‘Vast, intrusive and alien’: Conservation groups weigh in on Goodsyard towers

Bishopsgate development

An artist’s impression of the planned development

Opposition to the Bishopsgate Goodsyard scheme is growing as conservation groups criticise the proposals over their lack of affordable housing and ‘intrusive’ design.

The East End Preservation Society called the plans for the Shoreditch site “vast, intrusive and alien”, while The Victorian Society has slammed them as “completely unacceptable”.

The groups have also criticised the developers for the planning documents calling them “repetitive”, “indulgent”and “hard to access”.

Property developers Hammerson and Ballymore propose to turn the Goodsyard, which includes the historic Braithwaite Viaduct – one of the oldest railway structures in the world – into flats, offices and a public park.

The proposed scheme, worth £800 million, also includes four residential towers, two of which would reach 48 storeys high.

aerial view of the Bishopsgate Goodsyard site

An aerial view of the Bishopsgate Goodsyard site

The East End Preservation Society argues that the proposals are in conflict with Hackney’s and Tower Hamlets’ own 2010 planning guidelines for the Bishopsgate site, both in failing to ensure that any new development integrates with the surrounding area, and in providing a minimal requirement of 35 per cent affordable housing. The developers are only proposing 10 per cent.

The Director of the Victorian Society, Christopher Costelloe said: “The large buildings proposed for this site do not reflect the quality of the historic buildings that will surround them.

“Nor do they adequately respond to their context. Their design is generic and undistinctive. In a suburb of Shenzhen they would be unremarkable; in central London they are completely unacceptable.”

A spokesperson for The East End Preservation Society said: “The current proposals will effectively undermine the distinctive fabric of this characterful and creative area and blight the surrounding conservation areas.

“The subtle approach needed is totally absent in this vast, intrusive and alien development.”

However, a spokesperson for the  joint project said the developers were still “in active discussions” with the Local Planning Authorities and the GLA as to the amount and tenure of affordable housing that could be provided.

The developers said there were “significant constraints” for the project, arguing that only approximately 33 per cent of the site is considered “appropriate for building foundations”.

A spokesperson said: “The ambition for The Goodsyard is to create striking buildings and places worthy of the area, including London’s first fully elevated park.”

Real news stories don't come cheap.

The Hackney Citizen is the borough’s only independent newspaper, and is now in its tenth year.

Our hard-hitting journalism has uncovered fire safety failures in tower blocks, revealed plans to criminalise rough sleepers, exposed dodgy letting agents and reported on many other issues of public concern.

We’ve always been totally free in print and online, but advertising revenues are falling.

That’s why we’re asking for your help.

Hackney Citizen’s high quality journalism is produced by a small team on a shoestring budget, so we’re asking you to make a monthly contribution to fund our work, enabling the paper to survive and thrive.

Support the Hackney Citizen from as little as £2 per month.

Can you spare £4 a month or more? Get the paper delivered direct to your door each month! (UK only)