Plans refused for 48-storey east London residential tower

Plans for a 48-storey tower of 332 flats have been thrown out by an east London council because of concerns over its 'excessive scale and height'.

The Marsh Wall scheme (front, centre). Pic: Make architects
The Marsh Wall scheme (front, centre). Pic: Make architects

The full application, submitted by developer Cubbit Property Holdings, was refused by the London Borough of Tower Hamlets' strategic development committee last week, against the recommendation of officers.

The plans – which would have exceeded the mayor of London’s density matrix threshold by more than three times - include 810 square metres of flexible community and office floorspace and 79 square metres of flexible retail, restaurant and community space.

The 0.21-hectare site’s existing four-storey office block would be demolished.

A previous application for a larger 55-storey scheme with 414 flats on the same site at Marsh Wall was withdrawn by the applicant last year.

According to the council, the application was refused because of members' concerns over overdevelopment of the site due to the scheme's  "excessive scale and height" and the lack of a section 106 legal agreement.

The application was initially considered by the committee on 17 August, the report says, but was deferred after members indicated that they were minded to refuse it on the grounds of overdevelopment due to height, density and impact on infrastructure.

The proposal’s density of 3,354 habitable rooms per hectare exceeds the maximum London Plan density matrix by more than three times, according to the report.

Taking into account the site’s location and proximity to public transport, the matrix states a maximum density of 1,100 habitable rooms per hectare.

The report says that officers "consider that in some local views, the building appears bulky and have raised concerns that the footprint of the building is too large for the plot size".

But it goes on to say that the scheme would cause no harm to "strategic views", to neighbouring properties and had prompted no objections from government adviser Historic England or the council’s own conservation and design advisory panel.  

It was also in "a good accessible location" and "would deliver a large amount of high quality residential units", the report says. 

The development would provide 25 per cent affordable housing, the report says, compared to the council’s policy target of 50 per cent for new build.

However, the report says the council’s independent viability consultant "has confirmed that the 25 per cent affordable housing proposed is above what can viably be delivered".

It adds: "For the reasons outlined above, the applicant has maximised affordable housing delivery on site. The proposal therefore complies with the relevant policies."

The committee reports can be found here.

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