The inquiry on OCM Luxembourg's appeal against the refusal by Tower Hamlets Borough Council of planning permission for an 18 storey aparthotel in Buckle St E1 has just closed. The site is located in the Central Activities Zone and City Fringe/Tech City Opportunity Framework Area where tall buildings are acceptable in principle. But Council members refused planning permission contrary to officers' recommendation on grounds of impact on residential amenity, harm to the setting of heritage assets and overdevelopment due to the building’s height scale and mass and townscape impact.
The inquiry has closed after six days of evidence and argument. Issues in the inquiry included a complex technical debate about the application of the BRE guidelines on Planning for Sunlight and Daylight in a dense urban environment of neighbouring tall buildings, the quality of the design by the scheme architects, Grzywinski and Pons, and the impact of the proposals on the settings of nearby listed buildings, including the first Lutheran church in the UK, once forming part of “Little Germany”, the heart of the German immigrant community in the 18th and 19th and early twentieth centuries.
Meyric Lewis represented the Council in the inquiry and called as witnesses Dr Paul Littlefair, the author of the BRE daylight and sunlight report, Laurie Handcock of Iceni Projects on heritage and Tower Hamlets planner, Lizzie Donnelly. Meyric was instructed by Fleur Francis and Diane Phillips of Tower Hamlets legal department with sterling technical support from Lizzie’s colleague, Aleksandra Milentijevic