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Robin Hood Gardens plans clear latest planning hurdles

Horden Cherry Lee and Aedas’ controversial £500 million project to redevelop Robin Hood Gardens in Poplar, east London has cleared its latest planning hurdle

The Blackwall Reach scheme, which will eventually see the demolition the 1970s Alison and Peter Smithson-designed housing estate, was rubberstamped by the London Thames Gateway Development Corporation on Monday (19 March) despite originally being recommended for refusal (see below).

An initial report prepared for the corporation’s planning committee said that the outline planning application for the huge 1,600-home redevelopment failed to ‘deliver adequate standards of residential amenity’ and highlighted concerns about certain buildings and whether they would have sufficient levels of daylight.

However a spokesman for the corporation confirmed that due to a number of later changes and the provision of further data the scheme was subsequently put forward for approval. He said: ‘While refusal was recommended in an earlier report, the submission of detailed information from the applicant along with agreement to reduce the scale of certain buildings meant that a later report recommending approval was presented to planning committee members. This decision on approval was unanimous.’

A ‘pleased’ spokesperson for the HCA and Tower Hamlets Council said:’ The decision which will give local residents further reassurance that the regeneration of Blackwall Reach is on its way.

‘Given the scheme’s strategic significance, the next stage is for the outline planning application to be approved by the GLA.’

It is understood London Mayor Boris Johnson has already seen the outline proposals ‘a number of times’.

Read why the deputy chief executive of the Swan Housing Group, Mark Thompson believes why the Smithsons’ ‘flawed’ Robin Hood Gardens has to be flattened for the sake of the local residents and the area’s wider regeneration here.

Postscript - 27.03.2012

The Greater London Authority (GLA) has today approved the outline planning application for Blackwall Reach. The application had already received approval from both Tower Hamlets Council’s Strategic Development Committee and the London Thames Gateway Development Corporation (see above).
Following final approval Jackie Odunoye, acting director for Development and Renewal at Tower Hamlets Council, said: ‘We’re delighted that the outline planning application for Blackwall Reach has now been fully approved. This brings us a step closer to improving the quality of life for our residents in the area through the development of new and improved homes and the provision of an array of community benefits.’
Swan Housing will now produce a detailed application for Phase 1a, a piece of land to the north of the site.

Previous story (AJ 19.03.2012)

Robin Hood Gardens faces fresh planning hurdle

The London Thames Gateway Development Corporation could block Horden Cherry Lee and Aedas’ Robin Hood Gardens redevelopment just days after the controversial £500 million project won outline planning

The high-profile Homes and Communities Agency-backed scheme has been recommended for refusal by the development corporation ahead of a meeting of its planning committee tonight (19 March).

A report by the body – which has jurisdiction over large planning applications in the east London area – said the outline planning application failed to ‘deliver adequate standards of residential amenity’ and raised concern that certain buildings might receive ‘insufficient levels of daylight to be considered acceptable’.

Last week, local authority Tower Hamlets Council unanimously approved the project – known as Blackwall Reach – which will see the demolition of the 1970s Alison and Peter Smithson-designed housing estate as part of the project’s second phase.

Last month the proposals, which will create nearly 1,600 new homes, came in for heavy criticism from DC CABE which claimed elements of the masterplan ‘lacked a clear logic’.

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