London Apartment Block Ordered for Demolition Due to Deviations from Approved Plans

The ‘Blight on the Landscape’

A London apartment block in south-east London, rising 23 storeys above the Thames, has been slated for demolition due to 26 major deviations from the original planning permission. The Royal Borough of Greenwich council has described this as an ‘unprecedented’ move, stating that the Mast Quay II development has strayed significantly from the approved plans.

Impact on Tenants

The enforced demolition means that the residents of 204 flats will have to find new homes. The original plans, approved over a decade ago, promised a contemporary residential architecture with several amenities. However, the actual construction is rudimentary, closely resembling stacked shipping containers, much to the disappointment of residents and local people.

Missing Facilities

The council’s decision follows complaints from local people about the missing facilities, including those for disabled people. The buildings also reportedly occupied a bigger footprint than allowed. Anthony Okereke, the council leader, described the situation as ‘just not good enough’, reflecting the sentiment of the local community.

Deviations from the Original Plan

The deviations from the original plan included a missing glazed curtain wall, smaller balconies and windows, no roof gardens or children’s play areas and lack of accessibility for wheelchair users. The council also noted that an underground car park, included in the original plans, was not built, with surface car parking occupying land that was earmarked for gardens.

Developer’s Response

The developer, Comer Homes Group, argued that changes to the originally permitted design were necessary due to alterations to the building regulation. They applied for retrospective planning consent, but the council rejected it, stating that it was only requested after the enforcement investigation.

The Council’s Statement

The council stated that it believes the only reasonable and proportionate way to rectify the harm caused by the Mast Quay Phase II development’s construction changes is the complete demolition and restoration of the land to its former condition. The developer has been given 28 days to appeal against the enforcement notice to the government’s Planning Inspectorate.

Unlawful Construction

Greenwich council concluded that the completed Mast Quay Phase II built-to-rent development has been built without planning permission and is therefore unlawful. This was because it was substantially different from the scheme that was originally permitted by the planning permission given in 2012.

Learning from Mistakes

This situation serves as a stark reminder of the importance of adherence to approved plans during construction. As Barratt’s decision to demolish 83 faulty homes in Cambridge shows, a focus on quality and compliance is crucial in property development to avoid such drastic measures.

Hope for the Future

Despite the current predicament, the council and residents hope for the future reconstruction of the area, with adherence to the original plans, to restore the intended beauty of the landscape and provide the promised amenities to the residents.

Waiting for the Outcome

All eyes are now on the developer’s next move, whether they will appeal against the enforcement notice or comply with the council’s demolition order. Either way, this incident will undoubtedly leave a lasting impact on the London property development scene.