Mayor of London Boris Johnson has published a document outlining how he plans to keep rent costs down in Tech City and ensure the startup hub around Shoreditch achieves its full potential.

City Hall said the document, titled The City Fringe: Opportunity Area Planning Framework, examines how the planning system can maximise growth in the area and ensure there is a good supply of affordable workspace.


Johnson, who has been one of Tech City's biggest advocates, believes there is potential to generate thousands of jobs and homes around Old Street Roundabout in Shoreditch, providing the appropriate planning measures are introduced. 

As Tech City has grown, startups in need of inexpensive office space have gone head-to-head with developers building higher-end commercial and residential space. 

The framework, which is open to feedback from the public until 13 February, calls on developers to ensure that new schemes include affordable employment floorspace and provide assurances that the space will be managed post construction and not converted to another use.

It also aims to strike a balance between residential and commercial development and sets out policies that are designed to ensure supporting uses such as leisure, retail and night-time economy needs are managed in a way that does not compromise the character of the area.

In July, former Tech City Deputy CEO Benjamin Southworth and other members of London’s tech ecosystem created a petition to stop two new skyscrapers being built on Shoreditch High Street. 

Sir Edward Lister, deputy mayor for planning said: “These detailed planning polices will help to ensure that the sector can continue to flourish in its traditional heartland for many years to come.

“The tech scene in the area around Old Street is a significant driver of London’s economic prosperity with companies setting up in their droves to be a part of the tremendous mix of cost effective office space and the vibrant multicultural social scene.”

Broken promises

The report reads: “The expansion of Tech City and continued business growth in the City Fringe are recognised by both the Mayor and the Prime Minister as strategically important to the economy of London and the UK.”

However, Prime minister David Cameron announced a £50 million fund to help regenerate Old Street Roundabout at the end of 2012. Earlier this year Techworld discovered that the investment had been pulled.

There are 34,400 digital technology businesses in London and the sector employs more than 150,000 people, according to City Hall.