Design watchdog attacks the £150m development for its lack of green credentials

Sheppard Robson’s £150m Oriental City scheme in north London has been criticised by the CABE design review panel for its lack of green credentials.

The panel said the massive Development Securities retail scheme, which includes 28,566m2 of retail, 520 one- and two-bedroom flats, three courtyards and a 9,832m2 school and health and fitness centre, had missed the chance to design a sustainable energy strategy.

It said: “We note that the retail units beneath the housing will generate excess heat that should be harnessed for the residential and school development. At a time of pressing energy concerns, we would view it as appalling if this were not the case and recommend that the local planning authority consider this as a condition.”

The panel also accused the architect of creating double standards for the private and affordable elements within the scheme, and urged the council not to grant planning if it was not changed.

It said: “It would be unacceptable for the layout of affordable housing to be evident or for different levels of landscape design and maintenance to be visible in the garden deck. The establishment of a sub-community with a sub-standard garden courtyard must not be tolerated by the LPA..”

CABE did, however, praise the retail units and school and nursery elements of the development as well as giving its overall support for the scheme.

Meanwhile, the row between CABE and Frank Ghery’s scheme in Brighton rumbled on this week as the watchdog continued to criticise the development.

The body warned that the public realm was not good enough quality and also alerted Brighton’s planners to focus on how the £300m King Alfred scheme fits in with its surroundings.

CABE said there was some way to go to reach a convincing solution for the public spaces within and around the site. It said: “We think there is more to do to demonstrate the clear shaping of the external spaces including the role and character of these places relative to the buildings’ lower levels and the landscape design.”

The watchdog did, however, welcome changes to the residential element of the scheme, which it says has improved the scheme and made it more coherent.