new providence wharf report by p4P9G0H


									                                                        planning report PDU/0868b/02
                                                                                6 March 2008

                          Building C, New Providence Wharf
                                           in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets
                                                     planning application no. 06/02101

Strategic planning application stage II referral
Town & Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended); Greater London Authority Act 1999;
Town & Country Planning (Mayor of London) Order 2000.

The proposal
Full planning permission is sought for the erection of a part 44-storey, part 12-storey building
comprising 484 residential apartments, retail uses (A1-A5) and health club (D2) together with
associated landscaping, car and cycle parking.

The applicant
The joint applicants are Landor Limited and Ballymore Limited, and the architect is SOM.

Strategic issues
The key issues are affordable housing and energy. The Mayor previously considered this
case originally in June 2007, and then as updates in July 2007, and October 2007, where
options on infrastructure improvements in preparation for a community facility were put
forward in lieu of an increase in the affordable housing offer. The infrastructure
improvements were put forward given the level of high-density development in the area and
the poor pedestrian links and lack of amenity space/community facilities nearby. The Mayor
broadly accepted the offer of 27% (habitable rooms) affordable housing with a £4,000,000
contribution to improvements at the Preston’s Road roundabout, including a steering group
to action the regeneration of the roundabout and surrounding pedestrian environment. This
offer has now been revised, following resolution by Tower Hamlets Council to grant planning
permission. The revised offer is an increase in affordable housing to 32% (habitable
rooms) and a reduced investment of £1,500,000 towards the Preston’s Road roundabout
improvements. The merits of the revised offer remain broadly acceptable. The energy
strategy has been marginally amended and includes energy efficiency measures, combined
heat and power and a contribution from renewable energy (biomass) providing overall carbon
savings of approximately 21%.

That Tower Hamlets Council be advised that the Mayor is content for it to determine the case
itself, subject to any action that the Secretary of State may take, and does not therefore wish to
direct refusal.

                                                                                           page 1
1        On 8 December 2006, Tower Hamlets Council consulted the Mayor of London on an
application for planning permission for the above uses at the above site. This was referred to
the Mayor under Category 1B1c and 1C1a of the Schedule of the Order 2000: “Development
which comprises or includes the erection of a building or buildings outside central London and with a
total floorspace of more than 15,000 square metres.” and “Development which comprises or includes the
erection a building where the building is more that 25 metres high and is adjacent to the River Thames”.

2       On 5 June 2007 the Mayor considered planning report PDU/0868b/01, and
subsequently advised Tower Hamlets Council that the proposal was acceptable in principle but
that further work was required on a number of matters including the affordable housing offer,
energy, transport and access to open space.

3       A copy of the above-mentioned report is attached. The essentials of the case with
regard to the proposal, the site, case history, strategic planning issues and relevant policies and
guidance are as set out therein, unless otherwise stated in this report. Since then, the
application has been revised in response to the Mayor’s concerns (see below). On 31 January
2008, Tower Hamlets Council decided that it was minded to grant planning permission for the
revised application, and on 22 February 2008, it advised the Mayor of this decision. Under the
provisions of the Town & Country Planning (Mayor of London) Order 2000 the Mayor may
direct Tower Hamlets Council to refuse planning permission, and has until 6 March 2008, to
notify the Council of such a direction. This report sets out the information needed by the
Mayor in deciding whether to direct refusal.

4       The environmental information for the purposes of the Town and Country Planning
(Environmental Impact Assessment) (England and Wales) Regulations 1999 has been taken
into account in the consideration of this case.

5     The Mayor of London’s decision on this case, and his reasons, will be made available on
the GLA website

6       Since the consultation stage the application has been amended as follows:

       A decrease in the number of residential units on site from 499 to 484.
       A change in the housing mix (affordable and market units).
       4% increase in building area with associated internal reconfiguration to improve layout
        of units.
       Design changes to the solid and glazed areas of the exterior walls including additional
       Increase in communal open space owing to the reduction in the width of the entry
        boulevard off Blackwall Way.

7      The revisions, the section 106 package and the extent to which the Mayor’s comments
have been taken into account are considered below.

                                                                                                page 2
8       At the consultation stage the Mayor raised concern regarding the affordable housing
offer proposed and whether the offer put forward represented the maximum reasonable amount
of affordable housing in this case. In response to the Mayor’s comments, the applicants advised
that there was an opportunity to improve the affordable offer in this case, or make a significant
contribution to infrastructure and environmental improvements around the Preston’s Road
roundabout in order to prepare the roundabout for delivery of a community facility or similar.

9       The current pedestrian links to Blackwall DLR station are poor, the main link being
through the existing and fairly hostile pedestrian underpass beneath the roundabout. Part of
the infrastructure and environmental improvements would involve preparing the roundabout
land and underpass for redevelopment for a community facility given the lack of amenity
space/community facility in the area, and providing new pedestrian at-grade crossing points
thereby recognising the existing desire lines.

10    An offer was put forward by the applicants that involved retaining the affordable
housing offer at 27% but with an additional £4,000,000 investment programme towards the
regeneration of the Preston’s Road roundabout.

