Sadiq Khan is to retain control of the planning decision over Bishopsgate Goodsyard, despite his chief planner having stated in a previous role that it would be “unacceptable” for City Hall to determine any new application.
CN understands that the Greater London Authority will retain the power to grant planning permission for the mammoth scheme, despite deputy mayor for planning Jules Pipe having stated while mayor of Hackney that any revised designs should be considered by the local councils involved.
A spokesperson for the GLA confirmed that Mr Khan will continue to consider the revised application, though they added that local authorities could “play a role” in the process.
Mr Pipe criticised the GLA’s involvement in April 2016 when he was mayor of Hackney – the borough in which the Goodsyard site is located.
“Any future application for the Goodsyard should come back to be determined by Hackney and Tower Hamlets councils in an open and constructive way, as should always have been the case,” he said at the time.
The statement published on the Hackney council website added: “It would be completely unacceptable for the developers to return to the GLA in a few months having simply shaved off a few floors and made some minor tweaks.”
Revised plans for Bishopsgate Goodsyard were unveiled last week after a two-year hiatus on the development.
The new proposals have reduced the height of the scheme’s towers, with the tallest building reduced from 46 storeys to 29. The number of homes has also been reduced by 250 to 1,356.
Previous designs, which were drawn up by PLP Architecture on behalf of developers Ballymore and Hammerson, had been criticised by local campaign and heritage groups when they were submitted in August 2015.
The new application drawn up by BuckleyGreyYeoman, Spacehub and Chris Dyson Architects is to be submitted as an amendment to the existing 2015 application.
Hackney and Tower Hamlets councils had held joint planning powers over the Goodsyard proposals until former mayor of London Boris Johnson called in the scheme in September 2015 when it was refused planning consent.
The development was recommended for refusal by GLA’s own planning team; however, Mr Johnson never issued a final determination.
At the time, Mr Pipe said he was “disgusted” that the former mayor of London had intervened in the scheme.
In a statement issued after Mr Johnson called the scheme in, Mr Pipe said: “I am disgusted at the decision to call in this development to City Hall for determination.
“IIt shows outrageous disregard for the local democratic planning process and demonstrates complete contempt for the residents and businesses of Hackney and Tower Hamlets.”
Mr Khan inherited the power to determine the application after his predecessor Mr Johnson deferred his decision, placing planning jurisdiction over the site under GLA control for an indefinite period.
As deputy mayor of planning, Mr Pipe is now expected to have delegated powers from the mayor to decide the fate of the new proposals.
A spokesperson for the mayor said: “Boris Johnson called the scheme in, but deferred the decision until he had left City Hall.
“Sadiq then told the developer to amend the proposals. That has now happened and Sadiq will consider the application.”
Asked whether the planning determination would be returned to local authority control, a spokesperson added: “The mayor and his team will consider this application on its merits at a hearing in due course.
“The mayor is keen that both local authorities, together with community groups, can play a role in determining the future of this hugely important site.
“He has asked his planning team to work with Hackney and Tower Hamlets officers to help develop a final proposal that works locally, and representatives of all interested parties will be able to speak directly to the mayor and senior planning officials at the hearing, ahead of any decision.”