Scheme for Berkeley to include 26-storey tower

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LDS’ plans for phase four of the Woodberry Down site

Plans by Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands (LDS) for more than 500 homes in Hackney have been given the green light.

Councillors have voted to approve the fourth phase of Berkeley’s Woodberry Down estate regeneration masterplan, which will include a 26-storey tower.

The Finsbury Park site started construction over a decade ago and will provide more than 5,000 homes when complete.

The 15,000sq m latest phase would see the demolition of six large post-war housing blocks and the construction of the tower, four terraced buildings and two free standing blocks.

It has been cleared by Historic England, which said the site is not within an archeological priority area and has been impacted by successive episodes of construction and clearance during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Only three objections from locals were received, although the Stoke Newington Conservation Area Advisory Committee criticised the “excessive” height of the buildings and raised concerns around overlooking and loss of daylight.

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LDS’ second staircase design showing new corridors connecting stair cores

The educational Hackney Swifts Group also called for the scheme to contain swift bricks to provide nesting places for the birds, which are present in significant numbers in the nearby Woodberry Wetlands nature reserve.

This will be required under a condition of the planning consent with the bricks to be designed and installed in consultation with the RSPB.

LDS amended the designs of all buildings last year to include twin escape stairs following the government’s announcement of a proposed 30m threshold for second means of escape in residential buildings in December 2022 before lowering the threshold to 18m.

The practice added corridors to connect separate stair cores, a similar approach taken by Berkeley in its revision of its 1,300-home Oval Village scheme in Lambeth.

Around 2,300 homes have been built so far at Woodberry Down, with a further 584 currently under construction, while the second of two new parks is due to complete next year.

The scheme’s outline masterplan was first approved in 2009 and was followed by the construction of several “kickstart” schemes on the site, which borders two large bodies of water known as West and East Reservoir.

This masterplan was expanded in 2013 with a new hybrid application for seven further phases, the second of which has been completed.