Jenrick issues holding direction blocking east London bell foundry revamp approval

The housing secretary has issued a holding direction preventing an east London council from issuing a final consent for the redevelopment of a historic former bell foundry into a mixed-use workplace scheme.

The Whitechapel Bell Foundry building (pic: Evo Flash, Flickr)
The Whitechapel Bell Foundry building (pic: Evo Flash, Flickr)

Last month, the London Borough of Tower Hamlets resolved to approve planning consent and listed building consent for the redevelopment of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry.

The foundry, which closed in 2017, is where Westminster’s ‘Big Ben’ bell was manufactured.

The applications sought consent to alter the Grade II-listed foundry building, which fronts Whitechapel Road, to create new workshops/workspaces and a cafe.

They also sought consent to demolish an unlisted building to the rear to allow for the construction of a hotel, a restaurant/bar, and additional workspace.

The council resolved to approve the applications, concluding that the proposals "safeguard the significance of the listed buildings by being informed and promoting a conservation-led approach to change".

However, the secretary of state Robert Jenrick has this week intervened to prevent the council from issuing a final consent.

The minister has issued an article 31 holding direction giving himself time to consider whether to call in the application. 

In a tweet, Jenrick said: "As secretary of state @mhclg I have issued a holding direction with respect to the planning application for the #WhitechapelBellFoundry - to enable this to be considered further."


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