Weekly planning news from the central London boroughs

A weekly round up of the latest planning and property news from the central London boroughs


The Evening Standard reports that the £97 million transformation of a Camden housing estate is the UK’s largest Passivhaus project, with 359 homes meeting the highest standard of energy efficiency. The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan visited the Sixties Agar Grove estate this week following new analysis from City Hall that estimated up to 17,500 tonnes of carbon would be saved each year by energy efficiency standards required of new affordable housing builds in London. Sadiq Khan said: “I am determined to build the genuinely affordable homes Londoners need – but they must be homes that are fit for the future and help to tackle the climate emergency rather than make it worse. In Camden, the council and developers have clearly embraced this challenge. Whilst we still have a lot to do, the actions we take today will have a profound impact on the London we leave for future generations.”

Property Week reports that the King’s Cross Estate has become carbon neutral by developing carbon offsetting forests and renewable energy supplies, its owner has confirmed. King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership (KCCLP) said every building on the 67-acre site near the north London main line station had been certified as a carbon neutral development by Natural Capital Partners, in accordance with The CarbonNeutral Protocol. To support its long-term commitment to remain carbon neutral, King’s Cross will buy around 338ha of pastureland on which more than 600,000 trees will be planted. These new forests will be capable of removing around 153,000 tonnes of CO2e from the atmosphere over the next 60 years.

City of London

The government has rejected plans for The Tulip, citing the tower’s embodied carbon emissions and the impact it would have on the Tower of London and other heritage assets The City of London approved the highly controversial skyscraper in spring 2019, but London mayor Sadiq Khan overturned the decision, calling it an ‘unwelcoming, poorly designed’ mega-project. Now the application has reached the end of the road, with housing minister Christopher Pincher deciding to follow the recommendation of planning inspector David Nicholson. Nicholson concluded the scheme should be rejected following a multi-week public inquiry held last November. Read the full letter here. 


Hackney Gazette reports that the first phase of a new neighbourhood in Olympic Park has been completed, providing the area with 302 homes, a nursery and a Co-op branch. The East Wick and Sweetwater neighbourhood also boasts Clarnico Club, a multi-purpose marketing and social hub with a café and flexible event space. The new community is nestled between Hackney Wick and Stratford and is being built as a joint Venture between development company Places For People and Balfour Beatty Investments on behalf of the London Legacy Development Corporation. The development has allowed for major infrastructure improvements including the new Monier Road bridge which connects the communities of Fish Island and Olympic Park, allowing more sustainable access via buses, cycling and walking.


Islington Gazette reports that Peabody has submitted a full detailed planning application for a 60 per cent affordable housing led scheme on the former Holloway Prison site. The plans would see the historic site off Parkhurst Road opened to the public for the first time, and will deliver a significant amount of new homes, including 415 at social rent. Also included in the plans are a 1.4 acre public park, a 1,489 sqm ‘Women’s Building’ and new commercial spaces.The development will have more than 2,000 cycle spaces and create new connections throughout the site, with parks, private gardens, and green roofs. To meet local housing need, most of the social homes will be two and three-bedrooms for families, and there will also be 60 extra care one-bedroom homes and a sensory garden.


Southwark News reports 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. The council has already handed Transport for London (TfL) about £37.8m since 2014 for upgrades to the Elephant and Castle tube station ticket hall and improvements to the northern roundabouts, and is due to spend another £25.2m over the next nine years. The upgrades to the station were due to form part of the Bakerloo line extension, which would have seen two new tube stations added to the Old Kent Road. Southwark Council said last year that the extension was “fundamental to plans for growth and development in the borough”.

Tower Hamlets

East London Advertiser reports that Voters are going to the polls this week in a referendum to decide on the proposed Spitalfields Neighbourhood Plan, which campaigners say would protect the district from encroaching over-development. The Neighbourhood Plan aims to influence all future planning decisions and could be formally adopted by Tower Hamlets Council next year, if it is approved at this vote. It has been put together by Spitalfields Planning Forum, which was set up in 2014 and was itself officially recognised by the town hall in 2016.


The Evening Standard reports that plans to redevelop the House of Fraser building on Oxford Street have been approved by Westminster City Council. The large scale £100m development will see the building given an extensive refurbishment to fix its crumbling exterior and convert its upper floors into office space and a top floor restaurant with 360 degree views of the surrounding area. No date has yet been set on when works will begin and there is no indication of how long they might take. House of Fraser is expected to maintain its store at the bottom of the building for the foreseeable

Property Week reports that Shaftesbury has revealed plans to be a net zero business by 2030, as well as carbon neutral for its own corporate emissions five years earlier. The REIT set out then targets when it unveiled its Sustainability and Net Zero Carbon Commitments, as well as its Net Zero Carbon Roadmap. The Carnaby Street owner said it is also reducing embodied carbon emissions, which relate to materials used and the supply chain of a building, by 50%, maximising onsite renewable energy generation and reducing carbon intensity of the energy used. Shaftesbury chief executive Brian Bickell said: “As a business, we feel a tremendous responsibility to play our part and help drive the reduction in carbon emissions, not only in our own business, but also to help our occupiers play their part in achieving this goal.


South London Press reports that the refurbishment of Battersea Power Station is nearing completion after costing £9 billion. The project, that will see the creation of new luxury homes, shops, cafés, offices and over 19 acres of public space, should open in summer 2022. When finished, phase two of eight will house over 100 shops, bars, restaurants, 254 apartments, office space and unique events, including the ‘Chimney Lift Experience’. The lift will take people up to the top of the North West chimney for 360-degree views of London’s skyline. There will also be a new six-acre river front park that will open to the public. Around 82 per cent of the commercial space in Battersea Power Station is now let.


The FT reports that Residential property prices in some of London’s most prestigious boroughs shrank sharply during the pandemic, in stark contrast with strong growth across the rest of the country, official data showed. In the year to March 2021, the median price in Westminster, the City of London and Kensington and Chelsea fell by an annual rate varying from 2.3 per cent to 14 per cent, according to data published by the Office for National Statistics. Prices dropped among only a dozen of the 332 local authorities and this contrasts with prices across England and Wales rising by 11 per cent over the same period. More than 80 local authorities, mostly outside London, registered double-digit growth.

The Guardian reports that the return of the international super-rich to London amid the easing of coronavirus pandemic restrictions has fuelled the highest annual growth in property prices in the capital’s most expensive district since 2015. Average home prices in “prime central London” – which stretches from Chelsea to Camden and Notting Hill to Westminster – have risen by 1.1% since the start of the year, according to research by the estate agent Knight Frank. It said prices had risen consecutively each month for the past six months “something last achieved before the Brexit referendum in 2016”.