A weekly round up of the latest planning and property news from the central London boroughs
Ham&High reports that Camden Council has asked HS2 to rehouse tenants across Regent’s Park Estate, Coburg Street and Starcross Street who live close to HS2 construction sites due to noise disruption which could breech accepted thresholds. The council has suggested that the noise of HS2 construction is making the homes “virtually uninhabitable” ahead of Euston rail works “ramping up”. If HS2 do not provide suitable rehousing, the council is proposing to give these residents 630 additional housing points so that they can apply to move away from the new rail project. HS2, which will pass through South Hampstead and Primrose Hill on its way to and from Euston Station, and says it is working to resolve issues faced by local residents including the installation of noise insulation inside their homes.
City of London
Property Funds World reports that M&G Real Estate has acquired Fleet Place House – a 92,000 sq ft office building in the City for £111.7m on behalf of an Asian separate account mandate. M&G Real Estate plans to repurpose the 20-year-old building, located close to Thameslink, Crossrail and London Underground transport hubs, to create a sustainable, modern office environment with ESG credentials. The office will be redesigned to promote flexible working and staff wellbeing, including new changing room facilities, dry rooms, bicycle storage and e-bike/e-scooter spaces.
Property Week reports that Hackney Council has given the go ahead for a new visitor centre at the £750m new development in Shoreditch, The Stage. The new visitor centre will showcase the recently excavated remains of Curtain Playhouse, one of the city’s longest-running Elizabethan theatres, where Shakespeare performed. The centre, which will be designed by architects Perkins&Will, includes a glass stage at its centre, constructed to lie above the remains, which will function as a stage for evening performances. When complete The Stage will feature 400 new homes and 33, 000 sq ft of retail in addition to its 200,000 sq ft of office space. The visitor centre is set to be completed in 2022.
Property Funds World reports that Cain International, a privately held real estate investment firm operating in Europe and the United States, is moving its UK headquarters to Islington Square, following six years in Mayfair. Cain International will occupy five floors of office space, which have been designed by Modus Workspace. The space will have a contemporary finish and will be Covid-secure, allowing the firm’s 50-strong workforce to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Islington Square has been developed on the site of North London’s former postal sorting office and includes other tenants such as Fulwell 73, James Corden’s production company.
Kensington and Chelsea
Architects Journal reports that the Mayor has re-approved the controversial SimpsonHaugh Kensington Forum hotel scheme following a second public hearing last week. The 749-bed hotel scheme at 97-109 Cromwell Road, which also features homes and leisure and conference facilities was initially refused by Kensington and Chelsea Council back in September 2018. The Mayor then called in the scheme to grant approval in June of last year. This verdict was later quashed by the High Court earlier this year after the council launched a legal challenge. The Mayor’s latest move comes despite almost 800 letters of objection, including from several councillors and local residents’ associations. Kensington and Chelsea Council have vowed to persevere with their opposition to the scheme.
SW Londoner reports that Lambeth Council remains “minded to grant permission” to Hondo AG’s Pope Road development proposals despite massive local opposition. The consultation period concluded last week, with 1340 comments objecting to the proposals and only 148 comments of support registered. Hondo AG have suggested that the proposed development would deliver 2,000 jobs for Brixton and £2.8m a year for the local economy, as well as a new public square and community space. The Planning Application Meeting is due to take place on 3 November, after the committee deferred a final decision in August.
London SE1 reports that a legal challenge to Southwark Council’s decision to approve the redevelopment of the Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre is heading to the Court of Appeal. This move comes after a previous judicial review challenge brought by a local campaigner failed last year. The legal challenge centres on the provision of social rented housing in the proposed development. Of nearly 1,000 homes to be built in the scheme across the current sites of the Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre and London College of Communication, 116 will be for social rent – but these will be the last to be built, in around 10 years’ time. Campaigners have also suggested that developers misled Southwark Council’s planning committee on the maximum amount of affordable housing that the scheme could viably provide. The shopping centre closed its doors a month ago and the building is now being prepared for demolition.
The East London Advertiser reports that local people have voted in favour of a four-fold expansion of Poplar’s Aberfeldy housing estate, adding up to 1,800 more homes. The referendum had a 91% turnout with almost 300 in favour out of the 350 households eligible to vote. Harca Housing’s scheme also includes new green spaces and public areas. Harca’s Chief Executive Steve Stride said after the referendum results: “Residents remain at the heart of the decision-making where they live. Voting for regeneration means they have entrusted us to make a difference. ”
Inside Housing reports that Wandsworth Council have approved a 1,100-home regeneration scheme, three months after developer Redrow pulled out of the project. This comes less than a year after Redrow was forced to submit a revised planning application for the scheme after the Greater London Authority criticised the initial application’s affordable housing provision. Wandsworth Council have said that the new planning application “addresses the issues raised and accelerates the delivery of affordable housing.” The application will now be referred to the Mayor for a final decision. The development plans to deliver 261 council homes as well as new community facilities, including a library, youth centre, community hall, GP surgeries, children’s nursey, shops and business spaces. The council is currently deciding the route to find a new development partner, with procurement expected to begin early next year.
Property Week reports that the John Lewis Partnership has won planning permission from Westminster City Council to convert almost half of its flagship Oxford Street department store into office space. As part of the redevelopment, John Lewis will retain the basement, ground, first and second floors as retail space, with the third to eighth floors being turned into office floorspace. The new office space will make up 300,000 sq ft, 45% of the whole building. With this latest move, John Lewis joins a spate of retailers along the famous thoroughfare, including Debenhams and House of Fraser, to redevelop their shop space.