Our Proposals for the O2 Centre site.

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1. Your feedback so far

Since 2019, we have been consulting with the local community about their ideas for this site and the emerging masterplan. Here is an overview of the feedback so far.

Vision & Approach:

Many of you liked the idea of a new green, a long tree lined park, and a new town square. However, there is some concern about how this new development and new community will ‘fit’ into the existing area.

You were also really concerned about the prospect of taller buildings here and wanted us to think carefully about this and how they might impact local people.

At the workshops, some of you felt a lot of the social benefits were being concentrated at the western end of the masterplan.

New Town Square:

This was the part of the masterplan that you were most excited about. You want to keep some retail here, and in particular, a large supermarket like you have now.

Lots of you (47%) also want to see more independent retailers, as well as maybe a book shop (41%), cinema (41%) or family restaurants (37%).

When it comes to other uses, 31% of you said we should prioritise cafes and community spaces, and 23% said co-working spaces.

Public Spaces:

You told us to prioritise creating open green areas, spaces to sit and relax, and wild gardens.

Around two thirds of you think that the new tree-lined park would encourage you to walk and cycle more, but you want to make sure these spaces are safe.

There were lots of suggestions on what could be provided in the new public spaces and at our workshops a few of you spoke about the need to ensure this development becomes a ‘destination’. You also asked whether a public space could be provided at the centre of the site, so that it could be brought forward as part of the first phase of development.

Transport & Other Facilities:

You want us to look carefully at how this development and the new residents could impact local schools and GP surgeries.

You also were really concerned about the impact on local train stations and want to see improvements particularly to West Hampstead station.

More than two-thirds of you told us that you don’t often use the bus to travel to the site.

You were positive about more pleasant and accessible walking and cycling routes, but you don’t want shoppers parking on nearby roads.

On car parking, you understand and support the need to promote a more green, sustainable future, but some of you are still concerned about how you’ll do your weekly shopping without a car.

New Residential Neighbourhood:

42% of respondents said that affordable homes needed to be prioritised. Around a third said family homes should be a priority and a similar number said homes for first time buyers.

At the workshops, we discussed the importance of providing a good mix of different size homes and that affordable housing is spread across the development and designed to the same quality as the private homes.

You felt that the new courtyards and green space, the long tree-lined park and good walking routes were the most important features of the new neighbourhood.

2. Scheme evolution

At the end of last year, we shared a new vision and approach for the site, which focused on four key elements:

A new residential neighbourhood.

Inclusive, green and open to all.

A town square.

The bustling commercial hub of the site and surrounded by new shops and leisure facilities.

A new tree-lined park.

Running along the south of the site as a new connection between West Hampstead and Finchley Road.

A new green.

A green and generous space surrounded by cafes and community amenities.

Previous Masterplan

December 2020 – Comprehensive Masterplan

Masterplan sketch showing the emerging vision for the site
Illustrative masterplan sketch of the O2 Centre proposals shown in December 2020

The evolved masterplan.

Since December 2020, we have considered your feedback and responded with six key changes and commitments:

1. Adding a brand new green public space to the centre of the masterplan that can be delivered in the early phases of development.

2. Creating a space for a large supermarket at the Finchley Road end of the site.

3. Ensuring we include flexible retail and leisure spaces that can cater to lots of different needs.

4. Having these shops, community and leisure uses spread throughout the site at street level, ensuring a lively, thriving neighbourhood.

5. Committing to undertake a series of detailed technical studies to assess our impact on local services including train stations.

6. Ensuring that affordable homes are delivered here, as well as a good mix of family sized homes and homes for first time buyers.

Evolved masterplan for the O2 Centre site, May 2021

3. The current proposals

The key principles behind our latest proposals are::

Around 1,900 new homes for sale and rent, with a target of 35% affordable homes.

50% of the site dedicated to publicly accessible open space.

A long-tree lined park connecting West Hampstead and Finchley Road.

A safe, secure, outdoor neighbourhood, with play spaces for families.

New shops, including a new supermarket, leisure spaces, cafes and restaurants for all to enjoy.

