Controversial Skylines development returns

By Rob Virtue on January 16, 2013 4:47 PM |

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A proposed 50-storey development previously deferred due to opposition from groups including the borough's own environmental health team will return to council next week.

Tower Hamlets planning officers had urged the committee to back the controversial Skylines scheme last November but decided to pull it mid-meeting after scrutiny from councillors.

Opposition came from London City Airport over height restrictions and English Heritage over the disruption of the view from Greenwich Park.

Tower Hamlets' environmental health team aired concerns over new residents exposure to noise from DLR trains and aircraft, while National Grid and Thames Water also raised objections.

Next week, it will go back to the council's strategic development panel and planning officers have again recommended approval despite concerns still existing.

A previous application for the site by the same developers, ZBV (Skylines) Ltd and Skylines (Isle of Dogs) Ltd, was rejected by council in 2010.

The latest proposal for the area at Limeharbour on the Isle of Dogs includes 764 residential units, nearly 2,000 square metres of retail space and 4,500sqm of office space.

There will also be two levels of basement car parking.

The size of the scheme has led to financial obligations being proposed of over £6million, including more than £2m towards facilities for education.

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A total of 36 per cent of the development will be affordable housing, with two-thirds of that social rented accommodation. Plans show seven blocks of flats.

The Skylines site is currently made up of 59 small business units, as well as car parking space.

For the latest application, London City Airport has withdrawn opposition after assurances over height limits of cranes, while the enivronmental health team has changed its objection after promises to increase noise insulation of the building.

Latest news: Tower Hamlets rejects 50 storey Skylines village

11 Comments

J Marsden said:

The objections to this are utterly baffling. Why on earth have Tower Hamlets allowed such wasted brownfield sites or under-developed sites with sub-standard building stock that litter their borough to continue to exist without planning their potential to develop?

National Grid and Thames Water complaining about strain on infrastructure from the appearance of 800 new residents? This is London not a village in North Wales! Considering the inflation of utility bills supposedly to pay for boosting infrastructure over the past 15 years and the slow long term rise in Londons population you have to wonder why they now complain about laying some pipes or building a new substation for 800 new paying customers in housing stock that will be far more efficient than the vast majority of Londons inadequate housing.

Noise from DLR trains?! Is this a bizarre alternate reality? The expensive Tower Hamlets planning commitee and councillors have actually came to that decision? Noise from a light rail system when vast swathes of the UK population live next to 24 hours a day continuously noisy road systems and heavy rail or under flight paths. It becomes even more nonsensical when you consider that becuase the development is so large and has sufficient height for the majority of residents then a far smaller proportion will be within listening distance of the DLR than if they had built the typical 2-4 story blocks or town houses.

We round off nicely with complaints from EH and London city airport, I have no idea what happens at the mad hatter tea parties in EH commitee rooms but I would love to see their powerpoint presentation of the insane gentry peering out from the Royal Observatory in Greenwich Park and somehow thinking that this development would ruin the view of East London. Did they miss Canary Wharf or O2 arena or the expanses of semi-derelict industrial land from here to the sea? City Airport, well who on earth built an airport smack bang in the middle of an area designated for the future growth of London at a time when a giant business district of tall buildings was already on the plan. Im sure it will quietly disappear when Crossrail opens.

Anonymous said:

Crossharbour/South Quay station simply cannot handle the influx of 800 new homes. I have literally seen people take a run up and dive into a carriage to force themselves on at rush hour.

Tower Hamlets needs to stop throwing up tower block after tower block in this area without a drastic plan on how the infrastructure will cope.

Concerned Resident said:

Crossharbour/South Quay station simply cannot handle the influx of 800 new homes. I have literally seen people take a run up and dive into a carriage to force themselves on at rush hour.

Tower Hamlets needs to stop throwing up tower block after tower block in this area without a drastic plan on how the infrastructure will cope.

J Marsden said:

And how many will be walking to Canary Wharf from here?

And what about Crossrail? I agree that Transport infrastructure is woeful in this country and often lags a tad too much but dont kid yourself that the DLR and Jubilee line extensions were purely built for your leisure and comfort, they were built for growth.

As the demand grows more services will be added all Tower Hamlets has to hook up with TFL and wave some nice new council tax payers in front of them. Simple.

Its pretty daming that Tower Hamlets is always seemingly caught off guard and has an utterly confused policy.

Isle of Dogs Resident said:

Whilst I agree that TH council should be focusing on underdeveloped brownfield sites, particularly where there is an appetite to redevelop them - however, this is a gross over development of what is quite a small site. Have you actually had a look at the size of the houses immediately behind these towers - should they be redeveloped too? Have you ever thought about the impact this development might have on them?(just for reference there is absolutely nothing wrong with them and they are fulfilling a very important purpose of housing families)...Also lets not even get into the impact this will have on the DLR

J Marsden said:

Impact? Actual real physical impact is zero, people will be able to see the new houses but so what? This is a city. Its normal to see buildings. Im sure the current residents would tell people where to go if someone moaned that they didn't like looking at their house too!

I fail to be convinced that 800 new residents will make much difference to an urban rapid transit system that was recently doubled in capacity, its not a toy railway.

J Marsden said:

Has anyone considered that by building this particular piece of derelict land at this high density that this will in fact protect existing family housing stock (say those with private gardens) rather than threatening them? If developments were lowered then they would have to spread more thus you would actually see the real impact of demolition on many of the older houses and the encroachment into gardens. You see the same pressure in Westminster and the City in areas where they dont build tall and there is huge pressure to swallow up multiple existing buildings to merge them into larger ones.

Petr Hibsen said:

I am convinced someone at TH Planning is on some very nice backhanders. TH is approving 1000s of new apartments with no regard for current residents. What with Asda's removal of the only petrol station and our part time police station this is becoming a very unfunny joke.

Anonymous said:

Dockland should be building a lot more. That's the problem with the UK, too much red tape. With so many people wanting to come and work / live here, we should be building more as it create jobs (construction, services, white goods when people move in). Can not see any logic in people opposing this.

Concerned Resident said:

J Marsden - it is quite clear from your comments that you do not use the DLR in the morning toward Bank as if you did, you would not have said something so stupid.

"I fail to be convinced that 800 new residents will make much difference"

Its 764 new properties, not people, unless you believe every property will be a one bed inhabited by a loner?

The schools, the medical centre, the transport will all be massively impacted by a huge influx.

Isle of Dogs Resident said:

There does seem to be a fairly unwillingness to see or blindness to the bigger picture here - largely in part to the incompatibility of local authority/mayoral/government targets for growth and housing with reality - and the private sectors ability to take advantage of broad policy allocations that encourage "growth".

There is quite clearly a need for more housing, but there is also a need for a common sense approach to development. The issue is there is no real answer to the problem - building more flats for private rental, whilst serving a need, is not combating the real problem of providing housing for those who need it (rather than those who want it to grow their property portfolios). It's certainly not contributing anything useful in the way of community facilities (and I'm not talking about sports halls - we're talking about dentists, doctors, schools etc. Things that everyone can and need access to!)

I'm sure those of your who want thing the Isle of Dogs sole purpose is to be stacked high will disagree, which is fine - everyone is entitled to an opinion.