The Bishopsgate Goodsyard :
A Manifesto for a world-class place in a world-class city


Introduction

This manifesto puts forward a vision to create long-term value for all Londoners. It capitalises on the opportunity to initiate a community led development for this publicly owned site – for the public good rather than solely for private profit.

The present ownership, location and size of the site offers the scope to deliver many public benefits and facilities that would enhance the local area socially, economically and culturally and, in many respects, are desperately needed but cannot be delivered by any other site in central London. Such a development would provide wider benefits to the London boroughs of Hackney and Tower Hamlets and also to the City, as the financial hub of the country.

The location, form and character of the site offer the opportunity to develop a new neighbourhood of both local significance and national identity that can integrate seamlessly with the surrounding neighbourhoods. The Goodsyard presently divides Spitalfields and Shoreditch whereas this Manifesto proposes that the Goodsyard be developed to join these areas to form a symbolic core of the East End to better compliment the core of the West End on the other side of the City.

The manifesto sets out a series of initiatives, by way of a brief to guide a new community led masterplan, under a series of headings as follows:

Uses

Social and key worker housing to be developed by, or in partnership with, the local authorities to deliver truly affordable housing to accommodate teachers and nurses and other essential trades and professions that are presently priced out of the area.

This is the site, being effectively state owned and closest to the City, that can also be developed to provide housing for firefighters, train drivers, paramedics, bomb disposal experts and whatever other emergency services the City may require at very short notice to attend events or catastrophes within the City that are presently obliged to travel in from the suburbs.

Use the railway arches to support a more creative and diverse night time economy of live music and theatre venues. The massive construction of these arches is well suited to such use, ensuring that they do not disturb residents but close to the network of local bars and restaurants and with excellent public transport facilities.

Use of the railway arches to support trades that are being pushed out elsewhere such as car repair. 

Develop a small independent business cohort (as in Paris) to gather mutually supportive businesses within single working areas and to actively promote employment of local people and enhance local trades, apprentices, training and skills.

Provide significant workspace for the Tech industries of a layout that allows companies to grow quickly without having to move. Such buildings to be economic, flexible and sustainable in their technology and layout, eschewing ostentatious and wasteful reception lobbies, board rooms, wasteful raised floors and unhealthy air conditioning systems.

A Tech City Garden where everything grows, inspired by the vision for the Eden Centre and operated on the model so successfully pioneered by university science parks, which permit exponential growth of bio and digital technology businesses. These can start as two folk and a computer in a garage and within months, scale to employing dozens and then 100s. Space constraints impede such growth.

The previous developers referenced the Barbican in their justification of the scale of the project and the height of the residential towers but failed to offer any of the cultural facilities that make the Barbican development such a valued part of the City of London. The site and its location would, for instance, be most appropriate for a Shakespearean Theatre, another Tower Hamlets “Ideas Store”, a mini Eden Centre for Smart Cities, a Tech City Business School and a Populist Arts Centre.

Accessibility

Develop a far greater degree of permeability onto and through the site that might incorporate additional pedestrian crossings over the railway lines, connecting existing north/south routes through Spitalfields to the south of the site with their counterpart routes to the north of the site in Bethnal Green, off Redchurch Street and through the Boundary Estate so that the site once again joins these surrounding areas rather than separates them.

Resolve the essential dilemma of the Goodsyard development whereby the desire to integrate the area with its historic neighbours may conflict with the desire to retain the historic fabric of the Goodsyard that so destructively divided these neighbours in the 19th century.

Reopening Braithwaite Street to traffic, even if it is for taxis and service vehicles only, so it becomes a living part of the City again and relieves congestion on the Shoreditch one way system.

Environment

Maximise the scope of public green space offered by the park over the Goodsyard arches. Do not populate or dilute it with further buildings or extensive hard landscaping, 

Develop a highly articulated, green and populated roof-scape and adopt a 100% green roof policy over the whole development.

Provide free charging for electric cars and bikes.

Provide publicly accessible free superfast broadband Wi-Fi throughout the site.

Provide publicly accessible air pollution monitoring points within the site.

Bridge open space and gardens over Brick Lane to connect with Allen Gardens and beyond to create a public park of much greater scale by linking existing areas of open space already in place.

Adopt ideas developed by the 2012 “A High Line for London” competition for the development of open space in the Goodsyard.

Scale

Develop Bethnal Green Road along the north side of the site with a series of 8 to 10 storey "office" buildings to match, reinforce and support the character of the Tea Building, using this building as a successful model of how digital economy businesses can be accommodated within a much simpler and more sustainable architecture than is currently offered in the City.

These buildings should link closely and sympathetically with the north wall of the Goodsyard to create a robust and urbane working environment for the continuing expansion of the media, fashion and tech industries. Such buildings should offer multiple and diverse means of occupancy, as pioneered so successfully by university science parks. 
 
Heritage

Retention of London Road in its current roofed over and mysterious form as a unique urban environment, not to be sanitised to suit conversion to a typical shopping mall environment by removing sections of the ‘roof’ as this destroys both its character below and loses valuable green space above.

The development should accept that what remains of the historic fabric of the Goodsyard is invaluable and should be retained and repaired in its entirety and not further demolished and adapted to suit commercial expediency and random visions of want might be marketable or more ‘attractive’. Work with what is there.

Design concepts

Reveal and emphasise the distinct identity of the Goodsyard by reference to the historic structure and remaining historic spaces so that the resulting development can once again tell the story of this significant element of East London, linking it with the story of Spitalfields, Brick Lane, Shoreditch and the Boundary Estate for example. The future is not the future if it loses its past.

Build upon the distinctive character and tradition of the Shoreditch warehouse and showroom buildings, comprising large characterful buildings built with a high degree of civic pride and a human scale.

Signed

More Light More Power

A campaign coordinated by:

East End Trades Guild
East Shoreditch Neighbourhood Planning Forum
Friends of Arnold Circus
The Hackney Society
Jago Action Group
Open Shoreditch
St Leonards Church, Shoreditch
St Hildas Community Centre
The Spitalfields Society
The Shoreditch Community Association
Spitalfields Neighbourhood Planning Forum
The Spitalfields Historic Buildings Trust (The Spitalfields Trust)
The Spitalfields Community Group
Friends of Christchurch Spitalfields
Tower Hamlets Federation of Tenants and Residents Associations
The East End Preservation Society
Rochelle Creative Studios
Create Streets

And supported by tens of thousands of Londoners who signed our petition

 

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