Height and massing of 1,300-home scheme has ‘unacceptable and avoidable’ negative impacts

Boris Johnson’s own planning officers have advised him to refuse permission for the controversial Bishopsgate Goodsyard scheme featuring towers by PLP.

The Mayor of London last year used his powers to take over determination for the 4.4 ha scheme from Tower Hamlets and Hackney councils at the request of developers Hammerson and Ballymore.

The proposal, which straddles part of the boundary between the two east London authorities in Shoreditch, would provide up to 1,356 new homes and 65,000m2 of commercial space in 12 new buildings of up to 46 storeys in height, the tallest elements of which were designed by PLP.

After Johnson announced he would decide the scheme’s fate himself, both Tower Hamlets and Hackney said they would reject the Goodsyard proposals left to their own devices.

A 131-page report released ahead of a mayoral determination meeting next week reveals that Greater London Authority planners are giving Johnson the same advice.

It says that while the redevelopment of the Goodsyard site is supported by the mayor, the current proposals would result in “unacceptable and avoidable significant negative impacts”.

In particular, the GLA planning officers said the scheme’s density, height, massing and layout are “not appropriate” and would affect the daylight of the local area near the northern side of the development that “could not be justified”.

Other reasons for the scheme’s rejection included “substantial harm” to the former railway yard site’s heritage, caused by the proposed demolition of a wall connected to its Grade II-listed Oriel Gateway.

GLA officers also said the development would cause “minor harm” to the setting of the Tower of London, a UNESO World Heritage Site, the Grade I-listed Geffrye Museum, and nearby conservation areas at Redchurch Street, Elder Street, Brick Lane and Fournier Street.

Johnson could go against his officers’ recommendations at the April 18 hearing in public – set to be one the last such event of his tenure as mayor. Johnson has called in 15 schemes over the years and waived through each one.

The Goodsyard scheme has attracted substantial negative reaction since it was first made public two years ago. In a letter to the GLA earlier this year the Spitalfields Society said the proposals were “the most poorly conceived and damaging development” it had ever been asked to review.

Before Johnson took over the scheme, amendments downsizing the scheme’s tallest elements had already been lodged.

As well as PLP, the project design team includes Buckley Gray Yeoman, Chris Dyson Architects, Faulkner Browns Architects and Spacehub.

The Goodsyard site has been largely derelict since a huge fire in the 1960s but in addition to the Oriel Gate it is home to the Grade II-listed Braithwaite Viaduct, due to be preserved in the proposal.