Agenda item

Hackney Wick Masterplan 16/00166/OUT

Minutes:

8.1  The Committee received the report of the Planning Development Manager. An update report was circulated to the Committee and is attached as Appendix 7 to the minutes and the presentation given by the Planning Development Manager is attached as Appendix 8.  Both are published on the Legacy Corporation’s website here:

 

www.london.gov.uk/moderngovlldc/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=273&MId=6052&Ver=4

 

  [Councillor Rachel Blake left the meeting at this point]

 

8.2  The application, submitted jointly by the London Legacy Development Corporation and London Borough of Hackney, sought outline planning permission for a masterplan framework for the comprehensive, employment-focused, mixed-use development of Hackney Wick.

 

8.3  The strategic objectives of the masterplan were to create a mixed use neighbourhood centre, replacing all existing employment floorspace as workspace, retail and community facilities alongside the creation of a significant number of new homes; protect existing low?cost workspace; establish new routes through, and public spaces within, the area; and preserve or enhance the two conservation areas that overlapped the masterplan area. To achieve this, the application sought approval of a Development Specification Framework setting out minimum and maximum quantum of land use by plot; Parameter Plans; and a Design Code.

 

8.4  Speaking in support of the officers’ recommendation, Councillor Guy Nicholson, London Borough of Hackney, conveyed the full endorsement of the Mayor of Hackney for the proposals which, he argued, recognised and respected the area’s natural evolution from an industrial zone into one with an economy based around the creative industries. The balance of affordable housing vs affordable workspace sought to retain this focus, whilst enhancing the area’s heritage.

 

8.5  Dr Paul Brickell, Executive Director of Regeneration and Community Partnerships for the London Legacy Development Corporation, emphasised the fine balance that had been struck and stressed the Mayor of London’s support for the creative industries.

 

8.6  Lucy Oliver-Harrison of Hackney Wick and Fish Island Community Development Trust and Councillor Nick Sharman of the London Borough of Hackney, also speaking in support of the officers’ recommendations, asserted that if ongoing collaboration with community groups was maintained  then the masterplan proposals would be the best way to protect affordable workspace, cultural and community assets and ensure the area remained diverse and continued to thrive, whilst reconnecting with neighbouring communities.

 

8.7  Members thanked the speakers for their comments and welcomed their support for the principle of a masterplan aimed at creating a flourishing creative community.  Officers were also thanked for the intensive work undertaken with the applicants over the preceding months in shaping the initial application in response to stakeholder concerns.

 

8.8  The Committee discussed the provision of commercial space. The masterplan would result in the  loss of heavy industrial space (use class B2/B8), a significant increase in office space (use class B1a) and no net loss of low cost creative workspace (use class B1c), 80% of which would be required to remain low cost in perpetuity. There would be an overall loss of 542sqm employment space within the masterplan area, although this was entirely attributable to a scheme that had already secured planning consent. 

 

8.9  A Member enquired as to what would determine the proportions of B1a and B1c space, noting that it would not be appropriate to enforce a fixed split but that some limits may be necessary. Officers responded that a condition ensured that the proportion of B1c space could be increased from the baseline if necessary, by conversion of B1a space specified by the Development Specification Framework to B1c space, but could not be reduced.  The masterplan had also been sequenced to ensure there would be no temporary losses of low cost workspace during the development of the area.

 

8.10  Members discussed the scheme from a conservation perspective.  Designation of the Hackney Wick conservation area and Fish Island & White Post Lane conservation area had committed to permitting only development that would preserve or enhance the significant heritage assets. Under the masterplan as proposed, eight non-designated heritage assets would be retained, with a further four to be demolished. Officers explained that two of the heritage assets were earmarked for demolition as part of consented mixed-use developments. The harm caused by demolition of the other two buildings, which were of relatively low heritage value, was felt to be significantly outweighed by the benefits offered by the proposed scheme.

 

8.11  A Member expressed the view that, having been a basis for the conservation designation, the diversity of architecture in the area should be preserved, although there was also agreement that the general morphology and historical usage of the area were as important in conservation as the buildings themselves and that these would be maintained. A heritage fund would be established, to which developers would contribute through Section 106 agreements, to fund the preservation of the retained non-designated heritage assets that would enhance the conservation areas.  Following reductions in the heights of the proposed taller buildings, Historic England had now extended its support to the scheme.

