View of Norton Folgate street as it currently is
Norton Folgate Street © Historic England
Norton Folgate Street © Historic England

Norton Folgate decision to take place Tuesday 21 July

Tower Hamlets are about to decide whether or not to give consent to development proposals for the area around Norton Folgate, a street just east of the City of London, close to Shoreditch and within the Elder Street conservation area.

Our role is to advise the local authority on managing change to the historic environment. Our advice is based on careful assessment of the significance of the historic buildings and areas affected by the Norton Folgate scheme, what impact the scheme has on this significance, and the benefits that repair and rescue will bring.

In our view, the scheme will bring back into use historic buildings that have lain empty and decaying for decades and make a positive contribution to the area.

The proposals: 

  • keep the buildings that make a positive contribution to the character of the area
  • restores those buildings that have the most historic interest that are currently in disrepair
  • replace poor-quality buildings with ones that would complement the character of the area

There are no listed buildings, only the cobbles on Blossom Street are listed and they will be kept. We think that the new scheme represents a considerable improvement on the existing proposals for this site granted planning permission in 2011.

It is our view that change is necessary to bring these long-derelict buildings back into use. The diversity of new uses proposed has the potential to revive the area and reflect its residential and industrial past.

What’s proposed?

To give you an idea of what’s proposed here are a few examples from the plans, with photos to show location. You may like to look at the masterplan produced by the developer, British Land. You can find this and our full advice letter on the Tower Hamlets website, application numbers PA/14/03548 and PA/14/03618.

On Norton Folgate the Victorian brick buildings (banner image above, far left) would be repaired, number 15 next door, the best surviving Georgian building would be restored, and number 14, the post-war rebuilt Georgian building which has no surviving historic fabric, would be replaced. The corner building would also be replaced.

The 1960s building on Blossom Street (above) rendered in concrete would be demolished. The warehouse (below) would be repaired, keeping original external features. The rebuilt post-war concrete interiors will be replaced with a new interior more in keeping with the Victorian warehouses. The more original interiors will be restored as far as possible The cobbles, the only listed part of the conservation area will be kept. 

The 1970s imitation Georgian estate (on the left in the picture below) would be demolished and would be replaced by a new building in the spirit of the Georgian terraced house that once stood here.

Please note our role is not to endorse the plans in any way – this information is just designed to let you know what is proposed and give background to our advice to the local authority.