Boris strikes again after approving Foster’s City Road towers
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has approved Foster + Partners’ high-rise City Forum development on City Road in Islington, overturning an earlier refusal by the local authority
Yesterday (1 April) Johnson also used his planning powers to approve Terry Farrells’ £1bn Convoys Wharf scheme in Deptford, south east London after Lewisham Council had dragged its heels over a decision on the huge Thamesside development.
Fosters’ proposal, featuring a 42-storey skyscraper and a 36-storey tower block, was called in last year by Johnson after Islington Council refused planning permission in November 2013 on the grounds that the levels of affordable housing were too low and parking levels were too high.
According to Islington Council, the scheme’s developer Berkeley Homes said it could only meet the level of affordable homes if the authority chipped in with a £4million contribution.
But in a statement the Mayor’s office boasted it had negotiated with the scheme’s developer Berkeley Homes to ensure it paid for all the affordable housing itself, ‘with no taxpayer funding’, resulting in the 144 affordable rented units on the site being provided at ‘target’ rents.
however James Murray, Islington Council’s executive member for housing, said: ‘We are very disappointed by the Mayor’s decision – he has waved this development through and let down people in Islington. We think the Mayor has been fooled by the developers who are going to make a lot of money from this scheme, and who could provide many more genuinely-affordable homes for Londoners on this site.’
A spokesperson for Islington Council added: ‘The ‘target rent’ (social rent) limit may only apply to the first letting of the new homes, so the council will be pushing the Mayor to use the detail of the planning permission to keep these rents down in the long run.’
Speaking at the hearing, Murray asked the Mayor to build in a ‘review mechanism’ to the planning permission – so that if the profit levels of the developer went up over the six years of the development being built, they would have to contribute more affordable housing. However the Mayor refused to do so.
Islington council also expressed disappointment that the Mayor swept aside concerns that the scheme has high levels of parking, does not provide inclusive access for disabled people and will have negative impacts on the quality of life for local people.
The Foster-designed development will include 995 homes, 30 per cent of which will be affordable, a 190-room hotel, a crèche, retail and office space.
Berkeleys has committed to start work on site in the summer.
Previous story (AJ 14.05.13)
Foster reveals City Road tower plans
Foster + Partners has unveiled plans for two residential skyscrapers – of 41 and 36-storeys – on City Road in Islington, London
The tall buildings are part of a 1.9 hectare mixed-use redevelopment featuring 800 homes shops, cafés, restaurants and community space.
The AJ100 table-topping practice replaced DSDHA on the Berkeley-backed job last year.
The housebuilder snapped up the plot in 2011 from a team which included Land Securities and architect BUJ.