Derwent London won planning consent for a 425,000 sq-ft mixed use scheme near Paddington station after tough negotiations with the Mayor of London over social housing.

The property developer had submitted an application which included 102 apartments – but did not provide any affordable housing on site. Westminster Council’s guidelines require 30% of housing development to be affordable.

Derwent argued that, after scaling down the size of its proposals in response to previous council concerns, it was not financially viable to have social housing on the site. They had offered a payment of £5.7m for affordable housing elsewhere.

But after negotiating with the Mayor of London and the GLA it was agreed that Derwent will provide 16 affordable homes at the site, half the number under the planning rules, and will not have to pay any additional money.

Social housing land shortage

A planning and development committee meeting last night heard that the reduced number was acceptable because, though the money could have provided more social homes, land supply for social housing in the West End is limited.

‘I’m persuaded that we should take advantage of being able to provide the housing on site,’ said committee chair councillor Alistair Moss. ‘I’m of the view that we should be going for the offer.’

The scheme had been rejected in 2003 because of its design and bulk. The plans, which includes 323,000 sq ft of office and 101,000 sq ft of residences, has since been completely changed and councillors welcomed the new designs as ‘a great improvement.

Derwent London will also pay £2.9m in public improvements under section 106 agreements.