, before
Commercial St, after
Commercial St, before
Commercial St, after
Commercial St at night, after
Overview of the development with Spitalfields in the foreground
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