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Cabot_Square,_Canary_Wharf_-_June_2008
Shoreditch could end up looking more like Canary Wharf in a few yearsWikimedia

Shoreditch under threat from second wave of gentrification

The Mayor of Hackney wants to stop property developers from building two huge luxury high-rises

Does anybody in east London feel like they can't avoid the words 'luxury flats'? Not because ordinary people have started referring to their ordinary homes in a disingenuous way, but because gentrification is turning this part of London into a clusterfucked motherboard of glass and steel high-rises. The latest proposed instalment of architectural and social suicide comes in the form of a 48-storey luxury development to be built on the Bishopsgate Goods Yard site, which lies between Shoreditch High Street and Spitalfields. 

Property developers Hammerson and Ballymore want to build two high-rises as tall as Canary Wharf skyscraper One Canada Place, a construction which would plunge the rest of the area into darkness. Even though the company agreed that 35 per cent of the residences would be taken up by affordable housing, they now claim that anything over ten per cent would leave the project dead in the water. London mayor Boris Johnson is said to be 'broadly supportive' of the building proposal. 

The Hackney Society, which works to preserve the area's architectural heritage, requested the document that supposedly justifies only 10 per cent of affordable housing. There's one issue, though: all the numbers are blacked out. How weird. (I'm not even being sarcastic, I mean really, how weird). 

You can watch Hackney Society chair Nick Perry flick through the document below:

Hackney mayor Jules Pipe has launched a Change.org petition to stop the developers. He writes: "These luxury flats, many of which will be snapped up by overseas investors and left empty while they appreciate in value, would plunge swathes of existing homes and businesses into shadow. Even the token number of 'affordable' flats will in no way be affordable in the sense most people would recognise, now the GLA has set 'affordable' to mean 80% of market rate. This is not the answer to the housing shortage in our borough." 

Pipe is calling on Boris Johnson to withdraw his support of the project. In a statement, the Mayor of London's Office said that Johnson had asked Hackney and Tower Hamlets councils to "carry out further work on several aspects of the proposal, including looking at the amount of affordable housing offered, the amount of employment space and the scale of one of the plots that is proposed. Should an alternative scheme come forward, the Mayor would consider it on its merits." Let's remember that this is the same Tower Hamlets Council which stands accused of long-term corruption and electoral fraud. Never mind, I guess. 

Also of concern is Pipe's contention that many of the flats will be "snapped up by overseas investors and left empty while they appreciate in value". Ghost buildings might be a disease eating away at London, but nobody in power – including the Mayor of London himself – seems to give a fuck. Of course, Johnson will go out on a jolly to sing songs at a Save Our Soho protest, but underneath that cuddly exterior is someone happy to take the money of ghastly and ghostly investors. 

Mayor Pipe is also concerned that the two skyscrapers will adversely affect Tech City, the UK's humble version of San Francisco's Silicon Valley.

"These luxury flats, which are well beyond the reach of ordinary Londoners, will cast a shadow over the whole of Tech City, and threaten to damage the local, creative economy," he said. "The repercussions of this development could be so severe that they lead to the fragmentation of the local cluster of design and tech firms, leading to the loss of thousands of local jobs, and damage to London’s reputation as a global leader in these industries."

You can sign the petition here.