Sunday, 7 December 2008

Has Boris bottled it?

On Monday 17th November Haringey Council Planning Committee voted by five votes to four to pass the Grainger plan to destroy the Wards Corner community market building and surrounding streets. Five Labour party members voted for the Grainger plan. Four Liberal Democrat party members voted against it. Does that ring any bells of Shoreditch?

One of several recent community demonstrations by the Wards Corner Coalition (WCC) against the Grainger/TfL/Haringey redevelopment plans.

Before the London Mayoral election Boris Johnson visited Wards Corner and expressed support for the alternative community plan for the site.Watch the video of his visit here. What will Boris do now he's won the election? WCC report that he's already agreed to back the Haringey decision.

A view of part of the interior of the Wards Corner building as it is today

How the covered market could look if the Community Plan were implementedLearn more about the Wards Corner Coalition's battle against ante-social development and what you can do to help here.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

The waitress strikes back

Two established London artists, who have worked in restaurants in and around Shoreditch, have turned the tables on some of the more bumptious clientele they served.
Gallery 32 presents JUST DESSERTS. THE WAITRESS STRIKES BACK! exhibiting illustrations by Laura Quick and Anna Magnowska. You will see over 30 signed, original and framed illustrations of some the more colourful punters whose portraits they just had to record. And if you want to SAVE Shoreditch bring your cheque book - because part of the proceeds goes to the campaign. The selling exhibition continues until 30th November 2008.

Gallery 32 is in Charlotte Road,
EC2A 3PBTel: 020 7749 4779
Nearest tube: Old Street / Liverpool Street
What the press say is here

Sunday, 31 August 2008

Mammon repelled from Norton Folgate

On 15 August a government Planning Inspector rejected an appeal by the City of London Corporation against the refusal of its planning application to demolish and redevelop parts of Norton Folgate.

The area is characterised by Georgian houses, Victorian warehouses, the art deco decoration of the former Nicholls and Clarke 1930s shopfront, historic street features and patterns resonant of the mediaeval Priory of St. Mary Spital.

The application had a contentious history. Tower Hamlets' planning officers, with backing from CABE (the government's Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment), had recommended that Council Members grant planning permission for the scheme on the basis that the scale, height, detail and designs proposed made a positive contribution to the character and appearance of the conservation area. English Heritage did not object. However on 25 June Council Members rejected the application after hearing the objections of local residents and of The Georgian Group, The Victorian Society, the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, the Spitalfields Society and the Spitalfields Historic Buildings Trust. The objectors pointed out the merit of the area's historic buildings and character and the damage, including the demolitions and the loss of light and overshadowing, which would result from the over-scale and inappropriate nature of the redevelopment proposed.

The Inspector had made a site inspection and noted the locally listed buildings, the fine 1886 buildings of Blossom Street, the 1880 Norton Folgate terrace and its rear wash houses, water towers and the historic road surfaces. The Inspector considered representations from the City Corporation and objections from local residents, architects and the Spitalfields Trust before reaching the decision. Tower Hamlets Council's officers found themselves objecting to the scheme which they had previously recommended. The Inspector decided that the scheme as designed missed the opportunity to enhance the Conservation Area and that the loss of existing historic buildings and other features taken together would cause "considerable harm to its character and appearance as a whole".

Saturday, 2 August 2008

The Liberty of Norton Folgate

"There is no way this mediaeval so called Liberty of Norton Folgate can be allowed to stand in the way of progress. It's a diabolical liberty. This is Madness.
Sir Alfred Mammon GbH, C.E.O., Global Regeneration (Bahamas) plc

The Worship of Mammon 1909 by Evelyn de Morgan

“mammon”: (noun) possibly of Aramaic origin, meaning riches. First personified in English as the false god of wealth, avarice and injustice in the mediaeval poem Piers Plowman and later as the fallen angel, Lucifer, in Milton's Paradise Lost.
“mammonistic”: (adjective) consumed by the desire for wealth at the expense of beauty, creativity and the human soul.
"mammonists" : (secretive) the dark forces, including philistines, pursuing material gain by the obliteration of heritage, identity, culture and sunlight in the name of regeneration, best value, necessity and progress.

