The The singer Matt Johnson’s “Boozepark” fears for new Boxpark clone

BoxPark, Shoreditch

BoxPark, Shoreditch - Credit: Archant

Fears that a new pop-up shopping mall created from shipping containers in Shoreditch could become a “boozepark” have been ignored, it was claimed this week.

Holywell Lane, Shoreditch

Holywell Lane, Shoreditch - Credit: Archant

Investment company Chromex was given permission by Hackney Council to erect the two-storey structure containing office and retail space dubbed The Work: Shop on TfL land in Holywell Lane, which is currently used as a car park.

Matt Johnson

Matt Johnson - Credit: Archant

The site is surrounded by 20 homes, whose residents fear that bars could also be located in the new development as in nearby Boxpark, in Shoreditch High Street.

The Shoreditch Community Association, the Jago Action Group formed of residents and traders and conservation group OPEN Shoreditch objected to the plans, along with the South Shoreditch Conservation Area advisory committee, stating the site is at the heart of the Shoreditch conservation zone and is surrounded by listed buildings and 20 homes.

But planning officer Russell Smith recommended approval of the scheme and objectors feel their concerns have been ignored.

Co-chairman association and the singer, Matt Johnson, who owns a business in Holywell Lane, spoke at the meeting last Wednesday. “I’m sure Mr Smith is normally a reliable case officer, yet on this application I believe he’s made a mistake,” he said, adding that he felt he had “lightly dismissed” their “valid concerns, as if they don’t exist”.

“There have been countless complaints against Boxpark, now known as ‘Boozepark’ by the local community, as most of their units now sell alcohol and play loud music,” he continued.

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“What is to stop the same thing happening on the Holywell Lane site?”

The scheme went on to be rubber-stamped by councillors who sit on the planning committee.

Gaurav Mohindra, from the Chromex Group, defended the application, saying the railway line which passes over the site constrains long-term permanent development, but their aim is to regenerate the site to benefit residents, artisans and entrepreneurs.

“There is no application for restaurant and night-time uses contained within the proposal,” he told the Gazette.

“Therefore a temporary construction, allowing occupation by start-ups and SMEs on a short-term basis is a logical solution to enhance the immediate area.

“We look forward to working alongside the local community on this exciting project.”

Roger Wade, director of Boxpark, refuged the suggestion that Boxpark is a “Boozepark”. “Our tenants have alcohol licenses granted by the council and we have not had one serious alcohol related police incident,” he said.

“The reality is that thousands of Hackney residents and employees quietly enjoy Boxpark and we are a major employer in the area.”

The planning application for the Holywell Lane development reads: “Identify ideal tenant from the existing resources in Shoreditch area as potential operators objectives virtuoso circle increase attractive to entire project vestige of Covent Garden in Shoreditch Green sustainable site using reclaimed materials, in keeping with what Shoreditch borough is known for - but also offering something new to the area enticing a new dynamic, permanent tenants to fully occupy the site.”