Local residents continue to oppose plans to build a shopping mall on the site of the historic Truman Brewery on Brick Lane after developers won approval from the local council.
The Save Brick Lane Coalition is close to raising the £10k needed to pursue legal action against Tower Hamlets Council with the aim of blocking the planned development.
It comes after councillors on the Development Committee voted 2-1 to approve plans that will see the brewery, which is currently used as an arts venue and independent retail outlet, redeveloped as an five storey office block with shops and a gym.
“We are delighted that so many people have generously supported the fundraising campaign,” said Heloise Palin of the Spitalfields Trust which is part of the Brick Lane Coalition. “It shows how much people care about the culture and heritage of this area.”
“We are going to approach a lawyer to see if there are any grounds for judicial review. We owe it to the area to at least see if there are grounds for it,” Palin added.
With the funds now in hand a lawyer will be able to review the council’s decision to approve the plans despite receiving over 7,487 letters of objection, a letter of opposition signed by 140 Brick Lane traders and a letter of objection signed by 556 local residents.
When approached for comment a spokesperson for Tower Hamlets Council said: “We cannot comment on a speculative legal challenge. If there is a request for a judicial review then we will consider our position based on the grounds of the challenge.”
In September the council voted in favour of redevelopment plans on the basis that it will offer local residents affordable workspace that is at least 45 per cent below the indicative market rent for a period of 15 years. Developers have also assured the council that space in the new retail complex will be set aside for local businesses while increased footfall as a result of the project will help to boost Brick Lane’s economy.
While the council have given approval to the designs they must still seek a section 106 agreement giving protestors a brief window of opportunity to challenge the proposals.