Proposals to extend the historic China Hall pub in Lower Road to incorporate four flats have been vetoed by Southwark planning officers.

Owners Hamna Wakaf Ltd applied to Southwark Council to add side extensions and a mansard roof to the existing pub building.

In their decision notice, Southwark planners said: “The proposed development by virtue of its poor design, layout, scale and inappropriate materials would fail to respond positively to its surroundings.

“The inappropriate scale and design of the building would be an incongruous feature within the street scene which would adversely affect the character and appearance the surrounding area.”

The case officer’s report also noted that “the scheme does not provide sufficient mitigation measures to allow for the successful continued use of the pub”.

The China Hall has a 300-year history; learn more in this article by Andie Byrnes.

The pub is registered as an asset of community value (ACV) under the Localism Act.

Details of the planning application can be seen at 19/AP/0136

Transport for London has delayed the next round of public consultation on the Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf Bridge as it tries to trim the cost of the scheme, a City Hall committee has been told.

TfL has allocated £330 million to the walking and cycling scheme in its business plan.

Public consultation was due to open last month but has been delayed whilst TfL tries to tweak the scheme to try to keep the cost of the bridge within £330 million.

David Hughes, TfL’s investment delivery planning director, told the London Assembly budget & performance committee: “We’ve deferred the start of the consultation to allow further work on value engineering aspects of the scheme, going back looking at certain of the requirements around alignment [and] the navigation requirements of the Port of London to see if we can take out part of the cost before going to consultation.”

Alex Williams, TfL’s director of city planning, added: “We will seek contributions from the private sector to help deliver it” – but he warned that the amounts to be extracted from Canada Water developers British Land and Canary Wharf Group “are not going to be huge”.

Mr Hughes was unable to give Assembly members a new timetable for the next public consultation on the bridge.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has ‘taken over’ the controversial Biscuit Factory planning application from Southwark Council, with a final decision to be made during a public hearing at City Hall.

Earlier this year Southwark’s planning committee unanimously rejected the 1,300-home scheme put forward by the Duke of Westminster’s Grosvenor property firm for a development spanning the former Peek Freans biscuit factory and the old Scott Lidgett School site.

Southwark and Grosvenor failed to reach consensus on three key areas:

  • the cost of building the scheme
  • the expected level of rental income from the flats
  • the ongoing costs of managing the completed development

In his formal letter ‘taking over’ the planning application and granting himself the status of local planning authority, Sadiq Khan wrote:

“In making this decision, I must also have regard to targets identified in development plans. As set out in the attached report, I recognise that Southwark Council has taken a positive approach to approving new homes in the borough during the period 2014 to 2017, and is currently securing planning approval for additional housing just below target levels. Notwithstanding this, I note that the proportion of affordable housing secured relative to overall housing consented during this period is significantly below Southwark’s Local Plan target of 35% and represents a significant undersupply of affordable housing in the pipeline.

“Furthermore, and having regard to final delivery of new homes, I note that this is below Southwark’s target levels for both housing and affordable housing, and that this shortfall is particularly acute in the case of affordable housing.

“In my view the proposed development has potential to make an important contribution to housing and affordable housing supply in response to London Plan policies 3.3 and 3.11. Additionally, I am aware of the significant further planning considerations in this case which include but are not limited to; potential educational improvements, employment creation and public realm improvements. Having regard to the above, and noting the potential contribution of the proposed development, I wish to fully consider this case as the local planning authority.”

A date for the City Hall hearing has yet to be set.

Southwark Council has served an enforcement notice on the owners of the Old Justice Pub on Bermondsey Wall East after work was carried out on the grade II listed building.

Meanwhile applications for planning permission (19/AP/0438) and listed building consent (19/AP/0439) have now been submitted to the council for works to create a roof extension to accommodate a new flat.

Southwark’s planning committee unanimously turned down the massive Biscuit Factory planning application on Wednesday night.

As we reported last week, Southwark planning officers recommended that elected members should refuse planning permission for Grosvenor’s massive scheme spanning the former Peek Freans biscuit factory and the old Scott Lidgett School site.

The Duke of Westminster’s Grosvenor property firm wants to build around 1,300 homes which would stay in the company’s ownership and be rented directly to tenants.

The meeting heard that the key issue is a difference in opinion between the council and the developer on three key points:

  • the cost of building the scheme
  • the expected level of rental income from the flats
  • the ongoing costs of managing the completed development

Grosvenor insists that its proposed affordable housing offer – with around 27 per cent of the homes to be let at less than market rent – is the maximum that can viably be provided.

The council’s independent viability consultants consider that the scheme could offer a larger number of affordable homes at a deeper level of discount from market prices.