Friday, 1 August 2008

Patrick Hughes' welcoming words.

WHOREDITCH have been
without the city walls for
500 years of theatre,
Markets and market gardens,
Hospitals and hospitality,
Fashions and the unfashionable,
Boos and booze,
Real work and
The pleasure of leisure.

We are proud whores here,
Selling shocks to the city suits
Who need our vision as much
As we need their lucre.

Don’t let them takeover –
They love takeovers –
Our Ditch,
Put out our Light and
Replace it with another
Deeply dull erection
Just like the other ones.

Keep our Independence from
Bean counters,
Mouse wagglers,
Planners and ponces.

Patrick Hughes, July 2008

Friday, 25 July 2008

The games up. Hackney kicks Hammerson into touch.

OPEN’s campaign to Save Shoreditch from invasion by City office towers won an important victory at Hackney Town Hall on Thursday evening when objectors persuaded Planning Committee members not to approve the 51-storey Bishops Place tower block in south Shoreditch.

The Light before redevelopment

The scheme would have led to demolition of The Light, a landmark historic building standing at the gateway to Shoreditch from the City.

The Light extinguished after redevelopment

Save Shoreditch campaigner, Lucy Rogers, says: “We are delighted that councillors have rejected the plan to demolish the Light building, and that any new proposal must include its preservation. We welcome this brave decision that will protect Shoreditch and its character, and keep it distinct from the City.”

Committee members had been directed to disregard the fact that Hackney owns 85% of the land on the development site, and stands to make tens of millions under an purchase option agreement with Hammerson when a scheme eventually goes ahead.

Planning Committee members were unnerved when it became clear that independent consultants hired by Hackney had recommended that The Light should come under the protection of an expanded Conservation Area. It appeared that Hackney had convened the unscheduled Planning Committee meeting, after QC's advice, to ensure that Hammerson's redevelopment application was considered before the Council determines the new Conservation Area boundaries.

The committee deferred a decision on the Bishop’s Place scheme, telling the developers to scrap their current proposals and come up with an improved plan which preserves the 19th century building.

Objectors pointed out that local people would not benefit from the scheme which proposed only 11 (5%) flats for social rented housing and no affordable small business units. Hackney had negotiated a condition that Hammerson pay £14million for “off-site” social housing but the Council had already earmarked the cash for building affordable homes not in Shoreditch but in Dalston where the authorities towerblock scheme is looking rather wobbly. Hackney planned to rob Peter to pay Paul.

Councillors heard how the Council’s Head of Planning, who recommended approval of the scheme, had failed to properly advise the Committee of the overarching government policy guidance PPS1. This guidance concerns involving local communities in the planning process to ensure that development delivers inclusive opportunities for all whilst also protecting and enhancing the natural and historic environment. Hammerson claimed that they had been consulting the community for three years but objectors were left wondering who was being referred to.

Councillors also heard that the proposed skyscraper would be out of keeping with the scale and mass of the existing buildings in south Shoreditch and would destroy the character of the local area. The Chair of the South Shoreditch Conservation Area Advisory Committee objected that the scheme appeared to have been designed to create a “glass and steel barrier which turns its back on Shoreditch and which looks to the City”.

Despite the haste to have the application determined, Hammerson’s representative was unable to give any assurances that its proposed scheme would actually be built in the foreseeable future or that it would not demolish The Light even if the redevelopment did not proceed. Although the grant of planning permission would have increased Hammerson's site value, and deferral of it is a setback, it seems unlikely that it would then have signed up to Hackney deal at this stage.

Lucy Rogers reminded the Committee of all the local community organisations which are affiliated to OPEN's Save Shoredtich campaign and that almost 7,000 people had signed a petition in favour of preserving The Light and that the Council had received 460 written objections to the plan. Only three people wrote in to support the scheme.

