Controversal 51-storey tower block gets go-ahead from Hackney Council - again

A 51-storey skyscraper in Shoreditch which opponents claim encroaches into a unique heritage area has been given the go-ahead for the second time by Hackney Council.

Planning permission was originally granted in 2009 for three skyscrapers containing offices, a hotel, 191 private flats and 50 affordable homes on the Bishop’s Place site.

But the economic climate forced developer Hammerson to redesign the scheme.

Re-christened Principal Place, the site which lies between Norton Folgate, Curtain Road and Worship Street is currently an urban golf course.

The 51-storey residential tower was redesigned and the height of the office building reduced from 37 to 16 storeys, while more public open space was allowed on Norton Folgate.

The revised scheme was approved by the council’s planning committee at a town hall meeting last Thursday.

Local conservation groups like OPEN Shoreditch, a coalition of residents and business groups, have been unhappy at the Square Mile’s encroachment into a unique heritage area.

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The original 2008 design called for the destruction of the Light Bar, housed in a 19th century electricity substation on the site, but a campaign forced Hammerson to revise its plans.

“It’s their third attempt at a scheme it’s a considerably better scheme than the earlier ones they tried to push through against the community’s interest” said OPEN Shoreditch spokeswoman Rebecca Collins.

“Fortunately the market drivers have changeable and, “I can build taller than you,” is no longer lettable,” she added.

Concern was raised that in the current economic climate Hammerson would be unable to find office tenants, but law firm CMS Cameron McKenna LLP has already expressed interest in making the site its new head office location.

David Atkins, Hammerson Chief Executive said: “The scheme will deliver high quality office accommodation alongside a landmark residential tower in a convenient, vibrant location.”