New community facilities, such as a community centre and a health centre, as well as workspaces for local businesses.

A large new green, about 10 and half tennis courts in size, for people to visit, socialise in and relax.

A car free, highly sustainable neighbourhood which is open to all.

A new community garden, added to the centre of the site following your feedback.

The proposals would see the O2 Centre site transformed into a green new neighbourhood that integrates and connects the existing communities at Finchley Road and West Hampstead. It will be a place that reflects Camden’s unique culture and delivers something for everyone – multigenerational homes where people can stay and grow, jobs and local opportunities, shops and leisure space, or just places to relax and visit with friends.

Masterplan sketch showing the emerging vision for the site
Illustrative sketch of the proposals for the O2 Centre site

4.The three character areas that define the site

Masterplan sketch showing the emerging vision for the site
We want this to be a place where people can live, socialise, relax and shop. It needs to be a destination – somewhere people really want to spend time – but one that properly knits into the communities around it.

Each part of the site will bring something exciting to the area – for new and existing communities.

The Residential neighbourhood:

Our vision is to create a mixed community, with a range of different homes that suit the needs of Camden’s residents.

In this quieter section of the site, homes will be set around public courtyards and connected by a long, tree-lined park. The new neighbourhood will be welcoming to all and include:

  • Affordable homes (we’re currently targeting 35%) designed to the same high standards as the private homes;
  • Shops, leisure and community uses at street level;
  • Private outside space for every household;
  • Homes to rent;
  • Homes to buy.

Illustrative sketch drawing of residential courtyards.

Illustrative sketch of new homes with shops and community uses at street level along Blackburn Road

The Community Green:

The green will be surrounded by community amenities and services at ground floor, such as a community centre and health centre, with the potential for MUGA and sports pitches as well as play space for children. This space will feel welcoming and inclusive, designed to promote a sense of safety and cohesion as well as having homes for all.

Precedent Image of Fitzroy Square.

Illustrative sketch drawing of new large green, at the west end of the site.

The new town square:

Similar in size to Pancras Square at King’s Cross, the new town square off Finchley Road will be a focus of dining, leisure and shopping. The square will be surrounded by new cafes and restaurants, homes, workspace for local companies, and a mix of shops including a larger supermarket. It will be a destination as well as a convenient place to pick up a sandwich, loaf of bread or coffee.

Illustrative sketch of new town square, with sweeping entrance from Finchley Road.

Illustrative sketch of new town square, with sweeping entrance from Finchley Road.

5. Our approach to building heights, scale and design.

As part of our masterplan, we want to make a meaningful contribution to help Camden deliver on its affordable housing targets. This is something Camden needs and something that the Mayor of London will also expect. Providing affordable homes was identified by nearly half of those consulted previously as a priority for this site – alongside more family homes. The reality of providing large numbers of affordable homes – while also ensuring 50% of the scheme is new green public space – means some parts will need to feature taller buildings. We have carefully considered the location of buildings and in developing our latest masterplan have taken into account several important factors:

The local and regional planning policy

What type of development does Camden Council and the Greater London Authority want to see here.

The local area

How close we are to nearby residents but also the connections, borders and character of the surroundings areas.

Local views

Where the new buildings might be visible from, particularly any views that are protected or sensitive.

Daylight and sunlight

Whether any of these new buildings could create shadows or block sunlight for our neighbours.

The existing ground levels

How the natural dip of the site might minimise the impact of taller buildings.

Diagram of the O2 Centre site showing key local views.

Diagram of the O2 Centre site showing proposed distribution of height.
Diagram showing O2 Centre masterplan and site level changes.
Diagram of the O2 Centre is showing proximity to local neighbours.

Our approach to height

Our evolving masterplan includes a range of different building heights to define the character areas and respond to the varying context.

Emerging design direction

We know the buildings we design here should be a high standard and respond to the character of the area.

We’re working closely with our award-winning architects, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM), to achieve this. AHMM have a tremendous amount of experience in Camden, leading on the Hawley Wharf site and the Stirling Prize shortlisted Kentish Town Health Centre.

For the O2 Centre, they’re looking closely at:

..

  • The palette of architectural materials in the area;
  • The variety of local architectural styles;
  • The architectural features of the surrounding buildings;
  • The garden settings and communal spaces of West Hampstead;
  • The historical uses of the site.
We’ve included some examples of other buildings AHMM have designed below and we’d love for you to share any examples of architecture locally that you particularly like or dislike.

6. Public open space.

Throughout our consultations and events so far, we’ve heard just how important open and green spaces are to the local community. This is something that has become particularly important to us all during the lockdowns of the past year and the lack of public, green space nearby is very apparent. That’s why 50% of our current masterplan is public open space.

Masterplan sketch showing the emerging vision for the site

Diagram showing the O2 Centre site with public open space highlighted in green.

In December we introduced the idea of three new public spaces:

A public square at Finchley Road.

A long-tree lined park.

A large new green near West Hampstead.

We have now added a fourth public space at the very centre of our site.

This is in direct response to your feedback – we know it’s important to you that the benefits of the scheme to local communities are maximised and provided at early stages. We’d love to hear your suggestions on how they are landscaped and animated. We’ve included some initial ideas on each below.

The new square at Finchley Road – Somewhere for people to shop, grab a bite to eat or have a drink with a friend.

  

  • Similar in size to Pancras Square (3,200 sqm).
  • Drawing people in from Finchley Road.
  • Different seating or landscaping to encourage people to spend time here.
  • A place surrounded by shops, cafes, restaurants, workshops and leisure facilities. A local convenience offer and a destination.

The tree lined park – Somewhere for people to stop, sit and pause as they walk or cycle through the site.

  

  • Over 5,000 sqm of open public space.
  • A green, tree-lined, meandering path designed as a shared space for pedestrians and slow-moving cyclists.
  • Play space and adventure gardens along the park for children.
  • Facilities such as an outdoor gym.

The new central square – Somewhere for the community to feel like they own and belong. A more secluded space with gardens or growing spaces.

  

  • A new space added to the centre of the site in direct response to your feedback.
  • A peaceful part of the site, connected on both sides by the long, tree-lined park.
  • Somewhere that could be used as a community garden – a space similar to Calthorpe Gardens in Camden – where you can grow things, relax or just take a breath.
The community green – Somewhere to come together, to meet your friends or play with your family.

  

  • A large new green (3,800 sqm).
  • An open space with plenty of sunlight, to encourage people to dwell and picnic.
  • Surrounded by community facilities.
  • Potential for MUGA and sports pitches as well as play space for children.

7. A highly sustainable, car free development.

As a business, we feel very passionately about sustainability and have set an ambitious target of becoming net zero carbon by 2030. Our developments will play an important part in achieving this and the O2 Centre is no different. This means that we will:

  • Dedicate 50% of the site for public spaces;
  • Re-use existing materials from demolished buildings wherever possible;
  • Increase the biodiversity across the site;
  • Reduce our carbon emissions;
  • Explore initiatives like raingardens and whether we can deliver rooftop allotments or gardens;
  • Use building practices that focus on reducing embodied carbon and utilise the most sustainable materials;
  • Create energy efficient homes that are fit for the long term.
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.

We know that there is some uncertainty about what ‘car free’ development really means and how it will work, so we’ve included some more detail below.

In a car free development:

  • New residents will not be able to park on site or apply for on-street parking permits. This will ensure there is no impact on the surrounding streets which are all part of Controlled Parking Zones.
  • An appropriate number of spaces will be available for blue badge holders – both for residents and visitors to the site at 3% of homes.
  • A drop off/pick-up point for shopping will allow private hire vehicles and taxis to come into the site.
  • Access to public transport including a bus stop within the site will be a priority.
  • Walking and cycling will be encouraged by creating new paths and routes through the site.
  • We are proposing cycle storage for 2900 bicycles.

8. Meeting the needs of the local community.

We know people value the existing shops and leisure spaces within the O2 Shopping Centre. That’s why as well as delivering new homes and green spaces here, it is incredibly important to us that this masterplan continues to meet the needs of the existing local communities and provides the facilities people want.

