BoJo backs British Land’s Norton Folgate scheme

A controversial plan to redevelop a swathe of historic Spitalfields warehouses has been given the go-ahead by Mayor BoJo after a long-running battle.

The raft of derelict buildings on Blossom Street in Norton Folgate – a particularly atmospheric and important enclave in between the City and Shoreditch – will now be turned into a major mixed-use scheme, despite the best efforts of campaigners and even the local council itself.

Take on the role of planning authority, the Mayor called in the scheme back in September after it was rejected by Tower Hamlets (despite being recommended for approval by Historic England). Taking the view that the project will “breathe new life” into a derelict site and provide up to 2,400 new jobs, BoJo and his team have overruled the council and green-lighted a wholesale transformation creating 340,000 square feet of office space, 40 homes, shops and restaurants. 30% of the resi element will be affordable.

An official statement said the team had “worked closely with developers British Land and managed to negotiate the retention of two 19th century warehouses in their entirety rather than just the facades as previously planned – a move supported by Historic England…these two buildings sit next to a warehouse dating back to 1887, which will also be retained as part of the scheme.”

Boris Johnson MP: “Calling this application in provided me with an opportunity to visit the site and to have a detailed look at a development which proposes to create a significant number of jobs in an area crying out for office space.

“I have been acutely aware of the strength of feeling about the heritage of the site and I am pleased we were able to negotiate the retention of two historic buildings within this development.

“Our city is a major draw for businesses and that’s why it is of critical importance we get on with building the office space needed for the 860,000 new jobs that will be created in the next 20 years.”

There’s more info (and a video) here

Image: British Land/AHMM