Hackney Planning Committee to rule on Hammerson application

Dear OPEN Shoreditch supporter,

You should by now have received notification about the Hackney
Planning Committee meeting to decide on the planning application on
the Hammersons development on land between Shoreditch High Street
and Worship Street, which includes the demolition of the Light Bar.

The meeting will take place at Hackney Town Hall at 6.30 pm this
Thursday (24th of July).

This is a special meeting and it is not on the list of planning
meetings on Hackney website.

It is very important that local people show up at this meeting to
show the councillors who will be making a decision that we care about
our area.

We are very unhappy that Hackney is rushing this decision forward
before the new boundaries of the expanded Shoreditch Conservation
Area are decided- The Light had been recommended for inclusion in the
conservation area by the independent consultants.

If you haven’t received notification about this meeting from Hackney
it means that your objection must have been lost. I visited Hackney
planning department to have a look at the files of the Bishop’s Place
development and was very shocked at the appalling state in which the
important documents were kept.
If Hackney have lost your objection please object again to
Andrew.Dillon@hackney.gov.uk (planning application ref 2227/2007) and
complain to Hackney, or let us know and we will make a complaint on
your behalf.

We hope to see you at the meeting,

OPEN Shoreditch coordinator

Growing fears for Shoreditch’s industrial heritage

17 June 2008 – http://www.victorian-society.org.uk/news/69525/growing_fears_for_shoreditchs_industrial_heritage.html

News that a Victorian workshop in the Shoreditch High Street Conservation Area may soon be boarded up and left to rot has been met with alarm by the Victorian Society, which fears that the move could lead to the building’s demolition.

6 Bowl Court

One of a fast-decreasing number of nineteenth [century] buildings linked to Shoreditch’s furniture-making past, 6 Bowl Court retains much of its original character and features, including paired taking-in doors on the second floor and a simple beam hoist. Although thought to be late-Victorian, evidence suggests that the building may contain parts of an earlier structure. Its neighbour, 5 Bowl Court, was demolished without conservation area consent some time between 2004 and 2006. Now campaigners fear that the eviction of squatters from the building could mark the first stage in the eventual destruction of 6 Bowl Court and herald the erasure of yet more of the East End’s industrial heritage.

‘We’re very worried about 6 Bowl Court,’ said Heloise Brown, Conservation Adviser of the Victorian Society. ‘An intriguing building which adds a great deal of character to Shoreditch, the workshop is a valuable part of the High Street Conservation Area. Buildings like this are a physical record of the development of the East End. To destroy them is to strip London of its past.’

GLA Draft Plan for the ‘City Fringe’ – please act now! Deadline: 4th July

Dear Local Community Groups Leaders in and around Weavers and the
Shoreditch area, concerned residents and small local businesses,

Consultation deadline: July 4th – please print and send the letter
attached, signed by you/your group or write your own.Important: Please
forward or deliver the objection letter to all your members, neighbours
and friends.
The GLA is currently taking comments on its Draft Plan for the “City

This very important document will determine the future of Bethnal Green,
Shoreditch, Hoxton, Old Street and the surrounding areas.

The main thrust of the GLA’s plans for us is tower blocks.

The GLA wants tower blocks to stretch from the bottom of Shoreditch High
St to the Rich Mix Centre on Bethnal Green Road. The GLA doesn’t want to
set a height on these tower blocks. Every single site the GLA has
earmarked as being suitable for high-rise, high density development is a
site developers are already planning to build on.

Some of these planned developments are 50 storeys high. The Gherkin is 40
storeys high.

If this document goes through as it is it will give a legal framework to
the GLA’s and the developers’ plans.

But we can protest; we can be heard en mass. Join the fight to stop over
and inappropriate development by signing and sending off this letter.

You must put your full address, including postcode, on the attached
letter.  Your voice counts, together we will be heard, alone we are lost.

Help stop the march of the towers and protest TODAY.

This is a residential area! Where will they stop?

To look at the GLA’s document go to http://www.london.gov.uk/mayor/planning/docs/cityfringe/foreword.pdf or
call the GLA on 020 7983 4100.

Remember – the consultation ends on July 4 – if you don’t write the GLA
will count silence as support.

From: Save Shoreditch Campaign – trying to keep everyone informed.

Battlelines drawn in city squat eviction

(Taken from https://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2008/06/400115.html)

On the front line of Londons expanding city fringe, opposing sides are squaring up for battle. On 4th June at Gee Street Magistrates Court, property giant Hammerson will seek a possession order on a Victorian warehouse that has been left empty and open to the elements since attempts to gain consent to demolish the building failed.  Located in the Shoreditch High Street Conservation Area, the warehouse at 6 Bowl Court has been occupied and run as an autonomous social centre since March.

