Green light for co-living developer's 22-storey east London hotel scheme

Plans for a 22-storey hotel-led scheme in east London have been given conditional approval, two years after the applicant secured permission for a 'co-living' scheme on the same site.

A visualisation of The Collective's proposed scheme in Stratford High Street. Pic: Tegmark
A visualisation of The Collective's proposed scheme in Stratford High Street. Pic: Tegmark

The London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) has given the provisional go-ahead to the mixed-used proposal on Stratford High Street.

The full application, from specialist co-living developer The Collective, proposes a mixed-use development ranging from seven to 22 storeys, comprising a 287-bed hotel and 770 square metres of office space, of which almost half would be provided as affordable workspace at 50 per cent of the local market rate. 

Three vacant commercial buildings on the site would be demolished, including a local Labour Party office that is listed by Newham Council as a non-designated heritage asset.

The application is a modified version of a previous proposal from The Collective for the same site that was granted consent by the LLDC in June 2017

However, according to the committee report, the application for a 19-storey, 222 bed co-living scheme was yet to receive final approval from the Greater London Authority (GLA).

Co-living is a form of shared accommodation typically aimed at young professionals that usually comprises ensuite bedrooms with shared kitchen and living areas. 

According to the report for last month's planning committee, officers considered that the potential impacts of the scheme on a nearby conservation area and surrounding heritage assets were "less than substantial". 

This less than substantial harm was "outweighed by the public benefits of the proposals", they added, which include "employment generating uses, with affordable workspace, which would also support the visitor and night time economy of Stratford town centre".

The building's "high quality design" was a further benefit, the report said.

The scheme, called The Collective Stratford, is projected to create 155 jobs. it added.

In addition, officers recommended imposing a condition, following requests from members, stating that the scheme's hotel element "is used solely as a hotel under class C1, particularly given that some of the applicant's other developments operate as co-living products". 

The draft section 106 legal agreement includes a "hotel management strategy" that would require the operator to alert the LLDC "when any guest has stayed for longer than 90 days in any 12-month period".

If the condition terms were not followed, then the LLDC "would be able to take enforcement action requiring any use outside of a hotel under class C1 to cease", the report said.

Despite this, a statement from The Collective described the hotel accommodation as "short-stay co-living rooms where members can stay one night up to a few months".

An LLDC spokeswoman said the planning decisions committee resolved to grant planning permission for the scheme on Wednesday 18 December subject to it meeting the planning conditions outlined in the committee report, the completion of the section 106 agreement and there being no objections raised by the GLA.

According to the developer, The Collective Stratford will also provide a "community investment programme" allowing local organisations and charities to use the employment facilities free of charge.

The firm said construction is expected to start at the end of 2020 with completion in 2023. 

Consultancy DP9 has acted as planning agents for the project, which has been designed by PLP Architecture.

Last month, Manchester City Council revealed that it is considering limiting the growth of co-living schemes in the city due to concerns over space standards and worries that some developments might not provide "appropriate" housing.

A feature looking at the potential impact of co-living on planning can be found here.

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