London

Bishopsgate skyscrapers: 10,000 sign petition opposing plan

The development site Image copyright More Light More Power
Image caption The buildings outlined in white and red have been granted planning permission or are under construction, while the block red area is the proposed development site

More than 10,000 people have objected to plans to build skyscrapers on a former goods yard site in east London.

Petitioners claim the proposed multi-use Bishopsgate Goodsyard development will "block out light for thousands of people" and is "wrong" for the area.

Boris Johnson has overruled local councils by calling in the plans for the decision to be made by City Hall.

He said the development would create hundreds of local jobs. The public planning consultation ends on Monday.

The More Light More Power campaign has attracted more than 10,000 signatures for its petition. The group claims Mr Johnson wants to "push" this decision through before he steps down as mayor in May to focus on his parliamentary duties.

'East End's being stolen'

A spokesman for the mayor's office said: "Bishopsgate Goodsyard, which has stood derelict for more than 50 years, is the biggest site around Tech City in east London and would create hundreds of jobs and homes for Londoners.

"The mayor decided to call in the application and will consider all of the planning issues before taking a decision in due course."

Image copyright Google
Image caption The public consultation on the Bishopsgate Goodsyard scheme ends on 15 February

The scheme proposes at least a dozen buildings ranging in height, with the tallest being about 177m (580ft) and the shortest being about 23m (75ft), or the length of a swimming pool.

Some vary from 26 storeys to 46 storeys and comprise of 940 homes, but the majority of the proposed development is assigned for offices, as well as retail, bars and restaurants.

The Spitalfields Society, which supports the petition, said none of the 17 objections it had originally raised about the scheme had been resolved.

They range from concerns about overdevelopment of the site to the fact only 10% of the accommodation offered would be classed as "affordable" or social housing, despite long waiting lists in the area for council homes.

Rupert Wheeler, from the society, said: "It feels as though a vital part of the East End's being stolen from us by this brutal scheme, simply to provide luxury flats for foreign investors that will lie vacant forever, casting a dead shadow over the once vibrant area of Shoreditch."

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