Having fixed the gaping holes in the roof and replacing the stairs previously removed to discourage squatters, the group has been putting on non commerical events such as films screenings, concerts, art exhibitions and public meetings. Perhaps it is the later which has drawn the wrath of Hammerson as the social centre has hosted discussions relating to the campaigns against Hammerson massive development plans for the Shoreditch area. The group running the community space attempted to initiate negotiations over the building which Hammerson have indicated they have no immediate plans for but the property giant has refused to engage.

It is clear that the future consent for demolition of the classic east end warehouse would be much easier to obtain without people actively looking after the building which had previously been left to rot. No doubt the company would also prefer that their property didn’t become a hub for community resistance against their future plans.

More than 5,000 people have already signed petitions against Hammerson plans to demolish the popular Light bar next to the Bishops Place development. Other challenges facing Hammerson include the residents of North Folgate declaring themselves an independent self governed parish after discovery that the ancient autonomous liberty may never have been abolished. The eviction of the social centre may backfire for Hammerson as its users focus their energy on campaigns against the development plans rather than maintaining the building and providing a non commercial venue for community activities.

Using a front company called RT Group Property Investments Ltd, Hammerson are trying to pull a fast one with their repossession claim. They’ve including not just the property which has been squatted but also about half a dozen other fronting Shoreditch High Street, many of which are occupied by people with tenancies or leases. Attempting to apply a trespass claim on such premises is a blatant abuse of process but the people in those properties are unaware of the threat as the court papers have only been served on the squatters.

Tomorrows court case will therefore see the unusual situation of squatters defending those with tenancies and other titles from the threat of unlawful eviction. Should the company get away with their dastardly duplicity, it will put them on the fast track to clearing a vast block of land for their hideous skyscraper plans. Social centre website = http://bowlcourt.co.nr Local campaign portal site = https://stopthecity.wordpress.com

Liberty Of Norton Folgate

Until being allegedly absorbed into the Borough of Stepney in 1900 Norton Folgate, was a small self governing enclave outside the administrative system. As in other liberties and immune places in London, the inhabitants of Norton Folgate were not always wholly law-abiding; a sanctuary for wenches, dissidents and non-conformers to the established order in Church and State.

Can the autonomous zone of Norton Folgate stop the city expansion? Victoria Huntley picks up the story in our local paper, the East London Advertiser…

Norton Folgate raises flag ready for ‘UDI’

16 May 2008 – By Victoria Huntley  (victoria.huntley@archant.co.uk)

THE tiny enclave around Norton Folgate looks set to raise its flag over London’s East End for a ‘Unilateral Declaration of Independence’ — in a row about bulldozing a popular bar. Developers are applying for planning permission to build a skyscraper and tear down the famous Light bar, housed in a converted 19th century electricity station which used to feet the Great Eastern Railway.

Campaigners fighting to keep the historic building are worried the local planning authority, Hackney Council, will give it the green signal. But now they have found the 200-yard long Norton Folgate ‘liberty’ linking Bishopsgate to Shoreditch may not have been scrapped when the Metropolitan boroughs were created in 1900.

That means it may be outside the authority’s planning jurisdiction — and could have the status of a self-contained district, they are hoping. It’s not just ‘bar’ talk. They reckon they’ve found documents in the Guildhall archives backing their case for ‘UDI.’

That would give Norton Folgate the right to determine its own planning applications and reject decisions made ‘over the border’ by Hackney Council. The campaigners argue they could use the ‘proof’ of Norton Folgate’s independence to mount a legal challenge.

Norton Folgate, once home to Huguenot silk weavers like neighbouring Spitalfields, was originally in the precinct of the Priory and Hospital of St Mary Spital. The land reverted to the Crown during Henry VIII’s Reformation in the 16th century. But a small extra-parochial ‘liberty’ retained its special status and came under the control of St Paul’s Cathedral.

The ‘liberty’ was thought to have been abolished in 1900, when the 28 London metropolitan boroughs including Shoreditch and neighbouring Stepney were set up. The three boundaries drawn up that year between Shoreditch, Stepney and the City of London all converge right in the middle of Norton Folgate, the same boundary today between the successor authorities of Hackney, Tower Hamlets and the City. But the documents at the City’s Guildhall Library apparently refute the belief that the Liberty of Norton Folgate was actually ever abolished.


East Enders once before declared Rhodesia-style ‘UDI’ to make a point about town planning.

