AHMM has agreed to change its contentious proposals for Norton Folgate, potentially resolving the high-profile planning dispute over the historic City of London fringe site
Later this week the practice will submit amended plans which will now retain two 19th-century warehouse blocks at the heart of the 32,550m2 British Land-backed scheme.
In the original plans, which were thrown out by Tower Hamlets Council in July, the buildings at 12 and 13 Blossom Street had been earmarked for a major overhaul, with the interior layout significantly reworked to house large office floorplates (pictured above).
This element of the redevelopment had come in for particular criticism from the Spitalfields Historic Buildings Trust – the local campaign group led by architectural critic and television presenter Dan Cruickshank (AJ 06.08.15), which had vigorously fought the plans.
In September, following Tower Hamlets’ refusal, London mayor Boris Johnson stepped in, using powers granted to him under the Town & Country Planning Act 1990 to take over decision-making on the scheme.
It is understood that AHMM made its alterations following recommendations from the mayor’s office after a site visit last month. Johnson is expected to give his final verdict on the wider scheme, designed with Duggan Morris, DSDHA and Stanton Williams, at a public hearing on 18 January.
Speaking about the changes, AHMM director Paul Monaghan said: ‘This is a small but significant change – about one sixth of the floorplate has altered.
‘But it will hopefully make a big difference to some people there, so it is worth doing. It follows on from what was happening last year, where we were listening and adapting the scheme to make the design as democratic as possible.’
He added: ‘When you are working on people’s doorsteps you have to listen, so I never see it as a compromise. These changes have enhanced the scheme.’
The Spitalfields Historic Buildings Trust has been contacted for comment.
Source: Forbes Massie
AHMM’s revised plans for the warehouses at 12-13 Blossom Street
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