Whitechapel Bell Foundry (17)

I was asked last night for the current situation on the Bell Foundry.

Robert Jenrick, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, has told Tower Hamlets that planning permission to turn it into a hotel is temporarily suspended whilst he and his officials consider whether or not to call it in. He is now back in office today, so is likely to make this decision sooner rather than later, based on the submissions which have so far been made to the Planning Casework Unit in Birmingham (pcu@communities.gov.uk).

If you have not already written, please do. The decision will be based, as I understand it, on whether or not Tower Hamlets have followed correct procedures in granting permission (they have not tested whether or not the Foundry can be kept as a Foundry), whether or not this can be judged an issue of national and international interest, and the politics of either allowing or refusing permission.

My general view is that in writing you should stress that this is an issue of not merely local, but national and international concern; that there is a perfectly viable and financially sustainable plan for keeping the Foundry as a Foundry, drawn up by the United Kingdom Historic Building Preservation Trust; and that the Foundry is uniquely important in a way that a boutique hotel is not.

Then, light a candle, ring a bell, and pray !

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