Under Grosvenor’s proposals, a couple wanting to rent one of the discounted Biscuit Factory homes would need to earn around £30,000 each to qualify.

Following the council’s decision, the Mayor of London will have the opportunity to ‘take over’ the application. If this happens, then a public hearing would be held at City Hall.

“After many years of working collaboratively with the council and community to develop proposals for a highly accessible and exemplary scheme we are obviously disappointed by the committee’s decision,” said Craig McWilliam, CEO, Grosvenor Britain & Ireland.

“Our proposals are for a neighbourhood accessible to the growing majority of Londoners who simply cannot afford to buy, do not qualify for social housing and want the many advantages of a secure, professionally managed home to rent.

“This includes Southwark’s many health, education, public order and fire service workers who can through, our proposals, afford to live close to where they work.”

A side-effect of this week’s decision is likely to be a delay to the construction of a permanent building for the Compass secondary school. Councillors urged Grosvenor to submit a separate planning application for the school, which would occupy land owned by Grosvenor but is otherwise funded independently from the rest of the development.

Southwark’s planning committee will meet next Wednesday to consider Grosvenor’s plans to redevelop the Biscuit Factory and former Southwark College sites in Bermondsey.

The Duke of Westminster’s Grosvenor property firm wants to build more than 1,300 homes in a series of building up to 28 storeys high.

Rather than a conventional development of homes for sale, Grosvenor is proposing a build-to-rent scheme which will see it retain ownership of the site.

However, the firm has not been able to reach agreement with the council over the maximum viable provision of affordable housing.

Planning officers are recommending that planning permission be refused due to insufficient affordable housing, as well as concerns over density, highway safety and pedestrian routes through the railway arches.

Grosvenor has offered 27.37% affordable housing, based on habitable rooms, with an average discount of 25% below market rents (ie rents payable of up to 75% of market rents). This would equate to 976 habitable rooms, or 322 of the 1342 homes.

The council points out that to be able to live in Grosvenor’s proposed ‘affordable’ homes, couples or sharers would need to be earning around £30,000 each.

Southwark planners contend that not only would the the proposed affordable homes fail to help those in the most serious housing need, but that Grosvenor could afford to provide a greater number of homes below market rental prices at a deeper discount.

A Grosvenor spokesperson said: “Our proposals are for a neighbourhood that is accessible to the growing majority of Londoners who simply cannot afford to buy, do not qualify for social housing  and want the advantages of a secure professionally managed home to rent.

“This includes Southwark’s many health, education, public order and fire service workers who want to, and can through our proposals, live close to where they work.”

The meeting is scheduled to take place at the council’s Tooley Street offices on Wednesday 6 February at 6.30pm. It is likely to be webcast at www.youtube.com/southwarkcouncil

You can see the papers for the meeting here.

Transport for London has asked the Government to help fund a second entrance for Surrey Quays Station and extra facilities at Canada Water Bus Station to meet rising demand for public transport as the area is developed.

News of the funding bid came in London transport commissioner Mike Brown’s regular report to the TfL board.

“We submitted a bid to the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) on 3 December for various enhancements to the transport network to support the provision of around 14,000 new homes by 2031,” wrote Mr Brown.

“The enhancements included in the bid were as follows:

  • An increase in service frequencies on the East London line to 20 trains per hour
  • A second entrance at Surrey Quays station
  • A new station at Surrey Canal Road, between Queens Road Peckham and Surrey Quays
  • Additional facilities at Canada Water bus station, to enable the provision of a new bus route serving the Convoys Wharf development

“These enhancements will support the major developments proposed at Canada Water, New Bermondsey and Convoys Wharf, delivering mixed-use development that supports key Mayoral objectives.

“A decision on funding for the bid is expected from central government during 2019. “

Last summer TfL set out its initial view on the transport implications of the Canada Water masterplan.

Proposals to rebuild Rotherhithe Primary School with expanded premises for an extra form of entry are now being considered by the council’s planning department.

The existing buildings date from 1971 and are said to be beyond viable refurbishment.

The new school – facing Hawkstone Road – has been designed by Fielden Clegg Bradley Studios.

The architects say they have drawn on the area’s history when developing their vision for the new school:

The ribbon of the garden wall wraps around the site creating a protected central courtyard evocative of the historic basins and dry docks which were once carved out of the Rotherhithe peninsular. The organic shapes and materials of the landscape flow into the ‘basin’ of the courtyard which is framed by the more rectilinear walls of the building, inspired by the retaining walls of the dry docks and Brunel’s engineering legacy.

See planning application 18/AP/3792 for further details.