Allies and Morrison’s Olympicopolis proposals in Stratford, east London, are being reduced in height as part of a major redesign following a row over protected views of St Paul’s Cathedral
Sources close to the proposed new £1.3 billion cultural quarter on the Olympic Park claim the plans will have to be revised as a result of a spat over the impact on the skyline of another nearby project – SOM’s Manhattan Loft Gardens tower near Stratford station.
In November, conservation charity Friends of Richmond Park called on London mayor Sadiq Khan to halt the construction of SOM’s 42-storey skyscraper, claiming it ‘destroyed’ a historic view of St Paul’s from the park.
Khan has since revealed he is planning to revise and potentially extend the London View Management Framework (LVMF) in his upcoming London Plan and urged all councils to take additional care when considering high-rise developments.
The 30-storey and 40-storey residential towers on the Olympicopolis scheme are understood to be among half a dozen high-rise projects in Stratford which could be affected by the changes to the sightline policy.
The original height of the Olympicopolis skyscrapers had been determined by the number of homes project-backer London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) needed to help finance and support the rest of the scheme.
As well as a new outpost for the V&A, designed by O’Donnell + Tuomey, the cultural quarter will also include a new space for Sadler’s Wells and a campus for the London College of Fashion.
Due to the reduction in the size of the towers, the masterplan will now have to be rethought to provide the required amount of residential development elsewhere on the site.
The rejig has meant a delay to the scheme’s timetable. Initially set to be submitted for planning in December, the new-look designs are not now expected to be revealed until May.
The design team is considering different configurations
A source close to the scheme told the AJ: ‘The potential change to planning guidance came out of left field.
‘While the project is not at risk, the scheme is being looked at again. There is a huge amount of work going on. The design team is considering different configurations but including a similar amount of residential development [which are] needed to make this stack up.’
According to the source, the LLDC still hopes the quarter will open its doors in 2022 but the final completion date is now likely to be late summer or early autumn.
The LLDC declined to comment.
Last year the scheme’s brick and glass designs were heavily criticised by leading architects Peter Cook, Will Alsop and Ian Ritchie, who described the development as ‘dull as ditchwater’, ‘under-amplified Vivaldi’ and ‘tried and tired’.