The development boom over the last decade means that vacant sites have become increasingly scarce, especially in key central London locations. However, one such site, for which planning consent has just been granted, is Bishopsgate Goodsyard in Shoreditch, East London.
Bishopsgate Goodsyard is a 4.4 ha site next to Shoreditch High Street London Overground Station. It is just to the east of the City of London financial district and is within two London boroughs, Tower Hamlets and Hackney.
A short history might aid understanding of the scheme: The Bishopsgate Goodsyard site was once a major rail freight terminal first opened in 1840. The buildings here were damaged by a fire in 1964 and the site has been largely derelict and unused since.
The site was purchased from Railtrack by The Goodsyard, a Ballymore and Hammerson plc joint venture, in 2002. Since 2011 it has been partly occupied by meantime uses – the Boxpark shipping container-based pop-up shopping and dining venue and the Powerleague football pitches.
Relevant to these plans is the way in which the local area has changed in the time the site has been derelict. Shoreditch and the surrounding area are part of London’s one-time industrial, working class East End. Badly affected by WWII bombing and then industrial decline, the area became rundown and unappealing by the late 20th century. Over the last couple of decades however it has emerged as a ‘cool’ area and a desirable place to live, work and spend leisure time. The area has undergone a degree of gentrification, become attractive as a place for future-facing businesses as well as small independent businesses to locate, and land and residential property values have increased considerably.