Tower Hamlets planning officers recommend 56-storey Marsh Wall tower for approval

East London planning officers are recommending approval for a 56-storey Maccreanor Lavington tower earmarked as the latest addition to the Isle of Dogs tall-buildings cluster.

The practice’s proposals, drawn up for developer Far East Consortium, would see the demolition of a six-storey 1980s office building to make way for the 230m-tall residential block on the site, just north of Marsh Wall on the Isle of Dogs.

Boasting a crown and a 25m spire, the tower would feature 500 apartments, 131 of which would be categorised as “affordable”. A report to next week’s meeting of Tower Hamlets council’s strategic development committee said the development would deliver 35% affordable housing, based on habitable rooms.

The tower’s lower levels will feature three commercial units, with a total of 275sq m of floorspace. Its 38th floor is a dedicated “clubhouse” level with a range of residential amenities. The developers are also promising public realm improvements, including a pocket park under the eleveated section of the Docklands Light Railway that crosses the site.

Planning officers said Maccreanor Lavington’s proposals were a “considered approach” that maintained the “central emphasis” of the Canary Wharf cluster of buildings to the north at the same time as fitting in with other buildings of comparable height along Marsh Wall.

They include Squire & Partners’ 75 storey Landmark Pinnacle; Foster & Partners’ 68-storey South Quay Plaza; and Make Architects’ 55-storey The Madison.


Source: Maccreanor Lavington

Maccreanor Lavington’s proposals for Marsh Wall, seen from South Dock

Officers’ report to councillors said the Maccreanor Lavington building’s spire was intended as an “architectural feature/marker” to “celebrate” the building in long-distance views, particularly from the Grand Axis and Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site to the south.

Recommending the scheme for approval, officers acknowledged a “policy conflict” in land-use terms because of the loss of office space that would result from the demolition of Ensign House that is currently on the site.

However they said that loss was justified because the current building had low occupancy rates and Maccreanor Lavington’s scheme would deliver planning benefits and make better use of the 0.46ha site.


Maccreanor Lavington’s proposals for the site of Ensign House, off Marsh Wall on the Isle of Dogs

“The development would contribute to the broader regeneration of this Opportunity Area and assist in the delivery of much-needed new and affordable housing thus contributing to meeting the council’s housing targets and increasing the borough’s housing stock,” they said.

“The height, scale, massing, form, architectural appearance and design is considered to be of a high quality and responds well to and does not undermine in townscape terms the Canary Wharf cluster of buildings.”

Government heritage advisor Historic England has not objected to the proposals.

Tower Hamlets’ strategic development committee meets to consider the application at 6.30pm on February 16.