City Hall gives go-ahead for 3,000-home London scheme after council refusal

A proposed 3,000-home development straddling the boundary of two London councils has been approved by the capital's planning chief. He intervened when one of the two local authorities refused an application for a key part of the scheme within its boundary, against a recommendation for approval from planners.

A visualisation of the finished development
A visualisation of the finished development

In April, the London Borough of Havering voted to reject the planning application for the development on a former 32 hectare industrial site straddling the boundaries of Havering and the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham.

The site lies within one of the mayor of London’s housing zones and is in a designated opportunity area in the London Plan.

Due to the nature of the application site, separate applications had to be considered by both councils.

A recommendation for approval was agreed by Barking and Dagenham Council in March for the section of the scheme within its boundary.

Planners at Havering Council had recommended approval for the 733-home element of the scheme within its boundary, but the council went on to refuse it. Members refused the plans over concerns about the height of the proposed apartment blocks.

Following the refusal, London’s deputy mayor for planning, regeneration and skills Jules Pipe intervened to take on the planning decision-making process for both applications.

According to a Greater London Assembly (GLA) document on the Havering application, officers found that the "proposed building heights strategy is broadly in accordance with the Opportunity Area Planning Framework".

"As such, the building heights are acceptable", the report said.

On density, the report said that the proposed densities "are appropriate in this emerging context and ... the design quality is very high and the scheme does not exhibit any symptoms of overdevelopment".

The report said that the applicant proposes to deliver 35 per cent affordable housing which "falls short" of policy in the mayor’s affordable housing and viability supplementary planning document.

It said that "schemes on public land such as this are required to deliver at least 50 per cent affordable housing without grant funding".

The document said that GLA officers "will continue to work with the applicants and the councils with a view to increasing affordable housing to 50 per cent. This will include a robust interrogation of viability in addition to a full assessment of grant and public subsidy options".

Pipe said: "Having weighed up the evidence available to me and given the overall importance of the application, I have decided to grant approval.

"The wider area around Beam Park has the potential to deliver thousands of new homes and jobs, and could play a crucial role in London’s economy in the decades to come".

Opportunities and challenges in increasing urban densities will be discussed at the Planning for Housing summit, which takes place in central London on 9-10 October. The session will be led by Croydon Council director of planning and transport Heather Cheesbrough and MHCLG architectural adviser Andy von Bradsky. A separate summit session on suburban densification will be led by Transport for London property development director Lester Hampson and London Land Commission senior manager Justin Carr. Visit www.planningforhousing2018.com for details.


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