11      It was proposed that the actual use or options for the roundabout would be agreed with
the setting up of a steering group led by Tower Hamlets Council and the GLA and managed
and co-ordinated by the applicants with a delivery mechanism tied into a section 106
agreement. Other key stakeholders would also be invited to the steering group, including
adjacent landowners and English Partnerships (owners of the roundabout land).

12     The Mayor considered the merits of the offer on 18 July 2007. Given the
circumstances, in particular the number of high-density schemes coming forward in the area
and lack of open space and community facilities, the offer to inject money into the roundabout
regeneration, and set up a steering group to ensure delivery of a new facility, was considered

13     Tower Hamlets Council was involved in these discussions. Officers recommended three
possible options to Members at the planning committee on 31 January 2008. The three options
were based on a different affordable housing offers and section 106 packages. The three
options considered by the Council are set out below:

               Table 1 Options considered by Tower Hamlets Council committee

       Affordable              Preston’s road         Healthcare contributio Open space
Option contribution            contribution           contribution n         contribution

1        27%                   £4,000,000             £1,952,000 £548,000       £250,000

2        30%                   £4,000,000             Nil          Nil          £250,000

                                                                                         page 3
         3        32%                       £1,500,000              £500,000       £654,125      £250,000

         14      Tower Hamlets Committee Members resolved to grant planning permission on the
         basis of Option 3. Option 3 therefore provides reduced investment in the roundabout
         proposals but results in the uplift of affordable housing units as shown in table 2:

                                 Table 2 Uplift in affordable units on the original offer

                                             1-bed       2-bed     3-bed     4-bed      uplift

                     Social rent               2          1         -2         4            5

                     Intermediate             -1          9         0          0            8

                     Total uplift              1          10        -2         4            13

         15     The overall mix is therefore be shown as follows:

                                 Table 3 Revised overall bedroom size mix by tenure

                        Studio      1-bed      2-bed      3-bed     4-bed      5-bed        Total     London Plan

 Social rent              0           7            22         24        14         4    71 (15%)            35%

 intermediate             0
rent                                 18            27         0          0         0     45 (9%)            15%

 Market                  53          161       120            33         1         0    368(76%)            50%

 Total               53 (11%) 186(38%) 169(35%) 57(12%) 15(3%)                 4(1%)        (100%)          100%

         16      The increased affordable offer provides an additional thirteen affordable units (five
         social rent and eight intermediate). Four of the additional social rented units will be 4-
         bedroom units. The larger units in the social rented component of the scheme result in an
         increased provision in habitable rooms to 32 % (split as 69/31 social/intermediate). The
         previous offer of 27% affordable housing was supported by a financial appraisal that suggested
         the offer as being the maximum reasonable amount. This offer includes grant and the
         applicants have engaged with Metropolitan Housing Trust.

         17      As such, whilst it is disappointing to see the steering group will not come forward at
         this stage, the Mayoral priority remains affordable housing delivery (policy 6A.4).

         18     Given other schemes adjacent to the roundabout are now being discussed at pre-
         application stage and additional investment into the connectivity and accessibility of the area,

                                                                                                       page 4
including access to amenity facilities, is likely to come forward, prioritising affordable housing
in this case remains consistent with the London Plan priorities.

19      At the consultation stage the Mayor raised concern regarding the energy strategy, in
particular that it was unclear whether combined heat and power had been maximised to achieve
a single network and that the use of combined cooling heat and power had not been considered.

20      The applicant provided a technical response to the points raised and the strategy
remains broadly similar in terms of the lead technologies. Combined cooling heat and power
has been rejected as the waste heat load is already being used to provide domestic hot water
generation. This coupled with only small savings in carbon emissions is the basis for the

21      The strategy, therefore remains as originally proposed, save an increase in the size of
the two combined heat and power units, (one serving the affordable block and the other serving
the private market block). Approximate carbon savings of 11% are predicted.

22     A biomass boiler remains the lead renewable technology with top-up solar thermal
heating providing 10% carbon reduction. The source, supply and storage of biomass have been
considered as part of initial investigations.

23     This application was submitted in 2006 and the energy strategy in this particular case
has been produced as emerging policy has evolved and discussions were held some time ago.
The overall strategy incorporates energy efficiency measures, combined heat and power
technology and renewable energy technology to deliver approximately 21% carbon savings,
but not in a fully integrated manner, as the two blocks have separate systems.

24       The applicant has argued that the benefits of a single system are marginal at this scale
and would be difficult to manage. GLA technical officers do not accept that view. Whilst the
size of the combined heat and power unit has increased marginally in response to the Mayor’s
initial comments at the consultation stage, the overall single network infrastructure has not
been adopted. This case is, however, historic in terms of the phasing for the New Providence
Wharf estate and forms the very final stage, where previous phases were pre-London Plan.
The previous phases do not have the heat infrastructure to create a wider network and
retrofitting is likely to be prohibitively expensive.

25     Whilst GLA officers remain of the view a single heating and cooling network would be
the best technical solution, agreement was not reached in this case. However, carbon savings
beyond building regulations will be delivered through low carbon technologies and therefore is
a key consideration in the determination of this particular application under the policies that
applied when the application was first submitted. Under the new London Plan, Policy 4A.1
requires development to prioritise decentralised energy and under Policy 4A.6 this requires
applicants to take a site wide approach to heat infrastructure and combined heat and power.
This has not been achieved in this instance.