The rebellious population of the Isle of Dogs barricaded themselves in from the ‘mainland’ in 1970 in protest at lack of services from Tower Hamlets council, five years after Ian Smith’s colonial government declared ‘UDI’ in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).

The saga of Norton Folgate is perhaps reminiscent of the 1949 Ealing comedy film Passport to Pimlico, starring Stanley Holloway and Betty Warren, where families in a turning behind Victoria railway station discovered an ancient treaty proving their patch of Pimlico is, in fact, part Burgundy in France and thus ‘foreign’ territory.

The Westminster Government attempts to regain control by setting up border controls and cutting off utility services to the rebellious enclave. The ‘Burgundians’ fight back, demanding passengers on the London Underground show passports on Circle Line trains passing through their ‘sovereign’ territory.

Similarly, Norton Folgate is close to Liverpool Street station and also sits on top of the Underground, above the Central Line towards Bethnal Green, commuters are warned.

More Madness

The Liberty of Norton Folgate is also the name of the upcoming album by the British ska band Madness. It will be their ninth studio album. The band have been working on the album for close to three years and it will be their first album of new material since 1999’s Wonderful. The preview video can be found on youtube here. Concerts are on the 24th, 25th, and 26th of June at the Hackney Empire.

Bowl Court occupation

On the 11th April the previously empty warehouse in Bowl Court was opened as an ‘autonomous social centre’. It is described as a participatory project moving towards bringing about radical social change and creating positive alternatives while seeking to address issues of ecological sustainability in temporary urban spaces. Projects in the self organised community space include a giveaway store, film festivals, art exhibitions, benefit concerts, permaculture, political discussions, public meetings, cafe and free school.

The project is already under threat of eviction despite the fact that the owners, Hammerson, have no (public) plans for the building. Eventually they will no doubt manage to obtain planning consent to knock it down, despite it being in a conservation area.

The occupiers have attempted to enter into negotiation with Hammerson but reserved no reply apart from notice of court proceedings for repossession on the 4th June. Hammerson obviously feel it’s not in their interest to allow people to care for the building which previously had gaping holes smashed through the roof and many of its windows torn from their frames. They’d prefer the building to fall into disrepair to help justify it’s eventual demolition.

Bowl Court warehouse and its tower neighbours
The social centre has an open meeting every monday evening from 7pm to discuss use of the space and hear proposals. Email bowlcourt(@)riseup.net or phone 0208 8192596

See http://bowlcourt.co.nr

Conservation area building demolished without consent

On the corner of Plough Yard and Bowl Court there is an empty plot of land full of weeds, litter and deep holes. This used to be a Victorian timber and steel framed warehouse much like the one still standing at number 6. However, 5 Bowl Court was demolished without consent.

Gamma City (now owned by Hammerson) applied for permission to knock down both of the warehouses Bowl Court, which is inside the Shoreditch High Street conservation area. In November 98 the council refused consent for the demolition of number 5 and likewise, permission was also denied for number 6. A year latter and the council was still ardent that there be no permission to demolish the buildings.

Undeterred, the owners tried again with an application that was granted in 2002 (application 2002/1061 see copy of the application and OS map). No letter referring to the decision of the planning board can be found in those case files. However, a thorough hunt of the council website revealed the document below which sheds some light on the matter.

Hammerson was given retrospective permission with conditions when the council found out that the building had been illegally knocked down. They expressed little concern over the loss of the building but rather fussed about the appearance of the empty plot and its hoardings. The conditions specified that Hammerson undertake to certain agreement relating to the remedial site treatment, ongoing use of the site and that the site be maintained in an orderly and tidy condition at all times. No further correspondence on these agreement could be found by us and it’s clear from the rubbish and dangerous holes that Hammerson have not been held to those conditions.

Planning Sub Committee –18.12.2006
ADDRESS: 1 Plough Yard / 5 – 8 Bowl Court.
WARD: Shoreditch.

APPLICATION NUMBER(S): Relating to conditions pursuant to application reference 2002/1061.


Covering letter from DP9 received 6th October 2006.

REPORT AUTHOR: Andrew Dillon. VALID DATE: 06/11/2002

APPLICANT: Hammersons plc, 10 Grosvenor Street London W1K 4BJ.
AGENT: DP9, Cassini House, 57 – 59 St James’s Street, London SW1A 1LD.


