Tower block plans anger Shoreditch residents

A block of flats in Shoreditch is being torn down and replaced with an eight-storey tower block more than double the size amid fears the area is losing its community feel due to overdevelopment.

Residents in Bevenden Street are upset about plans to replace council building St Leonard’s Court with a block of 72 flats which are a mixture of private and council housing.

Raphael Pariser, 36, of Bevenden Street, said: “This is part of the council’s plan to make this into a high density inner city extension of Silicon roundabout whereas it’s actually a community neighbourhood which is being trampled on.

“Even though it’s close to the city, it’s a normal neighbourhood with a community feel and also a wonderful creative new mix.”

He expressed concerns about overdevelopment in the triangle which encompasses Bevenden Street, New North Road and East Road, which is just minutes from the Old Street roundabout and Tech City.

He added: “There have been four new blocks of flats built in East Road in the last two to three years and planning consent has already been given for more large scale development on New North Road next door to the proposed development which will take average building heights to six plus stories with all the buildings fronting directly on to the roads.”

He urged local residents to submit comments on the planning application before November 12, when the consultation will end.

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He added: “The proposal will dramatically reduce social housing in favour of what they call ‘affordable’ market housing, which means further denigration of the community and more parking pressures. The council are not adding much in terms of additional housing stock by this single development.”

Robert Chandler, 32, of Bevenden Street, said: “I’m concerned about lack of privacy. The way the streets are currently planned, you can’t overlook somebody else’s property.”

A council spokesman said: “It was found to be uneconomical to refurbish St Leonard’s Court from its current bad condition to modern standards, so the council is rehousing residents locally and proposing to demolish the existing 24 bed-sits, 36 one-bedroom homes and four two-bedroom flats to provide 72 new homes including family-sized ones for social renting and shared ownership as part of a borough-wide estate regeneration programme.”