Q&As and Commentary Following Consultation Phase 1 and The February Consultation Scheme

Tuesday 18 April 2017

Key Terms:

 

Consultation Phase 1: The period from January 2017 to March 2017.

 

The February Consultation Scheme: The first proposal for the site presented to the community at the public exhibitions in February 2017.

 

Consultation Phase 2: The period from Tuesday 18 April 2017 to Tuesday 2 May 2017.

 

April Updated Scheme: The updated proposals published on Tuesday 18 April for the site following feedback from the community.

 

Consultation Summary:

 

Following Consultation Phase 1 of the COLPAI Project, which began in January 2017, the professional team has reviewed all feedback received. Comments have been analysed in detail and wherever possible and appropriate taken on board.

 

The team has received feedback from 72 respondents. The top comments raised by the local community were:

 

  • Height of the residential building
  • The school hall’s location
  • Amenity space
  • The density of the development
  • The design of the neighbouring Golden Lane Estate and potential impact on the allotments
  • Use of the access road
  • The massing of the residential building
  • Height of the school hall
  • Access to sunlight and daylight
  • Noise and smells from the school kitchen and associated plant
  • A two-form entry school is perhaps unnecessary
  • The proposals in relation to local policy
  • Local greenery being lost
  • Noise from the playground.

 

Below sets out the key comments raised by the local community, our response to them as well as an introduction to the April Updated Scheme. For detailed plans and images of the scheme as well as design rationale, please download the April exhibition boards and Hawkins/Brown consultation report.

 

The Proposals

 

Q1. What are the principles of the proposed scheme?

A1. The scheme seeks to provide social housing and educational uses on the site, including 66 residential units (reduced from 70 in the February Consultation Scheme), a two-form entry primary school and a nursery, delivered in conjunction with the Department for Education. The proposals seek to maximise available outside play space while creating a scheme that fits in and complements the Golden Lane Estate and St Luke’s Conservation Area.

 

These land uses retain the school on-site and respond to London Borough of Islington’s site-specific allocation for the site (Policy BC34 of the 2013 Finsbury Local Plan).

 

Q2. What is the need for social housing on-site?

A2. In 2016, the City of London Corporation (the City Corporation) made a commitment to build 3,700 new homes across the Capital over the following ten years, recognising the pressures on the housing market. From the overall total, the City Corporation agreed that 700 of these homes should be social housing and the responsibility for delivering these 700 units passed to the Community and Children’s Services Committee. The City Corporation is prioritising schemes that make use of existing land and social housing locations.

 

As part of the proposal for a new academy, and in return for 50% of the overall housing nomination rights, the London Borough of Islington transferred the site to the City of London so it could build and manage additional social housing as part of the site’s comprehensive development alongside the academy.

 

At its meeting on 8 November 2016, Members of the Community and Children’s Services Committee resolved that it maximised the number of new homes that could be built on the site and to proceed with a planning application to provide 72 social housing units in a single 14-storey block of flats comprising 40 one-bedroom flats, 26 two-bedroom flats and 6 three-bedroom flats, which responded to the housing need identified by the Council. Following consultation with stakeholders and the local community, these proposals have been altered to reduce the amount of affordable housing that can be delivered, by six units.

 

From the consultation, it was clear that respondents were generally pleased that the new homes would be 100% social housing. There is a great demand for social housing and a desire in both the City of London and London Borough of Islington to reduce the housing waiting list. The City of London alone has some 1,000 residents on its waiting list.

 

Q3. What is the need for a two-form entry primary school and school hall?

A3. The site was previously the Richard Cloudesley School, a specialist special educational needs school for pupils aged 2-19 years old. Consequently, the established lawful use of the site is for educational purposes.