Hackney’s Head of Planning tried to support his recommendations that the new tower should be approved by highlighting plans to provide ‘brown space’ on the roof of the skyscrapers for birds to nest in. But when asked if the scheme included adequate space in which children can play, he was forced to admit that facilities fell far short of Greater London Authority standards. It also emerged that the carbon footprint of the new tower barely achieved 50% of the standard set by the GLA.

It is likely that Hammerson will resubmit the Bishops Place, or an revised, scheme once the Council determines the new Conservation area boundaries later this year. The form of any revised scheme will depend upon whether The Light is brought within Conservation Area protection.

OPEN’s Save Shoreditch campaign is a coalition of the following local bodies: Jago Action Group, Boundary Estate Tenants’ and Residents’ Association, North Brick Lane Residents’ Association, Jesus Hospital Estate Residents’ Association, Spitalfields Community Association, Spitalfields Society, Spitalfields Trust, Columbia Neighbourhood Action Group, Columbia Tenants’ and Residents’ Association, Friends of Arnold Circus, Spitalfields Small Business Association, Shoreditch House and individuals and businesses in the area.

When first unveiling its planned £700m Bishops Place scheme Hammeron's Chief Executive, John Richards, told analysts and shareholders of its "unparalleled record of securing and delivering developments to make big profits for shareholders"
Estates Gazette 16.6.07


Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Fifteen minutes to Save Shoreditch

Hackney Council will allow the community just 15 minutes on 24 July to persuade its Planning Committee not to give the green light to a new skyscraper development on the City of London's northern boundary in Shoreditch.

City developer Hammerson plc plans to build the 51-storey Bishop's Place tower that would dominate historic south Shoreditch. Redevelopment of the site, Hammerson says, requires the demolition of the historic electricity generating station known as The Light. However an alternative scheme put to the Council shows this claim to be untrue.

Alternative treatment of The Light in Willingale's development

Hackney Council owns most of the development site and it has been banking on the £millions it will make, from its sale option agreement with Hammerson, to pay for a new Town Hall Annexe which is now under construction (see para 5.2 of the linked Report on the Hearn St site).

The Planning Committee meeting now set for 24 July was unscheduled. Hackney has had to obtain a QC’s advice that it could specially convene the meeting before the Hammerson option agreement expires on 31 July and before it considers the long outstanding public consultation on including The Light within the new Shoreditch Conservation Area boundaries. Against the advice of its own independent experts Hackney has been recommending to the public that the Light and other buildings should be excluded. Some of the other buildings have already recently been demolished.

The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, a government appointed body which advises on the design of major schemes, has stated in its report that the 'Bishops Place' scheme represents overdevelopment, that it fails to relate to the surrounding area and that it should not be passed in its present form. This conflicts with the advice of the Council’s own Design and Conservation Officer who supports the scheme.

There have so far been 417 letters of objection sent to Hackney Council opposing the Bishop’s Place development but only 3 in favour. Rebecca Collings, Co-Chair of OPEN's Save Shoreditch campaign, said "The decision to approve this building appears to have been made months in advance of this planning meeting by Hackney's executive.This is a strategic site outside the City's existing boundaries. The City’s development partners want to expand north into Shoreditch and, in the process, to establish a precedent for tall buildings in the area – buildings that will overshadow and dominate residential and business communities and contribute very little to local needs."

The image above was produced by the major City developer, Hammerson, to illustrate its vision of a "City Fringe Masterplan". Hammerson has planned massive developments in south Hackney and Bethnal Green. They plan to extend a curtain of towers from Shoreditch High Street eastwards across the Bishopsgate Goodsyard to Brick Lane with buildings up to and exceeding 50 storeys.

Another neighbouring scheme, promoted by Hammerson and the City of London for the Nicholls and Clarke site, is now under appeal following refusal by Tower Hamlets Council because it too failed to relate to the adjacent conservation areas. Tower Hamlets Council have also objected to the Bishop's Place scheme saying that by reason of its bulk, scale and height would fail to either preserve or enhance the Elder street conservation area" contrary to local and national poicies.

