A weekly round up of the latest planning and property news from the central London boroughs
The Evening Standard reports that Curzon has signed a deal to open a “landmark” new 6,000 sq ft cinema in Camden’s upcoming Hawley Wharf complex. The new five-screen multiplex which is inspired by New York jazz bars will form part of the canal-side development, which is owned by LabTech. It is set to open this autumn with 150 stores, 60 food outlets, and 195 apartments. Each cinema screen will seat 30 people.
City of London
Property Week reports that British Land has delivered its first net zero carbon building at 100 Liverpool Street. The building retained 50% of its existing structure and uses smart technologies to enhance its efficiency, which include optimising light and heat usage. British Land achieved the carbon offsetting of the building by restoring 30,000 hectares of land on the Tibetan plateau and a teak afforestation project in Mexico. The business also planted 15,000 trees in Cumbria and Scotland, which it said would double the total offset already purchased over the development life cycle of the building. British Land has committed to all future developments being net zero carbon by 2030.
The Hackney Citizen reports that councillors have expressed disappointment at housing figures that lay bare the borough’s “poor performance” in delivering socially rented homes. According to statistics for new housing in the borough – through both council and private developments – the council came close to hitting its five-year target of 7,995 homes between 2015 and 2019. However, over 5,200 of these were at market rates, while just 227 were for social rent. In 2019, just one socially rented home was successfully delivered. According to the Town Hall’s strategic planning manager Karol Jakubczyk, reasons for the low figures include a number of development proposals either being held back or accelerated in order to avoid paying more money in Community Infrastructure Levy to City Hall and Brexit uncertainty.
Hammersmith & Fulham
City AM reports that Scale Space, a 200,000 sq ft facility that is the brand-new home for scale-ups and innovative businesses across technology, digital and life-sciences sectors, has announced plans to release 60,000 sq ft of space as the White City Innovation District reaches practical completion. The space is the product of a venture between Imperial College London and digital venture builder Blenheim Chalcot. It is located at the heart of Imperial College London’s White City Campus and provides nearby access to world-leading scientists and facilities.
Bdaily report that the parent company of global fashion brands such as Calvin Klein and TOMMY HILFIGER is set to relocate its HQ to a brand-new building at Television Centre – 1 Wood Crescent. Comprising nine storeys with 111,765 sq ft of prime office space, the building will be located on the west side of the Television Centre campus. It will include multiple terraces as well as a ground floor reception and café, all with views over Hammersmith Park and the surrounding White City area. PVH corp will move to the top five floors of the nine-storey building, totalling 50,000 sq ft of office space.
South London Press reports that developer Dominvs Group, has announced that it is now planning to build student halls instead of a 23-storey hotel at its site on Talgarth Road. Due to the drop in international tourism and business travel, Dominvs Group has revealed that banks are currently unwilling to lend money for the hotel scheme. While the company has not fully abandoned this planning application, it will submit another application to Hammersmith and Fulham Council later this year. The new proposals include a 20-storey student accommodation tower and a second smaller building which would be a hotel. Residents, whose petition against the hotel received 1,270 signatures, argued that a rooftop bar and viewing platform would have allowed guests to look directly into their gardens, and that the building would be an eyesore.
Kensington & Chelsea
South London Press reports that Cafes, pubs and restaurants in Kensington and Chelsea will again be allowed to turn their streets into Parisian-style boulevards for al fresco dining. On April 12, council chiefs will introduce 24-hour road closures of Chelsea’s Pavillion Road and Elystan Street, as well as Bute Street in South Kensington. Councillor Johnny Thalassites, the council’s lead for planning and place, said: “Kensington and Chelsea is home to some of the best places to shop, eat and drink not just in London but around the world. We want to give our businesses the very best chance of recovery when lockdown lifts. Closing roads and getting outdoor licences to business owners as quickly as possible are just some of the practical ways to help our borough get back to the bustling, vibrant destination we have all been missing so much during the coronavirus pandemic.”
