OPEN LETTER TO MAYOR BORIS JOHNSON concerning the Bishopsgate Goodsyard plans

A letter to the Mayor of London organized by the East End Trades Guild has been signed by over 140 small, independent and creative businesses in the area including Tatty Devine, Mother London, Pellicci’s, Ally Capellino and Mark Hix’s Tramshed. The letter is also supported by the Federation of Small Businesses.

The growing list of local businesses is saying that the plans – modelled on Canary Wharf – will irrevocably damage the area’s independent, successful small business character which contributes to London’s diversity and should not be ignored. A more beneficial scheme must be found for the 11 acre site, owned by Network Rail.

“It’s an area like East London that gives those quirky slightly off-the-radar ideas a chance. Why can’t we make more of that? Why does change always have to mean the corporate, the chains coming in? Because for me that’s when development actually stops, because you’re getting more of what everyone’s seen before.” says one small business owner S. Khan.

Add your business name to the list before Boris Johnson makes his decision in March by emailing

Sign the petition and tell others #borisseethelight

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To the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson

Dear Mayor Johnson,

Bishopsgate Goodsyard offers the potential for an exemplary development with local enterprise at its core, benefiting the surrounding community and wider East End through sustainable growth. But we believe the current proposals would do irreversible damage to one of London’s most distinctive neighbourhoods.

As local entrepreneurs, we are the heart of the area’s identity – comprising independent businesses, small traders and creatives – attracting people from far and wide. It is the particular diversity of enterprises that have made our area a unique success, contributing immeasurably to London’s culture and creative energy. Many small businesses here have been trading for generations, representing a living heritage that is part of the East End’s history, while many others have come to join the successful mix.

Brick Lane, Columbia Road, Bethnal Green and the historic streets in the immediate vicinity of the Goodsyard in Shoreditch and Spitalfields contain a varied economy which exemplifies sustainable growth. Yet Hammerson & Ballymore’s proposed development ignores the context entirely, offering tall buildings in a bland international style on a scale that would completely overwhelm the character of the place.

The provision of affordable workspace on the Goodsyard site is a key aim for local authorities. Smaller enterprises are more likely to provide local jobs than larger companies, yet the current Goodsyard proposal is designed for major office occupiers and chain retailing. The plans appear to ignore the volume of similar retail space already approved in adjacent schemes – for example Principal Place, The Stage and the Highgate Hotel, a total of over 10,000 sq m.

Large-scale developments of this kind can kill off diversity of economy through increasing land values that in turn raise local rents, displacing even the most viable of small businesses. This pattern is visible in Spitalfields Market where, over time, virtually all the independent businesses have disappeared, making the area increasingly homogeneous. Similarly, at Canary Wharf there has been no trickle-down benefit to local people or small businesses. Consequently, Tower Hamlets has become one of the most unequal boroughs in London and is still one of the poorest, even twenty-five years after the construction of Canary Wharf.

Small and micro businesses are the future of local employment and entrepreneurship in East London. A development on the Goodsyard must offer affordable workspace for tech and creative sectors to flourish and innovate. The Federation of Small Business’s London Manifesto states that the cost of doing business in the capital is a barrier to growth and that over half their members are adversely affected by high rents, both work premises and housing for employees. The Goodsyard development proposal would exacerbate these problems by building predominantly luxury apartments, with only a small percentage of affordable housing.

We believe strongly that the Hammerson & Ballymore scheme must be refused and a more beneficial form of development be found for this important site, which has local people and businesses at the core of its conception.

In 2010, you said to Londoners: “What is the great genius of this city? Why is London such a fantastic place to live? Because it is a diverse city.” We could not agree with you more. It is in your power to help us create a development on the Bishopsgate Goodsyard site that keeps this “great genius” alive.

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If you are a local business and you would like to add your name to this growing list of businesses before Mayor Johnson announces his decision in March please email:

40 Colori Cheshire Street
7 Upholstery Boundary Street
A Corner of the World Bethnal Green Road
A Portuguese Love Affair Columbia Road
A.Gold Shop Brushfield Street
Acid Jazz Bethnal Green Road
Arctic Poppy Redchurch Street
Adam Dant Artist
Adventure Pictures Ezra Street
Aellson Products Boundary Street
Al-Amin Travels Hanbury Street
Ally Capellino Calvert Avenue
Atticus Finch Ltd Columbia Road
Bashir & Sons Brick Lane
Baddeley Brothers Hackney
Bernadette Iglich Tower Hamlets
Bobby Dazzler Brick Lane
Bookart Bookshop Pitfield Street
Boundary Street Laundrette Calvert Avenue
Bridges & Brows Redchurch Street
Brokedown Palace Boxpark
ByWalski Redchurch Street
Cafe Art Tower Hamlets
Cafe Caribbean Spitalfields Market
Café Columbia Columbia Road
Café @ Sonos Studio Club Row
Cake Hole Café Columbia Road
Calverts Coop Bethnal Green
Caravan Style Columbia Road
Catherine Yass, Artist
Cats Brothers Well Street
Chaat Ltd Redchurch Street
Charlene Mullen Ltd Calvert Avenue
Choosing Keeping Columbia Road
Coffee Corridor Columbia Road
Columbia Pottery Columbia Road
Comfort Station Cheshire Street
Coppermill Ltd Cheshire Street
Corner Savoy Great Eastern Street
Craffti House Brick lane
Cream New Inn Yard
Crescent Trading Quaker Court
Damasco Bricklane
Daniel Sannweild Hackney
Dazzle Ship Bethnal Green
Deli Downstairs Hackney
Dot Productions Redchurch Street
Dragana Perisic Redchurch Street
Duke of Uke Cheshire Street
e5 bakehouse Hackney
East End Manufacturing Whitechapel
East End Prints Hackney
East End Trades Guild East End
East London Design Store Hackney
Elsa Winterstein Columbia Road
Epitome Columbia Road
Federation of Small Businesses London London wide
Gardner’s Bags Commercial Street
Genesis Cinema Mile End Road
GH Cityprint Middlesex Street
Glitterati Columbia Road
Hannah Stanton, Designer & Maker Hackney
Harry Brand Columbia Road
Here Today Here Tomorrow Hackney
House of Vintage Cheshire Street
Hunky Dory Vintage Brick Lane
InSpitalfields Spitalfields Market
Islamic Shop Brick Lane
James Brown Ltd Hackney
Jenny Lewis, Photographer Hackney
Jeremy Freeman, Photographer Brick Lane
Jessie Chorley Columbia Road
Jill Green, Print Maker Brick Lane
Jimbob Art Cheshire Street
Johnston Architecture & Design Cheshire Street
Kickmouth Hackney
Labour & Wait Redchurch Street
Larache Calvert Avenue
Leila’s Shop Calvert Avenue
Leyden Gallery Leyden Street
Lik + Neon Sclater St
Lillie O’Brien Hackney
Linda Wilkinson, Writer Jesus Green
Lucinda Rogers, Artist Columbia Road
Luke Jacob Commercial Street
Mackenzie Wheeler Redchurch Street
Maidan Properties Wilkes Street
Mama Thai Toynbee Street
Mark Hix Tramshed Rivington Street
Mason and Painter Columbia Road
Material Material Rivington Street
Mercadito Productions East End
Mie Mani Great Eastern Street
Milagros Columbia Road
Milk Architecture and Design Old Street
Mosaic Del Sur Columbia Road
Mother London Redchurch Street
Nelly Duff Columbia Road
Nine Yards Shoreditch
Nordic Poetry Boxpark
O’Dells Calvert Avenue
Out The Box Wine Cheshire Street
Paper & Wood Cheshire Street
Pellicci’s Bethnal Green
Peponita Columbia Road
Play Vinyl Ezra Street
Porcelain & Red Cheshire Street
Pot Luck Columbia Road
Pressed & Folded Hackney
Printers and Stationers Ezra Street
Rachel Entwistle, Jeweller Club Row
Rochelle School Arnold Circus
Savoy Cafe Norton Folgate
Simon Rees, Jeweller Columbia Road
Smokium Cheshire Street
Snap Store Roman Road
Space Station Leonard Street
Sparks Hanbury Street
Spitalfields Small Business Association Greatorex Street
Start Space Columbia Road
Taberna Do Mercado Spitalfields Market
Taj Stores Brick Lane
Tatty Devine Brick Lane
The Brewery Chiswell St
The Cube Smart Spaces Commercial Street
The Garden Shop Columbia Road
The Gentle Author, Spitalfields life Books Tower Hamlets
The Red Mud Hut Columbia Road
Toby Glanville, Photographer
Towpath Cafe Hackney
Trades Compass East End
Tramontana Brindisa Curtain Road
Triangle Store Hackney
Urban Species Cheshire Street
Val’s Sandwich Shop Columbia Road
Verde & Co Brushfield Street
Village Underground Holywell Lane
Vintage Basement Cheshire Street
Vintage Heaven Columbia Road
Window Café Hackney Road
13one6 Chatsworth Road
4COSE Ltd Vyner Street