A weekly round up of the latest planning and property news from the central London boroughs
Architects Journal reports that the team led by James Corner Field Operations has unveiled its early designs for the Camden Highline, which will regenerate a 1.1km stretch of disused railway in north London. Now the Camden Highline charity is looking for a ‘founding partner’ to help fund the roughly £35 million linear park. According to Camden Highline, the designs ‘explore how to connect the ground level to the Camden Highline through art installations on the underside of the bridges and lighting on staircases’. The masterplan also ‘focuses on the opportunity for biodiversity with planting schemes and wildlife habitats that overcome the constraints of the site’ with a ‘woodland balcony’ providing ‘a natural wooded environment that overlooks the buzzing urban life of Camden Town’.
City of London
Architects Journal reports that studio Kyson has submitted plans for a 15-storey mixed-use building on Aldgate High Street. The building would sit next-door to ACME’s 15-storey office development, which was approved by City of London planners last year – along with plans to provide a new Still & Star pub, as the original 1800s boozer would have to be demolished. Kyson’s proposed building, at 55-56 Aldgate High Street, would sit ‘subordinately’ to the office block, with its street-facing façade being set back at upper levels. The building would feature office space on the ground and first floor, with 41 flats over storeys 2 to 13. The 14th and 15th floors would be a roof level and pergola level respectively. The project developer is the Max Barney Estate, which also operated the Containerville site in Bethnal Green, where former shipping containers have been converted into small office spaces.
Hackney Citizen reports that parents are fighting to save two Hackney children’s centres from closures and have told politicians how “stressful” they have found it. Fernbank and Hillside children’s centres for the under-fives could close to save £1m as part of changes to the council’s early years service. The move would result in a loss of 109 affordable childcare places along with up to 35 jobs. Parents have told councillors who scrutinise children’s services that they were unhappy with the consultation. Parent Natalie Aguilera said there was just one multiple choice question about the proposed closures, with the option to respond either ‘yes’ or ‘no’. She added: “We feel that Hackney residents should have an opportunity to respond fully to something that will have such an impact on children in Hackney.” After speaking to the parents, the scrutiny committee is preparing its response to the consultation.
Architects Journal reports that Piercy and Company has unveiled plans to flatten Telephone House – the ‘City fringe’ home of the AJ – and replace it with a nine-storey office block. The building currently houses the Shoreditch offices of publisher EMAP – the AJ’s parent company – along with other media outfits, fashion firms and CF Møller Architects. Under plans recently put out to public consultation, the existing seven-storey structure, which was reclad in 2007 by EPR Architects, will be demolished to make way for a ‘21st century workplace for the city’. The scheme also aims to create a ‘dynamic and permeable ground floor’, add ‘significant increases to the urban greening of the site’ through new planting and a series of ‘garden bridges’ across an internal courtyard. The team, which includes engineering consultant Cundalls, also insists the new block would ‘address ‘the challenges of climate change by creating an ultra-low carbon building and placing sustainability at the heart of the project’.
Islington Tribune reports that the planning inspectorate has this week dismissed an appeal lodged by the Ministry of Justice to develop former Pentonville Prison wardens’ homes. Islington officers rejected several applications made by developer LGP Wellington Mews Ltd for a “certificate of lawfulness” which would allow the MoJ to redevelop the Wellington Mews blocks without a full planning application. Without the certificate, the council’s planning policy kicks in – meaning 50 per cent of homes in a development of more than 10 units should be affordable. Campaigners say the 29 three and four-bedroom flats should be put back into council use. The council had negotiated with the MoJ to lease the blocks in 2019 and use them to house people on the council’s 14,000-long waiting list but the deal fell through. It is now expected the MoJ will appeal the decision.
Southwark News reports that Southwark Council is paying £63m for a tube station upgrade that is “currently undeliverable” – and the borough’s Liberal Democrats want the money to be used on a new tram network instead. Southwark Council said last year that the extension was “fundamental to plans for growth and development in the borough”. The work, which includes a ticket office, new escalators, lifts and entrance, as well as connecting tunnels from the Northern line to the Bakerloo line, is supposed to be paid for by developers Delancey, who are building on the site of the former shopping centre, Southwark Council and TfL. But the transport agency said in a report in October that it did not have the funding for its part of the project, which means that “the full scheme is currently undeliverable as originally envisaged”.
Architects Journal reports that Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM) has submitted plans for a homeless facility and 94 build-to-rent homes in Royal Oak, west London. The development, if approved, will replace an existing facility owned by homeless charity St Mungo’s in Westminster – the London borough with most rough sleepers, according to Greater London Authority statistics. The new hub will have self-contained units, mid-term accommodation as well as space to provide health, wellbeing, employment and intensive support for those who need it. The £50 million project is being brought forward by St Mungo’s and developer Stories and will be funded by the creation of 94 homes on the site. These homes will have both market rate and discount market rates tenures.
Architects Journal reports that U+I, the developer behind several major regeneration schemes, is set to be snapped by rival Land Securities for roughly £190 million. The announcement comes after U+I reported an £87 million loss before tax for the year ended 31 March 2021, having posted a turnover of just £46 million in the same financial year. The company’s earlier half-year loss prompted a board shake-up and an ongoing programme to dispose of ‘non-core development and trading assets’ and instead focus on a handful of core regeneration projects, including Studio Egret West’s Mayfield in Manchester and OMA’s Morden Wharf in London. But now the developer, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange, is recommending investors sell up to Land Securities – which is offering to buy all stock in the company for £1.49 per share. The deal would see investors receive around 70 per cent more than U+I shares had to been worth prior to the announcement.