The AJ looks at the new wave of residential towers planned for London, as others continue to emerge on-site. Merlin Fulcher reports
A new wave of never-before-seen residential towers is vying to reshape the capital’s skyline. High-rise housing projects by Make, PRP and McBains Cooper are among several new schemes in London to have been submitted for planning in the past fortnight alone.
The raft of proposals, including Make’s 39-storey skyscraper on Old Street’s City Road supports new research by EC Harris for Knight Frank and Barton Willmore on the burgeoning housing market in the capital.
It found 25 tower schemes with residential elements currently under construction in London and, a further 78 similar apartment towers, which had consent but were yet to start on site.
While a number of ‘landmark’ office skyscrapers remain on hold, including KPF’s Pinnacle, London’s housing developers appear to be pressing ahead with tall, apartment-led schemes.
Make’s project for Shoreditch landowner Rocket Investments was submitted for planning to Hackney Council earlier this month.
Project architect Gary Rawlings said the apartments were designed to Code for Sustainable Homes (C4SH) level 4 and either met or were above London space standards, featuring recessed balconies, dual aspects and on and off-site affordable housing.
There’s still demand for zone one housing
Developer Tom Appleton said: ‘The London economy has a certain amount of life in it. There’s still demand for zone one housing and a scheme like this allows Londoners to move back into it.’
Across town, Soho-based SPPARC is working on a brace of towers in the Elephant and Castle and Bankside areas.
Both in pre-planning, the projects include a 25-storey hotel featuring 65 residential units on Newington Causeway and a residential-led tower for the London College of Contemporary Music on Union Street.
Practice principal Trevor Morriss said the London 2012 Olympics had triggered a surge in ‘genuine’ enquiries from niche developers keen to break into the capital.
Morriss said: ‘There is a need and there is a demand. We have a lot of international investors and they see London as a safe environment – economically, socially and culturally.’
He added: ‘There have been lots of enquiries since the Olympics. London is seen as a stable and culturally diverse environment, which appeals to our international clients.’
At Blackfriars Bridge, PLP has submitted a planning application for the 130,000m² redevelopment of Ludgate House – former base of the Daily Express – and nearby Sampson House which will include 492 homes.
To the east, public consultation has begun on Patel Taylor’s huge vision for the residential-led redevelopment of News International’s former headquarters in Wapping.
Early plans for the six-hectare Docklands masterplan include a 38-storey residential skyscraper and several buildings under 20 storeys.
Closer to Canary Wharf, McBains Cooper has submitted plans for a 47-storey skyscraper with 249 apartments, 554m² of retail, and 6,695m2 of hotel space on Marsh Wall.
The scheme, which will replace Angel House, has been designed to C4SH level 4 and is 35 per cent affordable housing.
In Vauxhall, Allies and Morrison has lodged revised, more affordable home-friendly plans for its £400 million Vauxhall Square regeneration.
The two-tower scheme was first submitted for planning a year ago, the 520 residential-unit development now features 21 per cent affordable housing compared to 15 per cent.
A public square has also been increased by 11 per cent and the number of student residencies reduced.
Nearby in Stockwell, PRP has submitted plans to redevelop the 15-storey Wayland House with a new 20-storey tower featuring 159 apartments, of which more than half will be affordable.
Four miles down the road in Wandsworth, EPR has submitted revised plans for its 2.8 hectare Ram Brewery development, more than five years after it was first revealed.
Following its rejection by community secretary Eric Pickles two years ago, the latest design features one 35-storey residential tower instead of two skyscrapers of 32 and 42 floors each.
EPR’s Pascal Wensink said the scheme signalled the regeneration of Wandsworth town centre and its tower element was ‘not being shy’ about becoming the district’s new focal point.
As to the future, Jones Lang LaSalle has predicted steady progress in the UK housing market followed by ‘accelerated growth’ from 2014 onwards.
According to its research, this return to growth could see residential rents in London increase by up to six per cent per year, and residential market sale prices rise 4.5 per cent per year.
New or revised London residential tower projects
Scheme: 145 city road, old street
Residential units: 302
Developer: Rocket Investments
Scheme: Wayland House
Residential units: 159
Developer: Network Housing Group
Patel Taylor Architects
Scheme: London Dock, Wapping
Residential units: TBC
Status: Pre-planning, public consultation
Developer: St George
Scheme: Angel House redevelopment, Marsh Wall
Residential units: 249
Developer: The Angel Group
Scheme: Ludgate House and Sampson House redevelopment
Residential units: 492
Developer: Carlyle Group
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