Boris Johnson has delayed a decision over £800m plans for a towering high-rise scheme in London's East End, which opponents have warned would "destroy the heart of Shoreditch".
The Bishopsgate Goods Yard site, a joint venture between Hammerson and Ballymore, has faced fierce opposition from Hackney Council and campaign groups including More Light More Power on the grounds that it will block light for other buildings in the area and that it does not offer enough affordable housing or workspace for fledgling tech start-ups.
A public hearing was due to be held at City Hall next week on 18 April. However the Greater London Authority (GLA) said the Johnson has decided to delay his decision on the application after developers asked for more time to revise their plans and address concerns. GLA staff had recommended that he reject the application.
The Goods Yard, a 4.4 hectare former railway site between Shoreditch High Street and Commercial Street, has lain derelict since a fire in the 1960s and the demolition of the majority of the buildings in 2004.
Hammerson and Ballymore want to build two towers between 38 and 46 storeys tall and a further five buildings between 17 and 30 storeys. The plans comprise of 1,356 homes and over 65,000 square metres of offices.
More Light More Power, the campaign group which planned to protest outside of the City Hall hearing, said the scheme proposed only 10 per cent of affordable housing when 45 per cent affordable housing could be provided, according to an independent report by BNP Paribas.
The developers have in fact recommended building 10 per cent affordable housing and paying £21.8m instead, equal to 15 per cent affordable housing.
Hackney mayor, Jules Pipe, said: “The developer’s proposals would have destroyed the heart of Shoreditch, cast a shadow over hundreds of nearby homes and businesses, done nothing to address London’s housing crisis, stifled the growth of Tech City and damaged forever this area’s unique character and heritage."
“Any future application for the Goods Yard should come back to be determined by Hackney and Tower Hamlets councils in an open and constructive way, as should always have been the case. It would be completely unacceptable for the developers to return to the GLA in a few months having simply shaved off a few floors and made some other minor tweaks."
A spokersperson for The Goodsyard joint venture said: “We remain committed to delivering the right scheme for the Goodsyard to regenerate this site, which has been derelict for over 50 years."
"We welcome the Mayor of London’s decision to defer the public hearing, allowing us to continue to work with the GLA, the local community and the boroughs of Hackney and Tower Hamlets, to bring forward amended proposals to address the issues raised in the Stage 3 Report and ensure that the Goodsyard and its benefits helps fulfil the capital's ambitions for long term growth."