Property developers Neptune Group are submitting a revised plan to build 800 new homes and 11,000 sqm of commercial space as part of a large-scale regeneration of Fish Island.
The new plans will be submitted on April 22nd followed by a new public consultation.
The development will be on the canal next to the Olympic site. “Neptune Wharf” will contain a new primary school and over a hectare of open space, including landscaping along the canal and new green spaces but no affordable housing.
The plan was first submitted for consideration in November 2012, but was criticised by The London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC), which recommended that it should be rejected.
The LLDC design review panel criticised the project’s excessive scale, “poor quality public spaces”, and the proximity of the primary school to the A12. It also raised concerns about noise and pollution. English Heritage also criticised the 14-storey height of the proposed buildings.
Austin Mackie, planning consultant advisor at Neptune Group, told ELL: “Like with any scheme like this, you submit a starting point and then negotiate with the planning authorities and the neighbours. Since the review panel looked at the scheme in November it has changed considerably. We met again with that panel on the 5th of March and their response was much more supportive.”
In response to the criticism, Neptune have: “Reduced the height across the whole of the scheme and improved the size and quality of the open spaces,” said Mackie. However, he said that the primary school will not be moved, as Tower Hamlets Council has approved its location.
An initial public consultation was held in December 2012 to gather feedback from stakeholders and local residents. However, locals have voiced concerns about their opinions not being taken into account properly.
“A lot of people weren’t even aware the consultations were actually taking place,” Neil Howden, owner of local organisation Stour Space, told ELL. “I do appreciate that the LLDC work hard to get a broad range of feedback, but a large proportion of the local population lives in unregistered units, which are hard to reach. There were no notices in our building or around the area.”
Mackie admits that, “For a scheme of this size, we didn’t get a great deal of response, to be honest,” but denies that the consultation was not well advertised. “We wrote to everyone in the area, and we had two exhibitions. So I think we did as much as any developer might be expected to do, if not more,” he said.
The revised plan will be resubmitted on April 22 , followed by further public consultation. After that, the project is expected to go to planning committee in June or July.
By Kathryn Bromwich