Bishopsgate Goodsyard top of new Mayor’s planning agenda

Designs for the Bishopsgate Goodsyard development. Photograph: Hammerson plc
Called in: Boris Johnson has left his successor Sadiq Khan to decide on plans for Bishopsgate Goodsyard. Photograph: Hammerson plc

Sadiq Khan is the newly-anointed Mayor of London, and one of the first items in his inbox is the Bishopsgate Goodsyard.

This site, once a railway depot on the cusp of the City of London, lies derelict and is predictably coveted by developers who put forward a scheme including skyscrapers of 38 and 46 storeys full of luxury flats and offices but with hardly any affordable homes.

Tower Hamlets Council rejected the plan. But it was deemed of strategic importance for London and was “called in” by Boris Johnson, whose own planning officers recommended he too should spurn it.

Instead, Mr Johnson left the decision for his successor – hence a question mark still overshadows the site.

The Goodsyard is a test case. Its opponents have rightly protested that luxury flats are out of reach of ordinary people.

The election of Sadiq Khan as Mayor of London could mean a golden chance for the plans to be completely reimagined so the site provides facilities Londoners really need.

This does not mean not developing – far from it, because London sorely needs new homes.

What it means is using “call ins” to advance the interests of Londoners rather than riding roughshod over local democracy.

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