Tube bosses aim to begin knocking down arches in disputed goods yard to push through East London Line.
London Underground is to apply to start demolition work at the Bishopsgate Goods Yard site on the fringe of the City.

LU believes a successful application to Tower Hamlets council will pave the way for work to begin on the East London Line extension, which is to run through the 4.2 ha site.

The future of the goods yard has been the subject of a messy dispute between a coalition of community groups, fronted by the Prince of Wales, and corporate bodies, led by LU, site owner Railtrack and the Corporation of London.

The Tube plans were hit by the listing of the site's Braithwaite Viaduct in March. LU believed it would have to get listed-building consent to demolish the viaduct's adjoining railway arches – a move regarded as necessary for the construction of the line. This could have delayed the scheme by up to 18 months.

But advice from LU lawyer Wilberforce Chambers has suggested that the demolition of adjoining structures would not require that level of consent. LU is to submit a method statement to Tower Hamlets council in the next two weeks detailing its demolition plans.

LU is putting together a statement that will justify the demolition work

Source close to LU

Sources close to the scheme believe that, if the council agrees that listed-building consent is unnecessary, the scheme could be under way within weeks.

A source close to LU said: "LU is putting together a method statement that will provide a justification of the demolition work."

Local community groups are dismayed by Railtrack's plans.

Not-for-profit developer the Environment Trust, with architect HTA, is developing an alternative community plan for the eastern part of Bishopsgate. Environment Trust development officer Jon Aldenton said the plan would be submitted to the government in the summer.