sites 1 2 poplar business park report by cJ74v9

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									                                                                planning report PDU/0351b/02
                                                                                          24 June 2005

                                    Sites 1 & 2, Poplar Business Park
                                                  in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets
                                                       planning application no. PA/04/00510


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
Redevelopment of site by erection of two new buildings rising to 10 and 25 storeys for mixed use
scheme of retail units at ground and first floors with 228 residential units above comprising of 130
one bedroom units, 88 two bedroom units and 10 three bedroom units.

Strategic issues
The proposal is consistent in principle with the relevant national, regional, and local policies. It is
welcomed that the level of family housing has been increased, an access statement submitted and
number of cycle parking spaces increased. However, it is a disappointing that noise impacts have not
been adequately addressed and that the applicant has only been able to supply a low percentage of its
energy from a renewable source. The feasibility justification provided by the applicant means that the
scheme is acceptable on energy grounds in this instance. In addition the applicant is committed to
working with the GLA on other emerging schemes to more closely reflect the London Plan targets.

Recommendation
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.



Context
1       On 18 May 2005 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 1C (c) of the Schedule of the above Order, “Development which
comprises or includes the erection of a building…the building is more than 30 metres high and outside the
City of London”.

2      On 25 January 2005 the Mayor considered planning report PDU/0351b/01, and
subsequently advised Tower Hamlets Council that the proposal was acceptable in principle
with regard to strategic planning policy, except for the following:

       The low provision of family housing is not fully justified.

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      Consideration must be taken of providing suitable children’s play space areas.
      There is no access statement. No provision is made for disabled parking.
      Evidence on noise impact and its mitigation is inadequate.
      The approach to sustainable design and renewable energy technologies is
       unconvincing.
      A condition must be added should be imposed requiring details to be produced of
       landscaping within the development which will provide habitat for black redstarts.
      Insufficient cycle parking spaces are proposed.

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 8 June 2005
Tower Hamlets Council decided that it was minded to grant planning permission for the
application, and on 13 June 2005 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 28 June 2005 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 Mayor of London’s decision this case, and his reasons, will be made available on the
GLA website www.london.gov.uk.

Update
5        Housing: Due to concerns raised by Tower Hamlets Council the level of affordable
housing has been increased to 34%. This has been achieved by increasing the height of the
northern block by an additional 2 storeys. There are no strategic concerns raised by this
revision and the increase in affordable housing is supported. At the consultation stage
concern was raised regarding a high proportion of one and two-bedroom units proposed
within the scheme. The GLA housing requirements indicate an increased number of family
sized units are required in Tower Hamlets. The level of family housing has been increased
within the revised scheme. The current level of family housing would represent 48% of the
total floorspace within the affordable housing component of the scheme.

6       Children’s play space: Not all units within the scheme have an external or internal
private open space. Therefore consideration must be taken of providing suitable children’s
play space areas within the communal space proposed or as off-site provision. However the
applicant has stated that it is not possible, nor does it consider it possible to accommodate
play space within the scheme. The applicant is willing to contribute £140,000 towards play
facilities within the immediate locality and provision of a green bridge linking the area to the
river which is welcomed.

7       Access: There was no information submitted with the application at consultation
stage regarding lifetime homes standards and wheelchair accessibility. An access statement
has been submitted by the applicant which confirms that all units will comply with lifetime
home standards which is welcomed. The revised proposal incorporates provision for
basement car parking, accommodating 34 spaces of which 4 spaces are secured by condition
for disabled parking. However there is no further information included regarding whether
10% of residential units are built to be wheelchair accessible as stated in the London Plan.


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8       Noise: A number of concerns about the noise impacts of the scheme were raised.
Many of the concerns have not been addressed by the applicant. A condition has been raised
regarding glazing specifications serving residential accommodation according with Divine
Acoustics Report dated 10 and 11 December 2003. However at consultation stage the
Mayor advised that other measures should be investigated as better alternatives to simply
using (acoustic) glazing to protect residents. This advice was not followed. It is unfortunate
that better design solutions were not found to overcome these issues.

