Go-ahead for 530-home east London mixed-use scheme despite loss of employment space

Plans have been approved for the redevelopment of a former bus depot in east London into a 530-home mixed-use development, despite recognition from planners that there would be a net loss in employment floor space arising from the scheme.

A visualisation of the development (pic: CZWG ARCHITECTS LLP)
A visualisation of the development (pic: CZWG ARCHITECTS LLP)

The London Borough of Tower Hamlets last week granted consent for the scheme which involves the redevelopment of the former Poplar Bus Depot at Leven Road.

The plans propose the part retention and part demolition of the existing boundary walls and the former Edwardian-era tram shed depot arches, and the retention of an existing three-storey office building.

The plans also include the demolition of the remainder of an existing warehouse and the redevelopment of the site to provide 530 homes; 2,644 square metres of workspace; and 508 square metres of flexible retail, professional services, and restaurant/bar uses within buildings ranging from three to 20 storeys.

A planning report advised that the proposal would result in a net reduction in employment floorspace from 10,000 square metres to 2,644 square metres.

However, the report said the new development "would likely create considerably more jobs given the limited on-site employment that the existing storage facility provides", adding that the "quality and usability of the workspace would change to support a broader range of users and businesses, and the workspace within the tram shed arches would contribute to wider place making objectives".

The report said that to "require no net loss of employment floorspace would be contrary to the strategic and local objectives for this specific area,and that it would unduly restrict the delivery of housing".

Elsewhere in the report, planners advised that the scheme proposed a 35 per cent affordable level.

The report said that Tower Hamlet Council viability officers and external consultants had assessed the applicants viability assessment and determined the findings to be "fundamentally sound".

However, it added that viability officers required the inclusion of early and late stage review mechanisms within any section 106 agreement to capture any future rise in values.

Recommending consent, planners advised that the "height, massing,and scale of the proposed buildings are considered to appropriately respond to the emerging local context", adding that the proposal "would retain the historic fabric of greatest significance and would integrate it sensitively into the overall design".

Consultancy DP9 acted on behalf of applicant Leven Road LLP.

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