As the dust settles on the decision by the Secretary of State to delay any decision on planning consent for the re-development of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, it has become clear that there are two potential pitfalls:-
1. In a week’s time, there will be a new Secretary of State. Robert Jenrick has proved himself to be unexpectedly and efficiently supportive of at least delaying the decision. Will the next Secretary of State be equally well disposed towards the heritage ?
2. The statutory agency which has responsibility for protecting the heritage is none other than Historic England. We know their view. They think the plan to turn the Foundry into a hotel is ‘creative, sensitive, and respectful of the historic buildings’, as their Chief Executive, Duncan Wilson, wrote in a letter to the Times on 15 July 2019. So, we need somehow to encourage Historic England to change their view and recognise that it may not be in their public interest to be seen to be accessory to the destruction of one of the supreme pieces of British industrial archaeology. So, the question is, how do we get them to change their view ?