Bishopsgate Goods Yard — a prime 10-acre plot between Spitalfields and lively Shoreditch that has been derelict for half a century — is finally set to be replaced by 2,000 new homes and two 55-storey towers masterplanned by Sir Terry Farrell.
© Ken Towner
Developers Ballymore Group and Hammerson Properties are expected to seek approval from Hackney council in early 2014. The goods yard, owned by Network Rail, was ravaged by fire in 1964 and remained in ruins, its redevelopment hampered by recessions and by objections from Prince Charles.
The east London plot isn't the only brownfield site to be getting a makeover by property developers. St James has bought Isleworth House in west London, a Thames-side former convent on a 7.6 acre site with planning permission for 120 retirement homes.
Meanwhile the Duke of Westminster’s development company Grosvenor has ventured out of prime central London with the purchase of a 12-acre former biscuit factory site in Bermondsey which will be used for another 800 properties. Grosvenor’s new acquisition, the factory where Garibaldi and Bourbon biscuits were invented already has planning consent for 800 homes, affordable housing, a public park and could also include office space for small businesses.
The surge in transforming brownfield sites into new homes comes as London property prices are set to rise. Figures released in October 2013 by Hometrack show property prices rose 0.8 per cent in London last month, driven by what it describes as a “chronic lack of supply”. In cash terms, this means an extra £3,112 on the average London home, which is now taking just four weeks to sell.
Estate agents across the capital are complaining about shortage of stock on the market and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation forecasts that by 2022 there will be a shortage of 1.1 million homes in England, mostly in London and the south east.