The Whitechapel Bell Foundry (110)

I gave a talk this morning at the Art Worker’s Guild about the sad history – at least sad so far – of the efforts to save the Whitechapel Bell Foundry. On the two occasions I have done this, I have found it increasingly odd that Historic England made its decision to support redevelopment so early in the process and before it had become clear that there was a perfectly workable scheme by a heritage agency Re:Form which would have kept it as a Foundry. And a bit odd, too, that the decision never involved the Commissioners, but was made on the recommendation of a single officer.

Now it is likely to be presented with an alternative scheme by its developer – most probably to turn it into either an upmarket art gallery or offices. Either are likely to require planning permission different from the scheme to turn it into a hotel.

So, the question is whether or not Historic England will now insist, which it is legally entitled to do, on the terms of the previous planning approval which required the reinstatement of a Foundry. If so, the hedge funders may not be so keen.

Then, there is still hope.


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