Save Brick Lane

June 2022

The proposed corner of Brick Lane and Woodseer Street
The proposed corner of Brick Lane and Woodseer Street

The Spitalfields Trust, along with the Save Brick Lane Coalition, has been at the centre of a battle over the future of Brick Lane that has struck at the heart of problems with local democracy in deciding important planning applications.

 In September 2021 Tower Hamlets Council granted consent for a large floorplate office development with a retail parade at ground level. The new building will be over twice the height of the two-story terraced houses facing the development its south side and in both massing and use will wholly undermine the character of the Brick Lane and Fournier Street Conservation Area within which it sits.

The economy of Brick Lane still supports many small-scale independent businesses and is popular for its varied character. This large, expensive development will both change the physical character of the area but will introduce more corporate businesses, increasing the rental prices of the street making it far less affordable for the community that lives in the area.

Proposed view of the east end of New Dray Walk and Black Eagle Yard
Proposed view of the east end of New Dray Walk and Black Eagle Yard

The scheme attracted 7,476 letters and emails of objection from all over the UK and abroad but was decided by just three local Councillors and approved by two. There have been a number of battles over big, insensitive corporate schemes in Spitalfields and Banglatown but this has pulled together the Bangladeshi community, heritage groups, trades guilds, artists and businesses in way not seen or experienced before.

Key reasons for our opposition of this development include:

– The scheme brings no benefits to the community

– It represents the first proposed redevelopment of part the Truman Brewery site– a very large under-developed site worthy of a masterplan

– The historic importance of the area not reflected in the over-scaled massing and insensitive uses

-The area is currently predominantly made up of small buildings which are inherently flexible and characterful and which give the area a future, whereas the proposals are expensive (to build and run) large corporate offices

The Spitalfields Trust, supported by the Coalition challenged Tower Hamlets approval of the scheme at the High Court in June 2022. The legal grounds for the challenge included the exclusion of Councillors on the planning committee from voting to determine the application’s decision and not permitting the public to speak at the final planning committee meeting.

To help us Save Brick Lane from the soulless creep of the City and protect the area’s independence, history and community please support us.

For more information, please see the Battle for Brick Lane website.