Last week the development featuring over 500 homes and a primary school was approved pending the preparation of a strong section 106 agreement.
The comittee at the London Legacy Development Corporation, called for a set of conditions and agreements to ensure the delivery of the primary school, an architectural competition to design its out line elements as well as measures to ensure affordable workspace. These agreements will be worked out over the next months with hopeful some considerable consultation.
Richard Brown of AffordableWick addressed the committee, outlining the concerns of the Hackney Wick and Fish Island Planning Group:
Issues with the application:
Design Quality and sense of place.
The detailed elements in phases 1 and 2, with exception to the maisonette typologies, are very bulky and do not feel appropriate to the low rise context of Fish Island.
The architecture seems purely a result of extruding a deep courtyard block plan, making a monolithic and repeated building form along the hertford Union Canalside.
Both the building forms and façade design, are generic and do not create a distinctive high quality environment which is needed in this growing neighbourhood. This proposal instead, over writes a very distinctive area of East London, with an uninspiring, homogeneous architecture which looks no different to most other disappointing housing developments in London.
The apartment plans do not reflect an ethos of high quality design, the vast majority of the apartments are only single aspect, many even north facing.
Open Space and amenity
Lofthouse square is an over sized area of hard landscape, which will not serve as amenity for the area, and will be very difficult to activate.
This may be a great opportunity for some usable green space, or an orchard of trees, or a skate park, not simply a hard landscaped space which is difficult to use.
There are now a range of reasonably sized studio space within the scheme which may cater for the need of creative workspace in the area. However, it is not clear what the arrangements/partnerships will be for the management and letting of this space, and therefore its affordability or effectiveness.
For CCI space to play an active role in the delivering a cultural value to the area, it has to be viable and financialy accessible to a range of creative practitioners.
There is a substantial amount of large open commercial space proposed at the Roach road corner adjacent to the Loft house. It is suggested that this space will ‘activate’ loft House square, as well as Neptune Yard, however, it is identical to the existing shop front spaces within the neighbouring Crown Wharf and Omega works, which still lay empty, un-able to attract businesses.
What will be done to make these spaces attractive to business who may be able
Loft House Artists’ Quarter
I am very pleased to see the lofthouse left as reserved matters, however it is crucial that the design brief for this building, be subject to rigorous engagement with the local artist community, to find an innovative approach to the design, program and management of a creative hub. This is an opportunity to novate highly credible architects who have the appropriate sensibilities for the way in which creative space functions.
Phases 3 & 4
The primary school is proposed in a quite hostile part of the site, with noise pollution and is very exposed to the A12 in terms of visual privacy.