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"Use every man after his desert, and who should 'scape whipping?"

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Tower Hamlets halts Norton Folgate redevelopment plans: at last, a local authority that is willing to stand against greed

Great news on the  Architects' Journal website this morning - Tower Hamlets' councillors have voted down the application to redevelop a huge swathe of the area between Shoreditch and Spitalfields, "against the advice of their own planning officers".

OK, so the opposition to the British Land backed scheme had some high profile supporters, and the campaign was led very professionally by the Spitalfields Historic Buildings Trust and historian Dan Cruickshank - but even so, this is a beautiful example of how the power and greed of  property developers can be successfully opposed if people are strong,  well-enough organised and sufficiently stubborn.

Looking at the  scheme, it seems amazing it ever got as far as this - given that Norton Folgate is officially a conservation area.

But you only have to read the account, on the Spitalfields Life site, of an earlier, 1977 attempt to flatten the area around Elder Street to see how desperate the developers are to get their hands on this area

If they really need more office space, please, let them build even taller towers in the centre of the city, an area which can not be made to look any worse with its curious assortment of "statement" skyscrapers.

Anyway, read AJ's excellent article - everything you need to know is there. And then read the story in the Hackney Citizen, celebrating the victory but ending with the dark warning that British Land "will be back". Especially as it seems they have the full support of the owners of the land, none other than the City of London Corporation itself.

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