Those pesky planning developers are moving in again, this time threatening the pleasure-paved streets of Shoreditch with high-rise towers to house businesses. At the heart of the controversial Bishop's Place scheme is a plan to construct a 51-storey tower in the locality, which will replace a 19th century building that houses the area’s much-loved Light Bar.
Once a seedy den of music hall, theatre, vice and booze, Shoreditch is now known for its, er, music, vice and booze, plus the colourful creative types that prowl the streets by night, searching for the last copy of ID magazine. At great geographical risk from its suited and booted neighbours in the City of London, Shoreditch houses many independent businesses that are so vital to its character. Local residents fear that not only will the area’s architectural integrity be damaged, but house prices will rise too, bringing in cultural homogeneity when the artistic masses are forced to move out and the city workers move in.
It’s the same old trajectory, one that the residents near Spitalfields and Camden Market say they are familiar with – developers move in, the beautiful lines and undulations of the cityscape are compromised, house prices rise and the businesses of local people go under. Whether this is too simple a story remains to be seen – culture and creation can flourish among capitalism, new buildings become a part of the horizon, and new areas become the next cultural hub.
Will Boris come charging in on his white horse to protect the East End, sporting big tongued-trainers and a Shoreditch-mullet? We’ll bet you a Pam Shriver he won’t.