Camden Council’s statutory consultation is open, you can view the Planning Application for the O2 Masterplan Site and submit any comments via the planning portal by using reference 2022/0528/P.
We’ve compiled a list of some of the most frequently asked questions we’ve received over the past few months. If you don’t see yours here, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us here.
1) How big is this site?
The site is approximately 5.77 hectares – equivalent to between six and a half and nine football pitches, depending on the field. It extends from Finchley Road and the O2 Shopping Centre to West End Lane. It really is a huge site and one of the largest earmarked for development in Camden.
2) How much open space would be provided here?
50% of the current masterplan is dedicated to public, open space. This includes four large areas, a large new 0.35ha community green,0.64ha linear park, 0.30ha new town square and 0.17ha central square with a community garden.
3) Why are you proposing so many homes here?
The O2 Centre site is uniquely positioned in that it is bounded by five railway stations and plenty of bus stops. It is an ideal location for a new community, and this is why it is earmarked for significant redevelopment in both local and regional planning policy.
We know this is a big change and a significant number of homes – though we have dropped the overall total from 2,000 initially consulted on to around 1,800 in the planning application– but the masterplan we’re consulting on also seeks to deliver much more a place that integrates and connects the communities of Finchley Road and West Hampstead. A new neighbourhood that reflects Camden’s unique culture and provides something for everyone – a mix of homes where people can stay and grow; jobs and local opportunities; shops, restaurants, leisure and community facilities; and new green public spaces to relax with friends and family.
4) How tall are these buildings going to be?
The buildings will range from 3 to 15 storeys. This will prevent the design from feeling too uniform or regimented whilst also allowing us to deliver the number of homes, including affordable homes, needed by the area. Taller buildings also mean we can use the rest of the site to create green open spaces and deliver other community benefits such as retail, leisure, a health centre and community centre. The taller buildings will be focused to the north of the site, bounded the railway line, to ensure the homes and green spaces get lots of natural light.
5) How many affordable homes will be provided?
We are proposing around 1,800 homes for this site, with 35% affordable floorspace.
6) Why is this a car-free development?
Camden Council has declared a climate emergency and the area around Finchley Road suffers from high pollution levels and low air quality; a very real and urgent issue especially with so many schools and families here.
Car free development is therefore a requirement set by Camden Council and the Greater London Authority for major schemes in well-connected parts of London.
There will still be some parking – for instance for blue badge holders and service vehicles – and you can read more about this and why we feel so passionately about sustainability by viewing our latest proposals page here.
7) What impact will this have on local train stations?
We will be safeguarding space for and contributing financially to local tube station access improvements. We are in ongoing discussions with TfL and LBC about this and the different issues at play locally and how the Applicant might best mitigate them. This includes considering different complex challenges, access and ticket hall capacity, platform capacity, interchange capacity and frequency of the trains (or a combination of factors).
We will continue to keep the local community updated and has also submitted a Transport Assessment as part of the planning application which has considered the impact of the proposals.
8) What is going to happen to the Sainsbury’s?
We know how important the Sainsbury’s is to the local community and have committed to re-providing a supermarket in the new Town Square. We are in discussions with Sainsbury’s now about their requirements.
9) What other shops and services might we see here?
We have committed to providing space for the uses that you have told us are important such as a supermarket, gym and cinema.
We have heard that you would like a book shop and a garden centre as well as family dining and a community and youth centre and we would love to continue to hear more about what you would like to see here.
10) How will you prevent people parking on local roads?
11) Will these green spaces be open to everyone?
Yes, all of the new green spaces, connections and parks will be open to everyone.
12) How long will this project take?
We will be delivering the scheme in phases and estimate that the entire project will take around 10-15 years to complete. The first phase of 608 homes, including 35% Affordable homes by floorspace, and c.2,000sqm of commercial space and a 270sqm community centre, could start on site in 2023 with the first homes ready in 2027.
13) When might the O2 Centre be demolished?
The O2 Centre would not be demolished for some time. Our current thinking is that any demolition would come towards the end of the construction process so another 5-7 years from the start of construction on Site.
14) How can I have my say?
We have now submitted a planning application to the London Borough of Camden. You can feedback on the proposals submitted directly to the council through its planning portal using reference 2022/0528/P.
15) Why are you proposing taller buildings here?
