In March 2018 Hackney Council wrote to the residents of Lincoln Court to advise them of proposals to build a quantity of new homes at Lincoln Court, which would replace the garages and play decks next to the three existing residential blocks.
The key findings of a Planning Review of these proposals are summarised below, with additional detail on these findings, and the respective conclusions drawn, covered in more detail on the linked topic pages. The findings highlight a number of fundamental planning policy concerns in respect of the Hackney Council proposals, and the implications they would have in respect of the loss of existing play space, amenity space, and facilities at Lincoln Court, which taken together suggest that the proposed scheme should be unacceptable in principle.
The 2014 proposals consider the calculated density on the basis of the three identified potential development areas only, which would replace the garages and play decks next to the three existing residential blocks. This indicates that the new-build scheme would have a density of 509 hr/ha and 161 u/ha. However these calculations entirely ignore the existing housing at Lincoln Court and so if, as is considered more appropriate, the density is calculated on the basis of the overall site (including the existing housing), then the resulting density would be 688 hr/ha or 235 u/ha.
If however one was to consider only the impact on the calculated density of the remainder of Lincoln Court including the existing residential blocks, then the resulting density of the existing increases to 856 hr/ha or 288 u/ha.
Whichever method of calculation is followed, the density of any potential scheme would be significantly greater than the maximum London Plan indicative density range of 200- 450hph, and this highlights how issues with substantive factors such as open space and play space provision, scale and massing, residential amenity, infrastructure provision, public transport and parking are particularly critical. CS Policy 22 states that higher density development will only be permitted in areas with a PTAL less than 5 where there are firm proposals to improve public transport in the locality, and there are no such proposals here.
More information on residential density here.
The prospect of potentially building three additional high-rise residential buildings in such close proximity to the three existing residential towers, and the resultant changes in access arrangements to and from the existing buildings and the wider context, raises a number of significant concerns that Hackney Council should already have addressed at this stage, but which do not appear to have been considered.
Draft New London Plan Policy D11 requires that the overall fire safety of developments should be considered from the outset, and that any proposals should consider how the proposed overall development would function, including the space around and access to any existing buildings.
More information on fire safety here.
Lincoln Court is located within a Ward that has a greater proportion of children than either Hackney as a whole, London or England, and it is in an area that is identified as being deficient in access to play space and open space. In this context, the potential scheme would result in the loss of over 4,224 sqm of existing play space / communal open space, and the loss of a MUGA (187sqm). This would leave the existing residents with unreliable access to a small (approximately 90 sqm) young children’s play space, which would represent just 13% of the required amount of play space for the 0-5 year age group. Further, there would be a total lack of on-site provision for existing children of the 5-11 and 11+ age ranges, meaning that there would be a deficiency of at least 1350 sqm of play space for all ages. This would be contrary to the objectives of London Plan Policy 3.6, and its guidance, and would be contrary to Core Strategy Policy 26.
The three raised deck areas also provide invaluable communal open amenity space for those living in the existing three towers. The removal of the three raised decks areas from the estate would leave the existing residents with just 42% of the required amount of communal open space. This would be contrary to the objectives of Development Management Local Plan Policies DM31 and DM32.
More information on play space & community open space here.
The loss of the existing raised play and communal areas, and the MUGA, would significantly reduce opportunities for active play and socialising, and would reduce the ability of existing residents to adopt healthy lifestyles in order to maintain a healthy weight, and remain physically and emotionally healthy. This would be contrary to the objectives of London Plan Policy 3.17, Core Strategy Policy 12 and Development Management Local Plan Policy DM3.
More information on health and wellbeing here.
The potential scheme fails to take account of the cohesive and integrated nature of Lincoln Court. It ignores the existing structures on the site and seeks to ‘chop up’ the site and introduce three additional buildings, effectively fragmenting the existing community and displacing car parking, removing communal open space/play space, removing a communal heating system, and damaging the character and appearance of a local landmark. As such, the potential scheme would be contrary to the objectives of London Plan Policy 7.6 and Development Management Local Plan Policy DM1.
More information on scale, massing & architecture here.
The potential scheme raises a number of amenity issues for existing residents, including how the proposals would affect their outlook and privacy, daylight, sunlight and overshadowing, and the local wind micro-climate. None of these issues appear to have been considered during the selection of the site, and it is difficult to see how the existing residents would continue to enjoy an acceptable level of amenity in these respects given the potential scheme.
More information on residential amenity here.
Bethune Road already suffers from significant parking stress. The potential scheme would result in a significant net reduction of existing on-site car parking (from 158 to 35), and would provide fewer spaces for the existing residents than are currently occupied on the estate, in spite of suppressed demand due to a Council decision in 2013 not to grant any new garage leases.
Whilst planning policy encourages car free/limited parking provision, this is usually in areas where there are on-street parking controls and where new residents can be prevented from obtaining a permit. This is not the case here, where a recent consultation for a CPZ was overwhelmingly rejected by residents, and so there would be no mechanism for preventing existing or future residents from seeking to park on nearby residential streets and adding to parking stress. This would be contrary to the objectives of Core Strategy Policy 33.
More information on car parking here.