Newham resolves to grant permission for £1bn Royal Albert Dock redevelopment

Out-Law News | 24 Jul 2014 | 5:04 pm | 2 min. read

Newham Council has resolved to grant planning permission and listed building consent for Chinese developer ABP's proposed £1 billion redevelopment of land north of the Royal Albert Dock in east London into a major business district.

ABP was chosen as the Greater London Authority's (GLA) preferred developer of the 15.6 hectare site in October 2012. Proposals for the GLA-owned site include a total of nearly 440,000 square metres of floorspace, 70% of which will be developed for business use and just under 20% for residential use.

The developer submitted detailed plans for the first phase of the redevelopment, which proposes 49,000 sq m of business space, 180 serviced apartments for up to three month rentals and 5,600 sq m of ground floor retail and leisure space as well as a temporary car park and energy centre. Two listed building consent applications were also submitted in relation to the first phase, to enable the proposed refurbishment and reuse of two Grade II listed buildings known as the Central Buffet and the Dock Manager's Office.

An outline application was submitted for the later phases of development, which proposes a further 257,000 sq m of business space, 9,900 sq m of retail, community and culture, and assembly and leisure space and 87,000 sq m for residential use.

At pre-application meetings, officers from Newham Council had initially said that the site was not suitable for residential development due to its proximity to the runway for London City Airport. However, ABP has proposed to develop just over 20% of the site for residential use, with an indicative maximum of 845 units given in the outline planning application. ABP said in the planning statement submitted with its application that "a mix of uses, particularly residential, is critical to creating and sustaining a 'sense of place'" and that "residential development is felt very important to create vibrancy and activity".

Speaking about the project in January, ABP chairman Xu Weiping said: "We want to attract high-quality businesses from China, from the rest of Asia and Europe across a range of sectors, including high tech, science, innovation technologies, finance, etc. But our development will also have a strong emphasis on culture, art and leisure for those business people working here."

The proposals were on the agenda for a meeting of the Council's strategic development committee on 23 July, having been recommended for approval, subject to approval from the mayor of London and the secretary of state for communities and local government and a section 106 agreement, in an officer's report (382-page / 27.7 MB PDF).

Following the Council's resolution to grant approval for the redevelopment, Xu was reported in the Estates Gazette to have said: "I am delighted with Newham council’s decision to grant permission for Royal Albert Dock. ABP’s £1bn scheme will transform this derelict site into London’s next business district, bringing significant social and economic benefits to the local area and creating up to 20,000 new jobs. "

“We look forward to getting started on the first phase which will deliver around one-third of the site," said Xu. "We have seen high demand from China and the Far East and hope to complete this first phase by 2018, generating economic activity and creating thousands of new jobs over the next five years.”