Hackney Mayor Jules Pipe has poured scorn on the revised plans for a controversial Shoreditch development, calling the changes “superficial tinkering”.
The developers revised their scheme for the Bishopsgate Goodsyard site following a barrage of criticism over the height of the proposed buildings and the lack of workspace and affordable housing.
Pipe launched a campaign to “Save Shoreditch” from the development in March 2015 but it was not until this week that he joined campaigners in expressing disappointment with the amended plans.
In the new plans, four of the towers have been cut by the equivalent of six storeys – to 26, 30 and 38 storeys and the tallest 48 storey tower has been trimmed by the equivalent of one storey.
Many of the one bedroom flats in the original plans have been enlarged to two bedroom units, meaning a reduction of the overall homes proposed for the site from 1,464 to 1,356.
Mayor Pipe said: “These amended plans are little more than superficial tinkering with the original proposal and remain wholly inappropriate for this part of Shoreditch, with the developers having made no real attempt to meet Hackney’s housing or business needs.
Tower Hamlets’ Mayor John Biggs told the Hackney Citizen he shared residents’ concerns on the Goodsyard proposals. “I have said before that I think that the scale of the development and its height and bulk in a relatively low rise neighbourhood is a problem.
“I hope that improvements to the scheme can be achieved and that new jobs, affordable homes and facilities for local people will be delivered. We will continue to work with the developers and will be looking very carefully at all options on the table.”
Hackney Council’s says that its own scheme, designed with international architectural firm Gensler, would be “more in keeping with the area” and provide much needed employment space for Tech-city.
Nick Perry, who has campaigned for the release of the Bishopsgate Goodsyard viability report that justifies building 10 per cent affordable housing, said: “It’s hugely disappointing that the Mayor of Hackney has refused to talk to campaigners about the scheme.
“That he now asks for the public’s help is, I hope, recognition that we’re on the same side and can work together for a positive outcome for Hackney and Tower Hamlets.”
Speaking on behalf of the Hammerson and Ballymore, Development Manager Jon Weston said the joint developer had “worked hard” to address points raised in the consultation.
Mr Weston said The Goodsyard scheme had been “redefined” as more employment-led through the creation of additional commercial floorspace in excess of 200,000 sq.ft, and an office building suitable for creative and start-up businesses.