British Land recently secured reserved matters approval for the next phase of its Canada Water Printworks development in London. So, what are some of the planning challenges that need to be addressed to ensure the successful delivery of such large mixed-use projects?

Jason Towell

Jason Towell

Such developments are most likely to be successful where they are supported by the local planning authority (LPA). The developer should seek to secure the allocation of the site for the scheme in the LPA’s development plan.

Before preparing the planning application, the developer must ensure it owns or has within its control all the land required for the development; otherwise it may raise concerns with the LPA as to the deliverability of the scheme as a whole.

Mechanisms can be inserted to require that the phasing of the development ensures the developer does not merely deliver new buildings on the parcels it owns or controls, but also that it will need to secure the other land holdings so the whole masterplan vision is delivered.

The council may use its compulsory purchase powers to assist with the acquisition of third-party land. Indeed, a number of large mixed-use developments have been delivered as partnerships between commercial developers and councils.

In preparing the planning application, developers should masterplan the development to ensure a coherent community where the various uses sit alongside and support each other in a sustainable way.

In addition, the design of buildings and public areas to achieve environmental improvements, increased biodiversity and reduced energy use are key to ensuring developments satisfy planning requirements.

Although partly driven by planning requirements, such measures can, for the developer, increase the value of the development by creating an environment that residents, occupiers and customers of commercial units have come to expect. New building technologies and the use of low-carbon materials are increasingly seen as standard requirements.

Jason Towell is partner at legal practice Cripps