Whitechapel Bell Foundry (51)

We’re moving in to the final stages of our fight to save the Whitechapel Bell Foundry after nearly four years of discussion and debate. Historic England have decided not to appear at the Inquiry. This is intriguing. They have led the support for what the developers are planning to do, they refused to upgrade the listing to Grade 1, they paid no attention to the fact that John Summerson recognised the historic importance of the Foundry in the first edition of Georgian London, published in 1945. Maybe they have realised that they have backed the wrong horse and do not want to be fighting any longer on the wrong side. Maybe it has dawned on them that treating the building only in terms of its building fabric and not in terms of what happened inside was the wrong approach. Whatever the views at Historic England’s headquarters, the public body which has supported the destruction of the bell foundry has withdrawn, leaving Tower Hamlets vulnerable to the view that they, too, have failed to recognise one the greatest heritage assets in the borough, complacently allowing commercial interests to win over local and community value. I hope you will all be watching and praying when the Public Inquiry opens on Tuesday that the Inspector will see that the wrong decision was made by Tower Hamlets Planning Committee and that it is right that that decision should be overturned.

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