Out-Law News 1 min. read

Tower Hamlets refuses permission for Canary Wharf tower, citing “overdevelopment” concerns

The London Borough of Tower Hamlets (LBTH) has refused planning permission for a 68-storey residential tower in Canary Wharf, after deciding that the proposed scheme “exhibits clear and demonstrable signs of overdevelopment”.

Developer Investin Quay House applied to LBTH in May for permission to build a 228 metre tower on a 0.19 hectare site in the Millennium Quarter of the Isle of Dogs. Under the scheme, the tower would have contained 496 residential units, spread over 61 floors, including 109 affordable homes.

The plans also included ground floor space dedicated to a cafe or retail units; a sky garden; a residents’ gymnasium and swimming pool; and several storeys for car and bicycle parking.

LBTH’s strategic development committee met earlier this month to discuss the plans. The committee decided that the proposed scheme: failed to deliver a high-quality setting due to its “limited and compromised public realm”; formed “an insensitive relationship with South Dock”; did not provide an active frontage at street level on one side of the building; and failed to provide high quality play space for children.

“As a result, the proposed development would not be sensitive to the context of its surroundings or successfully bridge the difference in scale between Canary Wharf and the surrounding area,” said the committee.

Resolving to refuse permission, the committee also said that the proposals failed to mitigate the impact of the development on local services, amenities and infrastructure and did not maximise the delivery of affordable housing.

The Greater London Authority (GLA) had expressed concerns about the suitability of the "very small" site for high density development in a report in June and in a letter in August. In a letter dated 18 August, GLA assistant planning director, Stewart Murray, had noted that "the challenges of such a small and restricted site severely impacts (sic) on the ability of the proposal to mitigate for its impact and to deliver a quality environment".

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