Local councilors defied months of campaigning, protests and thousands of letters of objection to approve plans for an office building and shopping complex on Brick Lane, the London at the heart of the Bangladeshi diasporaadaise from the UK.
According to the plan, approved on Tuesday evening, the historic Old The Truman Brewery buildings, which currently house hundreds of small businesses , will become the basis for a new "mixed-use office-led development containing retail and restaurant".
Critics of the project say it would place a "multi-story shopping center " at the heart of the Bangladeshi community in B ritain. "Local businesses and people will be driven out by rising rents," said Apsana Begum, Labor MP for neighboring Poplar and Limehouse.
But supporters insist the developers have given Tower Hamlets advice guarantees that small businesses won't be charged. They say any increase in footfall it will bring to the area profit will be to neighboring independent businesses.
Since stopping beer production 25 years ago, the Old Truman Brewery has grown into a creative and cultural hub used by 300 mainly small businesses, 205 of which are said to be microenterprises. It was managed by the Zeloof Partnership, which practiced low rents which, while reflecting the basic nature of the site, allowed small traders to gain a foothold.
According to a planning document , 102 of the 103 r The brewery's retail and 16 food and beverage businesses are independent. The site also includes 20 event spaces, five workshops and 225 market stall locations, and hosts 160 workspace businesses , mainly in the creative industry.
But now Zeloof wants to raze part of the site and reconfigure and expand others, building a five-story office building and digging a two-story basement. Zeloof says he will continue to keep rents low, but has only committed to reducing business units by only 10% and reserving three retail spaces for independents - with no discounts.
Heloise Palin, of the Spitalfields Trust, said the plan was the latest in a series of redevelopments in the area that had given people a feel for the "City moving towards the city". 'is'.
The trust pointed out that the market rate for the proposed Class A office space is £ 70 per square foot - at beyond the means of most small businesses, and more than twice the market rate for the "second-hand commercial space" it replaces.
" There is a resonance here with "affordable" housing, by opposition to social housing, where the discount to the market price is often not enough to make the units "affordable" really affordable for the local population, "he said in a document filed with the council.
Nijjor Manush, a Bengali and Bangladeshi shi, collected hundreds of signatures from local residents and traders and helped orchestrate over 7,300 letters of opposition , said its co-founder, Fatima Rajina. There were 82 letters in support of the plan.
Despite that on Tuesday, councilors adopted the request by two votes to one. "It shows that they really are not interested in what the residents have to say " said Rajina.
Kevin Brady, the one of the Labor councilors who approved the request, said his role had been restricted. It was a question of deciding whether it was in line with the council 's planning policy. "It was clear that it wasthe case and that there is therefore no reason for refusal ", Brady said in a statement posted on Twitter.
"I appreciate that a lot of people are opposed to it, but it is not, in and of itself, a material planning consideration," he said, before turning off comments on his message.