26      The complexities, however, of other planning matters, including affordable housing
delivery and open space draw to the conclusion that it would not be conducive to the wider
aspirations of the London Plan to object to the strategy proposed in this instance.

Play and open space

                                                                                           page 5
27      At the consultation stage the Mayor recommended ongoing discussions regarding
possible land for a new area of open space to the north of the application site. Discussions have
continued and whilst there are unresolved land ownership matters, Tower Hamlets Council has
secured within the section 106 agreement that the applicant will make reasonable endeavours
to deliver this land as public open space for the 173 children expected on site.

28      The majority of the land is owned by TfL and discussions with TfL have led to overall
agreement. In addition, a financial contribution of £250,000 will be made for open space
improvements in the area. Given the confined nature of this site and the wider area, the
options secured by the Council are reasonable and meet the requirements of London Plan
policy 3D.13.

29      The principles of the massing and external appearance have always been supported.
Internal layout and access to private amenity space was raised as a matter of concern at the
consultation stage. New layouts to the affordable block have reduced the number of north
facing single aspect units and reduced the corridor layout originally proposed. These, and
additional balconies, are welcome improvements to the design.

Transport for London’s comments
30     TfL welcomes the developer’s commitment to improving connectivity in and around
Preston’s Road roundabout and to the contribution of £1,500,000 to help secure at grade
crossings. This will improve pedestrian access from this development to Blackwall DLR
Station as well as to the wider area.

31     Since the consultation stage TfL is pleased to note that the applicants have agreed to
increase the level of cycle parking in line with TfL guidance so that one space will be provided
for each residential unit or 286 spaces in the basement. The level of car parking remains at 202
spaces for the residential element and none for the commercial floorspace. To encourage
sustainable travel, occupiers will be subject to a car-free agreement. The proposed section 106
package includes provision of a residential and workplace travel plan which is welcomed in
order to manage travel demand.

32    Given the height of the proposed building and the proximity to the DLR the provision
of monitoring and mitigation of the DLR signals secured through section 106 is welcomed.

33     In order to minimise the impact on the bus network on Blackwall Way TfL welcomes
the condition to secure a construction management plan.

34     The Blackwall Tunnel runs beneath the site and therefore TfL welcomes a condition
requiring details of foundation design. The approval of any details pursuant to this condition
should only be given in consultation with TfL.

Section 106
35       The section 106 agreement includes the following heads of terms:

        Affordable housing (32% by habitable room).

                                                                                         page 6
      Preston’s Road roundabout investment: £1,500,000.
      Health: £500,000.
      Education: £654,125.
      Delivery of open space to the north of the site.
      Open space: £250,000.
      Travel plan and car-free agreement.
      Environmental management plan.
      Employment and training.
      TV reception monitoring and management.
      DLR radio monitoring.

London Development Agency’s comments
36     The LDA reiterates its disappointment that the development does not include any
provision of B1 office floorspace, suitable for small and medium size businesses. The LDA
welcomes the inclusion of employment and training initiatives as part of the section 106
agreement. The LDA is not, however, clear on what this provision will involve and would
welcome any further discussion on this with the Council and the applicant.

CABE’s comments
37   The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment provided the following

      The opportunity to provide improved permeability at Aspen Way should be pursued, or
       improvements secured to the existing Preston’s Road underpass.

      Notwithstanding the high quality materials giving a unique appearance, the relationship
       between the tower and the curved bar building is considered awkward and should be

      The area of play space is located too close to the Aspen Way flyover.

Response to consultation
38     Tower Hamlets Council consulted a number of statutory and non-statutory
organisations and 1031 local residents. Two objections were received noting the following:

      Increased pressure on existing deficient public open space (including play space).
      Loss of view, sense of enclosure and overshadowing.
      Construction noise and vibration.

39     Tower Hamlets Council has considered the response to the consultation in determining
the application. There is recognition that the area lacks amenity facilities and public open
space. The new park to the north of the site intends to address this aspect and to open the use
to the wider community. A financial contribution is also provided.

                                                                                        page 7
40     The design of the proposal will impact on existing residents, but the impact is not
considered to reduce residential amenity beyond unreasonable levels. A construction
management plan has been conditioned to ensure limited hours of operation and disturbance
from noise and vibration.

Legal considerations
41      Under the arrangements set out in article 5 of the Town and Country Planning (Mayor
of London) Order 2000 the Mayor has the power to direct the local planning authority to
refuse permission for a planning application referred to him under article 3 of the Order. In
doing so the Mayor must have regard to the matters set out in article 5(2) of the Order,
including the principle purposes of the Greater London Authority, the effect on health and
sustainable development, national policies and international obligations, regional planning
guidance, and the use of the River Thames. The Mayor may direct refusal if he considers that
to grant permission would be contrary to good strategic planning in Greater London. If he
decides to direct refusal, the Mayor must set out his reasons, and the local planning authority
must issue these with the refusal notice.

Financial considerations
42     Should the Mayor direct refusal, he would be the principal party at any subsequent
appeal hearing or public inquiry. Government guidance in Circular 8/93 (‘Award of Costs in
Planning and Other (including Compulsory Purchase Order) Proceedings’) emphasises that parties
usually pay their own expenses arising from an appeal.

