Bishopsgate Goodsyard

Here is my objection to the Bishopsgate Goodsyard Development.

I hope you will object too!

I am writing to OBJECT to the plan for Bishopsgate Goodsyard development.

I am a resident of Tower Hamlets. I am the Chair of Tower Hamlets Green Party and I am the PPC for Bethnal Green and Bow. This application is partly in that constituency.

goods yard

Background

The application is based on a false premise. It represents an encroachment into a vibrant commercial, social and residential area of buildings only suitable for the highly unusual and site specific developments characterized by the City of London and Canary Wharf.

It is an attempt to extend the exceptional permissions given to buildings in these areas into adjoining areas where such developments are entirely unsuitable, out of character and which will diminish the amenity not only of the area itself but the surroundings.

The development of buildings on the East Side of Broadgate, encroaching into Spitalfields Market, are now seen as a grave error. They destroyed that unique area. The Royal Bank of Scotland block is totally out of scale to the surrounding areas and the Market itself has been transformed into another generic location of chain food restaurants and bars. It is a shadow of its former self.

This is to be contrasted with the activity just across Commercial Street which maintains a vibrant mix of historic buildings alongside commercial spaces. These offer opportunities for local, small businesses to establish themselves, while also housing a strong diverse local community. There are of course tensions between the day time and night time economies, and the between the new and old residents. But that tension has been creatively and dynamically managed to the benefit of all.

Precisely the same situation exists around the Bishopsgate Goodsyard area. The success of the temporary Boxpark development is testimony to the fact that there is a ready market for small businesses, and a ready supply of small businesses to take advantage of any such opportunities made available.

This is a reflection of the whole character of the area. Exemplified by Brick Lane Market, it developed into one of London’s most dynamic and fashionable areas which has provided countless opportunities for this community to develop and grow. It has provided the spaces needed for small businesses to start up, some of which have flourished and moved on, some of which have not.

It is an irony that this area is used as a centre of entertainment and socializing by so many who work in the City. It is one of the City’s great attractions that the corporate sites sit adjacent to and within easy reach of London West End and London’s East End, as exemplified by the bars, restaurants, cinemas and shops of Shoreditch.

The example of Spitalfields demonstrates that development on this scale will extinguish all of that in the immediate area and change the character of it forever.

The development of areas where creativity, experimentation and dynamism flourish is rare, and takes years to develop. It has taken twenty years or more for Shoreditch and Brick Lane to develop into the areas they are. It has been hard won, and is now something which brings economic and social success to the local community. This development promises to severely damage all of that success in a way which cannot be overturned.

The application contains the following

‘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 admission demonstrates why this proposal is so wrong. It might be acceptable if the area did not already exhibit such characteristics. But one thing this area already has is scale, identity and character. This proposal will destroy much of that by its vast scale and undesired character.

Specific Objections

Scale

bishopsgate goods yard

The proposals incorporate buildings with 48, 46, 30 and 34 storeys.

This is a wholly new style of development for this area. If granted, how could any future applications for such developments be opposed?

The buildings in the immediate area comprise residential level and low commercial level. They will be dwarfed by buildings only suitable for the exceptional areas of the City and Canary Wharf.

Many of the streets in the immediate vicinity are conservation areas, and it makes a mockery of such conservation if there are massive blocks looming over them.

It must be the case that the shadow cast by such vast constructions will blight many areas, presumably with those buildings to the north along Bethnal Green Road and into Arnold Circus being the worst affected.

Such constructions are entirely out of character to the area.

Design

The images I have seen show generic design with no architectural or artistic merit whatsoever.

They do not in any way reflect anything yet constructed in that area. They are wholly out of character with the area.

Demolition

I understand that a considerable amount of 19th century brick construction is to be swept away by the building works. Everything that has happened in the last 30 years tells us that where historic construction is preserved, either by integration or addition, it adds hugely to the sense of value placed on new construction.

This is an historic site, where the railway used to terminate before the construction of Liverpool Street Station. To sweep that away entirely would be a travesty. Where such sites have disappeared this has been considered a huge error in retrospect.

New developers should be proud to pay respect to the history of the sites they are working on rather than just tramping all over them as this development seeks to do.

Conclusion

I believe this proposal would severely damage the economic, social and residential success of this area.

The site offers developers a unique opportunity to build on an historic site which is the centre of a rejuvenated, vibrant social, residential and commercial hub. It seems to hark back to the excesses of the 1960s brutality instead of the 21st century approach of sensitivity and cooperation which have made this area such a success.

It should be rejected.

Alistair Polson

alistairpolson@icloud.com

84 Antill Road

London

E3 5BP

07973 636952

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One thought on “Bishopsgate Goodsyard

  1. I concur entirely with the above. If we lose our architectural heritage we lose the character and atmosphere that gives London its identity . Do we want the whole sale destruction that we have seen in Moscow or Beijing? These developers must be reigned in before we are left with a city that is unrecognisable and uninteresting and a poor living environment for Londoners.

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