planning report PDU/0445e/01
23 February 2005
Site E (Units 3 & 4), Canada Water
in the London Borough of Southwark
planning application no. 03-AP-2071
Strategic planning application (application at adjourned public inquiry to
reopen in April 2005)
Town & Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended); Greater London Authority Act 1999;
Town & Country Planning (Mayor of London) Order 2000
Demolition of existing retail warehouse and construction of three buildings, comprising 10
storeys; part 7/part 12 storeys; and part 13/part 15 storeys to accommodate 320 flats;
community facilities at ground floor level; 205 car parking spaces
This proposal was first seen by the Mayor in July 2003. The Mayor was generally supportive
of the proposal subject to levels of affordable housing and various detailed transport matters.
The application is now the subject of a Public Inquiry which has been adjourned. The
application has been referred to the Mayor again as he was not previously notified that the
site is in the wider setting consultation area for the Strategic View of St.Paul’s Cathedral
from Greenwich Park.
The applicants have undertaken an analysis of affordable housing provision using the Three
Dragons toolkit and are to provide 6 additional units of intermediate accommodation or a
financial contribution. This is accepted. There will be no adverse impact on the strategic view
of St.Paul’s Cathedral from Greenwich Park. The applicants have agreed to provide funding
towards Selective Vehicle Detection traffic signals at the junction of Surrey Quays Road and
Canada Street and contribute towards pedestrian connectivity improvements.
That Southwark Council be advised that in strategic planning terms, the proposal is
acceptable. In particular, the applicant’s approach to affordable housing and transport matters
is satisfactory. Additionally, the development would not adversely affect the Strategic View of
St. Paul’s Cathedral from Greenwich Park.
1 On 23 April 2003, Southwark Council consulted the Mayor of London on an
application for planning permission for the above uses at the above site. This was referred to
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the Mayor under Category 1C of the Schedule of the above Order, i.e. “Development which
comprises or includes the erection of a building in respect of which …the building is more than 30
metres high and outside the City of London.”
2 On 2 July 2003, the Mayor considered planning report PDU/0445c/01 and
subsequently advised Southwark Council that he generally supported the proposal subject to
The current affordable housing package was inadequate both in terms of the level and
range of provision. The draft London Plan sets an indicative target for 50% of house-
building in Southwark to be for affordable housing. This site is likely to have
significant residual values that could support a much higher level of affordable
housing than 25%. The Mayor was also unconvinced that the balance between
intermediate housing and social rented accommodation would meet London’s
housing needs in terms of affordability.
Transport for London (Surface) was concerned that traffic movements from the flats
would impede buses and therefore required Selective Vehicle Detection traffic signals
for all new highways infrastructure.
A financial contribution was required towards a package of transportation
measures that would improve pedestrian connectivity in the area as well as
finance for bus infrastructure including bus priority measures.
3 The Mayor had previously considered two other proposals for the site in April and
July 2002 and had decided not to direct Southwark Council to refuse planning permission.
The first was for an office development; and the second for a mixed tele-hotel (data centre)
and office building.
4 A copy of the July 2003 report (PDU/0445c/01) 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.
5 The Mayor of London’s decision this case, and his reasons, will be made available on
the GLA website www.london.gov.uk.
6 The Planning Committee of Southwark Council was due to consider the application
on 1 December 2003. The application had been recommended for approval subject to a legal
agreement to secure affordable housing provision; environmental improvement works
around the vicinity of the site; and funds for setting up a car-sharing scheme.
7 However, the application was removed from the agenda and the applicant
subsequently appealed against non-determination.
8 In June 2004, the Council resolved that had it been in a position to determine the
application, it would have refused the application on four grounds:
Noise and disturbance from the adjoining print works.
The height of the proposal.
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The density of the development.
The dwelling mix in terms of unit size (subsequently not pursued by the Council).
9 The Public Inquiry commenced in November 2004 but has subsequently been
adjourned until April 2005.
10 On 20 December 2004, Southwark Council re-consulted the Mayor on the
application, as it had not previously made him aware that the site is located within the wider
setting consultation area for the Strategic View of St. Paul’s Cathedral from Greenwich
11 The applicant has also written to the Mayor to provide updates on various issues
including the impact on the Strategic View; affordable housing; transport improvements; and
the Public Transport Accessibility Level of the site in relation to development density.