The O2 Centre Site is uniquely positioned in that it is bounded by five railway stations and plenty of bus stops. It is an ideal location for a new community, and this is why it is earmarked for significant redevelopment in both local and regional planning policy.
By including tall buildings, we can deliver the social and community benefits that people have said they really want to see here, including 50% of the Site being delivered as public realm, affordable workspace and new local infrastructure like a health centre, community centre and transport improvements. The proposals try to strike the right balance between a number of competing requirements and opinions as we shape a sustainable neighbourhood, connect communities and realise potential.
We have carefully considered the height and location of the buildings to take into account several important factors such as sunlight, Site levels and the need to deliver a significant number of new homes here along with public open space and community amenities.
The taller buildings have been positioned to the northern parts of the Site. This ensures that the new public spaces and courtyards will enjoy excellent sunlight throughout the year.
The Site is located between two railway lines, which means the distance between the nearest neighbouring properties and the proposed development is typically 60-100m. This helps to mitigate impact on the daylight and sunlight and overshadowing. A full Daylight and Sunlight analysis has been submitted as part of the planning application.
16) What materials will you use to ensure the designs are in-keeping with the area?
We’re very clear as a team that the buildings we design here should be of a very high standard and respond to the character of the area. Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM) are the architects leading the designs and they have a tremendous amount of experience in Camden. They have looked closely at the architecture of the area and how we reflect the character as well as the historical uses of the site. We’ll be making use of brick and will also be re-using existing materials from demolished buildings wherever possible to reduce our carbon emissions. You can read more about the proposed architecture and inspirations here.
17) Will the new homes be affordable for local residents?
The masterplan will deliver 35% affordable housing across the whole Site, a significant number of new affordable homes in the area. 60% will be low-cost rent and 40% intermediate tenure.
In response to the identified local need for affordable family homes, 45-50% of the low cost rented homes across the masterplan will be provided as three-bedroom units suitable for families. All homes will be designed to the same exemplar quality standards.
Affordable housing provided as part of this scheme is just one element of a comprehensive package of benefits including 50% of the Site being delivered as public realm, affordable workspace and new local infrastructure like a health centre, community centre and transport improvements.
18) Why are you only committing to 35% affordable housing when Camden’s target is 50%?
We are committed to providing 35% affordable housing here, of which 60% will be low cost rented homes, and this is part of a much larger and substantive package of benefits that we are proposing for the area and trying to find the right balance between.
This includes dedicating over half the site as public open space, with two large new green spaces, a linear park and a town square. We will also be providing new community spaces, affordable workspaces and a new health centre within the site and have committed to safeguarding space for and financially contributing to local station access improvements.
19) How will this impact local services like schools and GP surgeries?
We have submitted an Environmental Impact Assessment as part of the planning application which tests the masterplan’s impact on local social infrastructure.
In developing the masterplan, initial studies showed that there is enough capacity in local primary and secondary schools, but this will continue to be monitored and responded to if necessary.
Initial studies have also shown that the current number of registered patients to GPs in the local area is within the benchmarks set out by the Health Urban Development Unit, full details of this can be found within the report.
A significant multi-disciplinary Health Centre is proposed in the Outline Proposals which the Applicant is in discussions with the NHS and Clinical Commissioning Group about.
20) What will happen to all the current tenants and facilities in the O2 Centre?
The replacement of the O2 Centre comes in a later phase of the development and so it is likely that nothing will change at the centre for at least 5-7 years after we start on site. However, we are already talking to all the businesses and organisations that are in the O2 Centre now about the future.
We want this to be a place that has everything that local people want and need and it’s been really useful to hear what local people like about the O2 Centre now and what could be improved on.
21) Will you provide space for a Cinema, Gym and Cafe?
We’ve heard during this consultation just how important a cinema, gym and cafe are to local people, with over 40% of respondents requesting these each. We will ensure that we provide space for all of these, along with a supermarket in the new Town Square, which will be brought forward in the later phases of development.
22) How will I shop at the supermarket without a car?
Planning policy clearly requires that major schemes like this in well-connected parts of London are car free, which is why we have been very open from the outset that this will be a car free development. Camden Council has already declared a climate emergency and the area around Finchley Road suffers from high pollution levels and low air quality. It is for this reason that Camden Council and the Greater London Authority have stipulated that developments like this must be car-free. We will be providing blue badge parking for disabled residents and shoppers, as well as pick-up/drop-off spaces for taxis and ride shares but planning policy will simply not allow us to provide lots of parking.
