An Update from the Deputy Mayor

An email responding to questions raised by WDCO on 4th October 2023

The Chair of WDCO has received the following email from Cllr. Guy Nicholson

Friday March 22nd 2024

Dear Jackie, 

Thank you for your follow up from our meeting in October of last year summarising the various questions that were tabled and I trust that the responses below at the very least start to address the questions raised by the Board. 

I also want to apologise for the length of time it has taken to bring together this response response. However, it is important to come back to ensure that officers in the Council have spent a deal of time in assessing and analysing the responses from various service areas across the Council and that the questions have a fair degree of depth to respond via this letter but also for further discussion at the various forums that everyone convenes in. 

As you are aware, the vision for Woodberry Down is set out in the Vision Statement and Masterplan Principles document, attached for reference to this email. The Vision Statement was agreed between the Woodberry Down partners in November 2023. A range of key areas are covered, they include the quality of open space, sustainability, community engagement, place shaping and density as well as delivering a financially viable development.

  1. The ‘Vision’ for Woodberry Down (including detailed responses on density) 


All are acutely aware that housing densities in new developments have significantly increased across London over the last 20 years in response to an ever increasing demand for homes and affordable tenure types. This demand explains to some extent the proposed increase in density that the latest masterplan design is showing.

The Councils Woodberry Down Regeneration team (WDRT) has a role to play in helping to shape the design, including density, through their role on the Woodberry Down Design Committee. The WDRT must also provide their approval before a planning application can be submitted by Berkeley Homes – for this, WDRT must be satisfied that the planning application is in accordance with the PDA. 

Whilst neither the Council as the Local Planning Authority (LPA) or the GLA have strict density policies, all housing applications are judged on a number of related issues that have an impact on future housing densities. These include daylight and sunlight levels to adjacent open spaces and buildings, technical studies around micro climate/wind, provision of open space and future servicing and utilities all need to be taken into consideration.

The LPA will review the outline masterplan application against this broad set of criteria, and will provide commentary in the Council officer’s report, which is then considered by the Council’s Planning Sub-Committee.

Open Space

High quality, accessible and usable open space is also a key feature of the Woodberry Down estate regeneration scheme. The draft outline masterplan provides detail of open spaces in all phases that are planned to meet the requirements of play, ecology, biodiversity and amenity for all residents. These areas are described in further detail as part of the Reserved Matters Planning applications which are produced as each scheme / phase develops.

The current proposals seek to increase the quantum of high quality open space, by creating more clearly defined and usable communal spaces, compared to the 2014 masterplan. The masterplan also seeks to deliver higher quality communal space that is more accessible and ‘usable’ compared to the existing provision on the estate. Historically much of the open space on the estate has been mowed grass with very limited ecological or amenity value.

Affordable Homes

One of the original objectives of the regeneration scheme was to build a mixed housing tenure community at Woodberry Down. In addition to tenure the mix of unit types and sizes is also seen as a requirement. It is anticipated that the scheme will deliver 1350 new social rent homes, a number that exceeds the original requirement to provide a new affordable social rent home for each of the original 1115 residents.

The social rent mix for re-housing the existing secure tenants is informed by a Housing Needs Survey. For the shared equity properties, the unit mix is informed by the needs of resident leaseholders living on Woodberry Down, who would be eligible to purchase a shared equity product. 

  1. Podiums 


The LPA does not have a ‘Podiums policy’ as such, although the latest London Plan does make a reference in its policies on Housing Design Standards which sets out:

‘When creating areas of high quality green open space, these should be at ground level, unless site constraints dictate otherwise.’ 

Berkeley Homes have repeatedly stated that as designs are developed, that the inclusion of podia will be reviewed at each phase.


The reason for the inclusion of podia at Woodberry Down is to accommodate the recycling and waste bins, cycle parking, mechanical and electrical plant space, car parking and other ground floor uses that are required for the servicing of the new homes. Green space that is for the use of block residents is provided at first floor level on top of the podium decks. Generally these spaces are reserved for residents of specific blocks.


The LBH Regeneration team recognises the impact that new podia could have on the at level pedestrian streetscape, routes and views, and this will be challenged and tested in each case as detailed proposals come forward.  Some amendments have also been made to the emerging design to limit this. In areas such as along the New River, podium edges have been revised to be set back further than initial proposals. 

  1. Program Concerns 

Currently, although the Berkeley Homes programme for both Phase 4 and the Masterplan planning submission has been delayed, there are no further plans to slow down the process further. There is an agreed project programme that has been shared with the delivery partners that reflects the ambition to deliver the next 5 phases over a period of 15 years

Again apologies for the length of time it has taken to respond. If there are any follow-up questions or comments that the Board may wish to discuss further then please liaise with Isobel who is copied into this email and we can take it from there.



Cllr Guy Nicholson

Deputy Mayor & Cabinet Member for Delivery, Inclusive Economy & Regeneration

London Borough of Hackney

Homerton ward

Tel: 0208 356 3211 

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.