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Unanimous planning consent for Blackwall Yard, Tower Hamlets

London Borough of Tower Hamlets has this week resolved unanimously to grant planning permission for a significant mixed-use riverfront development at Blackwall Yard.
Published Fri 23 Jul 2021

The consented scheme will see the 1.7 hectare riverside Blackwall Yard site completely reimagined, following three years of extensive face-to-face and digital consultation with local residents and community groups.

Currently an underused private car park, our proposals, designed by Glenn Howells Architects, White Arkitekter and Panter Hudspith, will deliver an open, inclusive and community-focussed neighbourhood with clearly defined environmental and social sustainability standards.

They will actively contribute to the health and wellbeing of Tower Hamlets’ residents and wider London in three main areas: job creation and the stimulation of local economies, inclusivity and community wellbeing, and through an ambitious low-carbon and biodiversity approach.

Alongside the £220m of total social and economic value which the scheme will generate over the next ten years, the urban renewal experts have ensured that particular attention has been given to the inclusion of local partnerships when considering micro-businesses and SMEs, meanwhile use providers and future commercial operators. All will be given the opportunity to play their part in the completed development.

Public consultation was central to the planning process. Ground floor, civic and community uses were all directly influenced by an inclusive approach to consultation, conducted across a number of languages in order to engage the area’s broad range of demographics.

Residents expressed their need for flexible community spaces which could be used for prayer and faith meetings, a pledge that the previously derelict dry dock would be celebrated and become a centrepiece of the development, and for the provision of a pub and restaurant on the riverfront.

These ideas have been welcomed and form integral aspects of the consented plans, with council officers describing our approach to engagement as ‘exemplar’.

Blackwall Yard is one of the last great regeneration opportunities to front directly onto the Thames. With panoramic views across the river to the O2, it is a short walk from Canary Wharf and is a two-minute walk from East India DLR station.

Our approved masterplan combines a number of new public spaces with the historic graving dock, filled with water accommodate outdoor swimming at the heart of the development.

A range of ground floor uses including flexible community and affordable workspaces, sit alongside a riverfront pub and a grocery store. 35% of the 898 new homes will be affordable housing, with all of the homes given access to a large communal roof terrace which overlooks the Thames.

The scheme also includes a new, two-form primary school. Its landscaping will provide lanes, spaces and equipment for children’s play, including a nature trail. A new public square will contain a playable water feature and an indoor-outdoor café. The north end of the dock will also contain an outdoor classroom.

“Our vision for Blackwall Yard will be transformative for this part of London, and its delivery will see one of the city’s last great riverside regeneration opportunities realised. As we have seen by the overwhelming support that we have seen from the local community, officers and members, our inclusive and open approach to development has been warmly received.

We can now look forward to the next phase in the Blackwall Yard journey and can’t wait to welcome visitors and residents to a riverfront destination which this area has been missing for far too long.”

Andy Portlock

CEO at Hadley Property Group

The main consultant team, selected through an international competition, comprises Glenn Howells Architects, White Arkitekter and Panter Hudspith; LDA Design; BuroHappold; Montague Evans; RLB; DLA Piper; Stephenson Harwood and GIA.