 

Islington’s Finsbury Local Plan identified the site for development through site specific Policy BC34. In this, the Council noted that the Richard Cloudesley School would be fully incorporated within the Golden Lane Campus. Since adoption of the Finsbury Local Plan, however, the Secretary of State for Education requires the site to continue to be used as a school due to increasing demand for primary school places across London, as evidenced from the work carried out by London Councils, who in September 2015, projected a shortfall of 113,110 primary school places over the next four years.

 

In applying to the Department of Education to open a primary school on-site, the level of need was evidenced (number of children in the area who needed to attend a primary school) and the level of demand established (the number of parents who would wish to send their children to this school). This has been evidenced further by the 130 applications received for the 60 places available in the proposed school. The Department of Education no longer opens primary schools with less than two forms of entry because of their financial viability.

 

There is an increasing expectation that school buildings should increasingly being used to make the best use of their resources. With the introduction of the National Funding formula, this will put greater financial pressures on schools in the future. Therefore, having schools that can offer wider community use in the evenings, at weekends and during the holidays not only gives local people access to additional facilities, it also helps the financial stability of the school. This is also a requirement of Islington’s Core Strategy (Policy CS17c).

 

This addition of a primary school just to the north of the City also provides greater choice for families, given that the only publically funded maintained primary school in the City at present is located at Aldgate in the east.

 

Q4. Why is demolition of the site required?

A4. The current buildings on-site are ageing and of single-storey construction covering almost the whole of the site. Considered spatial planning will make much better use of the available space. The development of the site includes the demolition of the garages along the service road.

 

Residential

 

Q1. What is the height of the proposed residential building?

A1. 29 respondents raised concerns with the height of the residential building on Golden Lane, commenting that it was too dominating on the streetscape and could impact light and views.

 

The massing of the residential building has been altered in the April Updated Scheme in response to the comments made by local residents. This has seen the building move slightly towards the northern edge, to the London College of Fashion, and a stepped design on the southern end, near Stanley Cohen House and Basterfield House.

 

The April Updated Scheme is ground plus 13 storeys towards London College of Fashion and steps down to five storeys towards Stanley Cohen House and Basterfield House.

 

The amended massing means that the City of London is limited in the amount of affordable housing it is able to deliver, reducing this to 66, rather than 70, new homes for social rent.

 

Q2. How will the residential building fit in with the local context?

A2. Four respondents mentioned that the height of the residential building would compete with Great Arthur House. Some respondents suggested reducing the height to six storeys, in line with the neighbouring London College of Fashion. However, our detailed sunlight and daylight report shows that there would be no difference in impact between a six-storey building and a 14-storey building.

 

Two respondents believed that the proposals should be completely separate to the Golden Lane Estate. In contrast, 17 believed that the design should complement the Golden Lane Estate. The April Update Scheme will create a more staggered design to complement the neighbouring Golden Lane Estate, while also retaining views through the estate. The building has also been moved slightly towards the northern edge to the London College of Fashion and away from Basterfield House and Stanley Cohen House.

 

The design will complement the surrounding streetscape and context, including St Luke’s Conservation Area. The materials will be in-keeping with the surrounding buildings. This includes brickwork, glazed bricks/tiles, textured brickwork, metalwork screens, aluminium window frames and metal balustrading.

 

Q3. What is the unit mix?

A3. There will be a mix of one, two and three bedroom units. The three bedroom units are duplexes, which were previously proposed at the top of the building. Following consultation, the duplexes have moved from the top floor to the lower floors. The mix follows the identified requirements of both the City of London and London Borough of Islington’s Housing Departments.

 

Q4. What is proposed for the ground floor of the residential block?

A4. Two respondents were concerned about the lack of active frontages. The scheme proposes active frontage through the school entrance. The ground floor will also be used for residential essentials, such as refuse stores, cycle stores and post boxes, all contained within the building. The generator rooms and sub-stations will also be on the ground floor. This reduces the amount of plant that is needed on the roof and its overall height.

 

Q5. In which borough will the new residents be part?

A5. The new residents will be part of the London Borough of Islington.

 

Q6. Will the tall element impact on neighbour’s light or privacy?