However Tower Hamlets has recently issued planning permission for The Block, a tower at the eastern end of the developers arc of skyscraper developments, contrary to its own Design and Conservation Team advice.

This is the proposed 25 storey tower on Bethnal Green Road and Sclater Street planned by Telford Homes and Genesis Partners. OPEN is challanging the planning approval

The £500 million Bishops Place mixed development scheme totals 1.25 hectares and includes 87,000 sq ft of office accommodation, an 80-room hotel and 189 private residential units. The amenties for children will be woefuly inadequate and there will be separate blocks for just 39 intermediate ("affordable") flats and only 11 (5%) flats for social renting.

The Council report recommends that, in addition to the agreed purchase price, Hammerson be required to pay £14 million, as a condition of planning permission, to subsidise some “off-site” affordable housing. Not for the benefit of Shoreditch resdidents, but in Dalston. Last year, after
demolishing Dalston Theatre and locally listed Georgian houses, Hackney gave away its development site there for a peppercorn to help finance a £39 million concrete slab for a bus turnaround above the new Transport for London Dalston Junction station. The Dalston developer, Barratt, has been facing extreme financial difficulties recently. The lack of any affordable housing on TfL's Dalston site, despite the authorities 50% affordable housing targets, has been a huge embarrassment to the GLA, TfL and Hackney. By robbing Peter to pay Paul the authorities hope to mitigate the controversy over the Dalston development.

Representatives of many local community organisations, English Heritage, the Hackney Society and the Victorian Society all recommended that 'The Light' building at 233 Shoreditch High Street be included in the South Shoreditch Conservation Area. A petition of 6,757 signatures supports retention of the Light Building. But Hackney’s recommendations to its planning Committee includes the advice that The Light isn’t in the Conservation Area and so no special regard need be had to the effect which its demolition would have on the unique character and distinctiveness of the area.

The grant of planning permission could trigger a watershed test for London Mayor Boris Johnson. If Hackney Councillors give the go-ahead then Boris will then have only 14 days to give the thumbs down otherwise the tower can be built. Boris has recently indicated that he will not generally interfere with local planning decisions, but local residents and businesses will be calling on the Mayor to back their campaign and hold the local authority to account.

OPEN’s Rebecca Collings says the London Mayor would have a duty to intervene "If Hackney approve the scheme Boris will have a golden opportunity to show that he is running London for Londoners – not just for developers with money and influence. He must not allow this development to go ahead unchallenged. We will call upon Mayor Johnson to subject this development to rigorous and unbiased scrutiny. We also call on him to allow a genuine debate about the City Fringe area as a whole."

Monday, 23 June 2008

Save Shoreditch Campaign Exhibition

Thursday 3 July to Saturday 3 August 2008
Kemistry, 43 Charlotte Road, London EC2A 3PD
Mon-Fri 09.30-18.00; Sat 11.00-16.00

Stop the Shadow - stop the City's take-over of London’s vibrant cultural heartland.

Proposed massive tower blocks on the City Fringe will dominate, overshadow and blight homes and businesses across Shoreditch and Brick Lane

The image above was produced by the major City developer, Hammerson, to illustrate its vision of a "City Fringe Masterplan". Hammerson has planned massive developments in south Hackney and Bethnal Green. They plan to extend a curtain of towers from Shoreditch High Street eastwards across the Bishopsgate Goodsyard to Brick Lane with buildings up to and exceeding 50 storeys.

The Save Shoreditch Campaign demands:

Add your voice to those of the local actors and artists who openly support the Campaign including: Stephen Berkoff, Dinos Chapman, Adam Dant, Tracey Emin, Ralph Fiennes, Patrick Hughes, Cornelia Parker, Rachel Whiteread, Tim Noble and Sue Webster.

The exhibition is part of the OPEN Shoreditch campaign to promote excellence in the quality of the built environment.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

The Hackney way: Decide first. Ask questions later.

