A weekly round up of the latest planning and property news from the central London boroughs
Ham & High reports that a planning document shaping how Kentish Town will be redeveloped has been adopted by Camden Council – but a neighbourhood group fears current proposals could create a “wall of towers”. The Kentish Town Planning Framework (KTPF), which also covers Gospel Oak and Dartmouth Park, is a supplementary planning document outlining how largely industrial sites around the railway could be redeveloped. The council approved the KTPF on July 20 and it came into effect on Monday (July 27). Camden sees the KTPF as a “key tool” for the future development of “under-used” areas but the opposition said it was a “missed opportunity”.
The Times reports that Boris Johnson’s relaxation of planning regulations to help the economy was widely welcomed but perhaps not so warmly by his brother. Jo Johnson has learnt that his home could be overshadowed by a development that may not need official approval under the government’s proposed bonfire of rules. The former universities minister is opposing plans to turn a disused office into flats complete with a roof terrace, claiming that the residents will be able to see into the top floors of his four-storey £3 million property in Camden, north London.
Building reports that Camden council has relaunched a contract for recladding and fire-safety refurbishment works on the Chalcots Estate after failing to agree contract terms with Wates earlier this year. The contractor had been working on the estate since January 2019 under a “letter of intent” basis and had been expected to take on the programme’s major works.
City of London
London’s overall attractiveness as a top investment destination has remained undiminished, with the first major poll of global investors since the start of the COVID-19 crisis showing that 99% are still keen to invest in the city, with 79% currently actively doing so. The poll, conducted by FTI Consulting for the City of London Corporation as part of a global investor intentions survey, engaged with 506 leading investors with assets under management of $1 trillion and was undertaken on 5-10 July.
Building report that bidders get extra three weeks to send in documents. The City of London has extended the deadline for its new architecture framework because of the covid-19 pandemic. The process to appoint architects to the £34m, four-year deal originally started last month and was due to close for expressions of interest last week
City of Westminster
KCW Today reports that the Westminster Foundation, which represents the charitable activity of the Duke of Westminster and Grosvenor businesses, has partnered with the Young Westminster Foundation, to sustain the long-term provision of youth clubs for young people in Westminster. The Westminster Foundation has provided a combined grant of £1.5 million over five years to support the development of key Youth Hubs. The grant will help four prominent Youth Clubs – Avenues Youth Project, St Andrew’s Youth Club, Fourth Feathers Youth and Community Centre and Future Men – as they work in partnership with other youth organisations to provide joined-up services for young people in Westminster
Hammersmith and Fulham
EG reports that plans to turn a vast chunk of Westfield London’s 104,000sqft House of Fraser store into a co-working space has been approved unanimously by Hammersmith and Fulham Council. The council’s planning committee resolved to grant permission for the shopping centre’s proposals submitted by Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, this week.
The Islington Tribune reports that redevelopment of Victorian warehouses and office blocks by Regent’s Canal have been approved. The council had “run out of road”, as one committee member put it, as the Regent’s Wharf development in King’s Cross was approved on Tuesday night. After previous rejections over the scale of the scheme, developers Regent’s Wharf Property Unit Trust brought revised plans back to committee.
Kensington and Chelsea
Property Week reports Cadogan’s portfolio value slid by almost 10% in 2019, as troubles in the retail sector dented the historic London landlord. More than £580m was wiped off the value of the Chelsea and Kensington estate, with retail net asset values slumping by 12.6% to £2.78bn. Retail rental income grew by 3.8% to £89.9m, representing 53.8% of the total rent roll. Total income grew by 9.7% to £185.9m (from £169.4m in 2018) and operating profit before capital items increased from £98.1m to £105.8m, up 7.8%.
The Architects Journal reports that financial pressures have forced Transport for London (TfL) to put on hold plans for a Weston Williamson-designed upgrade to South Kensington Tube station. The upgrade was due to be the first of two phases redeveloping the site, with an application for an over-station mixed-use block designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) currently lodged with the Royal Borough of Chelsea and Kensington Council. However, a finance report written for board members at TfL reveals that the station work is among projects to be put on hold as part of cost-cutting measures. Last month, the body’s emergency budget revealed it planned to reduce capital investment by £525million for 2020/21.
