I write in response to the article ‘Stock Woolstencroft wins green light for tower despite CABE
reservations’, which appeared on your website on 21.01.08. I did not feel it appropriate to comment before now, while the planning application was still being considered.
It is important to stress that we have successfully negotiated and obtained planning consent for
150 High Street, Stratford (pictured above), from three authorities: the London Borough of Newham, the London Thames Gateway Development Corporation (LTGDC) and the Greater London Authority
(incorporating its urban design team and Design for London). These organisations have all been
involved from the beginning of the design process, are satisfied that 150 High Street is of appropriate quality, and have endorsed the design.
Regarding CABE’s involvement, we first approached it as a consultee back in December 2006 when the planning application was submitted, and it elected not to comment. Subsequently, CABE first expressed interest in being a consultee following the revised application submission in June 2007. Clearly, having excluded itself earlier, this late interest meant that CABE did not have the benefit of influencing the conceptual evolution of the design – a process that had been fully inclusive of the planning authorities and to which these organisations invested time and effort. Sadly, CABE has based its assessment on a brief two-hour meeting between us and one of its officers, and a visit by its officer to the site. We offered to give a presentation to the respective CABE commisioners, which was declined.
Notwithstanding the above, we sought to address the further comments arising from all consultees in the revised application of June 2007, and then provided additional amendments in October following CABE’s original comments. The revised application and substitutions consisted of full and detailed illustrations and technical information, which addressed all the issues raised. We were therefore particularly disappointed at CABE’s subsequent comments of late October 2007 (prior to LTGDC’s
final approval in early November), which appeared not to have considered our latest revisions. It is our view that CABE’s comments arise from a lack of understanding of the scheme and are undermined by a lack of objective detail.
150 High Street achieved planning approval because it is a hallmark, high-quality scheme, which will provide an appropriate setting to the London Olympic Games. Architecturally it will exceed CABE’s expectations, and provide major benefits to the local community well beyond 2012.
John Woolstencroft, partner, Stock Woolstencroft