Tuesday, November 30, 2021
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Old Truman Brewery in London to become an office and shopping complex | London

Local councilors have defied months of campaigning, protests and thousands of letters of opposition approving plans for an office block and shopping complex on Brick Lane, London district in the heart of Britain’s Bangladeshi diaspora.

According to the plan, which was approved Tuesday night, the historic Old Truman Brewery buildings, currently home to hundreds of small businesses, will be the foundation for a new “office-led mixed-use facility that includes retail and restaurants.”

Critics of the scheme say it would place a “multi-storey shopping mall” in the heart of the Bangladeshi community in Britain. “Local businesses and people will be driven out of rising rents,” said Apsana Begum, Labor MP for neighboring Poplar and Limehouse.

But supporters insist developers have given Tower Hamlets council assurances that small businesses will not be priced. They say any increase in hiking it brings to the area will benefit neighbor-independent businesses.

Since the cessation of beer production 25 years ago, Old Truman Brewery has become a creative and cultural hub used by 300 mainly small businesses, including 205 so-called micro-enterprises. It has been run by the Zeloof partnership, which charges low rents which, although reflecting the basic character of the place, allowed small traders to gain a foothold.

According to a planning document, 102 of the 103 retail companies and all 16 food and beverage companies at the brewery are independent. The site also contains 20 event rooms, five workshops and 225 marketplaces and houses 160 workplace businesses, mainly in the creative industry.

Record store in the brewery.
Critics complain that the brewery’s shops, cafes and small businesses will be driven from the site. Photo: Daniel Leal-Olivas / AFP / Getty Images

But now Zeloof wants to raze part of the site and reconfigure and expand others, build a five-story office block and dig out a two-story basement. Zeloof says it will continue to keep rents low, but has only committed to reducing 10% of business units and allocating three store spaces to independents – at no discount.

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 sense that “the city is moving east”.

Confidence has pointed out that the market price for the proposed Class A office space is £ 70 per. Square meters — in addition to most small business funds, and more than twice the market rate of “used business space” it is replacing.

“There is a resonance here with ‘cheap’ housing, as opposed to social housing, where the discount on market price is often not enough to make the ‘affordable’ units actually affordable for the local population,” read a document filed for advice.

Nijjor Manush, a campaign group in Bengali and Bangladesh, collected hundreds of signatures from local residents and retailers and helped orchestrate more than 7,300 letters of objection, says its co-founder, Fatima Rajina. There were 82 letters in support of the plan.

Despite that, councilors on Tuesday approved the application by two votes to one. “It shows that they are really not interested in what the residents have to say,” Rajina said.

Kevin Brady, one of the Labor councilors who approved the application, said his role was limited to determining whether it was in line with the council’s planning policy. “It was clear that this did, and therefore there is no reason for refusal,” Brady said said in a statement posted on Twitter.

“I appreciate that there are a large number of people who are against, but that is not in itself a significant planning consideration,” he said before disabling comments on his post.

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