 

8.12  A baseline of 20% affordable housing by habitable room was proposed across all unconsented plots, with the aim of raising this toward a 35% target through viability assessments of individual applications at Reserved Matters stage. The proposed tenure split would be 40:60 affordable rent:intermediate. While these were lower targets than for other sites in the Legacy Corporation area, it was recognised that the provision of long term affordable workspace took precedence in the Hackney Wick area.  The Greater London Authority supported the proposals provided that Reserved Matters applications would be subject to robust viability review mechanisms.  LBTH had objected to the proposal on the grounds of the level of affordable housing, the tenure split and rent levels.

 

8.13  In response to a query about community infrastructure, officers explained that 170sqm was allocated in the masterplan for community uses, which could include faith-based activities. Members emphasised the importance of ensuring community facilities would be sustainable in perpetuity. Community access was required under the Heads of Terms set out in the report, and officers agreed to revisit this to make reference to and capture as necessary the approach set out in the Site Wide Community Infrastructure Strategy set out in the Legacy Communities Scheme Outline Planning Permission.

 

8.14  In terms of school places, existing or forthcoming places in schools in neighbouring developments were expected to be more than sufficient to meet the demand from the expected additional 2,000 - 4,500 residents, although there were options to supplement places with additional form entry to local primary schools if necessary.  A new General Practitioner’s (GP) surgery had been consented in the adjacent Sweetwater development and another GP surgery was located in the nearby Trowbridge estate.

 

8.15  The Committee heard that finalising the proposed building heights to achieve an acceptable balance between conservation and the provision of workspace and housing had been the greatest challenge of the process. The masterplan now proposed five taller buildings on the site, three at eight and two at nine storeys. These would denote the entrance to the neighbourhood centre. 

 

8.16  Heights had been significantly reduced from the original proposals (by up to 3 storeys) and Reserved Matters applications would be subject to the requirements of Local Plan Policy BN10 on tall buildings. Some Members expressed disappointment that a means had not been found to achieve the desired regeneration objectives whilst limiting buildings to six or seven storeys. However, it was recognised that competing demands had made this extremely difficult to achieve and that a good compromise had been struck.  Members stressed the need for any proposed schemes exceeding the prevailing height of the area to represent genuinely outstanding architecture.

 

8.17  Members expressed their support for the proactive approach to planning and the balance between housing and workspace that had been achieved, in particular the retention of low cost workspace in perpetuity. Officers were again congratulated on negotiating the development of the masterplan into a proposal that had now secured extremely wide support. The Chair moved that the officers’ recommendation be supported.

 

8.18  Resolved (Unanimously)

 

8.18.1  That:

 

a)  The application be approved for the reasons given in the report and outline consent be granted subject to:

1. Referring the application to the Mayor of London and any direction by the Mayor of London;

2. The satisfactory completion of a legal agreement under Section106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and other enabling powers to secure the planning obligations set out in the recommended heads of terms, subject to any amendment arising from paragraph 8.13 of these minutes, which are set out in the report and update report;

3.  The conditions set out in the report and update report; and

b)  Authority be delegated to the Director of Planning Policy and Decisions to:

1. Consider any direction from the Mayor of London and to make any consequential or necessary changes to the recommended conditions and/or recommended heads of terms;

2. Finalise the recommended conditions as set out in the report and update report including such refinements, amendments, additions and/or deletions (including to dovetail with and where appropriate, reinforce, the final planning obligations to be contained in the Section 106 legal agreement) as the Director of Planning Policy and Decisions considers reasonably necessary;

3. Finalise the recommended legal agreement under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and other enabling powers as set out in this report,  including refining, adding to, amending and/or deleting the obligations detailed in the heads of terms set out in this report (including to dovetail with and where appropriate, reinforce the final conditions and informatives to be attached to the planning permission) as the Director of Planning Policy and Decisions considers reasonably necessary; and

4. Complete the Section 106 legal agreement referred to above and issue the planning permission.

 

[Note:  At the request of the committee, these minutes were amended on 24 May 2017 to replace the word ‘correct’ with the word ‘acceptable’ at paragraph 8.15]

Supporting documents: