Why Bruce Campbell wants to build more
P lans for a £540 million scheme to double the capacity of the Westferry Printworks site have been revealed.
And the man behind them says they could change life on the Isle of Dogs for good.
Bruce Campbell is associate director for Mace, which already has permission for 700 homes on the 15-acre site, where construction work has just started.
The development manager was at a public exhibition last week to unveil proposals to bump this up to 1,500 homes.
This will be achieved by increasing the height of all 10 buildings, the tallest standing at 46 storeys and adding another 32-storey block to the site, which is owned by Northern and Shell.
He said the changes were in response to the draft London Plan, which earmarks Tower Hamlets for 3,500 homes every year.
“In some ways this may change life on the island,” said Bruce. “This was previously an industrial site that hasn’t been used since 2011 and is inaccessible – this will open up the waterside part of the development.
“Our public realm will bleed into the existing dock path so it will all gel.”
The revised scheme, which fronts onto Millwall Outer Dock, could attract approximately 2,600 residents to the area, with the first homes due for completion in 2021 and the last in 2024. Prices are still to be determined.
The number of affordable homes has not been confirmed but Bruce said the figure would be based on GLA targets for Tower Hamlets
“The original scheme had 20% affordable housing and we expect it to now be more than that as a proportion,” he added.
“It will be a mixture of social for rent, London living rent and shared ownership.”
The population on the Isle of Dogs is set to rise by 40,000 during the next decade, and concerns have been raised previously that mains gas and water supplies, drainage, transport and other public services may not cope.
Bruce said the impact on the island was being looked at anew ahead of submitting a revised planning application to Tower Hamlets in July.
“We have to go back and look at the impact of the new design, wind analysis, traffic impact and the team is working through that at the moment,” he said.
“That delicate work is the most important. Making sure you are mitigating for all the things you need to be aware of.”
The fresh proposals will see ground-floor commercial space for restaurants, shops and offices almost doubled to 6,000sq m, with the 1,200-pupil school, community centre, health centre and creche retained from the original scheme. Bruce said the design team had also been looking again at the cladding and safety measures within the buildings as a result of the Grenfell disaster.
“That has featured a lot in our thoughts on taller buildings,” he said. “Everything will have sprinklers and we will be enhancing the fire alarm systems within the residential buildings. And the cladding material will be carefully looked at.”
Parking on the site will remain at 250 spaces but cycle storage spaces will increase from 1,536 to 2,600.
Bruce, who said this was the second largest scheme he has worked on after the Athletes’ Village for the 2012 Olympics, estimated the public open space would decrease by 1-2%.
This will be achieved by transforming one of two proposed multi-use games areas into green space and making better use of spaces between the buildings.
The fresh proposals also include a new energy centre that will use water from the dock to provide heating and hot water to the buildings on site, rainwater harvesting for irrigation of green spaces, a new bus stop on Westferry Road and a contribution towards DLR and bus services in the area.
CGI shows how the Westferry Printworks site could look if updated plans are approved