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Hackney mayor launches bid against Shoreditch tower development aerial-_632 - An aerial view of the proposals for the Bishopsgate Goodsyard Full view

Hackney mayor launches bid against Shoreditch tower development

The mayor of Hackney, Jules Pipe, today launched a petition urging Boris Johnson to withdraw his support for luxury skyscrapers to be built in the middle of Tech City.

An aerial view of the proposals for the Bishopsgate Goodsyard
An aerial view of the proposals for the Bishopsgate Goodsyard


The high-rise Bishopsgate Goodsyard scheme was proposed by property developers Hammerson and Ballymore last July, and is still under review by the London Boroughs of Hackney and Tower Hamlets.

“With one fell swoop this development could tear the heart out of the community and destroy the burgeoning creative and digital business cluster known as ‘Tech City’,” Pipe said in the petition, which not only strikes a dark tone but also proposes an alternative scheme that “would be more in keeping with the area and provide much needed employment space”.

Under the current £800 million plans, the 10-acre site would be converted to accommodate almost 1,500 homes in seven towers of up to 46 storeys – almost as high as One Canada Square in Canary Wharf, as critics are quick to point out.

“That might be OK for the City, but it is completely out of scale for Shoreditch,” Pipe said in a press release. “These luxury flats, which are well beyond the reach of ordinary Londoners, will cast a shadow over the whole of Tech City, and threaten to damage the local, creative economy.

“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, potentially leading to the dissipation of this growing cluster.”

Boris Johnson expressed support for the original scheme back in December, but also called for more affordable housing and a reduction in the scale of two of the seven planned towers.

The alternative scheme was drawn up with a range of consultants including design practice Gensler. According to an interview in Property Week, the proposal would be more employment-led and be used “to boost Shoreditch’s thriving TMT sector”.

The alternative proposals drawn up by Hackney
The alternative proposals drawn up by Hackney


The current plans comprise more than 1,450 new homes, 600,000 sq ft of office space, 215,000 sq ft of retail space and 5½ acres of new public realm, including a raised park to be constructed on top of the Grade-II listed Braithwaite Viaduct. The developers also say it will create around 5,000 jobs.

The site around Shoreditch High Street station is one of the largest derelict sites remaining in central London and has lain dormant since 1964, when a major fire destroyed the Bishopsgate railway station there.

A number of other Shoreditch skyscrapers are already underway, including Principal Place on Worship Street and the Avant-Garde Tower on Bethnal Green Road. The Londonist did a useful rundown of the biggest developments in the area about a year ago.

The rest of the mayor’s statement reads: “I’m not opposed to tall buildings in principle, but they need to be in context. The ones proposed by Hammersons for this site are far too big, too close to the road and will compromise the areas’s distinct character and economic eco-system.

“The repercussions of this development could be so severe that they lead to the fragmentation of the local cluster of design and tech firms, leading to the loss of thousands of local jobs, and damage to London’s reputation as a global leader in these industries.

“I am writing to businesses and residents throughout Tech City to alert them to these plans and to urge them to write to the Mayor of London, asking him to withdraw his support for these damaging plans.”

In a joint statement, Robert Allan, Assistant Director of Development at Hammerson, and Jon Weston, Senior Development Manager at Ballymore, said:

“Since we took on the challenging task of regenerating the Bishopsgate Goodsyard site, we have been speaking extensively to local residents, businesses, community groups and politicians.

“Our team are already working on revised plans that, where possible, address the issues raised by various stakeholders and, more recently the Mayor of Hackney, to ensure the development preserves the heritage of the site whilst creating the new homes, offices and shops that will keep the area growing and vibrant long into the future.

“We look forward to coming back to the community to present our changes when the revised plans are ready.”

Goods Yard site uses
Site uses under the alternative proposals
The Hammerson and Ballymore scheme
The Hammerson and Ballymore scheme
A street level view of the Hammerson and Ballymore scheme


Written by Yannic Rack


  • Boris must be stopped. He is clearly a dangerous man with no interest in affordable housing and no interest in local communities. It seems his one and only real preoccupation is with ££££££££££££££ – and then some….. and as the £££££££ comes in, old London and its character will simply disappear. The people who really need houses will not get them and the Hong Kong businessman (who don’t need housing but just want to specular) will have their luxury flats which will remain empty. Boris must definitely be stopped – but how?

  • I am also concerned as to the reason behind Hackney Council refusing my request, under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI15-0330-19401), for a copy of a recently issued 250-year lease of a valuable one-hectare parcel of Shoreditch land, which includes the site of the recently discovered Shakespeare’s Curtain Theatre.

    When I initially applied for the document on March 30, exactly quoting the relevant references on the Land Registry Office document, I received a request from Alison Blackwood, Executive Officer, Corporate Director’s Office Finance & Resources Directorate, for more detailed information. I then provided her with the Land Registry document. Today, after a twenty-day delay, during which time Hackney admit to having consulted with the lessee, Plough Yard Developments Ltd., I received a refusal to release the document on the grounds that it ‘would be likely to prejudice commercial interests.’

    Why is this document secret, and why has Plough Yard Developments Ltd., which public records show to have a net financial liability of £-94,643, been granted such a valuable lease? And, as they are currently negotiating to transfer their rights under a new 250-year lease to a company controlled by the American private equity company, Cain Hoy Enterprises, and UK home builder, Galliard Homes, this is a classic case of a ‘property flip’ of invaluable public lands.

    Is there no need for a General Election, or are we back in Thatcher’s Britain?


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