New London Architecture

Hadley wins go-ahead for Blackwall Yard after ‘exemplary’ consultation

Thursday 29 July 2021

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David Taylor

Editor, NLQ and New London Weekly

Hadley Property Group has won the green light for Blackwall Yard, a mixed-use riverfront development that ‘reimagines’ the 1.7-hectare riverside site following three years of ‘exemplar’ face-to-face and digital consultation with locals. 

Hadley’s proposals for the site – currently an underused private car park – have been designed by Glenn Howells Architects, White Arkitekter and Panter Hudspith, and won permission last week from the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. The developer said the scheme aims to deliver ‘an open, inclusive and community-focussed neighbourhood with clearly defined environmental and social sustainability standards, actively contributing to the health and wellbeing of Tower Hamlets’ residents and wider London in three main areas’. These are: job creation and the stimulation of local economies, inclusivity and community wellbeing, and through an ambitious low-carbon and biodiversity approach. Alongside the estimated £220m of total social and economic value which the scheme will generate over the next 10 years, 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 are given the opportunity to play their part in the completed development. 
Public consultation was central to the planning process, the project backers claimed. 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, while a pledge that the previously derelict dry dock would be celebrated and become a centrepiece of the development, and a pub and restaurant provided on the riverfront. These ideas were welcomed and form integral aspects of the consented plans, with council officers describing the developer’s approach to engagement as ‘exemplar’. Blackwall Yard is one of the last great regeneration opportunities to front directly onto the Thames. With views across the river to the O2, it is a short walk from Canary Wharf and a two-minute walk from East India DLR station. Hadley’s approved masterplan combines a number of new public spaces with the historic graving dock, filled with water to 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.

Andy Portlock, Chief Executive Officer at Hadley Property Group said its vision for Blackwall Yard will be ‘transformative’ for this part of London. ‘Its delivery will see one of the city’s last great riverside regeneration opportunities realised. As we have seen by the overwhelming support 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.
William Poole, Partner, Glenn Howells Architects added that he was ‘thrilled’ to have received planning on the scheme. ‘With sustainable living at its heart, Blackwall Yard will bring together an incredible array of public benefits, including the restored Graving Dock, a new primary school and more than half a hectare of public realm that provides local residents with much needed outside space”. Michael Woodford, Partner, White Arkitekter added that Blackwall Yard represents ‘a unique opportunity to create a truly sustainable mixed-use residential neighbourhood on the River Thames’. The scheme will create an ‘essential’ link between existing communities and the riverfront, Woodford added. ‘By opening up the Thames River Path, the historic graving dock will be brought back into public use as part of a convivial public realm, and we’re delighted to receive planning following collaboration with Hadley and the fantastic design team.”

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


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David Taylor

Editor, NLQ and New London Weekly


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