A6. Nine respondents brought up sunlight and daylight in their feedback. Initial modelling follows the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) suggest that any impact would be within acceptable levels identified by the Building Research Establishment. The works also indicates that this affect would be no different if the new residential building were six-storeys or 14-storeys.

 

A full BREEAM compliant sunlight and daylight report will be submitted as part of the planning application to fully explain any effects that the scheme may have.

 

The housing has been designed to reduce the impact on the privacy of existing residents, for example, the absence of windows on the side elevations. Following consultation, we have also changed the massing of the housing to step back from Basterfield House and Stanley Cohen House, which will further mitigate against overlooking.

 

Q7. Do the proposals include amenity space for new residents and/or existing residents? How will this impact local amenities?

A7. 22 respondents mentioned the lack of amenity space proposed and the pressure this may put on existing spaces. We are looking into how the amenity spaces within the school site can be made available in the evenings and at weekends for new and existing residents.

 

The City Corporation has plans to make public realm improvements locally and commissioned a study in August 2015. The strategy has various recommendations, including; improved quality of play spaces, improved setting of the Golden Lane Community Centre, continuation of Fann Street’s greenery along Fortune Street and introducing greenery and play facilities on Cripplegate Street. The City Corporation also plans to make improvements to the Golden Lane Community Centre as well as the play area on Golden Lane.

 

COLPAI

 

Q1. What facilities will the school have?

A1. The Educational Funding Agency will be funding the school. Redevelopment of the site will allow the school to be bespoke to this location, maximising use of the site to deliver a hall, outdoor and rooftop play spaces as well as modern, state-of-the-art classrooms and facilities. Outdoor play spaces will be well-landscaped with soft and hard play and the inclusion of a Multi-Use-Games-Areas (MUGA). The scheme has been designed to maximise available play space.

 

Q2. Where will the school hall be positioned?

A2. Following consultation, attendees and residents expressed concerns that the school hall’s position would have a negative impact on the neighbouring Golden Lane Estate. The project team received several suggestions on how to overcome these issues but, found the location of the hall at ground level, to the south of the site to be preferable as this option creates shelter and private play spaces with acoustic benefits. The school hall has however been moved away from the boundary with the Golden Lane allotments. This new location allows natural daylight to reach all parts of the school and maintains light to the allotments. We are proposing additional greening along the boundary to improve visual amenity.

 

Additionally, the hall is to be serviced and accessed from Baltic Street West/Golden Lane, removing the need for the access road to be used by the school other than for general maintenance of the buildings. This is a direct response to comments made by residents who raised concerns regarding noise and disturbance from this road.

 

Q3. Could the school hall be positioned elsewhere on-site?

A3. 23 respondents believed that the school hall was in the wrong location. Suggestions included placing the school hall building to fit along the boundary wall between the school and residential building. Moving the school hall here would make the space unsuitable for assemblies. This positioning also creates one combined play space with little variety and removes the MUGA. There would be no acoustic benefits to this positioning.

 

Another suggestion was to move the main school building to the western edge of the site. Moving the hall to the western edge of the site blocks views, causing the permanent loss of trees and removes all natural light to the centre of the site.

 

Some respondents queried whether the school hall could go on the roof of the main school building. This has been analysed in detail. The new building would become taller than Hatfield House, causing issues with light. A kitchen on the roof would also be logistically challenging, due to deliveries going up and down. This arrangement would also create one combined play space with little variety and no noise barrier to the housing.

 

The position of the hall has been decided upon with the main aim to maximise play space. The school hall position has been retained to maintain the Hatfield House alignment and create courtyard space, complementing the neighbouring Golden Lane Estate.

 

Please see the Hawkins/Brown Consultation report, available to download from the website, for plans and design rationale surrounding the school hall.

 

Q4. What is the height of the school hall?

