Leading sports and entertainment presenter AEG is a significant landowner on the Greenwich Peninsula. Its 28-acre estate includes The O2, the new 452-bed InterContinental Hotel and the adjoining Arora Tower that provides 40 apart-hotel suites and 101 ‘serviced apartments’.
The latest proposals to come forward from AEG relate to a prominent site directly south of The O2, which has existing permission granted in 2010 for an eight-storey office building. The ‘gateway site’ is highly visible from North Greenwich underground station but lies vacant behind hoarding and a canopy that leads around to The O2. New proposals submitted to Royal Borough of Greenwich (RBG) in November 2015 seek to change the use from commercial to residential-led, creating 395 homes in two tower blocks: one 36-stories with 315 private homes and another 10-stories with 80 affordable homes, including a shared podium containing retail units that front onto Peninsula Square.
Homes on the Peninsula – a summary of homes with planning permission:|
2010 PLANS - OFFICE BLOCK
Earlier plans for the site received planning permission in March 2010 (ref. 10/0280/F). Plans drawn up by architects Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands for an eight-storey mixed-use development, comprising 200,000 sq ft of office space and 26,000 sq ft of retail/food and drink floor space. Due to the lack of demand for office space, this permission was never implemented and has since lapsed.
2015 Proposals - Residential development
Proposed housing mix
AEG submitted a new planning application (ref. 15/3552/F) to Royal Borough of Greenwich in November 2015 for the development of 395 homes and retail floor space on the ground floor on vacant land immediately south of The O2. The proposed development would deliver 20% affordable homes by unit or 25% by habitable room, similar to Knight Dragon’s Upper Riverside development. AEG’s proposals, however, would deliver higher densities from a greater proportion of studio and 1 and 2 bedroom flats. Just 8% of units would be family-sized (3+ beds). The affordable element comprises 59% social rent and 41% intermediate units. The developer considers this housing mix appropriate given the site’s proximity to The O2 and North Greenwich station.
|Plot N0201||Studios||1 bed||2 bed||3+ bed|
|Overall (all tenures)||54||14%||196||49%||110||28%||35||9%|
2015 Outline Masterplan
How do AEG's proposals fit into the revised 2015 Masterplan?
Knight Dragon's revised Masterplan, designed by architects Allies & Morrison, was approved December 2015 and grants outline planning permission for ambitious plans to be developed over a 20-year timeframe. Plot N0201 lies within the Peninsula Central neighbourhood, which is proposed as a leisure-led district centre, with a redeveloped transport interchange and a new AEG car park integrated within a mixed-use block. The provision of affordable homes in AEG's proposals is line with the approved 2015 Masterplan, in which the surrounding Peninsula Central neighbourhood is earmarked to provide an additional 1,679 homes, of which a minimum of 335 (20%) are to comprise minimum affordable homes.
In terms of construction timescales, Knight Dragon submitted proposals in April 2016 (ref. 6/1346/SD) that suggest work could start on Peninsula Central in Phase 2 of the project:
- Phase 1: development of five plots to commence in 2016 (more likely 2017) which will see the development of the All Through School on Plot 18.01 and four predominantly residential plots.
- Phase 2: development of Plots 6 and 7, which will see the delivery of the new bus station and mixed use developments, together with the pedestrian bridge link over Millennium Way and the Blackwall Tunnel approach road. This phase will also see the widening of Central Park and realignment of West Parkside.
Consultation - AEG, PLot N0201
AEG's new proposals proved contentious during consultation, as concerns were raised about the proposed building heights and its impact of the view north from Central Park towards The O2. Concerns were also raised about site’s suitability for residential development, its high density (960 units/ha), low provision of family units (9%) and limited amenity space - a shared communal garden (586 sqm) between the two towers - for so many homes.
AEG's plans will be considered in the context of Knight Dragon’s revised 2015 Masterplan, which permits increased building heights of up to 34 stories (113.5m) at Peninsula Central. AEG's proposed 36 storey tower (120m) would stand taller than the approved massing for its neighbouring plots and The O2's 100m steel masts. Further east at Meridian Quays, the masterplan permits massing of up to 40 stories (133.5m). Building heights at the proposed Design District are limited to five storeys to "retain views of the O2 from Central Park", yet AEG's proposed tower lies directly in this line of sight. AEG's smaller 10 storey block containing affordable homes is comparable to the 6-storey Ravensbourne College and 8 and 13 storey office blocks on Mitre Passage and Pier Walk east of Peninsula Square.
Proposed view north from Peninsula Square
AEG provided a number of 'accurate visual representations' of the proposed development. The selected views, which were agreed with RBG and align with views assessed by Knight Dragon for the 2015 Masterplan.