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Make’s revised Marsh Wall scheme dealt planning blow

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Plans for a 48-storey tower in London’s Docklands have received a major planning blow, despite being reduced in height last year in a bid to overcome concerns of overdevelopment

London Borough of Tower Hamlets’ Strategic Development Committee deferred a decision on the proposals for 225 Marsh Wall after saying they were ‘minded to refuse’ it.

An earlier attempt to build a 56-storey tower on the same site was withdrawn by developer Cubitt Property Holdings last summer after being recommended for refusal by planning officers.

Make and Cubitt submitted the shorter building before Christmas. It included 336 flats, 810m² of community floorspace, basement cycle parking and 79m² of restaurant or retail space.

The scheme was backed by council officers, subject to conditions – but councillors this month voted 6-0 not to accept their recommendation.

’The committee was minded to refuse the application due to concerns over overdevelopment of site due to the height, density, impact on infrastructure and the failure of the proposal to provide an adequate transition between the higher rise commercial area to the north and the low-rise residential areas to the south and east,’ said a council report.

‘In accordance with development procedural rules, the application was deferred to enable officers to prepare a supplementary report to a future meeting of the committee setting out proposed detailed reasons for refusal and the implications of the decision.’

A report to the committee by the council’s director of place had said the proposed scheme would be ‘of a high architectural quality’.

It added: ‘Subject to the recommended conditions and obligations, the proposal would constitute sustainable development in accordance with the National Planning Policy Framework. The application is in accordance with the provisions of the development plan and there are no other material planning considerations which would indicate that it should be refused.’

Cubitt Property declined to comment. Make has been contacted for comment.

The Marsh Wall site is currently taken up by a four-storey office block, designed by Feilden+Mawson and completed in 1993. In 2010, proposals by Angel Group Architects for a hotel and a 43-storey apartment block on the plot were rejected. 

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Readers' comments (3)

  • No wonder we've got a housing shortage. Professional planners who supported the scheme are now being asked to invent reasons for refusal because councillors couldn't think of anything on the night. Pathetic.

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  • Chris Rogers

    These will if built hardly improve housing supply where it's needed, Paul

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  • It's all very well the council's 'Director of Place' parroting 'Sustainable Development', but what exactly does that mean in this context?
    Could the councilors' unanimous decision have something to do with the fact that the site is already occupied by a decent building only 24 years old whose architects - Fielden and Mawson - have a reputation for good design?
    The housing shortage is surely restricted to a lack of genuinely affordable 'social' housing, but there's no mention of whether the proposed tower would help alleviate this shortage, or is just another stick of internationally tradeable investment opportunities.
    Is the 810 sq m of community floorspace (whatever that is) thrown in as a 'sweetener' to oil the wheels of the planning process?
    Is there a community worth the name in this area of Canary Wharf? - and can anyone tell me what a 'Director of Place' is?

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