The Greater London Authority is defending its support of proposed office developments in Shoreditch, in the wake of criticism by local artists and the campaign group Open Shoreditch.
A GLA spokesperson says, ‘The Mayor fully supports the need to maintain Shoreditch as a hub for culture and social enterprise, and would back many of the objectives of the Save Shoreditch campaign to maintain the unique urban mix of the area.’
Open Shoreditch is condemning the Mayor’s stance on high-rise developments after the London Borough of Tower Hamlets’ gave the go-ahead for a 25-storey tower block on Bethnal Green Road last Thursday.
Open is branding the Bethnal Green Road and two developments planned for the east and west sides of the Bishopsgate Goodsyard ‘gross towering overdevelopment’. Open sent a letter to the Mayor last week signed by local artists, expressing concerns that local creative businesses would leave the area if the planned developments were to go ahead.
Commenting specifically on the Bishopsgate Goodsyard plans, the GLA spokesperson continues, ‘The Mayor ensured that pre-application discussions are focusing on providing space for creative organisations and making the most creative use of the old railway structures that are being retained.’
However, a spokesperson for the Save Shoreditch campaign says, ‘the development would not meet London Plan guidelines for affordable housing, open space or the nurturing of the creative industries.
‘It will involve demolitions and permanent damage to Shoreditch’s historic environment, its social and economic character, and cause environmental degradation affecting local residents and businesses,’ says the Open spokesperson. ‘It seems that the developers will have free rein to maximise their profits at the expense of the local community.’