The removal of condition 2 of Conservation Area Consent reference 2002/1061 :

“The demolition works hereby permitted shall not be carried out otherwise than as part of the completion of development for which planning permission was granted on 11th November 2003 and such demolition and development shall be carried out without interruption and in complete accordance with the plans referred to in this consent and any subsequent approval of details”


Conservation Area YES (Shoreditch High Street Conservation Area).
Listed Building (Statutory) NO
Listed Building (Local) NO
Defined Employment Area YES



1.1 The Planning Committee at their meeting of 11 November 2003 resolved that Planning Permission and Conservation Area Consent be granted subject to conditions and the applicant entering into a planning agreement pursuant to Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act and Section 278 of the Highways Act 1980. Please note that the original planning report is attached.

1.2 As the Section 106 Agreement has not been engrossed planning permission is yet to be granted. Subsequent to the resolution of the Planning Committee in 2003 and the preparation of the a draft Section 106 Agreement the applicant has requested that condition 2 of the planning permission be removed. Consequently this variation report has been prepared to seek Members endorsement for these proposed changes.


1. The site is located at the rear of Shoreditch High Street, fronting Bowl Court. To the north of the site is Plough Yard, which is a narrow road connecting with Shoreditch High Street. To the east of the site fronting Shoreditch High Street are four and five storey Victorian properties, which are in commercial use at ground floor level, with a mixture of residential, commercial/ offices uses on upper storeys. A railway viaduct is located to the west of the site.

2. The site previously accommodated two buildings (5 & 6 Bowl Court, surrounded by open areas used for car parking. One of these buildings (5 Bowl Court) has subsequently been demolished and this part of the site is screened off by hoardings.


1. 2002/0954 – Erection of 5 storey and 6 storey buildings and conversion of existing 4 storey building with roof extension at 4th floor level to provide 2647sqm of office (Class B1) floorspace and 4 x 2 bedroom flats together with basement parking for 8 cars – Approved (Subject to conditions and completion of s106 agreement) – November 2003. The S106 agreement has not been signed to date and the development has not been implemented.

2. 2002/1061 – Conservation Area Consent for the demolition of 5 Bowl Court (pursuant to the above application) – Approved (Subject to Conditions) – November 2003.

3. Planning and Conservation Area Consent was refused for the demolition of the existing building for office and residential uses on 11th and 17th May 1999 and 1998 respectively. The applicant appealed against the council’s decision and both appeals were dismissed in April 2000.


4.1 The site is located within the Shoreditch High Street Conservation Area.


4.1 Date Statutory Consultation Period Started (Reconsultation):

4.2 Site Notice: No

4.3 Press Notice: No


5.5 23 neighbouring occupiers consulted. One letter of objection
received. Issues raised include:
o Condition prevents building being demolished except as part of a redevelopment of the site, providing control over the future development of the site.
o Adjacent building was previously demolished and is now used as a car park.


EQ1 – Development requirements
EQ12 – Protection of Conservation Areas
E2 – Development within Defined Employment Areas
E5 – Retention of sites and Floorspace within Employment Areas
E18 – Planning Standards


7.1 The Planning Sub Committee resolved in November 2003 to grant Conservation Area Consent (Ref: 2002/1061) for the demolition of 5 Bowl Court subject to conditions. Condition 2 of the draft planning permission states that; ‘The demolition works hereby permitted shall not be carried out otherwise than as part of the completion of development for which planning permission was granted on 11th November 2003 and such demolition and development shall be carried out without interruption and in complete accordance with the plans referred to in this consent and any subsequent approval of details’.

2. The S106 concerning the full planning application (2002/0954) was never signed, as such no final decision has been issued in relation to both the full planning and the conservation area consent applications.

3. Subsequently the land owner “Gamma City Developments Limited” proceeded to demolish number 5 Bowl Court due to problems with Squatters. This demolition does not benefit from planning permission.

4. Gamma City Developments Ltd have recently been bought by Hammersons plc. Hammersons plc have brought this matter to our attention (no enforcement complaint has ever been received) and wish to regularise the planning situation to avoid the possibility of future enforcement action by the council. Hammersons are currently drawing up future plans for the site and do not intend to progress with planning application 2002/0954.

5. The Inspector dealing with the previous appeals on this site concluded that number 6 Bowl Court was of sufficient architectural merit to warrant its retention, but raised no objection to the demolition of number 5 Bowl Court. The same position was taken by the Planning Sub Committee in November 2003.

6. Given that the Council has not previously raised any objection to the demolition of number 5 Bowl Court, it is not considered expedient or appropriate to require the re-erection of number 5 Bowl Court. It is also not possible to require the owner of the site to complete and implement planning permission 2002/0954.

7.7 Notwithstanding this, it is important that the Council, retains control over the appearance of the site, to minimise any adverse impact on the character and appearance of the Shoreditch High Street Conservation Area. It is considered that the best way of achieving this aim, is to attach an alternative condition requiring details to be submitted and approved concerning remedial site treatment, hoardings and use.


