Stop development in Christ Church Spitalfields churchyard.
  • Petitioned The Bishop of London

This petition was delivered to:

The Bishop of London
Registrar, Diocese of London
Paul Morris
Interim Chief Executive, London Borough of Tower Hamlets
Aman Dalvi

Stop development in Christ Church Spitalfields churchyard.

    1. Spitalfields Open Space SOS
    2. Petition by

      Spitalfields Open Space SOS

      London, United Kingdom

Please sign this petition and help save precious public open space in Spitalfields.

The Church of England and London Borough of Tower Hamlets have given permission for the local primary school to build in the churchyard right next to Hawksmoor's famous Christ Church Spitalfields. This is in spite of some 350 letters of objection including from those with expert knowledge.

This means that public open space in the churchyard is being reduced by more than 60%: from about 4,000 sqm to around 1,500 sqm. 

The disused burial ground, including the school playground, has been and still is protected and held on charitable trust by LBTH, who must manage and control the burial ground to allow the enjoyment by the public of the open space. 

There is no need to build in the churchyard so close to one of the finest baroque churches in Europe. There are suitable alternatives for any development that the church and school might require. To build on this site is cultural and environmental vandalism.

Spitalfields is in the most densely populated area of London. Public green space here is already very scarce indeed.

Scientific research demonstrates that lack of green space adversely affects physical and mental health and wellbeing of children and adults alike.

Green space is vital in balancing the effect of climate change in the inner city, where temperatures average 6 degrees C higher than outside.

The churchyard is the Setting for Christ Church Spitalfields, Hawksmoor’s Grade 1 Listed Designated Heritage Asset (as defined by the Government’s Planning Policy Statement 5) on which £10 million has recently been spent. The churchyard itself is a Heritage Asset, and a crucial part of the Significance of Christ Church Spitalfields.

Help save this precious green space NOW or lose it for ever.


Recent signatures


    1. Reached 1,000 signatures

      Spitalfields Open Space SOS
      Petition Organizer

      Thank you for your support. WE STILL NEED YOUR HELP.

      Tower Hamlets is Trustee for Spitalfields churchyard as public open space. Chancery Counsel advises that the erection and use of the new building is in breach of the trust, and that to build breaches the Disused Burial Grounds Act. The matter is being reviewed by Charity Commission and Attorney General.

      Tower Hamlets’ and the Church’s planning permissions appear invalid since these permissions cannot over-ride statute (Open Spaces Act, Disused Burial Grounds Act). To build in the churchyard in the face of statutory prohibition is a criminal offence.

      To encourage Tower Hamlets to honour its responsibilities to demolish the building and reinstate the churchyard, please spread the word and ask others to sign the petition.

      We need £50,000 for legal costs & would be enormously grateful for contributions. Contact Richard Buxton (Environmental & Public Law) 01223 328933

      The Bishop of London: Stop development in Christ Church Spitalfields churchyard.

      Please sign this petition and help save precious public open space in Spitalfields. The Church of England and London Borough of Tower Hamlets have...

    3. What our politicians say:

      Spitalfields Open Space SOS
      Petition Organizer

      "Christ Church is one of the most important historic buildings in Tower Hamlets, in one of the most precious parts of our borough. It represents not only the best of our rich architectural heritage but also a crucial part of our social history.
      While we fully understand the need for nursery provision in the area, we believe that the current plans are not appropriate and ignore better options.
      We are concerned that this development will seriously damage the heritage of the church, undermine the large sums of public and private money that have been spent restoring it for the benefit of the local community and result in a significant loss of green space."

      Cllr Joshua Peck (Leader of the Tower Hamlets Labour Group)
      Cllr Peter Golds (Leader of the Tower Hamlets Conservative Group)
      Cllr Stephanie Eaton (Tower Hamlets Liberal Democrats)

    4. Reached 500 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Reighlan Pennal CHICAGO, IL
      • about 1 year ago

      Because I'm a native of Spitalfields and a scholar of Hawksmoor's and feel it imperative that the Bishop of London seeks a less destructive revenue of money; if funds are needed for the church, then the community in Spitalfields will be more than willing to pay for them. The overwhelming importance, gift, and vision of Hawksmoor, is something which must be preserved and nurtured for this generation and those of the future; to think that the idle and slipshod decision of the current Bishop of London could damage this legacy, is frankly terrifying, and measures should be in place to prevent these actions without a much larger consensus.

    • Barbara Robinson GLASGOW, UNITED KINGDOM
      • about 1 year ago

      Christ Church Spitalfields has been restored to us with an integrity that would be undermined by this developement. We need green spaces if we are to keep sane!

      • over 1 year ago

      Its a matter of respect

      • over 1 year ago

      Once lost, this open space will never be recovered. It is not the only option available for the development for the school, but it is the most stupid.

    • Monique Stone LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM
      • over 1 year ago

      Loss of open space and health implications


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