Mayor Boris Johnson has given the go-ahead to controversial plans by architects AHMM for the overhaul of London’s Norton Folgate area.
Tower Hamlets council initially turned down developer British Land’s application last year because of the impact the scheme would have on the local landscape, particularly the part-demolition of Victorian warehouses on Blossom Street.
But the mayor has stepped in and overturned the decision after AHMM made several changes to the plans, including the restoration and repair of the storied industrial architecture.
‘This project takes forward a series of buildings that are plainly in need of modernisation but have lain derelict or abandoned for well over a decade,’ Johnson said at City Hall. ‘They need a solution to be taken forward.’
As part of the approved plans, more than 340,000 sq ft of office space will be created alongside 40 homes, shops and restaurants across seven buildings.
‘The project we have before us today does not frustrate, does not contradict, does not negate the huge effort of conservationists to preserve the fabric of this part of the city,’ added Johnson. ‘I think the sheer scale of the architecture and fabric being preserved vindicates their action.’
Today’s decision also puts an end to a last-minute bid by The Spitalfields Trust – backed by billionaire fashion mogul Troels Holch Povlsen – to take over the site.