On 4th June Hackney Council began its long awaited public consultation on the proposed new boundaries for the Shoreditch Conservation Areas. Designation of conservation areas prevents uncontrolled demolition and ensures that any adverse impact of new developments on the distinctivness and character of an area is considered. Changes to conservation area boundaries are therefore of great importance to landowners, developers and to local communties.

Councils are legally obliged to review their conservation areas periodically and to consult the public before approving any changes to them. On 25th February Hackney Council finally considered an independent expert’s appraisal of the buildings of Shoreditch. The appraisal contains recommendations to extend Shoreditch’s conservation areas to include additional buildings. The appraisal commented, for example, that The Light at 233 Shoreditch High Street “makes an important local contribution to the historic townscape character through its continuity of scale, architectural character and quality of design and contruction”. Other buildings were also recommended for inclusion.

However The Light stands on land which Hammerson propose should be redeveloped as a 50 storey towerblock. Hackney Council also owns part of the development site.

The Council's Cabinet Member for Regeneration, and its Director, both recommended that The Light, and additional buildings, should not be included within the new conservation area boundaries. The landowners will therefore not need to seek any approval for their demolition. All the additional buildings identified are, like The Light, also affected by outstanding redevelopment proposals. Indeed some of them have already been demolished.

None of this would be apparent from reading the Council’s public consultation leaflet. It appears to show that it is the independent experts, and not the Council, who are recommending that they be excluded from the Conservation Areas. No explanation is given.

The Council Solicitor’s advice on the form of public consultation was to “ensure that it reflects the Cabinet’s position namely that the premises remain outside the Conservation Area”. The Council is, in effect, consulting on whether it should now change its mind instead of first awaiting the public's views before adopting its "position" - namely to exclude these important buildings and thus allow their uncontrolled demolition.

“Con”(noun) a complicated confidence trick planned and executed with great care; (verb) to deprive of by deceit; (colloquial) abbreviation of public consultation.

Monday, 28 April 2008

Local MP, George Galloway, supports Save the Light campaign

Watch the Save the Light campaign meeting, with George Galloway MP.

Sunday, 30 March 2008

"It goes right to the heart of the lives that people lead and the legacy we leave to future generations."

Click here to read the speech of Lord Low of Dalston, Patron of OPEN, in a House of Lords debate on architecture and design. Thursday 27 March 2008.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Labour's block vote for The Block

On Thursday 13th March 5 Labour Councillors on the Tower Hamlets planning committee voted as one to approve this property developers' application to built 12 to 25 storey towerblocks at Sclater Street/Bethnal Green Road. The committee members from the Conservative, Respect and LibDem parties voted against it, but were outnumbered by 5 votes to 4

The proposed development will tower over the local conservation areas and the local community. A 70 metre long wall of 12 to 20 storey towers coming right up to the edge of the pavement will permanently cast deep shadows over the narrow Bethnal Green Road and beyond. Hundreds of local residents and businesses, the long-established local artistic community and English Heritage strongly objected to the proposal. Developers will claim the approval as a precedent paving the way for further soulless development. It jeopardises meaningful input from the community into plans for the future of this historic area.
The week had seen extensive press coverage which you can read about here and here.

The only justification the community has been given is the London Mayor’s support for tall buildings and the "City Fringe" draft planning document which sees the Bishopsgate Goodsyard as an ideal location for tall buildings. This document has neither been consulted upon nor approved. Mayor Livingstone now has 14 days to consider the application and decide whether to overule the committee's decision.
But we are losing confidence in the Mayor to do the right thing when we read stories like this and this
If you want to understand what's at stake for our community then watch the videos made by OPENshoreditch members here or click on the link "Stop the block. Save the light" above.

Friday, 7 March 2008

One man, two opinions

When recommending that The Light should not be protected from demolition by its inclusion in the Shoreditch Conservation Area, Hackney Council's Conservation Officer advised its Cabinet on 25 February 2008 that "it does not form an integral part of the pattern of Victorian commercial buildings and small scale workshops to the rear that have been identified as forming a significant characteristic of this part of the conservation area".

