Horror over Hackney canal ‘spaceship’ plans

The location of the proposal

The location of the proposal - Credit: Archant

Canal campaigners and residents threatened with eviction are horrified by an application to build a “brutal” structure resembling an “alien spaceship.”

They say the futuristic seven-storey proposal off Orsman Road, opposite Kingsland Basin, would “dramatically” change the scenic character of the Regent’s Canal which has featured in magazines and a film starring Jude Law.

CMA Planning has submitted the plans for the building in the conservation area on behalf of applicant Orsman Properties LLP, owned by Investland plc.

If approved by the council it would replace 20 existing homes and five commercial units at Canalside Studios with seven luxury flats and new workspace.

The existing building has featured in the New York Times and Vogue as a ‘hallmark of Hackney’, and it even made an appearance in a scene with Jude Law in the film Dom Hemingway.


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Ecologists also fear the loss of the flora and fauna on site, home to nesting birds, insects and bats, which the developers propose to clad over with timber and paving, and install mooring spaces for up to eight boats.

Ian Shacklock, chairman of the Friends of Regent’s Canal campaign group likened the proposal to an “alien spaceship” which would dominate the existing buildings.

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“The affected site hosts some of the few remaining industrial buildings that still blend in well with the canal instead of overpowering it,” he said. “The development could drive existing residents and small businesses out of the local community, and will completely change the character of the canal.”

Tom Guy, Canalside Studios resident added: “The proposed new building is a brutal piece of architecture which will irrevocably alter a much cherished local view, towering over the existing buildings on the site.

“The existing studio building has long been an iconic feature of the Hackney waterfront, reflecting both the industrial past of the borough and its independent and creative spirit.

“If this development is allowed to go ahead, people who have made their homes at Canalside studios will simply be ousted, the local ecology will be wiped out.”

CMA did not respond to the Gazette’s chance to comment, but the application documents state the scheme has been “sensitively designed in response to a detailed analysis of the site and local context taking into account the character of the area and the applicant’s objective of delivering a high-quality development.

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