Home East London Protest in Brick Lane over Truman Brewery scheme

Protest in Brick Lane over Truman Brewery scheme


Hundreds of protesters hold a rally and plan to march through Brick Lane over controversial plans to turn the 10-acre Old Truman’s Brewery venue. 

Campaigners fighting proposals for the historic 350-year-old site to be turned into offices and a shopping mall gather at Whitechapel’s Altab Ali Park at noon on Sunday, July 18. 

People's protest top 'reclaim Brick Lane' to halt commercial inroads

People’s protest top ‘reclaim Brick Lane’ to halt commercial inroads

– Credit: Salam Jones

They march through Brick Lane at 1.15pm passed the old brewery site — home to 140 small businesses and enterprises which currently holds regular community events — then stage a “people’s festival” at nearby Allen Gardens in Buxton Street. 

The protest follows 7,000 objections to the proposed scheme and is the latest in a series of demos organised by a coalition including East End Preservation Society, Spitalfields Trust and Bengali East End Heritage Society. 

“We are under threat with everything we feel about the area,” the Bengali heritage organisation’s Saif Osmani told the East London Advertiser. “This is a unique part of London that Truman’s owners want to turn into retail and office space. 

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“But we feel successive plans were promised for more housing. A shopping mall is a piecemeal approach.” 

The plans were deferred in April when they came before Tower Hamlets Council and are set to be heard again on July 22 by the authority’s strategic planning committee. 

Lights festival at Christmas 2017 with Brick Lane's famous footbridge

Lights festival at Christmas 2017 with Brick Lane’s famous footbridge

– Credit: Jeremy Freedman

Town hall planning officers have been holding talks with the Zeloof family who have owned the complex 26 years since it closed as the world’s biggest brewery, first established in Brick Lane in 1666. 

The three Zeloof brothers want to put up a five-storey commercial building on the corner of Woodseer Street at the south end of the site. 

Annual Shrove Tuesday pancake races at Old Truman's Brewery 

Annual Shrove Tuesday pancake races at Old Truman’s Brewery

– Credit: Alternative Arts

They currently host art shows, food festivals and the annual Shrove Tuesday pancake race while offering low rent to market stalls and restaurants.   

Jason Zeloof, one of the brothers, has assured the planning authority  that these would continue, along with expanded commercial space for small and micro businesses.  

But the Spitalfields Trust claims the proposal is made up of “buildings inappropriate to the conservation area that will destroy its appearance and character”.  

Plans include two new restaurants, one housed across the famous preserved Truman’s footbridge looking down on Brick Lane that linked the two halves of the old brewery.

Community feelings over Truman plans

Community feelings over Truman plans

– Credit: Saif Osmani