Today (Thursday) the Strategic Development Committee at LBTH will consider the Blackwall Reach planning application (PA-12-00001-2)
This application is going to Committee with LBTH planing officers recommendation for approval. This decision seems to indicate (as some of us suspected already) that some LBTH planers live in a bizarre Nania type land accessed through the back of a plan chest on the 5th floor of Anchorage House.
Along with concerns expressed by CABE, English Heritage, Twentieth Century Society, GLA and local residents groups (Millennium Green Trust, All Saints Church and Poplar Mosque & Community Centre) Thames Gateway Development Corporation officers are recommending that the portion of the Blackwall Reach development they are responsible for as the planing authority be refused. This is what they say…..
GLA has advised:-
….the proposal does not presently comply with the London Plan……. The principle of development at this density is not justified in terms of creating a sustainable community……
The application indicates that Preston’s Road roundabout is currently operating at capacity and will be over capacity in future years as a result of this and other developments in the area. The report also suggests that Poplar High Street east will be very close to capacity.
CABE have indicated:-
In terms of the overall masterplan, CABE consider that there is a lack of clear logic in defining building blocks, spaces and routes. There are concerns that the open spaces will be fractured and overshadowed by the taller buildings and that the north-south route through the site could be detrimental to the quality of Cotton Street.
And English Heritage:-
We recommend that the Council seek amendments with regard to the scale and form of Blocks A1, B, C1, O and N and that additional detail is obtained at this stage, particularly with regard to these aspects of the development.
Twentieth Century Society:-
Re Woolmore School (to be demolished) – Despite the replacement fenestration, we consider main neo-Georgian part of this building makes a positive contribution to the townscape, and urge Tower Hamlets Planning Authority to reject plans incorporating its demolition
The Twentieth Century Society consider that the existing Robin Hood Gardens Estate have very high heritage significance and therefore strongly object to the proposed demolition.
So why are the unelected officers in Tower Hamlets so keen to get this through…..
This application was only submitted in January 2012 and LBTH, the applicants along with the HCA, have been pushing this through at speed in order to hopefully gain a positive recommendation prior to the introduction of the Mayor Boris’s Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) to help fund Crossrail. This new charge will be collected by the borough and is set at £35 per square metre of any new development.
10.1 This report has outlined all material planning considerations associated with this development and has focused on the area for determination by the Corporation. It is recognised that the delivery of affordable housing is a priority for the Borough and that this site is identified as a location for the delivery of housing led redevelopment. However, having balanced these local needs against the quality of accommodation being delivered, officers can draw no other conclusion other than that at the time of completing this report the scheme will not deliver adequate standards of residential amenity in the Blocks located in the Corporation’s Planning Functions Area. Specifically, and on the information provided in the application information and independent reviews, it is considered that Blocks J, K, M, N, P, O and Q will receive insufficient levels of daylight to be considered acceptable. Much emphasis has been placed on the detailed design of these development blocks, particularly through the controls within the Design Code. With this in mind, Members requested at the Committee Meeting of the 8th of March that it be demonstrated that it is possible to rectify the failures shown at outline stage in the detailed design at reserved matters stage. At the time of writing, no further information has been provided.
The proposal, by virtue of the inadequate levels of daylight and sunlight to blocks J, K, M, N, O, P, and Q, is considered to result in a substandard level of residential amenity to future occupiers and is therefore contrary to policy 7.7 of the London Plan 2011, policies DEV1 and DEV27 of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets Interim Planning Guidance (2007) for the purposes of development control, policy DM25 of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets Managing Development Plan Document (proposed submission version January 2012).