43      Following an inquiry caused by a direction to refuse, costs may be awarded against the
Mayor if he has either directed refusal unreasonably; handled a referral from a planning
authority unreasonably; or behaved unreasonably during the appeal. A major factor in deciding
whether the Mayor has acted unreasonably will be the extent to which he has taken account of
established planning policy.

44      The application has been under discussion for a significant period of time and on
ballance is broadly consistent with the aspirations of the London Plan. Whilst the applicants
will not lead the setting up of the steering group for Preston’s Road in this case, the revised
offer on affordable housing meets with London Plan priorities to increase London’s supply of
housing, in particular affordable social rented housing.

                                                                                         page 8
for further information, contact Planning Decisions Unit:
Giles Dolphin, Head of Planning Decisions
020 7983 4271 email
Colin Wilson, Strategic Planning Manager (Development Decisions)
020 7983 4783 email
Matthew Carpen, Case Officer
020 7983 4272 email

                                                        planning report PDU/0868b/01
                                                                                 5 June 2007

                          Building C, New Providence Wharf
                                           in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets
                                                     planning application no. 06/02101

Strategic planning application stage 1 referral
Town & Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended); Greater London Authority Act 1999;
Town & Country Planning (Mayor of London) Order 2000

The proposal
Full planning permission is sought for the erection of a part 44 storey, part 12 storey building
comprising 499 residential apartments, retail uses (A1-A5) and health club (D2) together with
associated landscaping, car and cycle parking.

The applicant
The joint applicants are Landor Limited and Ballymore Limited, and the architect is SOM

Strategic issues
The application proposes high density development as part of the last phase of development
for New Providence Wharf. The proposal includes 27% (by habitable rooms) affordable
housing on site. The applicant has provided financial appraisal that suggests, on the basis of
the costs and values, that this is the maximum reasonable amount. The energy approach

                                                                                         page 9
requires further feasibility work as does the internal design solution to the affordable block.
Further confirmation and commitment is also required from the applicant and the Council
regarding the delivery of public open space to the north of the site, this matter will need to be
agreed and then secured through the section 106 agreement. TfL has also provided detailed
transport comments that require the applicant’s attention.

That Tower Hamlets Council be advised that further work is required before the Mayor can
make a decision.

1 On 8 December 2006 Tower Hamlets Council consulted the Mayor of London on a
proposal to develop the above site for the above uses. Under the provisions of the Town &
Country Planning (Mayor of London) Order 2000 the Mayor has the same opportunity as
other statutory consultees to comment on the proposal. This report sets out information for
the Mayor’s use in deciding what comments to make.

2 The application is referable under Category 1B1c and 1C1a of the Schedule of the Order
2000: “Development which comprises or includes the erection of a building or buildings outside central
London and with a total floorspace of more than 15,000 square metres.” and “Development which
comprises or includes the erection a building where the building is more that 25 metres high and is
adjacent to the River Thames”

3 If Tower Hamlets Council subsequently decides that it is minded to grant planning
permission, it must first allow the Mayor an opportunity to decide whether to direct the
Council to refuse permission.

4 The environmental information for the purposes of the Town and Country Planning
(Environmental Impact Assessment) (England and Wales) Regulations 1999 has been taken
into account in the consideration of this case. The Mayor of London’s comments on this case
will be made available on the GLA website

Site description
5 The site is located on the eastern side of the Isle of Dogs on the north bank of the River
Thames opposite Meridian Gardens and the Millennium Dome. The site is located within the
New Providence Wharf development, formerly known as Charrington’s Wharf, and is bounded
to the north by the A1261 Aspen Way. To the east is the recently constructed phase D of the
New Providence Wharf development and the ventilation shaft for the eastern bore of the
Blackwall Tunnel. To the south is phase A and B, also complete, with the River Thames
beyond. To the west is the Brunswick Arms pub, Alberta house flats and the Ibis hotel.

6 The site has a public transport accessibility level of 3 (where 6 is the highest level of
transport accessibility and 1 is the lowest). The public transport accessibility level of the site
will increase to 4 as a result of the anticipated further enhancements to the local public
transport, namely buses and extension of the DLR. The proposed development is located
approximately 150 metres from Blackwall DLR station with access via a subway under Aspen
Way/Prestons Way. There are two bus stops within 100 metres of the site on Prestons Road.
The nearest Transport for London Road Network is A1261 Aspen Way approximately 20
metres north of the site, and the nearest Strategic Rail Network is more than 1 kilometre away.

                                                                                               page 10
         Details of the proposal
         7 Full planning permission is sought for the erection of a part 44 storey, part 12 storey
         building comprising 499 residential apartments, retail uses (A1-A5) and health club (D2)
         together with associated landscaping, vehicle and cycle parking. The residential component of
         the scheme is broken down in table 1.

                                                     Table 1

                      Studio     1-bed      2-bed     3-bed      4-bed     5-bed       total      London Plan

 Social rent             0          5        21         26        10         4       66 (13%)         35%

 intermediate            0
rent                               19        18         0          0         0       37 (8%)          15%

 Market                 60        169        137        30         0         0      396(79%)          50%

 Total               60 (12%) 193(39%) 176(35%) 56(11%) 10(2%)             4(1%)      (100%)         100%

         8 The 12-storey block will be constructed as a south facing curve with the 44-storey tower
         positioned to the east end of the curve. The tower will accommodate market units and the
         lower 12-storey block the affordable housing. The basement will be accessed from the east and
         will accommodate vehicle and cycle parking as well as plant.

