Olympic village developer denies misleading residents over new towers
The developer of the East Village in Stratford, Qatari Diar Delancey (QDD), has dismissed claims by residents that they were misled over proposals to build towers on the site.
Residents of East Village have voiced their anger over changes to plans which add up to 27m to the height of some of the proposed towers on the location of the former Athletes Village for the 2012 Olympic Games.
Situated on the south east corner of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, East Village is the first legacy neighbourhood for London following the games in 2012. The scheme will see 2,818 new homes available to buy, and a further 1,439 available for private rental.
The new homes are being delivered by QDD; a joint venture between Qatari Diar and Delancey and Triathlon Homes. QDD currently acts as landlord for approximately 600 residents living in East Village.
The London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC), which has been given planning authority to deliver to deliver the long-term master plan for the Olympic Park, received 14 letters of complaint and a 38-name petition voicing concerns over the proposed high-rise developments.
Speaking to the AJ a spokesman for QDD said: ‘Information about future developments at East Village has been an integral part of our messaging, since marketing commenced in December 2011.
‘This followed the grant of the original outline masterplan consent in 2007, with variations as subsequently approved by planning committee in 2011. We have been careful to communicate our plans with our clients’, both prospective and existing, throughout this period.’
Last month the LLDC approved a reserved-matters application from QDD to increase the height of a 30-storey tower next to Centenary Way tower on plot N08 to 126.7m – which is 10m above the agreed limit in the zonal master plan for the area and is currently considering changes to two further schemes in East Village.
The towers on plot N08, which have been designed designed by Chiswick-based architects Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands (LDS), were originally within the recommended height boundaries for the area as set down in 2007.
In a letter to the LLDC Jessica Evans, who recently bought an apartment in Vega House, opposite the proposed scheme said: I was not informed about the probability that there may be a towering, beastly and unsightly building right in front of my window and unfortunately only found out when I had spent a lot of money on a deposit and arrived (excited and overjoyed) at the estate agents only to see a model of East Village with this monstrous building included.’
Ben Steer, a resident of Vesta House said that he was told it was ‘unlikely’ that any building would take place on the sites: ‘Emphasis was placed on the fact that there were mature trees in place and that the ethos of the East Village was to create a new and pleasance area for residents
‘This proposal would be a complete reversal of the philosophy of the ‘village’ as heralded by developers and is in contravention of the LLDC’s own policy document.’
Emily Evans wrote to the LLDC to say she felt ‘cheated’ over the developments. ‘The scale of the building itself is monstrous and completely dwarfs the iconic flats that were once used by the Olympic Athletes. Many residents will echo this view and anyone with a hint of common sense can see how detrimental this building will be to the legacy of the Olympic Games,’ she said.
‘I was completely shocked to have seen the model of this gigantic building after paying the deposit on the flat. I was assured there was little chance of it going ahead but feel cheated and scammed as a first time buyer.’
The official planning committee report for the LLDC said that the additional height would have no environmental impact or significant alteration impact as a result of the increase in height.
Outlining details of the proposals, a spokesperson for QDD said: ‘The detailed designs that have been carefully developed with our professional team over the past two years, working closely with the LLDC, the QRP (design review panel) and other key stakeholders, have at all times been based on the parameter plans originally approved when the Olympic Village was planned in 2007.
‘These detailed designs have sought to perfect the townscape and respect the design integrity and amenity of the existing buildings at East village, where QDD/SVDP retains a substantial long term investment interest. The LLDC approved a minor non-material variation as part of this process. This reallocated the permissible volume in certain areas, the effect of which was a reduction of height in some areas and an increase in height others.
‘To be precise, at plot N08 where two towers are designed, the height parameter was increased for one tower by 10.6 metres and reduced on another by 2.5 metres. At plot N18/19 where two towers are designed, the height parameter for one tower was reduced by 22.4 metres and increased on another by 27.6 metres. In other areas the detailed designs are set at heights below the parameter plans and in overall terms, these adjustments do not increase the total space permitted by the outline planning permission.’
A spokesperson for Triathlon Homes said: ‘East Village is a new neighbourhood, which has been designed with the potential to grow. Triathlon Homes’ sales and lettings team explain that future development with outline planning consent will happen in East Village in the future, and we display a model which shows where development will take place in our sales office on Celebration Avenue.
‘We also reference Qatari Diar Delancey’s (QDD)’s proposed development plots in our printed materials which buyers receive before completion, and all sales searches detail the planning permissions and applications for the local area. We do not own or manage the proposed developments,however we are endeavouring to keep our residents informed about them, and a newsletter was recently issued to all residents explaining QDD’s intentions.’
English Heritage, Crossrail and High Speed One, who were consulted on the planned changes, did not have any comment on the application.
LDS was unavailable for comment.