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Bishopsgate Goodsyard Debate

November 7, 2015
by the gentle author

Proposed Goodsyard Towers seen from Elder St, Spitalfields

As many readers will already know, Boris Johnson, Mayor of London has chosen to bypass the democratic process by ‘calling in’ Hammerson & Ballymore’s Goodsyard development proposals to determine the planning application himself, before the elected councillors of either Tower Hamlets or Hackney even had the chance to vote on them.

In boroughs with a combined total of more than forty thousand on the housing list, widespread concerns have been raised over the scale and nature of these plans which will see monster blocks of luxury flats as tall as Canary Wharf lined up from Shoreditch High St to Brick Lane, casting the Boundary Estate into permanent shadow.

On Monday 16th November at 7pm, The Hackney SocietyMore Light More Power have organised a debate at St Leonard’s Church, Shoreditch at which John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets & Jules Pipe, Mayor of Hackney will speak discussing how the proposed development can be challenged. Click here to book a ticket

Meanwhile, this is the largest ‘brown field’ site in Central London and, at this moment of crisis in housing for Londoners, there is an opportunity for the Mayors to champion a ‘model’ social housing scheme on the Goodsyard designed as a complement to the Boundary Estate. Such an endeavour could give hope to those who are struggling and supply the real needs of Londoners who require genuinely affordable homes and work spaces.

Rather than Hammerson & Ballymore’s overblown development which threatens to blight the East End for generations to come, we need to prove that we can match the aspirations of a century ago and leave a legacy which can inspire those who come after us, just as the architects of Arnold Circus have done.

Looking from Boundary Estate looking towards the City

Looking from Boundary Estate looking towards the City with Goodsyard towers

Visualisation of Goodsyard towers

Nature of proposed Goodsyard towers

Shadows over Boundary Estate caused by proposed Goodsyard towers

Shoreditch High St

Shoreditch High St in future

Bethnal Green Rd

Bethnal Green Rd in future

Commercial St & Wheler St

Commercial St & Wheler St in future

Great Eastern St

Great Eastern St in future

Commercial St

Commercial St in future

Bethnal Green Rd in future

The Goodsyard

Click here to sign the petition against the Goodsyard development

You may also like to read about

Towers Over The Goodsyard

A Brief History of the Bishopsgate Goodsyard

Ancient Arches

19 Responses leave one →
  1. November 7, 2015

    Boris intent on putting democracy in permanent shadow.

  2. Robert Green permalink
    November 7, 2015

    The United Kingdom is the worlds beacon of democracy, it’s independent judiciary free from political control and influence is a comforting reinforcement of our free and open society, in THEORY, but, in REALITY, MONEY, POWER and even more importantly INFLUENCE, will always find a way to bypass these cherished principles of freedom and democratic control, in short, DEMOCRACY verses MONEY and THE OLD BOY NETWORK, = if I was a betting man I know who I would be backing to win.

  3. Chris F permalink
    November 7, 2015

    If media reporting is anything to go by, then most of these luxury dwellings will be bought ‘Off-Plan’ by wealthy Chinese investors and will more than likely remain empty…

  4. Chris Hall permalink
    November 7, 2015

    Boris may be rushing this through, but surely, the culprits of this is Tower Hamlets Council.
    They have had the chance to do something with this land since the fire about 1963.
    Someone had to make a decision on this.

  5. Bronchitikat permalink
    November 7, 2015

    So much for what currently passes as Democracy!

    I read something the other day suggesting that everyone who can’t really afford it move out of London (and, presumably get jobs elsewhere) – then let the merchant bankers, MPs, et al try running the transport, infrastructure and hospitals!

  6. Alison Ashfield permalink
    November 7, 2015

    Thank you gentle author, for drawing my attention to this. The computer generated wizardry shows an explicit image of the threat to the area. I was reminded of the looming “Tower of Sauron” from JRR Tolkien’s writings. Except, here is the potential for multiple darksome horror. Please, the powers that be, recognise that the area has emerged from the grime and disheartening abandonment of the 1970s and 1980s. Grant that the people of Bishopsgate and the many, many visitors who come to enjoy the light and the history which remain in this wonderful segment of the City. Far too much has been lost in the name of progress and in the wake of war. Provide places for living and working, without the impossible prices. Retain this part of Liveable London – for once its irreplaceable diversity is destroyed, we all will be the poorer. As in other previously modernised and developed areas, only the shadows and stories, memories and their attendant ghosts will remain, where once part of London rejoiced in their existence. There must surely be another way.

