This is a simple guide to how to object effectively to the British Land application to redevelop Norton Folgate.

Although the deadline was 12th February, Tower Hamlets Council confirm will accept emails and letters until the Hearing of the Application, which is likely to be in April. Please send comments by mid-March to be sure they are included in the planning officer’s report.

It is important to use your own words and add your own personal reasons for opposing this development. Any letters which simply duplicate the same wording will count only as one objection.

Be sure to state clearly that you are objecting to the application.

The following points are known as material considerations and are valid reasons for Councils to refuse applications:

  1. THE ELDER ST CONSERVATION AREA
  • British Land’s Application proposes the demolition of approximately 75% of the existing buildings on the site, yet the Application lies entirely within the Elder St Conservation Area – including the site of a scheduled Ancient Monument, and numerous listed and locally-listed buildings.
  • The Tower Hamlets Conservation Area Appraisal states:  “Overall this is a cohesive area that has little capacity for change. Future needs should be met by the sensitive repair of the historic building stock.” 

 

  1.  HEIGHT & MASSING 
  • British Land’s Application proposes buildings of 11-13 storeys in a Conservation Area where the predominant height is only 3-4 storeys.
  • British Land’s Application replaces the fine grain of courtyards and distinctive buildings, the result of complex historical evolution, with inflexible monolithic structures based on large floorplates – focusing merely on short-term maximum return on investment.
  • These plans ignore the viability of the area in its current built form.  Small-scale regeneration has worked in Shoreditch and Tech City.
  • Although there a consented (but universally disliked) scheme for the site, these new proposals greatly exceed it in height, in massing, in the loss of open space and in the mistreatment of the remaining historic buildings. 

 

  1.  TREATMENT OF HISTORIC BUILDINGS. 
  • British Land’s Application undervalues the importance of the existing historic buildings, reducing them to shells. 

 

  1.  THE NEW BUILDINGS 
  • The design of new buildings on Norton Folgate, on Fleur de Lys St and on Elder St fail to reflect local character – and are much taller than the existing buildings, reaching a uniform 9-13 storeys, with little graduation. 

 

  1.  CONSULTATION PROCESS 
  • British Land’s consultation process failed to respond meaningfully to local objections, despite their claims to the contrary. From the first public meeting, it was clear that the scheme was already fully-formed. 

 

  1.  HOUSING & JOBS 
  • The proportion of housing is too low and the proportion of affordable housing is disappointing.  British Land’s Application aims to make money at the expense of the needs of the local community.
  • British Land’s focus is on office jobs for non-local people – primarily high-income commuters.  The percentage of retail use, which might provide local jobs, is hugely outweighed by office use.

 

Letters and emails should be addressed to:

Beth Eite
planningandbuilding@towerhamlets.gov.uk
Quoting applications: PA/14/03548 and PA/14/03618
Town Planning, Town Hall, Mulberry Place, 5 Clove Crescent, London, E14 2BG

Panels from the Save Norton Folgate exhibition display are available to download here in pdf format.

Part 1: Stories of Norton Folgate

Part 2: British Land Scheme

Part 3: Spitalfields Trust Scheme