The long fight opposing the conversion of Whitechapel Bell Foundry into a boutique hotel, faced another major setback last night, when Tower Hamlets Council's development committee approved redevelopment plans.
This comes despite numerous petitions, including one from residents and another from people further afield, and 780 letters of objection protesting the plans. The UK Historic Buildings Preservation Trust (UKHBPT) had put forward its own plans — despite not owning the building — that would see manufacturing restarted at the site, which has been shut since 2017.
The proposals come from Raycliff Whitechapel LLP, and will see the refurbishment of the Grade II* listed into a small workshop and cafe, while an extension from the 1980s in the rear will be demolished and replaced by a 103-room boutique hotel.
It's difficult to see the demand for yet another boutique hotel in London. Meanwhile Whitechapel Bell Foundry dates back to 1570, and there are records of bells being cast here as far back as the 14th century. Both Big Ben and the Liberty Bell were made in Whitechapel. Thanks to the "need" for these 103 luxury rooms, that will happen no more.
UKHBPT have said they might launch a judicial review over the decision, which could be the last chance to save the historic foundry.