Riverside mixed plans rejected as poor regeneration precedent

Failure to achieve a high quality of design has led to dismissal of a major housing-led regeneration scheme in south-east London, in a recovered appeal decision.

The site comprised an industrial estate site close to the Thames within an extensive opportunity area identified in the development plan for regeneration, with an emphasis on housing to help meet a pressing need in the borough and more widely in London. The application was the first major scheme to come forward as part of the area’s regeneration. It proposed 771 new homes in 11 buildings ranging from two to ten storeys, with 40 per cent to be affordable. Employment uses comprised 3,026 square metres of class B1 workspace and 183 square metres of retail space.

The secretary of state agreed with his inspector that the council’s regeneration masterplan, embodied in an adopted supplementary planning document, provided a well-crafted and well-informed framework for development. He shared the inspector’s concerns that the scheme failed to promote a high quality of design, particularly in relation to scale and massing. In his view, it would not establish a high-quality benchmark for further regeneration proposals in the area.

He agreed that proposed densities averaging 305 dwellings per hectare, exceeding a plan range of 240 to 260, were an indication of an excessive scale of development and the scheme’s ten-storey height could not be regarded as being of human scale, thus conflicting with policy and guidance. Overall, he concluded that the project’s significant housing benefits and its employment contribution did not outweigh conflict with the development plan.

Inspector: Mike Robins; Inquiry

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