Ballymore and Hammerson are set to reveal radically revised plans for Bishopsgate Goodsyard which will see the two controversial towers at the centre of the proposed development scrapped.
In what will likely be heralded as a victory for local campaigners, the 38- and 48-storey towers (seen above in the original plans) have been dropped.
The number of homes across the scheme has also been revised down, with only around 350 homes now planned instead of more than 1,350, according to those present at recent engagement events put on by the applicants.
The joint venture developers have been consulting local groups, including the Hackney Society, through Soundings, their community engagement consultants, in preparation for submitting an amended scheme to the Greater London Authority (GLA) by the end of the year.
The controversial plans were previously called in by then-mayor of London, Boris Johnson, in September 2015 at the developer’s request. In the last days of his mayoralty, GLA officers recommended refusal of the scheme. However, the applicant successfully sought to postpone any hearing indefinitely.
Both Tower Hamlets and Hackney councils, which the application site straddles, had strong objections to the scheme, with then-mayor of Hackney Jules Pipe a vocal opponent. He is now Sadiq Khan’s deputy mayor for planning.
At the height of the controversies Hackney Council advertised at bus stops, protesting against the plans.
— David Knight (@knight_david) 18 December 2015
It is understood the jv partners intend to enter into a planning performance agreement with the GLA, with Hackney and Tower Hamlets as additional parties. Sources added it is clear that Ballymore and Hammerson want and expect the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to continue to be the local planning authority for the application.
The site is highly constrained by engineering and access requirements relating to the various railways above and below. There are also significant heritage assets in the area, including the Braithwaite Viaduct, where a ‘high line’ park was originally planned.
This is now said to be in doubt, with the new masterplan creating more direct north-south routes through the site, as well as one grand east-west route running north of the Braithwaite Viaduct, creating retail and commercial activity.
It was also reported by those present at engagement events put on by the developer that there is now said to be only limited ambition to build over the overground box, originally ‘future-proofed’ and designed by TfL for that exact purpose.
Instead, residential buildings will sit to the north, entirely within the boundaries of Tower Hamlets.