The Light before redevelopment

Curiously this uniform pattern of building type appears to have entirely disappeared from the Conservation Officer's view five days later when, in a memo dated 30 February (sic), he advised the Council’s Planning Officer that the context of the proposed 51-storey Bishops Place development, which would involve demolition of The Light, " is one of extremely varied streetscapes, contrasting massing and dramatic changes of scale...different types of urban fabric"

The Light extinguished after redevelopment

The Conservation Officer's two contrasting views of the area can, of course, have nothing to do with the fact that his employer, Hackney Council, stands to make a small fortune as the landowner of part of the site if it gives planning permission for the demolition of The Light and its redevelopment as Bishop's Place.

Council documents show that its windfall is not to be spent on improvements for Shoreditch people - it's earmarked for a swanky new Town Hall extension in Mare Street. One hopes that when residents emerge from the shadows of Shoreditch, to go and pay their Council Tax in Hackney, they will feel a sense of civic pride in what the Council has created.

Friday, 15 February 2008

Scary stuff at Sclater Street

This is the proposed 25 storey tower on Bethnal Green Road and Sclater Street planned by Telford Homes and Genesis Partners. It would cast neighbouring houses and Bethnal Green Road into permanent shadow.

Another planned development, "Bishop's Place", is a 51 storey tower on the junction of Shoreditch High Street/Norton Folgate and Worship street. Proposed by private developers, Hammerson, and designed by Foster and Partners it would be a hotel, office and apartment complex that forces demolition of the Light Bar building, a beacon at the edge of Shoreditch. The towers would dwarf and overshadow the area (see more: Mammon is at the gates of Shoreditch below

The future of over 13 acres of land in Shoreditch and Bethnal Green is currently in the hands of private developers, Hammerson and Ballymore, who want to build a forest of towers containing 1,700,000 sq ft of City office space.

The GLA, Hackney and Tower Hamlets have no combined masterplan or detailed local policies to steer development for this significant part of London.

OPENshoreditch, a growing coalition of local individuals, businesses and residents' groups, believes this situation is undemocratic and wrong.

But the planning applications for two sites will soon go before Hackney and Tower Hamlets councils.

Take action NOW by writing a letter of objection to each of these planning departments.

To object to the Sclater Street tower write to:
Shay Bugler
Development and Renewal, Town Planning
Tower Hamlets Council
Mulberry Place PO Box 55739
5 Clove Crescent
London E14 1BY
Application no. PA/07/02193
(32-42 Bethnal Green Road)

To object to the "Bishop's Place" towers, and the demolition of The Light Bar building, write to:
Andrew Dillon
Planning Services
London Borough of Hackney
263 Mare Street
London E8 3HT
re. application no. 2007/2227
(“Bishop’s Place” Development, Worship Street EC2)

Sign the petition against demolition of The Light Bar by following the link at the top of the page.

Sunday, 3 February 2008

The worship of Mammon

Dr Simon Thurley, head of English Heritage, has criticised placing high rise buildings in inapproriate settings - using his home town of King's Lynn, Norfolk as an example. "The Council is frightened by developers" he said "development is money"

Unveiling its planned £700m Bishops Place scheme Hammeron's Chief Executive, John Richards, told analysts and shareholders of its "unparalleled record of securing and delivering developments to make big profits for shareholders"
Estates Gazette 16.6.07

The Worship of Mammon 1909 by Evelyn de Morgan

“mammon”: (noun) possibly of Aramaic origin, meaning riches. First personified in English as the false god of wealth, avarice and injustice in the mediaeval poem Piers Plowman and later as the fallen angel, Lucifer, in Milton's Paradise Lost.
“mammonistic”: (adjective) consumed by the desire for wealth at the expense of beauty, creativity and the human soul.
"mammonists" : (secretive) the dark forces, including Philistines, pursuing material gain by the obliteration of heritage, identity, culture and sunlight in the name of regeneration, best value, necessity and progress.