South London Press reports that Lambeth Council has loaned a further £5.5 million to its wholly owned house building company, added to £5 million loaned last year. It comes as a progress report on Homes for Lambeth’s business plan for 2020-23, approved by cabinet on March 15, stated a lack of resident support was a “likely” risk to its regeneration programme. The council’s programme, run by HfL, is focused on six estates, including Westbury, Knights Walk, South Lambeth, Central Hill, Cressingham Gardens, and Fenwick.
London SE1 reports that the Appeal Court is considering the Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre case over the provision of social housing the redevelopment. The Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre closed its doors last September to make way for Delancey’s 10-year development project covering both the shopping centre and London College of Communication sites. Campaigners believe that councillors were not fully informed of the financial arrangements behind the developer’s affordable housing offer, and were led to believe that the Greater London Authority had committed to part-funding the scheme, thus unlocking an increase in social housing above the level initially proposed. It is now acknowledged by all parties that there was no guarantee of GLA funding, and no formal application for funding had been made. The Up the Elephant campaign asserts that if the developer was prepared to offer 116 social rented homes with no guarantee of public fund. The appeal court’s judgment is expected to be handed down in a few weeks’ time.
Inside Housing reports that Tower Hamlets Council, the Greater London Authority (GLA) and Westferry Developments Limited have agreed that 21% of the proposed 1,524-home Westferry Printworks scheme should be for affordable housing after the developers agreed to pay a £43m Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) charge. When the planning proposal first went in front of independent inspector in 2019, it was ruled that the 21% on offer was not the maximum reasonable amount of affordable housing that could be delivered and therefore the plan was rejected. Housing secretary Robert Jenrick then stepped in to overrule this decision and it was later revealed the minister had discussed the development personally with the developer’s owner, Richard Desmond, who had also donated £12,000 to the Conservative Party after Mr Jenrick’s decision. The timing of Mr Jenrick’s intervention meant Mr Desmond’s Westferry Developments would avoid paying the new £43m CIL charge, but a subsequent legal challenge from Tower Hamlets Council saw the decision overturned due to “apparent bias”.
Estates Gazette reports that Cheyne Capital has provided £28.5m backing for the Collective’s acquisition of its first site in Westminster. The Collective agreed to acquire the canal-side Westbourne Park scheme, subject to planning, in July 2019. Last year it was granted consent for a 286-bedroom short stay co-living scheme. Designed by AHMM, the scheme also includes gym, pool, a waterside piazza, farmers’ markets and events space at the former headquarters of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association. The deal is the third investment from Cheyne Capital.
The Evening Standard reports that Great Portland Estates, the London property developer and landlord, has said that one of its joint ventures has agreed an office letting to Lexington Partners. The FTSE 250 company said the deal is for 9,000 square feet at its Hanover Square development. Investment firm Lexington will occupy the second floor of the offices in 1 Medici Courtyard on a 15-year lease. Simon Rowley, head of office leasing at GPE said: “Best in class office space continues to be highly sought after, and that is exemplified by this transaction and the interest we have from occupiers in the rest of the scheme.”
CityAm reports that investment activity in the Central London office sector jumped last month as the progress of the UK”s Covid vaccination programme increased market confidence. In the West End, investment volume totalled £322m in February – spread across seven deals – up from a record low of £130m in January, according to research by estate agent chain Savills. The real estate advisor said investor interest in London has bounced back over the past four weeks, despite the fact that a return to the office has not yet been directly addressed by the government.
City AM reports that Sadiq Khan has announced a £544m investment in London’s jobs and high streets to help the capital recover from the coronavirus pandemic. The Mayor of London has also called on the government to match his spending plans for the city as he unveils the proposals at the inaugural London Recovery Summit. “Jobs and investment are crucial to getting our city going again, which is why today I’m unveiling a package of measures worth hundreds of millions of pounds that will create jobs and improve the places where we live and work,” Khan said in a statement.