CABE has backed Allies and Morrison’s masterplan for the controversial Royal Arsenal scheme in Woolwich, south-east London.

The design watchdog had criticised the original masterplan, drawn up by Broadway Malyan, on three separate occasions, describing it as “depressing” and “lacking a strategy”.

But this time CABE said a reduction in the number of units and a greater clarity of thought behind the Urban Design have helped create a more convincing masterplan.

The report said: “It is immediately apparent that the reduction in the number of units – from 3000 to 2500 – has a beneficial effect on the planning and massing of the proposal. We congratulate the client for making such a bold and decisive move; our previous, fundamental concerns could not have been resolved by tinkering with the design alone.”

The news comes after the existing masterplan was called in for design scrutiny by the ODPM in March. Developer Berkley Homes asked Allies and Morrison to review Broadway Malyan’s masterplan.