A weekly round up of the latest planning and property news from the central London boroughs
Hampstead & Highgate Express reports that the developer looking to transform the site of the O2 Centre in Finchley Road has revealed more detail of their plans to build 1,900 homes. The buildings closest to Finchley Road are likely to be four to six storeys tall, with towers towards the centre of the site planned at this stage to be 12 to 16 storeys in the north and eight to ten in the south. Launching a new consultation, the site’s owner Landsec unveiled illustrations showing how its “masterplan” has evolved, with an extra public green space in a bid to allay neighbours’ concerns. Landsec has committed to re-providing a “large supermarket” on site, and to making sure shops and leisure facilities are interspersed throughout the sprawling site between Finchley Road and West End Lane.
City of London
City A.M. reports that people are being asked to have their say on a five-year blueprint for improving the biodiversity of the City of London. The City of London Corporation is consulting on its draft Biodiversity Action Plan, aimed at making the Square Mile more attractive to birds, mammals, insects and invertebrates. The plan includes measures to improve the biodiversity of existing sites such as City gardens and churchyards and to ensure biodiversity is considered in new developments with features such as bird habitats, standing water and pollen-rich plants.
The Hackney Gazette reports that Hackney Council has been approved the Dalston Plan. The Plan aims to ensure a fair recovery from the pandemic for Dalston, by developing and investing in the area, while safeguarding institutions like Ridley Road Market and Dalston eastern Curve Garden. Planning chief Cllr Guy Nicholson said: “With Dalston growing to accommodate new homes, jobs and workspaces, we’re using every tool we have to shape this change in line with the priorities of the local community and the need for affordable housing, so that the benefits of this can be felt by everyone.”
Kensington & Chelsea
South London Press reports that Kensington & Chelsea Council could force home owners of vacant homes to sell up. The borough has 1,916 empty homes – the highest ratio in London, which includes 1,179 which have been sitting empty for more than six months. Despite this, There are 3,500 people on the housing register and 2,300 in temporary accommodation. The Council’s Director of Housing Management Doug Goldring, has now revealed that the council is now looking at ways to bring 57 homes which have stood empty for over a decade back to life. The council’s deputy leader Kim Taylor-Smith said: “Any empty home is a lost opportunity, it’s something which could be used to accommodate our homeless or key workers.”
IPE Real Assets reports that RE Capital, which seeks to acquire up to £150m (€173m) central London offices this year, has added a 29,174sqft building to its portfolio. The company has completed the acquisition of the Albion House building at 20 Queen Elizabeth Street in Southwark from Peabody for £15.05m. Simon Banks, the head of UK real estate at RE Capital, said: “Albion House represented a unique opportunity to buy a vacant and extremely well-located office in central London on an attractive basis for our capital.
Southwark news reports that Renewal has submitted fresh plans for 3,500 homes at the £2bn New Bermondsey regeneration next to Millwall Football Club, almost a decade after outline planning consent was granted. The plans are a significant uplift on the 2,400 homes approved by Lewisham in 2012. The developer has proposed 35% affordable housing, up from initial plans for 12%. The hybrid planning application for the Surrey Canal Triangle site surrounding The Den includes detailed plans for 600 homes in three towers rising to 32 storeys and contains outline plans for a further 2,900 homes in towers of up to 44 storeys in height, across a further four distinct phases.
Bdaily reports that Plans have been approved for the creation of a 274 home affordable housing development in London. Muse Developments, which specialises in repurposing town and city centres, along with housing provider, Poplar HARCA, have gained approval from London Borough of Tower Hamlets development committee for the new development. The Bromley-by-Bow site, on Stroudley Walk, will create 274 homes, with a 51 per cent affordable housing provision. The plans will also include a new pocket park and part-pedestrianised street, with business and retail spaces.
Architects Journal reports that plans have been revealed to strip back, overhaul and extend the former Debenhams department store in London’s Oxford Street. Debenhams closed down earlier this year, and the building’s owners, Ramsbury are now planning to refurbish it for a post-pandemic use. The developers say that the current design can only really be used as a large department store and is not suitable for alternative uses, so they plan a large refurbishment, retaining the core structure but replacing almost everything else. The plans will see a large retail store occupy the front half of the building with two large entrances on the sides to the upper floors, which will provide flexible office space. Roof terraces will also be included as part of the plans. Ramsbury are looking to submit a Planning Application to Westminster City Council later this summer and subject to approval, work could start in 2022.
Bdaily reports that Shaftesbury has said it expects occupier demand to increase in its West End properties. In the firm’s results for the six months ended March 31, net property income was down 42.6% on the previous year to £26.5m, which the firm has attributed to reduced rent collections and increased vacancy. Despite the income drop, the company is optimistic about returning to growth, and has resumed an interim dividend for shareholders as well as signing transactions with a rental value of £14m across the period. Brian Bickell, Shaftesbury chief executive, commented: “After more than a year of unprecedented disruption, a revival in the West End’s broad-based economy is now underway. Since the start of re-opening on 12 April, we are seeing an encouraging increase in demand for space and lettings and a return of footfall and spending across our locations.