Panel. Nicholls said that the project team has “ambitious plans for the area, seeking to transform the neighbourhood from one of the least popular in Erith, to the most sought after.”

PLANNING & CONSULTATION Wates Residential led the planning applica- tions process, with a programme developed initially alongside a list of planning applica- tion deliverables. These were agreed collaboratively between Wates, Orbit and the council early on to set the programme of requirements and ensure a successful planning submission, with a series of pre-application meetings to agree key principles.

“Residents are at the heart of every scheme we work on, so during this time a Resident Core Group was set up, and a number of community consultation events were carried out,” said Nicholls. This enabled the team to inform residents on the design progress, gaining an insight into their views and using their feedback to form part of the application.

“This early commitment enabled us to achieve timely, detailed planning permis- sion,” he said. “We adopted a strategy of outline masterplan consent for the whole regeneration, with detailed reserved matters approvals for individual phases.” A detailed Phase 1 application with outline planning for Phase 2 was submitted in 22 weeks, and planning permission was subsequently granted 16 weeks later. According to Nicholls, this was critical to Orbit being able to secure the grant

funding they required to deliver a viable project.


The scheme is one of the largest of its type in London. Phase 1 included the demoli- tion of five 14-storey 1960s tower blocks to make way for 343 new low to medium-rise apartments and family homes, and was completed 20 weeks ahead of programme. Phase 2 included the demolition of two further tower blocks and the provision of a further 244 new mixed tenure homes The regeneration involved the transferral of 60 of the former residents, decanting them into the new homes. In order to guarantee a safe transfer, minimising incon- venience to them and their neighbours, the developer had to fully engage with all stakeholders to ensure that all services remained commissioned throughout, including drainage diversions, to avoid clashes. As part of this, the traffic manage- ment strategy ensured construction and residential traffic were separated, and considerate working practices were adopted to minimise dust, noise and dirt, resulting in Wates receiving Gold Awards under the Considerate Constructors Scheme. The regeneration of Erith Park straddled the tenures of the HCA (as was, now Homes England) and the GLA in London. The development consequently complies with HE’s Design and Quality standards, as well as the GLA’s London Housing Design Guide.

“Critical to the success of the approach,” tells Nicholls, “was dovetailing the vision


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