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SEW's huge Docklands scheme scrapes through

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Councillors have approved plans by Studio Egret West and Hawkins\Brown for a 1,500-home scheme in London’s Docklands, three months after announcing their intention to refuse it

Tower Hamlets Council’s strategic development committee voted on Thursday (8 October) to allow the mixed-use plans after planning officers told them it would be difficult to mount a successful defence of the decision at appeal.

In July, the committee deferred its decision but said it was minded to refuse the application due to insufficient affordable housing and supporting infrastructure being provided in the proposal.

A planning officers’ report to Friday’s committee stated: ‘It is the professional view of officers that the above reasons for refusal could be defended at appeal; however there are a number of constraints that could affect a successful outcome.’

The scheme for the 26,000m² site in Millharbour and South Quays will see 1,500 homes built alongside schools, parks, commercial and office space.  

The project includes six buildings: three are being designed by Studio Egret West, which is also the lead consultant, masterplanner and landscape architect, and the other three are by Hawkins\Brown.  

Planning officers said the amount of affordable housing being offered by the developer – 26 per cent of the homes – was backed by a viability report checked by the council.

Developer Galliard Homes also made an amendment to its original proposals to increase the number of intermediate tenure units within the scheme.

Although councillors had raised issues over car parking and servicing, the information provided by the applicants’ transport consultant was considered acceptable by both Transport for London and the borough’s transportation and highways team, the report said.

In the end the committee voted 4 to 1 in favour of the scheme with the developer also agreeing to turn 146 three bedroom homes initially provided at ‘affordable rent’ levels at the lower ‘social rent’ levels.

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