We’ve heard a lot of great suggestions over the past four months and taken care in our latest proposals to ensure that each part of the site, and each phase of development, delivers spaces and places people can enjoy and that will really bring the place to life.

The masterplan below highlights in blue just how much of the ground floor will be dedicated to cafes, shops, workspaces, leisure and community facilities.

Indicative ground floor masterplan showing location of new shops, cafes, community facilities, leisure and workspaces in blue.
Masterplan sketch showing the emerging vision for the site

Illustrative sketch of Finchley Road looking towards the new town square.

Masterplan sketch showing the emerging vision for the site
Illustrative sketch drawing showing new shops and potential for market stalls at the new town square.

Assessing our impact on local services:

Many of you have asked how a development of this scale will impact on local services so we have covered here the most commonly raised concerns:

How will you address transport capacity?
We know some of you are very concerned about any impact on local stations which were very busy at rush hour before the pandemic. We are in discussions with both Camden Council and Transport for London to understand how this development will impact capacity.

We understand from feedback that one of the main concerns from residents is queuing outside West Hampstead station. We are exploring with Transport for London and Camden Council whether we can improve this and access to the station. This will be measured and calculated in detail as part of the Transport assessment which will be submitted as part of the planning Application. This will also be reviewed and by assessed by both TfL and Camden Council.

Are there enough school places here for the new residents?

From our initial studies, we have found that there is enough capacity across the primary and secondary schools near the site. We’ve looked at data published by the Department for Education, Camden’s own planning forecasts and the GLA’s school roll projects and there is a surplus of places. This data will be tested by the Council and if a need is identified, we will contribute to additional provision.

Is there enough capacity at local health centres and GP surgeries for new residents?

Many of you have asked for us to accommodate a Health Centre or GP surgery on site and we have taken this on board. We are already speaking to the NHS, the local Clinical Commissioning Group and Camden Council about what we can do here and are certainly open to providing space for health services.

How will you manage construction?
While many of you who have responded to us to date have recognised how exciting this development could be, some of you also feel a daunted at the prospect of the construction work.

This should never feel like one big building site. It will be a carefully managed construction process, with the Shopping Centre remaining open for many years yet and likely only demolished as part of one of the final phases and once new retail options are open. Once the masterplan and our designs are more developed, we will be putting all of this detail together in a construction management plan which will need to be agreed with Camden Council.

A series of technical impact studies on each of these things and more will also form part of our Environmental Impact Assessment which we will submit to Camden as part of the planning application.

9. Next steps.

What will we be submitting to Camden Council?

We will be submitting one planning application, but with the first phases of the masterplan in detail and the rest in outline. We have explained what this means in more detail below and have indicatively marked up a plan showing the extent of the potential application boundaries.

Detailed application: This will include the parts of the site that would be delivered in the first phases of development (see area in purple below). It will include around 600 of the 1900 homes and at this stage we think these could be homes for rent, with 35% targeted for affordable housing.

Outline application: This will include the remainder of the site. An outline application simply means that certain details (like internal layouts, accesses, entrances or landscaping) will be confirmed at a later stage. This is a long-term project so submitting an outline application for part of the site allows us to retain some flexibility and better adapt to future changes. It ultimately ensures we can provide the type of homes and affordable homes to best meet Camden’s housing needs.

Any detail not included in this application would then be confirmed at what is called a ‘Reserved Matters’ stage and would be accompanied by further consultation and require a planning application to be submitted.

Diagram showing the O2 Centre site and the detail and outline application areas.

Have your say

We would love to hear your thoughts and feedback on how the masterplan has evolved. You can do so by:

Writing to our freepost at

BLACKBURN ROAD FREEPOST, London Communications Agency, 8th Floor, Berkshire House, 168-173 High Holborn, WC1V 7AA

Calling our freephone at

0800 3077 984

Emailing us directly at

o2centreconsultation@landsec.com

We’ll close our online survey on 30th June (although you can continue to email or call us) and we will publish a summary of what you told us on our website.

If you require a copy of our consultation materials in an alternative format, please get in touch using one of the contact methods above.

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