Outline planning permission is submitted for major development
In the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, local residents have so far had a large say in the evolution of the Blackwall Reach regeneration project. The initial community consultation began in 2007.
The winning design comes from the London based Horden Cherry Lee Architects, known for their innovative micro-compact home (m-ch): a 2.65m-cubed transportable box made for short-term living. Swan Housing Association and Countryside Properties are the development partners.
The masterplan aims to regenerate an area of roughly 7 hectares by providing around 1,700 new homes, with replacement homes for current homeowners and council tenants. A range of community facilities will be included, such an expansion of the local school, a new mosque, and plenty of green open space.
A mix of houses and flats will sit on the edge of the site, looking out onto a sheltered central park. The scheme aims to be sustainable through the use of ‘clean energy’ technology and solar cells on the roofs and façade. Improved transport links mean the area will no longer be secluded at the start of the Blackwall Tunnel.
Making up a large part of the deprived development area is Robin Hood Gardens, a housing complex. Completed in 1972 by the late architects Alison and Peter Smithson, Robin Hood Gardens was dreamt up as a modern, utopian way of living. Two blocks - one 10 storeys and one 7 storeys - illustrate the ‘streets in the sky’ concept. Far from a utopia, the buildings were in dire need of refurbishment. Then in 2008, it was announced the buildings would be demolished with support from 75% of its residents.
Despite attempts to get the landmark building listed in 2010, with support from renowned architects including Zaha Hadid and Richard Rodgers, the demolition is to go through.
The outline planning application for the Blackwall Reach masterplan has been submitted to the Tower Hamlets planning department, and is now available for viewing online. Detailed applications are to be submitted after further discussions with local residents.