News From Norton Folgate
British Land’s original proposed demolition of Norton Folgate
British Land’s revised proposed demolition of Norton Folgate
Can you spot the difference between the two pictures above? One is the level of demolition proposed in British Land’s previous scheme for Norton Folgate and one is their recently revised version.
Back in March, I reported on British Land’s proposal to demolish the attractive old warehouses in Blossom St, preserving only piers of bricks on the facade and recycling an unspecified amount of the fabric in their new building, an approach which Historic England dignified with the phrase ‘sensitive restoration.’
When Spitalfields Trust challenged this destruction of the warehouses, British Land claimed they were preserving them – which makes it paradoxical that now British Land have announced they are ‘retaining’ the warehouses as a concession to those who objected to their scheme.
Boris Johnson, Mayor of London has ‘called in’ the British Land Norton Folgate scheme which was rejected unanimously by Tower Hamlets Strategic Development Committee in July. On 18th January, the Mayor will stage a public hearing at City Hall at which he will determine the decision upon the application himself. This will be the thirteenth such ‘call in’ and the previous twelve have all been determined in favour of the developer.
Meanwhile, the Spitalfields Trust have launched a Judicial Review into the legitimacy of the ‘call in’ and billionaire Troels Povlson has offered to buy the site so that the Trust may implement their alternative scheme by Burrell Foley Fisher, which is based upon the principal of minimal architectural intervention, utilising Norton Folgate to serve the needs of local people by providing genuinely affordable workspaces and housing.
British Land’s amended proposal for Norton Folgate is still an overblown development that will destroy an historic neighbourhood to replace it with a hideous corporate plaza. We need you to help us stop this, by writing letters of objection to point out that it remains unacceptable. You will find a simple guide to how to object below.
You can read Alec Forshaw’s full assessment of British Land’s revised scheme on Save Norton Folgate facebook page
Norton Folgate as it is today
Massing of the British Land development
The Spitalfields Trust scheme by John Burrell of Burrell Foley Fisher
Spitalfields Trust scheme looking from Norton Folgate – drawn by Lucinda Rogers
Spitalfields Trust Scheme, looking along Fleur de Lis St – drawn by Lucinda Rogers
Spitalfields Trust Scheme, looking down Elder St from Commercial St – drawn by Lucinda Rogers
This is a simple guide to how to write to the Greater London Authority objecting to British Land’s amended scheme for Norton Folgate.
You can write by email to firstname.lastname@example.org (please also provide your postal address in the email) or by post to James Keogh, Greater London Authority, City Hall, The Queen’s Walk, London, SE1 2AA. Please copy your email to Tower Hamlets Council email@example.com
Your email or letter needs to arrive before 14th December.
It is important that you use your own words but here are a few relevant points to consider when objecting:
1. Tower Hamlets Council refused the application unanimously on three grounds – harm to the character and appearance of the Conservation Area, the low level of housing and the low level of Affordable Housing. These objections still stand.
2. The amendments, although welcome, are very small in comparison with the overall scale of the development.
3. The level of destruction within this important Conservation Area is still huge.
4. The historic layout of courtyards and lanes, the fine grain of the area, will still be destroyed.
5. Our original objection to the scheme criticised the treatment of a dozen buildings, of which this amendment addresses only one. For instance, the two eighteenth-century buildings still standing on Norton Folgate itself are being removed – number 14 in its entirety and all of number 15 except its front elevation. Numbers 16-19 Norton Folgate will still have the ground floor hollowed out to provide a passage entrance way to the new development.
6. Just as originally proposed, the scheme remains an overblown megastructure with large office floor plates, still rising to as many as fourteen storeys. All within a Conservation Area, where the prevailing height is four storeys, and where heritage should be protected.
7. Norton Folgate is worth fighting for. It is a fine example of the lesser-known areas of historic London which make our capital city the wonderful place it is, but which will destroyed forever if this development goes ahead.
8. Please be sure to include your postal address otherwise your objection will be invalid. Over seven hundred people wrote to Tower Hamlets Council to object to the previous scheme but two hundred letters were discounted through lack of address.
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