Bishopsgate Development Gets Green Light Despite Court Battle

By M@ Last edited 98 months ago

Last Updated 10 May 2016

Bishopsgate Development Gets Green Light Despite Court Battle
Image: M@

Norton Folgate, an historic set of streets on the edge of Spitalfields, is set to be demolished, despite a vigorous campaign to save it.

A judicial review at the Royal Courts of Justice upheld Boris Johnson's decision to intervene in the case, after local authorities rejected plans to redevelop the site.

Developers British Land want to turn the site, centred on Blossom Street and Fleur de Lis Street, into office space for small-to-medium companies, with new homes and shops. The scheme was rejected by Tower Hamlets Strategic Development Committee, but later 'called in' by mayor Boris Johnson who used his executive power to wave through the plans.

Today Judge Mr Justice Gilbart dismissed campaigners' application to overturn Johnson's decision and granted planning permission.

One of the proposed buildings by British Land.

The old warehousing at the heart of the development was hastily built in 1886 following a horrific menagerie fire. It has some character, but has lain empty for many years, save for the occasional pop-up event. The main Blossom Street facade will be retained as part of the British Land scheme, though the distinctive western buildings will be lost:

Campaign group the Spitalfields Trust has fought hard to block the scheme, backed by local celebrities such as the Gentle Author and Dan Cruickshank. The group has even put forward its own proposals for an alternative redevelopment of the site. It must rank as one of the more high-profile redevelopment campaigns in London's recent history, especially for a site that would contain no tower blocks.

Not everybody was against the plans, however. Historic England was broadly supportive of British Land's masterplan, which would retain and restore the most characterful buildings while replacing 'poor quality' premises with 'ones that would complement the character of the area'.