8.1 It is considered that in the circumstances, the most approiate course of action is to grant retrospective Conservation Area Consent for the demolition of 5 Bowl Court, substituting Condition 2 for an alternative condition requiring details of proposed hoardings and temporary site treatment.


9.1 That members resolve to agree the removal of condition 2 of Conservation Area Consent Reference 2002/1061 subject to the inclusion of and the following condition:


10.1 Within 3 months of the date of this approval, detailed drawings/full particulars of the proposed development showing the matters set out below must be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. Such details to be implemented in accordance with a timescale to be agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority to comprise:

* Details of proposed boundary enclosure, such as hoardings.
* Details of proposed remedial site treatment.
* Details of proposed temporary uses of site.

In addition, the site at all times, shall be maintained in an orderly and tidy condition.

REASON: To ensure the site is kept in a secure and tidy condition so as to safeguard environmental and visual amenity in the Shoreditch High Street Conservation area.


Hammersons master plan

Developer Hammerson plan to eradicate Shoreditch and expand the north western fringe of the City of London. The first phase is already under way with the Northgate Development (also known as Bishops Place) next to the Broadgate Tower. It is situated at the southern end of Shoreditch High Street bounded by Worship Street, Bowl Court, Curtain Road, Norton Folgate and Hearn Street. Bishops Place’s critics are particularly opposed to the planned demolition of The Light, a former electrical power station dating back to 1893 which now houses a popular bar and restaurant.

Construction may not start till perhaps as far off as 2010 since full planning permission has not yet been awarded but Hammerson are confident and have already started to clear the site by removing the old railway viaduct. Development time is estimated at 6 and a half years.

Galloway, in whose Bethnal Green & Bow constituency the Bishop’s Place scheme would be built, has called for the Hammerson development to be halted.

He said: “We need to send a clear message to developers that whilst London does need regeneration, we do not want a situation where skyscrapers are being built at all costs, with no respect for the surrounding environment. Are the people of the East End literally to be overshadowed by the City of London, the richest square mile on earth?”

Hammerson also plan to build a massive tower on a traffic island in Shoreditch and a series of towers stretching from west to east through the derelict Bishopsgate Goodsyard. The Shoreditch Tower is a joint venture with the City of London and would be built over the railway like Broadgate Tower. Then there is the Bishopsgate Goodsyard parcel – even larger in scale at over 10.

Further reading

Save The Light

Built in 1893, this former power station is an historic landmark. It is the first building that you see in Hackney when you approach from the City and as such it separates two very different areas. Now Hammerson would like to demolish the building and erect a 53 storey tower block in it’s place.

Hackney Council has ignored advice of English Heritage and its own independent advisors who say that The Light building should be included in the Shoreditch High Street conservation area. Hackney Council prefers to support Hammerson’s overbearing development.

This is not the first time that The Light has been threatened in this way. In 2004 a smaller scheme proposed to demolish The Light. With the help of over 1500 friends and customers The Light was saved. We can defend it again with your help.

We believe that to demolish The Light is wholly unnecessary:

  • The Light is a landmark building – the first seen by those entering Hackney from the City of London. The proposals do not include an appropriate replacement to the street scene
  • The Light supports a thriving business employing local people
  • The social and industrial heritage represented by The Light would benefit a modern scheme by adding variety of scale and design
  • We believe the full scheme could be re-designed and go ahead without the need to demolish The Light

There is future community value in retaining The Light.

The Light E1 building

Please make your views known to the Hackney Council, you can make your views known in a number of ways:

Sign the online petition, or one of the petitions at The Light, 233 Shoreditch High Street. Over 5,000 people have already signed!

If you are a Hackney resident you can write to the Council, addressing your letter / e-mail to your local Councillor who can raise the matter on your behalf.

To find out who your local Councillor is and their email address visit: http://www.hackney.gov.uk/w-wards-list.htm

Secondly, you can write or e-mail to the planning department if you are not a Hackney resident, stating why you think The Light should be saved at:

Planning Department – Hackney Town Hall
Mare Street, Hackney E8 1EA

Or e-mail for the planning department: andrew.dillon@hackney.gov.uk

You can also speak to your local Councillor or officers of the Council, either by telephone or in person. Please bear in mind that it would be helpful to make an appointment or go to one of their Surgerys if you want to speak to someone in person.

Further info:
You might be interested in the book ‘The Great Eastern Light’ by J.E. Connor published in 2000, available for download here. To request a printed copy of the book please e-mail zoen@stirlingackroyd.com with your name and address.