Friday, 1 February 2008

Mammon is at the gates of Shoreditch

A full house attended the OPENshoreditch public meeting on the 17th of January to seek information and express dismay at the development proposals for the former Railtrack sites off Shoreditch High Street. This turnout contrasts with the developer, Hammerson's, own public consultations in July 2007 which, despite circulating thousands of glossy leaflets, only managed to attract 22 people.

The meeting’s venue was on the historic Boundary Estate, the oldest council estate in the country, which will be severely affected by the developments planned. Residents learned of the Greater London Authority (GLA) report that "the site is part of an arc of potential development along... Shoreditch High Street and into the Bishopsgate Goodsyard" .

A number of speakers expressed anxiety about the height and density of the proposed developments. One feared that the wall of high-rise towers could cast shadows over homes and public spaces reaching as far as the Regents Canal in winter months. Residents' fears were heightened by the lack of public consultation both by the developers and Hackney and Tower Hamlets planning authorities and these Councils' failure to even have a masterplan for the sites. The proposals presently seem to be geared at securing maximum profits for the developer at the expense of the local community, which would suffer overshadowing and wind tunnel effect, increase in energy bills, deterioration of TV reception and light pollution.

There were also significant concerns for the loss of historic buildings and erosion of the character of the neighbouring conservation areas. Conservation-led regeneration has transformed Shoreditch into a popular tourist and entertainment destination and home to creative industries. The homogenised over-development dwarfing its surroundings will forever destroy the unique character of this area, full of fascinating history.

The Light before redevelopment

James Goff, the owner of the Light Bar at 233 Shoreditch High Street, made a heartfelt plea to help him save this historic building, which would be replaced by a 51 storey hotel.

The Light extinguished after redevelopment

Mark Willingale, the architect who has designed the Norton Cross alternative plan for the site, explained the benefits of his scheme, which retains The Light and creates better pedestrian permeability and better public open space.

Alternative treatment of The Light in Willingale's development

Leader of the campaign for a park on Bishopsgate Goodsyard, Brad Lochore, produced the 2002 Greater London Authority (GLA) document pledging to create a masterplan for the site. Not only have the local community been let down by it reneging on that promise but now Mayor Livingstone's GLA has confirmed support for Hammerson's Bishop’s Place scheme. But the scheme fails to comply with the London Plan. There is an absence of any meaningful benefits to the community. The affordable housing and provision for children (even including the planned roof top play areas) do not begin to meet the minimum required standards. The scheme fails to comply with guidelines on sustainable design and renewable energy use.
Bill Parry-Davies, from OPENdalston, warned that although the Hamerson scheme has been roundly criticised by both CABE and English Heritage, a recent Council report had described the risk of its Planning Committee refusing permission as "slim".

The desperate for cash Council own some of the development site. Hackney's Mayor Pipe has already earmarked the sale proceeds to fund plans for a grand £45 million Town Hall extension which, it is said , will engender civic pride. Hackney hopes that the people of Shoreditch will agree.

With some of the best architects in the world living in London there is no reason why this project should not exemplify best practice in town planning and sustainability. But the overwhelming feeling was that without well-organised and widespread community involvement neither the GLA nor the local authorities will adequately protect the local community from the negative impacts of this massive development and nor will they secure any significant benefits.
The meeting ended with an endorsement for OPENshoreditch as a means of bringing together local groups and individuals to press for the publication of all relevant information, the observance of due process, meaningful consultation and the securing of community benefit- as well as organising local opposition to the loss of the Light Bar.

There is no time to lose. Sign the petition to save the Light Bar by following the link above to Save the Light
Object to this development by emailing quoting the planning application reference 2007/2227 Bishops Place - Land fronting Worship Street...EC2. Copy your email to Alternatively write to Andrew Dillon at London Borough of Hackney, Neighbourhood Regeneration Directorate, 263 Mare Street, London E8 3HT

Saturday, 12 January 2008

Don't miss this OPENshoreditch meeting

Click images to enlarge. For more detail, see below.