Bishopsgate Goodsyard project back on table – but unpopular ‘forest of skyscrapers’ is dropped from plans

How the 'forest of skyscrapers' would have dominated the skyline.

How the 'forest of skyscrapers' would have dominated the skyline. - Credit: Archant

The developers behind the £900million Bishopsgate Goodsyard development are set to scrap the unpopular towers.

Opponents to the plans, including the Victorian Society, said the initial proposals would damage the heritage of the site, dating back to the first railways into London in 1840.

The new plans in Shoreditch will see the 38- and 48-storey towers dropped. In 2015, director of the Victorian Society Christopher Costelloe likened the blocks to something better suited to Chinese megacity Shenzhen.

Under the proposals fewer homes will also be built. There were about 1,350 in original plans, but this has been slashed to only 350.

The scheme will be submitted to the Greater London Authority (GLA) by the end of the year.

When they were originally put forward in 2015, there were strong objections from both Hackney and Tower Hamlets. Jules Pipe, then-mayor of Hackney, was opposed to the project.

He had criticised the lack of affordable housing, and the scale of the buildings on the 11-acre site. Mr Pipe stood down in 2016 and is now Sadiq Khan’s deputy mayor for planning.

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Then-mayor of London Boris Johnson called in the plans for an executive decision months before he left office.

But he deferred his announcement at the last minute, giving developers more time to change their proposals.

The joint venture between Ballymore and Hammerson will look to enter into a planning performance agreement with the GLA.

Both councils affected would be additional parties in the project. The plans would see a large swath of land near Shoreditch High Street redeveloped.

It has been unused since 1964.

It backs onto the high street’s Overground station.

It is also flanked by the early stage of the Liverpool Street railway network to the south.

Architect Faulkner Brown is working with Ballymore and Hammerson on the project.

Faulkner Brown’s partner Paul Rigby said: “We are extremely pleased to be working with Hammerson, Ballymore and the teams at the GLA to explore a number of exciting options for the Bishopsgate Goodsyard site.”