         Case history
         9 In 2001 planning permission was granted for the redevelopment of Charrington’s Wharf to
         provide 735 residential units (buildings A and B) as well as a 29,500 sq.m, 400-bedroom hotel
         (building D) and 42,600 sq.m. office building (building C) with retail, a restaurant, health club,
         car parking and landscaping with public open space. Affordable housing was provided at 25%.
         As the application was made before July 2000, it was not formally commented upon by the
         Mayor. There have, however, been various amendments during the phasing of this scheme.

         10 In February 2004 (PDU/0868/01) and February 2005 (PDU/0868a/01), the Mayor
         supported proposals to alter the hotel element of the scheme to provide a mixed-use
         development maintaining the tower (building D) and podium buildings (buildings A and B),
         albeit with amended heights of 104m and 39m (previously 90m and 40m) incorporating a 210
         room hotel, 257 flats and a flexible element of retail/restaurant use.

         11 This current application proposes further high density residential development with some
         minor ancillary retail uses.

         Strategic planning issues and relevant policies and guidance
         12 The relevant issues and corresponding policies are as follows:

          Economic development            London Plan; London’s Economic Development Strategy
          World city role                 London Plan

                                                                                                  page 11
 Housing                        London Plan; PPS3; Housing SPG; draft Providing for Children
                                 and Young People’s Play and Informal Recreation SPG
   Affordable housing           London Plan; PPS3; Housing SPG
   Density                      London Plan; PPS3; Housing SPG
   Urban design                 London Plan; PPS1
   Mix of uses                  London Plan
   Regeneration                 London Plan; London’s Economic Development Strategy
   Transport                    London Plan; the Mayor’s Transport Strategy; PPG13; Land for
                                 Transport Functions SPG
 Parking                        London Plan; the Mayor’s Transport Strategy; PPG13
 Access                         London Plan; PPS1; Accessible London: achieving an inclusive
                                 environment SPG; ODPM Planning and Access GPG
 Equal opportunities            London Plan; draft Meeting the spatial needs of London’s diverse
                                 communities SPG
 Tall buildings/views           London Plan; RPG3A, draft View Management Framework SPG
 Sustainable development        London Plan; PPS1, PPG3; PPG13; PPS22; the Mayor’s Energy
                                 Strategy; Sustainable Design and Construction SPG
 River Thames/flooding          London Plan; PPG25; PPS25, RPG3B

13 For the purposes of Section 38(6) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, the
development plan in force for the area is the 1998 Tower Hamlets Unitary Development Plan
and the 2004 London Plan (with 2006 Alterations).

14 The following are also relevant material considerations:

       The Further Alterations to the London Plan, which have undergone public
       The Lower Lea Valley Opportunity Area Planning Framework
       The Tower Hamlets Core Strategy and Development Control and Isle of Dogs Area
        Action Plan Development Plan Documents, Submission stage.

Principle of development
15 The development of New Providence Wharf has been phased over the past six years with
the current submission representing the last of the four buildings (A, B, C and D). Residential
development has been accepted in policy terms in this location, although building C was
originally allocated for office use in the 2001 consent. The current UDP identifies the site as
an employment site. Whilst this is the case the Council’s submission document for the Isle of
Dogs Area Action Plan (November 2006) identifies the site as being within an area for new
housing focus. This existing UDP approach is therefore changing within the emerging policy
environment with local policy moving towards the location of core office proposals within
Canary Wharf, within direct access to the town centre.

16 The site lies within the boundary of the Lower Lea Valley Opportunity Area Planning
Framework and is identified as a ‘potential new housing area’.

17 This particular location is suited to residential development, in principle, given the
reasonable access, (which is set to improve), views and good access to the River Thames.

                                                                                        page 12
18 This location has seen a significant number of high density residential led proposals,
including the previous phases of New Providence Wharf. The policy approach to residential
development in this location has been broadly accepted; this particular proposal further
reinforces that accepted, in principle, policy view.

19 Increasing London’s supply of housing is a policy requirement as set out in the London
Plan policy 3A.1. The published early alterations to the London Plan sets an increased annual
monitoring target for Tower Hamlets of 3,150 new homes. This is an increase from the
previous target.

20 In addition to this overall target the Mayor’s strategic objectives is to increase substantially
London’s supply of affordable housing and the London Plan sets out an overall strategic target
that 50% of new housing provision (supply from all sources) should be affordable housing. The
Mayor’s stated position in the London Plan is that in considering individual development
proposals borough councils should seek the maximum reasonable amount of affordable housing,
taking into account individual site costs, the availability of public subsidy and other scheme
requirements (Policy 3A.8).

Affordable housing

21 The applicant proposes 21% as affordable housing (27% by habitable rooms) and has
submitted a financial appraisal to justify the shortfall in affordable housing contribution given
the Mayor’s strategic target of 50%.

22 This shows that the build cost per sq.m. is set above the toolkit default for a 40 storey
tower. The applicant justifies the increased value on account of the high quality material and
design of the tower. In this case, this appears to be a reasoned justification and the remaining
figures appear to be reasonable.

