The current development proposal is a joint venture between Hammerson and Ballymore Group. It takes up 4.2 hectares (11.6 acres i.e. 7.5 international football pitches) of former railway land, between Shoreditch, Spitalfields, Brick Lane and the City of London.
It is within two boroughs, Hackney and Tower Hamlets. Shoreditch overground station is the borough boundary.
The latest plans unveiled by the developers in June 2015 consist of 1,356 residential units, over 65,000 sqm of office space and over 17,000 sqm of retail space; two towers 46 and 38 storeys high (the tallest is 177m almost the same height as the Gherkin) five further towers between 17 and 30 storeys high, and a large floorplate office building twice the height of the Tea Building.
A public green space of 7,800sqm is included in the current plans. However, it will be overshadowed by towers in the afternoon and evening during the summer months meaning residents and visitors alike will only see limited benefit from this space.
Not more than 10% affordable housing has been proposed. The developer’s “viability statement” which justifies the small amount of affordable housing is confidential. The boroughs say more than 45% affordable housing could be provided, according to an independent report by BNP Paribas. The affordable housing would not be completed until 2027.
The office space and retail space has not been designed to suit the independent traders and enterprises who characterise the area and there are no guarantees that it would be affordable.
It would take 17 years to build and would change Shoreditch and Brick Lane forever. There's no going back.
Developers say: This development is the most profitable way to provide much-needed housing with plenty of employment created.
We say: Five towers filled with private, luxury apartments will not serve any purpose for local people or the housing waiting list. The development will not suit the needs of the Tech businesses and local enterprises that need to grow in this area. We don’t have to accept this domineering, anti-social solution.
HISTORY and RECENT HISTORY
The Goodsyard is the name of the former Bishopsgate Goods Yard site, the area that surrounds Shoreditch High Street Station, and is owned by Network Rail. It was a rail transport hub since the 1840s, and is "one of the most extensive and evocative brick railway structures." But in 1964 a fire left the site mostly derelict.
In 1998 as the Corporation of London eyed up the Goodsyard for office expansion it re-named a wide area "The City Fringe". After a battle involving the East London Line, parliament, the Corporation of London, English Heritage, Mayor Ken Livingstone and Prince Charles half the railway arches were demolished to provide flat ground for an office development with the East London Line extension built across the site.
In 2002 developers Hammerson paid £63 million for interests in 24 former Railtrack properties and entered into a 50:50 partnership with Ballymore on the Goodsyard. After twelve years Hammerson and Ballymore submitted a planning application. During that time "Interim Planning Guidance" for the Goodsyard was agreed however the current proposals go against many of the main principles of that guidance. The two tallest towers were planned as office blocks but became residential towers in the planning application.
The site is now back on the map since the Overground line opened in 2010, with Boxpark and 5-a-side football providing interim uses.