12 Although the number of flats proposed has remained unchanged (320), there have
been some design alterations. Block A remains at 10 storeys and Block C remains at part
13/part 15 storeys. However, Block B has altered from part 9/part 13 storeys to part 7/ part
13 Since the application was last seen by the Mayor, Southwark Council has published
and adopted Supplementary Planning Guidance for Canada Water. In relation to this site, it
states that: “The adopted UDP (1995) does not provide a designation for Site E. The draft UDP
(2004) designates the required use of the site as employment use. Other uses are not acceptable.”
Strategic Viewing Corridor
14 Illustrative material has been provided to demonstrate the ‘before’ and ‘after’
scenarios of the development on the wider setting consultation area for the Strategic View of
St. Paul’s Cathedral from Greenwich Park.
15 The development will be visible but will not adversely affect the Strategic View.
16 The London Plan has now been published and sets a target for 50% of house –
building in Southwark to be for affordable housing.
17 The applicant has advised of the following:
- Affordable housing is not an issue at the Public Inquiry as the Council is satisfied
with it being provided at 25% (80 units).
- The site was purchased at the beginning of 2003. The price paid reflected both the
retail use and the adopted planning policy of the time, which required 25% affordable
housing provision. In these circumstances, there is limited scope for seeking to
achieve an affordable housing target in excess of 25% because the benefit of any
‘excess’ residual value has been paid to the former owner of the site.
- The development has been assessed using the Three Dragons toolkit. It concludes
that a development with more than 25% affordable housing provision would render
the proposal financially unviable.
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- The applicants have also advised that Southwark Council does not support registered
social landlords applications to the Housing Corporation for Social Housing Grant on
affordable housing schemes delivered via the planning system. If Social Housing
Grant were made available, or if a greater proportion of the development were
provided for shared ownership, it may be possible to deliver a higher proportion of
18 The applicant has made no comment on the balance between social rented and
19 The Three Dragons assessment has been examined by officers from the Planning
Decisions Unit and the London Plan team. Whilst the applicant’s analysis is robust,
sensitivity analysis has been undertaken of other affordable housing scenarios not covered by
the report. This demonstrates that a further six intermediate housing units could be viably
provided. The applicants have agreed to provide these although it has yet to be determined
whether these will be located on or off site or by way of a financial contribution. They will be
secured by a unilateral undertaking. This will give a total of 86 affordable units (27%). The
increase in the number of intermediate units will also improve the tenure split and result in a
76:24 split in favour of social rent, which is more in line with the London Plan’s objective.
20 At present, the proposed unilateral undertaking proposes the following:
Cycle networks: £42, 450.
Car share scheme: £28, 900.
Environmental Improvements: £15,000.
21 In relation to TfL’s request for finance for Selective Vehicle Detection (SVD) traffic
signals, pedestrian connectivity improvements and bus infrastructure, the applicant has
suggested the provision of an additional £40,000 to provide SVD traffic signals at the
junction of Surrey Quays Road and Canada Street and contribute towards pedestrian
connectivity improvements. As there is at present no specific published scheme for
environmental improvements and pedestrian connectivity improvements in Canada Water,
the £15, 000 towards environmental improvements and the balance of the £40, 000 once
SVD have been installed would be a generic contribution towards improvements. This is
acceptable to TfL.
London Development Agency’s comments
22 The LDA previously advised that they were concerned to ensure that suitable design
and other mitigation measures were incorporated into the scheme to enable new residents to
successfully co-exist with the operations at the adjoining print works. The LDA remain keen
to ensure that this matter has been addressed.
23 Additionally, the LDA have commented that they have not received details of the
proposed ground floor community use. The applicants have advised that they will contact
the LDA when the use has been determined.
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24 Although the application has been appealed and is currently at an adjourned
public inquiry, 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 Southwark Council.
25 As the application is currently at a public inquiry, there are no financial implications.
26 The proposal is now acceptable in strategic planning terms. The provision of six
additional intermediate housing units or a financial contribution is welcomed; the applicant
has demonstrated satisfactorily that there will be no adverse impact on the Strategic View of
St. Paul’s Cathedral from Greenwich Park; and outstanding transport issues have been
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for further information, contact Planning Decisions Unit:
Giles Dolphin, Head of Planning Decisions
020 7983 4271 email firstname.lastname@example.org
Colin Wilson, Strategic Planning Manager (Development Control)
020 7983 4783 email email@example.com
Martin Scholar, Case Officer
020 7983 5750 email martin.scholar @london.gov.uk
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