A4. 11 respondents commented that the height of the hall was too great. The ceiling height has subsequently been reduced by 1.6 metres, from 6.1 metres to 4.5 metres. While this reduces the usability of the space for some sports, it does ensure that the proposed building maintains the height of the existing building at this corner of the site, ensuring that there is minimal impact on light and views as a result of the school hall.

 

Q5. How will the school hall operate and be managed?

A5. The use and hours of use of the hall during evenings and at weekends will be subject to a community use agreement in line with Islington Core Strategy Policy CS17(c), and will be accessed from Baltic Street West. The school will work with neighbours to make sure the community is comfortable with the types of uses as well as the hours.

 

Nine respondents mentioned that the kitchen equipment may cause smells and noise disturbance. The kitchen extraction equipment will be modern and must comply with rigorous guidelines set by the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the Council’s Environmental Health department to ensure that any cooking smells and plant noise are kept to an absolute minimum.

 

Six respondents commented that that hiring of the school hall for community use may cause nuisance due to increased use of the access road. The school will now be accessed and serviced from Baltic Street West, following comments from the local residents. This will mean that there is no additional traffic movement along the access road.

 

Q6. What are the access and security arrangements for the school?

A6. Pupil safety was raised by respondents. The school will be accessed from Golden Lane at the beginning and end of the school day with teachers monitoring the entrance as is standard practice. The school playground is fully secure. During the day, the school gates will be locked and the facilities will only be accessible via the reception entrance on Baltic Street West.

 

Schemes that incorporate schools and homes whether on-site or in close proximity are common within dense urban environments such as London. We will be taking key lessons from both successful and unsuccessful projects and working with residents, the school and the City Corporation’s housing management team to develop security, access and general management arrangements to ensure that this is an exemplary scheme.

 

Q7. Will the school cause disturbance to neighbours?

A7. Seven respondents mentioned noise pollution from the school playground. The design of the outside space, through different levels and the positioning of the school hall, will have acoustic benefits. This will mitigate and reduce noise in the most effective way, helping to reverberate noise created in the playground back into the site. Except for Nursery and Reception pupils who will have access to indoor and outdoor learning throughout the day, the use of the playgrounds for all other pupils will be limited to playtimes and lunch times. PE and opportunities for outdoor learning such as gardening, will be undertaken with supervision. City of London Academy Trust (COLAT) sets the highest expectations of behaviour, which includes travel to and from school, school trips and out of class learning within the local community.

 

We will ask all parents, adults and older pupils to respect our neighbours and the local facilities when walking to and from school. Any background school noise would be typical of local schools and within acceptable noise levels.

 

Q8. How have you considered the Golden Lane Estate allotments in the proposals?

A8. 13 respondents commented that the school hall will cause overshadowing to the allotments, particularly in the winter months. The school hall has been moved 4 metres from the site boundary (by the allotments) and reduced in ceiling height by 1.6 metres. The April Updated Scheme has no impact on access to sunlight and daylight to the allotments.

 

The school facilities will include a cookery classroom and the curriculum will promote the importance of healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle. The opportunity to work in partnership with local community groups would be welcomed, such as being involved in horticultural activities around the allotment group if they would be interested in taking part.

 

Q9. What age group will be taught?

A9. The school is a primary school so will cater for children from Foundation Stage to Key Stage 2 (reception to Year 6) as well as nursery places (plus two year olds) – ages 2 to 11 years old. The school will be part of the City of London Academy Trust that also sponsors successful schools in Hackney and Southwark.

 

The City of London Academy Trust is ranked as the highest performing academy chain in the UK for pupil progress. The school will offer the newly developed City Schools Primary Curriculum, which focuses on developing strong skills in English, maths and science. The broad and balanced curriculum explores creative approaches to learning.

 

Q10. When will the school open?

A10. The school will open in September 2017 with an intake of 60 reception students. The school will temporarily share premises with Moreland Primary School until September 2019 when the new school buildings on Golden are expected to open.

 

Q11. What experience does Hawkins\Brown have in designing schools?

A11. Hawkins\Brown has considerable experience designing educational spaces, particularly at primary school level. Its design of Hilden Grange Prep School in Kent won a National RIBA Award in 2014.

 

Access

 

Q1. Why is no parking included in the proposals?

A1. The site is very accessible via public transport. It has a PTAL (Public Transport Access Level) rating of 6a, meaning it has very-good transport links. By 2021, it is forecast to have a PTAL rating of 6b, the highest possible. Cycle parking for the new homes is provided in a secure and covered cycle store at ground floor level within the residential block.  Additionally, there are two Santander cycle hire docking stations located on Golden Lane, the nearest approximately 50m from the entrance to the proposed residential block.

 

New residents will not be able to apply for a local parking permits, a position that will be secured via a legal agreement.

 

Q2. How will the site be accessed from the surrounding area?

A2. The site will be accessed from two points. A new entrance forecourt on Baltic Street West will be the staff, visitor and servicing entrance for COLPAI. The access point on Golden Lane will provide access for school pupils into the playground at the start and end of the day. The housing will also be accessed from Golden Lane.

 

Q3. Where will parents drop-off or pick-up children? Will there be parking spaces?

A3. Three respondents were concerned about the lack of parking bays and drop-off points. The existing ‘KEEP CLEAR’ markings will remain on Golden Lane. Any parent wishing to park their car by the site will have to use the pay and display parking spaces located on the opposite side of Golden Lane. This will be monitored through the Travel Plan. No parking spaces will be provided, it is envisaged parents would live locally and walk to the school or use public transport.

 

Q4. How will the access road be used?

A4. 27 respondents mentioned the access road in their feedback, three referenced directly that that the access road is currently heavily utilised. To alleviate concerns from residents over access along the access road, we are proposing to service the school hall from Baltic Street West. Consequently, there will be no additional traffic movements along the access road as a result of this proposed development.

 

Q5. Will the parking and garages on the access road be reprovided?

A5. Five respondents raised concerns about the affect on the loss of the garages if not reprovided in the local area. Of the six garages on the site only three are used for cars, one of them being a blue-badge holder. We will look to provide suitable and appropriate alternative garage provision or parking space (if preferred) for the three occupants of the existing garaged elsewhere on the Golden Lane Estate.

 

Sustainability

 

Q1. What will happen to the existing trees on-site?

A1. An independent tree survey has been undertaken for the site. Trees of good value will be retained while those in poor health will be replaced. Overall there will be a significant increase in the number and variety of trees on-site. A tree protection plan will be secured through the planning process for any trees retained on-site to ensure they are not damaged during the construction process. The April Updated Scheme includes more trees due to landscaping and boundary treatments. The current survey indicates that replacement may be more beneficial as many of the trees are in poor condition.

 

Q2. What is the landscaping plan?

A2. Seven people mentioned that the trees on the boundary with Hatfield House will be lost and were concerned about the wildlife. The landscaping plan has continued to be developed since the February Consultation Scheme to ensure that the site allows for maximum play space while providing more greening, which five respondents were in favour.

 

Q3. What are the boundary treatment plans?

A3. The proposals seek to improve the existing boundaries while maintaining the security of the school and respecting the needs of the local residents. There will be the introduction of new greening, replacing poor quality paving and street furniture and creating more pedestrian friendly places.

 

Q4. What sustainable elements are there?

A4. There will be a significant increase in the number of trees and planting throughout the site, spaces for children to grow food, habitat zones for insects, birds and bats – subject to the recommendations in the ecology report. Materials will be chosen that have a degree of recycled content, which will meet BREEAM standards and materials will be chosen for long-term robustness. One respondent explained that they would like to see more sustainable elements included. One respondent commented that the landscape plan does not read well from above. The Updated April Scheme includes sedum green roofs on both the school hall and residential set back areas. Solar panels have also been located on the top of the residential building.

 

Q5. What will the impact of the development be on air quality?

