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Super-rich properties will kill Tech City say Shoreditch entrepreneurs

12:35 26 August 2014

Aerial view of proposed Bishopsgate development

Aerial view of proposed Bishopsgate development

Archant

A “ghetto of super-rich and overseas investors” will be created if an £800million plan for 1,500 flats goes ahead, according to a Tech City petition.

Property giant Hammerson wants to turn the five-hectare former Bishopsgate Goods Yard off Shoreditch High Street into six towers, some up to 800ft tall.

The site has been derelict for 50 years after the rail terminal was destroyed by fire in 1964.

The new plans would also create about 60,000 square metres of commercial and retail space.

But entrepreneurs in Tech City oppose the plans, which they say would not only cast a shadow stretching as far as Old Street roundabout, but would also kill the growth of Europe’s largest tech start-up cluster.

Ben Southworth, co-founder of content, promotion and events company 3 Beards, who has set up the Tech City Says No campaign, said: “The flats would create a ghetto of the super-rich and overseas investors in Shoreditch with the flats selling for up to £1.5m and creating their own residential micro-economy.

“This is not what we want this area to become.”

Others who are supporting the campaign have said the area has already been losing valuable commercial space to luxury flats.

Jane Ni Daulchaointigh, inventor and CEO of Surgu, a flexible new material that sets to rubber overnight, said: “It took us ages to find the right kind of property and we’re so keen to hold on to it because our building used to be entirely commercial but now we’re the only business left.”

The proposals, which were submitted to both Hackney and Tower Hamlets councils in June, also face opposition from campaign group More Light More Power.

Lead activist David Donoghue stated that the plans would “turn our thriving Tech City into ghost city.”

Positives highlighted by Hammerson include the restoration of the Braithwaite Viaduct, one of the world’s oldest railway structures and a 2.4-acre park.

Hammerson’s chief executive David Atkins said: “Change is always going to attract people’s views – but we’re confident that once built it will be a positive addition to east London.”

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