The The singer Matt Johnson complains Shoreditch has descended into “Magaluf by night and the Klondike by day”
- Credit: Archant
Singer Matt Johnson from rock band The The said Shoreditch had become like “Magaluf by night and the Klondike by day” at the launch of an organisation which wants to stop the East End’s architectural heritage being wrecked by “greed”.
The East End Preservation Society is the brainchild of The Gentle Author, who anonymously writes the Spitalfields Life blog, and architectural writer and conservationist Will Palin – who both want to halt the disheartening loss of old buildings in the area.
They say the idea is to stop the irreparable damage caused by over-scaled, greed-driven development through the strength of collective influence.
Shoreditch resident Mr Johnson is a founding member, along with the likes of broadcaster Dan Cruikshank and local artists Brad Lochore and Lucy Rogers.
Mr Johnson, who founded The The in 1979, addressed the historians and conservationists who packed into the Bishopsgate Institute for its launch last week.
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He said: “In recent years Shoreditch has become trapped in a pincer movement between two pieces of legislation that have disempowered the local authority, disenfranchised the local community and unleashed an orgy of greed that is disfiguring our neighbourhood.”
He blames the London Plan for deregulating planning laws on tall buildings and handing “excessive power to the Mayor of London to over-rule local authorities on large-scale developments”, along with the 2003 Licensing which stripped power from the local authority to regulate the night time economy.
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“These pieces of legislation may not seem related but I believe they are, and consequently Shoreditch has become Magaluf by night and the Klondike by day,” said Mr Johnson, referring to property developers.
He explained that when he moved to Shoreditch in the 80s, there were only 15 licenced premises compared to the 300 which now exist, making it a “booze-tourist destination with over 30,000 drunks screaming outside our bedroom windows”.
He pinpoints the biggest battle in Shoreditch as the Bishopsgate Goodsyard, where developers want to build a 58-storey skyscraper.
Lucy Rogers also spoke at the inaugural meeting, to report on the proposed demolition of the former Queen Elizabeth Children’s Hospital in Hackney Road.
Boris Johnson gave the affordable housing development the go-ahead despite protests from the local community who want to preserve the historical building.
The society wants to force its concerns on to the agenda for the next mayoral and general elections.