A5. Two respondents mentioned concerns on air quality due to increased congestion. A detailed Air Quality assessment will be submitted with the planning application.

 

The assessment has demonstrated that future users of the proposed development will experience acceptable air quality levels, including at locations where impacts from local traffic will be greatest. The proposed development has also been shown to meet the London Plan’s requirement that new developments are at least ‘air quality neutral’. Overall, the construction and operational air quality impacts of the proposed development are judged to be ‘not significant’.

 

Funding

 

Q1. Who is funding the redevelopment?

A1. The housing is funded by the City Corporation. This will be through a combination of Section 106 payments, Right to Buy receipts and a Greater London Authority (GLA) grant. The new school is being funded by the Education Funding Agency (EFA).

 

Q2. As the scheme is funded by The City Corporation, why is it for residents of London Borough of Islington as well?

A2. The City of London and London Borough of Islington have come to an agreement whereby London Borough of Islington has transferred land to the City in return for 50% nomination rights of the new homes to be for Islington residents.

 

Q3. Why is The City Corporation building new homes when the Golden Lane Estate buildings require maintenance?

A3. The money for new developments and repairs to existing homes comes from completely different sources.

 

The City of London is making a significant investment of around £20 million over the next five years to improve the existing homes on the Golden Lane Estate. This programme will not be affected by building these homes.

 

Consultation and Next Steps

 

Q1. What has been the consultation process to date?

A1. The team began consulting with the local community in January 2017 when it attended a Drop-In event at the Golden Lane Estate Community Centre. The team also met with the Basterfield House residents in February 2017. Public exhibitions were held on Thursday 23 February 2017 from 2pm to 8pm at the Golden Lane Community Centre and Saturday 25 February 2017 from 11am to 3pm on-site at the former Richard Cloudesley School. We have been receiving and considering all comments since then, which have resulted in the April Updated Scheme.

 

Q2. What are the next steps for consultation and planning?

A2. From Tuesday 18 April until Tuesday 2 May, the City Corporation will hold a further two-week consultation on the April Updated Scheme. We will publish the updated design drawings on the website and will also hold a public exhibition in the Golden Lane Estate Community Centre on Thursday 20 April. All comments and feedback received will be analysed fully by the team. Final amendments will then be considered and a formal planning application made in May 2017 to both the London Borough of Islington and the City of London. A decision is expected in September 2017. Residents should note that during the 13-week planning determination period a further 21-day statutory consultation period will take place and we would be happy to answer further questions during this time.

 

Q3. Are we able to view all the feedback received, including correspondence from Historic England and the Islington’s Design Review Panel?

A3. The team will be seeking another DRP to discuss the April Updated Scheme. While at the pre-application stage, the DRP responses are treated as confidential, we will share the final DRP report with the local community once the application has been submitted for approval. The DRP from the February Consultation Scheme is now out of date as it is related to a different scheme.

 

Correspondence with all other stakeholders, including local residents, will be in the final Statement of Community Consultation, which will be submitted alongside the planning application and available to view on the council’s website once the application has been validated. The local planning authorities will receive comments from statutory consultees during the statutory consultation period.

 

Q4. Will construction cause a disturbance to neighbours?

A4. A Construction Management Plan will be consulted on with the local community to ensure the construction programme is fully mitigated and causes limited disruption for neighbours. This will take place once the planning application has been approved and before works start on-site. The City Corporation will require the contractor to be part of the Considerate Constructors Scheme, which ensures the impact of building works on local communities is minimised. Construction sites and companies registered with the scheme are monitored against a Code of Considerate Practice, designed to encourage best practice beyond statutory requirements.

 

Q5. When will the works start?

A5. Should the planning application be approved by both Councils, works are expected to start on-site in the winter 2017. The construction will be phased so that the school will be completed first, targeting an opening in September 2019 when pupils will move to the site. The housing works should be fully complete by Spring 2020.

 

© 2017 City of London Corporation