Building reports that the director overseeing main contractor Rydon’s work on the Grenfell Tower refurbishment has admitted to being “haunted” by the lack of scrutiny the ill-fated project’s cladding and window designs were subjected to. Stephen Blake, who was Rydon’s refurbishment director on the project – and who also filled in as contracts manager in its final months – said that in hindsight key elements of the tower block’s refurbishment had been presumed to be correct when they were not. Blake’s comment came at the end of his second and final day of evidence at the inquiry into 2017’s disaster in which 72 lives were lost.
Construction Enquirer reports that the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea has picked envelope specialist Lawtech to reclad two tower blocks in west London. Rochester-based Lawtech has signed a pre-construction deal to design and reclad the 14-storey Adair and Hazelwood Towers, close to Grenfell. The project is expected to be worth up to £7m and will involve the installation of a new external insulated render system.
Brixton Buzz reports that a town hall has launched a climate action hub for residents, business and community groups to share projects, experience, ideas and solutions. The project aims to build evidence needed for Lambeth’s climate action plan and citizens’ assembly. Lambeth, the first local authority in the country to declare a Climate Emergency, had to delay its Citizens’ Assembly due to the Covid-19 crisis.
Brixton Buzz reports that in early 2019, a £387,500 grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) was awarded to Lambeth Council to develop designs and proposals to restore and transform Brockwell Hall, Stables and Coach House into a “venue for weddings and corporate bookings, food and drink, exhibitions and community meetings and events.” It’s been estimated that the total cost of the Brockwell Hall restoration will be around £6m, with Lambeth Council and Brockwell Park Community Partners (BPCP) expected to submit a fully developed proposal for the Hall by the end of this year. If the bid for a Lottery grant is successful, the hall will be refurbished and brought into new uses by 2023.
Business Green reports that Landsec is planning what it claims will be the UK’s first net zero commercial development in London, which it said would harness a “platform-led” design kit approach to drive down construction and design costs while delivering significant waste and carbon savings. The property developer has clinched funding from government agency Innovate UK to develop the project alongside architectural firm Brydon Wood and development design and prototyping company Easi-Space, it revealed on Wednesday. The company claims the 139,000 square foot office building in Southwark, dubbed The Forge, will be the first in the world to be both constructed and operated using the UK Green Building Council’s (UKGBC’s) net zero buildings framework.
Housing Today reports that Developer City & Suburban Homes has received planning permission for a new mixed-use scheme on the Limehouse Cut Canal in Tower Hamlets. The proposals for the redevelopment of the site at Bow Exchange includes the demolition of the existing storey industrial warehouse buildings, and the redevelopment of the site with a new building ranging from four to nine storeys. The development will include office space at ground and mezzanine levels and 92 residential units above. Architect pH+ has designed the £20m project.
EG reports that hundreds of jobs at the top property agencies have been put at risk in recent weeks, with JLL and Knight Frank the latest to join a growing list of firms eyeing job cuts to reshape their post-coronavirus businesses. JLL has sped up its strategic review of its EMEA operations with sources indicating that this extends to as many as 200 roles in consultation.Knight Frank is also trimming back numbers with sources pointing to up 100 roles in consultation. It is also understood that Avison Young will be making 100 job reductions, Strutt and Parker 100 – 150 job reductions and CBRE potentially up to 250.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced a new Partners Board is being created to support the work of the Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm.A range of organisations, including statutory bodies and policy makers, are being invited to share their expertise with the Commission, which is being set up to review and improve diversity across London’s public realm. The Mayor is creating the Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm to help ensure London’s achievements and diversity are suitably reflected. Statues, plaques and street names largely reflect Victorian Britain and the Commission will focus on increasing representation among Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities, women, the LGBTQ+ community and disabled people.