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Move to save bar hits £700m City development

A popular drinking bar is holding up plans for a £700 million redevelopment in east London.

Under Hammerson’s Bishop’s Place project on the edge of the City, the developer wants to build a mixed-use scheme featuring nearly 90,000 sq m of office space, along with 300 apartments plus hotel and leisure space.

But Hackney Borough Council has now told Hammerson it needs to look into whether it needs to knock down the Light Bar currently on the site.

The Victorian watering hole is popular with scores of City workers and the council has asked Hammerson to look at alternatives which could ensure the project going ahead and the bar remaining intact.

Hammerson and its architect, Foster + Partners, have said they are not able to keep the bar and maintain the quality of building design and permeability of the site. A 51-storey skyscraper has been planned in its place.

The developer’s project director Joanna Axon said: “We are disappointed with the decision to defer the scheme given how many years we have been in discussions with the council.

“The report from the council’s own officers’ report clearly highlighted that the loss of the building was acceptable as a result of the benefits being delivered.”

The council said the scheme would likely return to the planning committee after fresh discussions regarding the bar had been held. No timeframe was given. Ms Axon said: “We will now be carefully examining the councillors’ decision before we decide how to move forward.”

Campaign group Save Shoreditch has been fighting to keep the building at the site and has collected a petition of some 7,000 signatures.