23 The toolkit appraisal therefore suggests that the offer put forward is the maximum
reasonable amount that delivers a viable scheme that includes social rented units on site.
Whilst this is the case, there may be an opportunity to re-visit the affordable housing offer in
order to further maximise the contribution in accordance with London Plan policy 3A.8. The
Mayor recently considered proposals at Leamouth Peninsula North (PDU/1097b) submitted
by Ballymore. Similarly, this case was subject to financial scrutiny, which suggested a much
lower point of viability that was not reflected in the affordable offer put forward. The offer in
that case was higher, 35% by habitable rooms, than the viability position indicated. This
position may need to be considered in this case by the applicant to ensure that the development
achieves the maximum reasonable amount of affordable housing in accordance with London
Plan policy having regard to the Mayor’s strategic target of 50%.


24 Policy 4B.3 of the London Plan aims to maximise the potential of a site taking account of
local context, London Plan design principles and public transport capacity. Table 4B.1 of the
London Plan provides a framework for assessing density. The scheme has a density of 1,626
habitable rooms per hectare (640 dwellings per hectare). The site has a public transport

                                                                                          page 13
accessibility level of 3 (set to improve to 4) and lies in an urban location. The car parking
provision is set at less than one space per unit and the residential type is mostly flats. This
area is characteristic of a central density location, on account of the surrounding development.
As such, subject to the delivery of improved public transport access, the density location and
parking matrix can allow a range of 650 – 1100 habitable rooms per hectare in such locations.
The density proposed is still, however, significantly above the guidance found within the
matrix of the London Plan.

25 A combination of factors can support the provision of such a density provided these bring
strategic benefits. In such a case the scheme should deliver an exceptional design, make
generous contributions to affordable housing and family housing and deliver an exceptional
approach to sustainability. Additionally, there should be amenity space on site and clear
consideration to encouraging sustainable transport.

26 The external appearance is high quality; the potential delivery of open space (discussed
below) also weighs in favour of such density. The design, internally, however, could be
improved (discussed below), the affordable contribution remains disappointing and the
approach to sustainability requires further appraisal (discussed below). In order to support
such high density development, these areas will need clear improvement.


27 The mix includes a range of family units, 3, 4 and 5 bedrooms, within the social rented
component of the scheme. This comprises approximately 60% of the social provision which is
welcome. Overall, however, given the low contribution of affordable housing the overall mix
translates to unit delivery that is heavily skewed to smaller units, studio, one and two beds
(85% overall). This proportion leaves only 15% as family units overall (3, 4 and 5 beds). This
is considerably short of the guidance provided in the Mayor’s Housing supplementary planning
guidance which seeks that 30% of the overall mix be allocated to larger 4+ bed units.

Urban design, open space and access
28 London Plan Policy 4B.1 ‘Design principles for a compact city’ states that the Mayor will
seek to ensure that new developments maximise site potential, enhance public realm, provide a
mix of uses, are accessible, legible, sustainable, safe, inspire, excite and delight and respect
London’s natural and built heritage, amongst others. Other relevant design policies within the
London Plan include 4B.2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, these undertake a more detailed steer of the concepts
identified in policy 4B.1.

Design and tall buildings

29 The development is split as two distinct blocks but which are joined at the eastern end and
share the basement parking services. The tower is designed through the use of two floor
plates, type A and B, that are stacked repeatedly creating a staggered facade to the building.
The affordable block uses a conventional design, in terms of differing floor plates but with
similar materials to provide cohesion between the two buildings. The massing studies
undertaken demonstrate that the scale and massing in relation to the surrounding buildings is
appropriate. The overall appearance of the tower and the low rise block is of high quality,
consistent with London Plan policy 4B.9.

30 Internally, the affordable block uses corridor access, which limits the options for
apartments with a double aspect views. Some of the apartments therefore are positioned north
facing and with no direct access to sunlight. This is an unfortunate arrangement that could be

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designed out. Not all the affordable apartments benefit from balconies. In particular, none of
the inward, south facing, units benefit from balcony space. The applicant justifies this design
approach on account of the overlooking between units facing inwards. Not all of the inward
facing units would, however, be subject such overlooking, and this could be designed out by
staggering the balconies in a similar style to the floor plate design for the tower. A balance
needs to be made for those inward facing apartments given the inclusion of privately accessed
outdoor space would significantly improves the quality of life for those future residents. On
this basis, outdoor space should be included where this is feasible to create the best possible
living environment.

Surrounding landscape

31 The applicant estimates that 3,259 sq.m. green space will be provided to the south and east
of the development. This is shown as a mix of hard and soft landscaping with ornamental
water features. Originally the proposal included a boulevard style, tree lined, entrance road to
the south of proposal and accessed from the northern end of Blackwall Way.

32 Following discussions with GLA officers this entrance design has been deleted and scaled
down to a single lane with drop off point. This amendment releases 314 sq.m. of open space
and is a welcomed.

Children’s play space

33 London Plan Policy 3A.15 provides a policy context for social infrastructure, including
children’s play space. The Mayor’s draft supplementary planning guidance: ‘Providing for
Children and Young People’s Play and Informal Recreation’ provides further guidance. Draft
further alterations to the London Plan Policy 3A.15i also seeks the provision of a play space
strategy. Paragraph 4.42 of the draft SPG states that a benchmark standard of 10 sq.m. per
child should be applied to establish the quantitative requirements for play space provision
arising from new developments in the area.