9       Renewable Energy: The applicant had carried out a detailed assessment of the
energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies for the site, including some heating
systems. This approach is strongly welcomed. However, where more sustainable
technologies and systems are technically feasible the applicant had rejected them on
commercial grounds. In respect of solar water heating, stronger justification was necessary
for why it is economically unviable. After the consultation period and subsequent to a
meeting with the applicants it was agreed that further work would be undertaken to
implement solar water heating system in the south tower of the scheme. A revised
assessment was submitted in March 2005. The assessment sets out that two 3 metre square
solar water heating panels will be provided for the top two apartments of the south block
generating a total of 4,000kWh per annum. This would generate 0.1% of the total energy
demand of the scheme from a renewable energy resource. Further negotiations with the
applicant have produced an increase to 15 solar water systems now producing 1% of the total
energy demand from renewable technologies. The applicants have supplied robust
information that sets out that this is the highest percentage that is technically and
economically feasible within this tower block. The low percentage on this scheme is largely
due to inadequate designing of renewable energy technologies into the scheme at a very
early stage. However the applicants, the Aitch Group, are committed to providing 10% of
total energy demand from renewable energy sources on forthcoming schemes. The
applicant has also altered the heating system in the affordable housing units from electric to
gas. It is accepted that in this instance it is not technically or economically feasible to
achieve a higher percentage of energy demand from renewable technologies.

10     Biodiversity: The only biodiversity issue is the likely presence of black redstarts on
the site. The application site is within the core range of the black redstart, and contains
suitable habitat. A condition should be imposed requiring details to be produced of
landscaping within the development which will provide habitat for black redstarts.

11      Planning contributions: The applicant has offered contributions to health provision of
£329 per estimated head of population and education provision of £8,333 per school place. As
stated in paragraph 6 the applicants has offered to contribute to the provision of open space in
the locality and assistance towards the cost of any future green bridge across Aspen Way.
There is also an offer to fund a bus lane on Preston’s Road and make land within the site
available for such a route.

Transport for London’s comments
12        TfL made a number of requests at Stage 1 for improvements to DLR, including a new
link to Blackwall Station and for provision of DLR real time displays. In addition DLR also
sent their standard conditions for development directly to The London Borough of Tower
Hamlets.

13     The original Transport Assessment (TA) included a section detailing a green travel
plan, which has been removed from the revised TA. TfL would like to ensure that this is re-

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instated and amended to include reference to DLR real time plasma displays to be provided in
the building.

14    The number of cycle parking spaces proposed in the original scheme did not satisfy
the London Cycle Network Design Manual Standards for 1 space per flat. This has been
addressed in a condition to the draft consent.

London Development Agency’s comments
15      The LDA supports this mix use proposal in principle given the regeneration benefits
to this part of London. The increase in households within the area should not create a
deficiency in community facilities within this part of the borough. It is unfortunate that the
applicant has not included a community facility such as a crèche within this scheme. The
Council should be satisfied that the needs of the community for services such as education,
health and other community needs can be satisfactorily met. The Agency however welcomes
the financial contribution by the applicant to play facilities within the immediate locality of
the application.

Legal considerations
16      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
17     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.

Conclusion
18     The proposal is consistent in principle with the relevant national, regional, and local
policies. It is welcomed that the level of family housing has been increased, access statement
submitted and number of cycle parking spaces increased. However, it is disappointing noise
impacts have not been adequately addressed and that the applicant has only been able to
supply a low percentage of its energy from a renewable source. The feasibility justification
provided by the applicant along with its work on other schemes means that the scheme is
acceptable on energy grounds in this instance. London Plan policies with regard to noise are
not sufficiently robust to support a refusal of planning permission on these grounds.




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for further information, contact Planning Decisions Unit:
Giles Dolphin, Head of Planning Decisions
020 7983 4271 email giles.dolphin@london.gov.uk
Colin Wilson, Strategic Planning Manager (Development Decisions)
020 7983 4783 email colin.wilson@london.gov.uk
Farah Humayun, Case Officer
020 7983 4312 email farah.humayun@london.gov.uk
_____________________________________________________________________________




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