Residents unite in against “monstrous” Goodsyard tower

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Local residents have hit back at developer’s plans to build tower blocks and unaffordable housing on London’s second largest brownfield site.

Goodsyard, a stretch of land which separates Shoreditch, Spitalfields and Brick Lane is to become the site for six 30-storey blocks and high-rent residential units in an £800m development proposal that would straddle the boroughs of Hackney and Tower Hamlets.

Developers Hammerson and Ballymore, now joined by Shoreditch architects Buckley Gray Yeoman, have said they aim to deliver “an outward looking scheme to connect with the surroundings, both physically and socially” in a planning application to Hackney Council.

But local residents from both Hackney and Tower Hamlets have united in their opposition to the development proposals.

Open Shoreditch, a collection of 18 residential and conservation groups, has spearheaded a campaign entitled ‘More Light More Power’ to raise their objections to the proposals and galvanise further support.

Andrew Kanter, 44 and head of the Shoreditch community association, cited concerns over the “extremely poor use of space” shown in the proposals.

He said: “By far the best use of space would be high density development with only mid-rise buildings so as not to isolate the rest of Shoreditch. This should be alongside shops, businesses and offices that are well integrated into the neighbouring communities.”

He said: “This development doesn’t solve any of the social problems that effect Hackney. The developers are only offering 10 per cent affordable housing which is ludicrous, and there are no opportunities for long-term sustainability or jobs for people in the community.”

In the pre-consultation process, 80 per cent of respondents strongly objected to plans for tall-rise towers on the Goodsyard site, which is the second largest brownfield area after King’s Cross, totalling 4.7 hectares.

Concerns have also been raised about the quality of the consultation process. The report outlining the developments is 2,000 pages long and composed in 660 separate files.

David Donoghue, 67 and a representative for the Spitalfields residents association, said: “The application has been very rushed through, with lots of errors and the most important areas like affordable housing and its impact on the existing environment being ignored.”

He continued: “There has been no contact from the developers since ending the consultation period, which was unfairly short at just 21 days, and they just seem content to ignore universal negative feedback.”

The formal comment deadlines were 10 November for Hackney and are extended to 26 November for Tower Hamlets.

Local conservation group the East London Preservation Society also voiced their concerns about the proposals.

A statement on its website said:  “In our view, the Bishopsgate Goodsyard proposals represent the worst type of exploitative development, development shaped by short-term agenda and marked by a callous approach to context. Should a development of this size and scale be permitted – it will mark a new and disturbing chapter in the expansion of the City into the east end, expansion that threatens to destroy the life, character and diversity that makes this area special.”