23) How big will the new supermarket be?
We know the Sainsbury’s is a really well used and liked local asset and we are already in discussion with them about coming back into the transformed space, at the Finchley Road end of the masterplan. We are still talking to them about the exact size of the store, which will depend on their needs and future demands.
24) Will you be improving access and capacity at local stations like West Hampstead?
We will be safeguarding space for and contributing financially to local tube station access improvements.
We are in ongoing discussions with TfL and Camden Council about this and the different issues at play locally and how we might best mitigate them.
This includes considering different complex challenges, access and ticket hall capacity, platform capacity, interchange capacity and frequency of the trains (or a combination of factors).
We will continue to keep the local community updated and have submitted a Transport Assessment as part of the planning application which has considered the impact of the proposals.
25) What will you be doing to keep this area safe?
Ensuring that the new neighbourhood feels safe and secure for all has been one of the key priorities in developing the masterplan.
We will implement a robust safety and security strategy for the masterplan including lighting, CCTV and management. The buildings and public spaces have also been designed to encourage passive safety measures such as active frontages, passive surveillance and sight lines from apartments.
26) The recent floods in the area have shown that this area is at risk, surely a development of this scale will make things worse?
Currently, this Site is dominated by materials like concrete and tarmac which do not allow good drainage, and therefore the risk of flooding is heightened.
Greening, and especially the inclusion of rain gardens and swales (sunken marshy borders), is the best possible way to mitigate flood risk. We are working with landscape and biodiversity specialists including the London Wildlife Trust on this and will also be including green roofs and sustainable drainage along with many other best practice sustainability and environmental measures across the new buildings.
A full climate assessment, Health Impact Assessment and Environmental Impact Assessment have been submitted as part of the planning application.
27) I was not able to attend any of your in-person events, where can i view images of the 3D model?
You can view images of the 3D model here
28) What is a ‘detailed’ and ‘outline’ planning application?
A Hybrid Planning Application was submitted for the O2 Masterplan Site which comprises both detailed and outline applications:
The Detailed Application comprises the first phase and includes detailed information of the design and architecture.
The Outline Application comprises the second and third phase and will be based on the Parameter Plans, Design Code and Development Specification documents submitted as part of the planning application, referred to as the control documents.
An illustrative masterplan and plot testing has been created to show what an outline scheme based on the control documents could look like.
In due course each phase within the outline application will then come forward for a Reserved Matters Application (RMA) to approve the full detailed design. Each RMA will be subject to its own consultation process. There will be a chance to comment on each new RMA in the future.
This is a common approach to large sites delivered over time as it allows a place to be created that is flexible and fit for the future.
29) What is the mix of homes in the detailed phase?
The detailed phase includes 608 homes across three buildings, including 35% affordable homes by GIA in line with LBC policy.
The homes will be a mixture of unit sizes as set out in the table below.
30) How much playspace will be provided on the site?
The Detailed Phase will provide 2,100sqm of playspace.
The amount of playspace across the masterplan will be calculated in line with LBC & GLA policy.
31) How many people will live in this development?
The GLA population calculation methodology has been used in line with best practice, taking into account the tenure, mix and number of homes proposed on the site. This generates an estimated population yield of 3,660 residents across the Masterplan.
32) What fire safety measures have been put in place for this development?
As a long-term investor in sustainable places, Landsec builds only to the highest design and safety standards and this development will be no different. The suite of fire safety measures set out in our proposals meets the very latest guidance set out in the Fire Safety Act (2021) and the New London Plan (2021). This includes the use of all non-combustible materials, high performing smoke extract systems and sprinkler systems throughout each building as well as evacuation lifts and staircases.
There are no corners cut when it comes to the issue of fire safety and the O2 Centre proposals have already been submitted for the Health and Safety Executive’s Gateway 1 approval and will also be subject to detailed review by Building Control and the London Fire Brigade before any decision is made on the development by Camden Council.
33) How many jobs will be created by the development?
An average of 380 FTE jobs per month will be created over the duration of the construction period.
Up to 760 FTE jobs will be created in the completed development.