In the news: approving the regeneration of a London housing estate

Written by: Jez Abbot
Published on: 21 May 2014


Last week London mayor Boris Johnson approved plans to regenerate the Woodberry Down Estate in Hackney and build more than 3,000 new homes.

The latest approval gives developer Berkeley Homes permission to demolish the estate’s remaining blocks and replace them with an additional 3,242 new homes and nearly 11,000 square metres of non-residential floorspace.

Sir Sir Edward Lister is the mayor’s chief of staff and deputy mayor and head of policy and planning.

Q Just how important is this project?

A This is one of the biggest estate renewal schemes in the capital and will deliver much needed new homes – including affordable - and infrastructure.

Q Why did the scheme need to go in front of the mayor?

A The size of the project meant it had to go before London mayor Boris Johnson – any scheme over 30 metres high or more than 150 units has to be referred to the mayor.

Q What work did the mayoral planning team's consideration of the application involve?

A The estate is typical of its kind; it's grotty and there's no other way to describe it. One of the biggest planning considerations was a major road running through the site for which Transport for London is looking at options such as narrowing the road. There was also a need for non-residential spaces and greenery. There are two reservoirs to the south of the site, which had to blend into the overall scheme, and three new public parks will be created.

Q What factors were given particular consideration?

A Affordable housing was important for the mayor as well as making sure his space standards were adhered to. Homes had to be suitable for families and there had to be enough green space and play facilities. Over and above everything else was the importance of the look and feel of the place.