  7. D. Palmer permalink
    November 7, 2015

    It seems as though we are now taking many steps backward in thinking about good design for all. These towers no doubt create lovely long views and good interior light levels for the lucky few who snap them up, many who will be buy to let investors and many from overseas. They however do the very opposite for those existing residents and visitors to the area who live and work in their not inconsiderable shadows.

    With so few open spaces in this part of London we need more light not less and the reduction in long views and existing light levels will have a detrimental effect on existing residents. We don’t currently measure this effect but I believe it is considerable. We already know that access to long vistas have a positive physiological affect on eyesight. We also know that decreasing light effects mood, I would not be surprised if it impacts on creativity too.

    Many thanks to Spitalfields Life for alerting me to this issue and for putting the information together.

  8. November 7, 2015

    That man is really a boil on the b*m of society. Valerie

  9. david permalink
    November 7, 2015

    A brilliant and inspiring piece. The scheme will take away sunlight, increase property prices and rents and make no contribution to infrastucture costs. Air pollution deaths will worsen. Traffic congestion will become unmanageable. Opportunities for young people will disappear. And we own the land this destructive proposal is aimed at. If this scheme is approved, ALL IS LOST!

  10. Peter Holford permalink
    November 7, 2015

    It beggars belief that democracy can be trampled at the whim of just one person. Is this any different to North Korea or Myanmar? I wonder what is so attractive about giving a refuge for dubious money hiding behind shell companies in off-shore tax havens. It isn’t benefiting the vast majority of people who suffer in a myriad of ways, whether it’s lack of affordable housing, diminishing social assets or diminished local government. Who is gaining from developments like this? Boris won’t be answering that one anytime soon!

  11. Ros permalink
    November 7, 2015

    Hideous, kinky…..and profoundly depressing. How can Boris wield such power when he is coasting to the end of his Mayoralty and has already started his new job as MP for Uxbridge? What a miserable society we have to live in when concepts of social responsibility are consistently swept aside in favour of money and profits for a few. These proposed buildings reveal the ugliness of that society all too clearly. Keep fighting gentle author, and all your readers!

  12. Pauline Taylor permalink
    November 7, 2015

    I agree with all the comments made here about democracy, but Boris and his like do not care, pockets are being lined somewhere and I think that we can all guess where!

  13. Molasses permalink
    November 8, 2015

    Money talks – sadly!

    Democracy has been on a slow erode since the heady 60s…..

  14. Annie G permalink
    November 8, 2015

    Good luck with the meeting and the continued lobbying to stop this blatant disregard of democracy in favour of pocket lining. I don’t care that Boris doesn’t care – but I do care about London and Londoners. Let’s keep these pages going so that we can be a thorn in the fat arses of the people who love money because they think it will protect them from the world. It won’t. And it won’t shut us up either.

  15. Vicki Fox permalink
    November 9, 2015

    Who can afford the ‘luxury’ flats? Surely those that can will need some service e.g. cleaners, etc? My son has enough for a good deposit (£20,000) but because he is on a low income cannot afford a place of his own. He works as a porter at the Homerton Hospital.

  16. Rupert permalink
    November 9, 2015

    Sadly I doubt the debate will make any difference. As a few have hinted at, this is not about reason or democracy, this is about money. It would be very naive to imagine there isn’t a massive backhander involved here between the developers and Boris. So the only way to fight this would be with a bigger pile. Whip round anyone?!

  17. Caroline Scott permalink
    November 11, 2015

    Awful, truly awful. Boris has simiilar plans for the ancient market town of Kingston upon Thames. See kingstonskyline.weebly.com. It’s all about money, money, money. Communities and places will be destroyed forever. @justwantclarity

  18. Mummy Geek permalink
    November 12, 2015

    As petition articles/pleas go don’t concentrate on what change visually may come – concentrate on those who need housing. Show the waiting lists, show residents who will be ousted by this undemocratic process bullied through by Boris. Change happens and Londoners love vibrancy and change – just don’t reduce in any way the value of basic rights of people who are the unvalued people of London.

  19. teapot permalink
    November 14, 2015

    I was on Ancestry last night looking up my great-great-grandfather in the 1911 census. He was in Shoreditch Union Workhouse, along with over 900 other poor souls. There were pages and pages of people of all sorts of occupations, with no money and nowhere else to go. I couldn’t believe how many of them there were as I looked through the list, but it is a tiny fraction of the people needing housing in Tower Hamlets now:
    https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/housing_figures_homes_benefits_w
    Social housing improved the lives of the generation that came after great-great-grandpa almost out of recognition, but I really fear for the next one. London doesn’t need any more luxury flats and I’m very sure that the developers and Boris & cronies don’t need the money. This development makes no sense at all and I hope you keep fighting it.

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