34 The development is expected to be home to 178 children, when fully occupied. These are
likely to be broken down into the following age groups:

       Under 5 year olds     67
       5 – 11 year olds      67
       12 – 16 year olds      44

35 This equates to a requirement of 1,780 sq.m. recreation space as set out in the Draft SPG.
The applicant has put forward an area of play space to the north of the affordable block which
is 450 sq.m. and will include a range of play equipment. Whilst this provision is welcome it
falls significantly short given the high density proposed.

36 GLA officers are aware that the area is significantly deficient in good quality useable public
open space and outdoor facilities for children and young people. Phases A, B and D include
formal landscaped areas that are not actively used spaces (although they contribute to the
visual aesthetic of the residential environment). The nearest park (Robin Hood Gardens) is a
300-metre walk to the north of the A1261 Aspen Way, but is of poor quality and has no safe
accessible route on foot. Others exist but at fairly significant distances such as the 750-metre
walk to Poplar recreation ground and All Saints Church public gardens.

37 GLA officers have been in discussions with the applicant and Tower Hamlets Council
regarding land to the east of the proposed children’s play area, and north of the proposal site.

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This land falls outside the ownership of the applicant. It is understood that this land is owned
by TfL and is used to access the Blackwall Tunnel vent shaft.

38 The applicant has put forward possible options to regenerate this land around the vent to
provide a substantial area of park and play space. Currently TfL, Tower Hamlets and the
applicant have been in very positive and detailed discussions regarding its delivery, these are
ongoing. GLA officers would expect that sufficiently robust measures be used to ensure this
space is delivered as part of this and surrounding development proposals.


39 Policy 3A.4 of the London Plan requires all new housing to be built to ‘Lifetime Homes’
standards and 10% of all new housing to be designed to be wheelchair accessible to meet the
full range of housing needs. London Plan Policy 4B.5 Creating an inclusive environment states:
“Boroughs should require development proposals to include an Access Statement showing how the
principles of inclusive design, including the specific needs of disabled people, have been integrated into the
proposed development, and how inclusion will be maintained and managed.

40 The development commits to deliver 10% wheelchair accessible homes and compliance with
the lifetime home standard. In discussion with the applicant further work is required to clarify
the transition route for disabled users from the parking drop off point to the residential
entrance points (affordable and market). This is currently a significant distance and needs

41 The London Plan requires the inclusion of energy efficiency and renewable energy
measures in all new development, where feasible. As part of this, applicants should submit an
energy demand assessment, demonstrate that schemes are consistent with the Mayor’s heating
and cooling hierarchy, and show how they meet 10%, where feasible, of energy demand from
renewable energy technologies (London Plan Policies 4A.7-9; Mayor’s Energy Strategy)

Energy efficiency

42 An energy strategy has been submitted. It confirms that the affordable apartments will be
operated separately to the private apartments and health club, each with separate service
plants. A community heating network for the whole development should be considered. In
addition, given the previous phases of the development (A, B and D) the applicant should
consider the options to link into the previous phases or other developments as part of the same
district or community network.

43 Currently, two independent small combined heat and power units have been considered.
One to serve the affordable apartments and the other to serve the private apartments and
health club. Combined cooling heat and power (also known as tri-generation) has not been
considered. Given the private apartments will be fitted with active cooling, and there will be a
cooling load for the health club, a feasibility study into the use of tri-generation technology
should be undertaken, and where feasible, included, unless robust reasons indicate otherwise.

44 The technical data confirms that the combined heat and power plant for the private
apartments and health club do not fully meet the base load. The reasons seem to be to justify
the installation of a biomass boiler to meet the remaining base load, presumably to provide
renewables contributions. Combined heat and power should be fully optimised first.

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45 A biomass boiler constitutes the only renewable technology on-site. No considerations to
the supply of biomass fuel have been provided. No specific renewable technology is serving the
affordable apartment block although the plans indicate photovoltaic panels located on the roof.

46 Whilst these are shown on plan, photovoltaic panels have been dismissed due to limited
roof availability. The roof of the affordable building is planned to be a green roof, however, an
estimation of the potential photovoltaic generation for the available area is not included in the
strategy assessment. This will need to be provided to fully assess the renewable options

47 Geothermal energy (ground source heat pumps) and borehole cooling has not been fully
developed, these options are only mentioned briefly. Further justification should be provided
to support their rejection.

48 The adopted renewable solution is a biomass boiler to supply the remaining base load for
the private market block and health club that is not met by the combined heat and power plant.
Whilst this is the case, there is no justification as to why the combined heat and power is not
fully sized to meet all the base load.

49 Although sizing the combined heat and power to maximise the base load may compromise
the viability of the biomass boiler, it should be considered as a priority within the energy
strategy over the renewable option and the system should be optimise to increase the amount
of electricity generated on-site.

Energy summary

50 A district heating network should be considered as part of this proposal. Technical work
on tri-generation technology needs to be considered. Detailed work is also required regarding
optimising the use of combined heat and power to achieve maximum efficiency before factoring
in renewables. The option for biomass lacks a clear strategy in terms of supply, storage and
delivery. Currently there is a lack of feasibility work and a lack of clear commitment to the
proposed technologies. Further detailed work is required before the Mayor considers this
again at stage 2.

