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Former Tech City UK deputy CEO: Gentrification doesn’t have to mean tower blocks

There’s been a lot of noise across the web about the ‘Tech City Says No!’ campaign.

Former Tech City Deputy CEO Benjamin Southworth and other members of London’s tech ecosystem have rallied against a new proposed development at the Bishopsgate Goodsyard.

The Goodsyard, which has been mostly dormant since the 1960s, sits on the edge of Hackney and Tower Hamlets.

The uptake? Not great

It hasn’t necessarily got the influx of support that he may have wanted. Despite getting the story picked up by City AM and local news organisations in the area, at the time of writing the online petition has gathered 61 pledges of support.

Many feel that developments of this type are what happens when organisations like Tech City UK promote the arrival of foreign direct investments into the area. Southworth was previously the deputy CEO of the organisation.

We caught up with him to get the full story behind the campaign.

The redevelopment of East London

Southworth feels that the current plan for the development, which has approximately 500,000 square feet of office space and 180,000 square feet of retail space, will be priced at a premium that will out price independent shops.

He also worries that the accommodation that will be created will also be over priced for those currently living in the area and insists that there is more demand for low cost housing.

Lack of information

The ex-Tech City UK deputy CEO does admit that he has no way of knowing what the property costs in the new development will be.

He says that the developers have not been forthcoming with the information and that the ‘vagueness’ of the plan worries him.

The Goodsyard London website says that they carried out “extensive research into the local culture of the area” and that during the consultation periods there were debates about local needs and design.

The consultation

Southworth is very concerned about the consultation process.

He feels the public were not asked to participate in the decision process for the building and that they should be given the opportunity to do so.

A week before the Tech City Says No! campaign started the Goodsyard tweeted this:

You can see the full findings from the public consultation on the Goodsyard website.