East end preservation society – the first gathering

Attended the first East End Preservation Society, the grand hall of the Bishopsgate Institute was filled with familiar local faces, and the various community groups and individuals that valiantly fight local issues around much loved buildings, local spaces, community use and other ‘social fabric’ issues.

There were talks from Dan Cruikshank outlining his personal experience in the continued preservation of his beloved spitalfields, concluding that today and Now we face as big a challenge since the war in protecting the East End it’s inhabitants and fans know and love

Will Palin outlined the context of the Societies mission, presenting a melancholic slide show of some of the forever lost beautiful buildings of east london over the last century, lost at the turn of the century, during the war, as 60s social re-engineering by misguided council planners, brought right upto the present with examples of the big money projects spreading like a wildfire like a tsunami of glass boxes getting every bigger, and less appropriate or relevant to the local population these new structures displace.

Marcus Binney followed with some heart warming and astonishing tales of past successes such as 27 london historic (some wren) churches earmarked for demolition saved by the friends of churches society; and the beautiful historic Georgian terrace of Shepherdess Walk saved from Hacney councils plans for demolition.

Matt Johnson from the SCA gave a succinct and menacing outline of two of the major issues concerning the SCA and affecting Shoreditch – that of the 2003 licensing act, and the 2006 London Plan – the former responsible for the exponential rise in bars and clubs from a community servicing 15 in 1991 to over 300 today. The London plan the sca blame for the proliferation of ugly profiteering glass towers proposed on a monthly basis by greedy developers treating the east end like a modern day Wild West gold rush with no laws to restrict them…

Brad an artist and active member of Jago Action Group outlined how harmonic and suitable modern development can be, in keeping with local usage and history and desired future of the area… He outlined the recent success in beating the Huntingdon Estate glass skyscraper, spoiling vistas from the historic boundary estate, and adding to the recent champion carbuncle of bethnal green road built by the obviously untalented Telford Homes.

Lucy and Mr Osmani both gave passionate and emotional speeches of specific battles – that of the old Childrens Hospital on Hackney rd / Goldsmith Row and the proposed redevelopment of Whitechapel street market – an important community hub, under threat from redevelopment from those who don’t seem to understand how markets ‘tick’ and operate for the traders and community.

A common theme ran through all the talks – that the community needs a more coherent and stronger voice, and individuals and localised groups need a conduit and forum of support and advice as it’s a David and Goliath battle the East End faces

The East End Preservation Society aims to act as a networking and training camp proving tool kits to arm the community to more effectively battle the moneyed Goliath marching east……

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