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CABE pans first post-Olympic homes

The first housing to emerge as part of London’s Olympic legacy has been described as a ‘poor precedent’ for future development

Pollard Thomas Edwards’ 10.5 hectare Chobham Farm project for 1,000 homes close to the Athlete’s Village came in for heavy criticism from design watchdog CABE, which has urged the architects go back to the drawing board. 

The design review body refused to support the mixed-use project, singling out the initial phase as a ‘poor’ model for later development on the site. 

PTE submitted an outline masterplan and detailed phase one for the LCR and East Thames-backed scheme in October, making it the most advanced legacy housing scheme in the Olympic Park area. The project is expected to be presented to the London Legacy Development Corporation’s planning committee in April. 

CABE slammed phase one of the scheme as an ‘over-dense’ development with an ‘uncomfortable living environment’, criticising overlooking issues between bedrooms and the positioning of communal bin stores. It argued that a tall metal-clad structure should be faced in brick and recommended ‘a reduction in the amount of public space and the number of different residential typologies to allow more space for the buildings and to create a more comfortable living environment for residents’.

Concerns raised over ‘weaknesses’ in the wider masterplan also included a ‘lack of richness’ in the built form, a limited mix of uses and the poor layout of amenity space, which could limit future adaptation. The plan was, however, praised for including family housing and tackling the ‘hostile character’ of nearby Leyton Road.

A spokesperson for East Thames and LCR said they were ‘currently reviewing all comments as part of our commitment to deliver the best proposal for the area.’

Nearby early plans for the LLDC’s leading flagship regeneration scheme – the competitively tendered 9.3 hectare Chobham Manor development – has also faced a frosty reception. 

The Taylor Wimpey project, which is next door to Chobham Farm and currently still in pre-application, has already been tweaked to feature an orthogonal layout after proposals to add diagonal roads to the illustrative legacy masterplan by Maccreanor Lavington were ruled out by planners and the LLDC’s quality review panel. A source close to the project said a ‘rationalising exercise’ had seen the new masterplan evolve. 

Make is leading the Chobham Manor design team with PRP, Haworth Tompkins, Nord, Karakusevic Carson and Muf also on the job. 

The review panel’s chair, Peter Studdert, said: ‘We feel the scheme is moving in the right direction.’

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