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Boris Johnson delays decision on controversial Bishopsgate skyscrapers

PUBLISHED: 11:57 14 April 2016 | UPDATED: 18:01 14 April 2016

How Bishopsgate skyscrapers would overlook Bethnal Green and Shoreditch

How Bishopsgate skyscrapers would overlook Bethnal Green and Shoreditch

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The decision on whether the controversial wall of skyscrapers planned for the old Bishopsgate goodsyard on the fringe of the City of London should go ahead has been delayed.

London Mayor Boris Johnson has sent a letter to the developers, Hammerson’s, offering them a chance to modify their planning application, it is understood.

Protest earlier this year against the Bishopsgate skyscrapersProtest earlier this year against the Bishopsgate skyscrapers

He was due to make an executive decision on the skyscrapers at a City Hall public hearing on Monday, in the face of a mass protest planned by opponents to the scheme.

But it is being put deferred, the Mayor’s Office confirmed. No date has been fixed for the revised hearing.

The delay has brought an immediate reaction from Hackney Council, one of two local authorities including neighbouring Tower Hamlets which has already rejected the controversial scheme for the 11-acre site which would cast a shadow across Shoreditch and Spitalfields.

Hackney's mayor Jules Pipe (right) with Tower Hamlets mayor John Biggs at public protest meeting against Bishopsgate skyscrapersHackney's mayor Jules Pipe (right) with Tower Hamlets mayor John Biggs at public protest meeting against Bishopsgate skyscrapers

“Virtually everyone agrees the application is entirely inappropriate for this area,” Hackney’s mayor Jules Pipe said.

“The developers’ proposals would have destroyed the heart of Shoreditch, cast a shadow over hundreds of homes and businesses, do nothing to address London’s housing crisis, stifle Tech City growth and damage forever this area’s unique character and heritage.”

Opposition has come from thousands of residents and businesses who have written letters and signed petitions, from planning experts at Hackney, Tower Hamlets and the GLA itself, financial experts in the City, light experts at the Building Research Establishment and MPs.

Bishopsgate skyscrapers as they would be seen from Commercial StreetBishopsgate skyscrapers as they would be seen from Commercial Street

“There is so much more potential for this site than simply the developer’s ambition to cash in on luxury flats,” Mayor Pipe added.

“It’s completely unacceptable for the developers to return to the GLA in a few months having simply shaved off a few floors and made some other minor tweaks.”

Any future application for the Goodsyard should be determined by Tower Hamlets and Hackney councils, he urged.

The shadow that would be cast acrosas Shoreditch by the Bishopsgate skyscrapersThe shadow that would be cast acrosas Shoreditch by the Bishopsgate skyscrapers

Campaigners led by the ‘More Light More Power’ umbrella organisation which has been fighting the scheme for three years called on the scheme to be dropped outright following a report by Boris Johnson’s own GLA planning advisors stressing that the regeneration site “would result in unacceptable and significant negative impacts” with its density, height, mass and layout.

The proposal would result in “significant building mass” which City Hall advisors now agree would have an impact on the daylight and sunlight of hundreds of properties, would have harmful the East End’s heritage which would “significantly outweigh the potential public benefits of the scheme”.

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