I have been sent a link to an article (see below) written by John Biggs, the former Mayor of Tower Hamlets, about the site on Brick Lane which is currently the subject of a big and vigorously contested planning battle between the owners, who bought the whole of the Truman, Hanbury Buxton site some time ago, and the local community, who are afraid that a bland shopping mall will price out the local Bangladeshi community and so in time destroy the character of the area. As I understand his argument, it is a laissez-faire one: the area has always been subject to change and gentrification is only the latest stage in a long historical process. Why resist it ? But Spitalfields is a fragile ecology. It is already under huge pressure from the encroachment of the city. If we just followed laissez-faire principles and allowed developers to do just what they wanted, none of Spitalfields would have been preserved and we would all be the poorer for its loss.



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