Transport for London’s comments
51 TfL notes that whilst this proposal in isolation is unlikely to result in any unacceptable
impact to the Transport for London Road Network or Strategic Rail Network, the cumulative
impact of high density residential in the vicinity will have a major impact on the Transport for
London Road Network (A1261 Aspen Way & A13 East India Dock Road).

52 The transport assessment should identify the expected traffic generation proposed and
committed developments in the vicinity (preferably from the Transport Assessment Report
supporting that development). The expected traffic generation for the proposed and committed
developments should be distributed onto the road network (traffic distribution for committed &
proposed schemes should be consistent with assumptions made in the supporting transport
assessment). Weekday AM and PM peak periods, along with weekend peak periods should be

53 TfL notes that 202 spaces are proposed for 499 dwellings units equating to about 0.4 spaces
per unit. Whilst this is within the maximum standards as set out in the London Plan, TfL

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would support a further reduction to be consistent with earlier much lower levels of provision
or car free phases of the development of New Providence Wharf. As no parking is proposed for
the non residential elements of the proposal, clarification should be provided as to the level of
disabled parking.

54 250 cycle parking spaces are proposed for the residential component. For consistency with
the TfL Cycle Parking Standards, as referred to in the London Plan (Annex 4, Para 37) this
should be increased to a minimum of 499 spaces. In the absence of further information about
anticipated staffing levels for the leisure and health use, at least 2 cycle spaces are required for
this element and 2 further spaces for the retail use. The provision of public access cycle
parking for visitors or other users at ground level should be encouraged. Further information
is also required about security measures, showers, lockers and changing facilities for staff that
cycle to work.

55 Tfl welcomes the submission of an outline Travel Plan with this application; this should be
secured and monitored through the section 106 process. In order to encourage alternative
modes of travel residents of the development should also be excluded from eligibility for on-
street residents parking permits.

56 There is a low level of pedestrian activity through the site and in the area at present. A
contribution towards improvements to pedestrian facilities in the vicinity of the site has already
been made with an earlier phase of development of New Providence Wharf and this is likely to
result in a new footbridge across Aspen Way, providing improved access to Blackwall DLR

57 Given the proximity of the development to the Blackwall Tunnel, which is a strategic part
of the TFL network, TfL would need to be satisfied that there will be no detrimental effect on
the efficiency of the ventilation of the vent shaft or to the stability of the tunnel. Details of
foundations should also be therefore provided.

58 In order to ensure the safe and reliable operation of buses or stops on Blackwall Way TfL
requires consultation of the numbers, routing of construction vehicles and working hours at the

59 In conclusion, TfL has no in principle objections to this application provided the above
issues are resolved satisfactorily.

London Development Agency’s comments
60 The London Development Agency (LDA) acknowledges that the site is no longer the most
appropriate location for large headquarter offices as proposed in the original permission.
However it is disappointing that this proposal and now Charrington's Wharf development as a
whole does not include an element of B1 space suitable for small to medium enterprises. This
location offers an appropriate opportunity for these types of businesses, whose clients are likely
to be in the Canary Wharf, to operate from nearby premises which are more affordable. The
LDA encourages the developer to consider incorporating a small component of B1 within the

61 It is important to ensure that the employment opportunities presented by the
redevelopment are maximised for the benefit of local residents and businesses as set out in
London Plan Policy 3B.12 and Economic Development Strategy objectives. Consideration
should be given to create training and employment opportunities for local people and
businesses both during construction and within the completed development through the

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production of an employment and training strategy. It is particularly important that this
specifically seeks to meet the needs of small and medium sized enterprises and is also aimed at
addressing barriers to work, through the provision of childcare facilities.

Local planning authority’s position
62 Officers at Tower Hamlets will be reporting the application to the Planning Committee in
June. The officer recommendation is unknown.

Legal considerations
63 Under the arrangements set out in article 3 of the Town and Country Planning (Mayor of
London) Order 2000 the Mayor has an opportunity to make representations to Tower Hamlets
Council at this stage. If the Council subsequently resolves to grant planning permission, it
must allow the Mayor an opportunity to decide whether to direct it to refuse planning
permission. There is no obligation at this present stage for the Mayor to indicate his
intentions regarding a possible direction, and no such decision should be inferred from the
Mayor’s comments unless specifically stated.

Financial considerations
64 There are no financial considerations at this stage.

65 The application represents high density residential led, mixed use development, however
the affordable housing offer remains low. Currently the applicant needs to undertake further
detailed work to ensure the density proposed is acceptable, this includes discussion regarding
the internal layout to the affordable block and access to balcony space to the south facing units.
Further discussion is required between the applicant, TfL and the Council regarding access to
open space, and further detailed work is required on the energy strategy. TfL has identified
technical requirements and clarification as set out in this report. These matters must be
satisfactorily addressed before the Mayor considers the application again at stage 2.

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for further information, contact Planning Decisions Unit:
Giles Dolphin, Head of Planning Decisions
020 7983 4271 email
Colin Wilson, Strategic Planning Manager (Development Decisions)
020 7983 4783 email
Matthew Carpen, Case Officer
020 7983 4272 email

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