The approved plans from 2002
The plans which were granted planning permission in 2002 involved;
- A new Queensland Road to the south of its current alignment
- Development along the south side of Queensland Road, involving commercial uses at ground floor level and three storeys of residential above
- Development along the eastern part of the northern side of Queensland Road with two levels of commercial uses with four residential towers rising to between 11 and 14 storeys above
- Development along the western part of the northern side of Queensland Road with a nine storey office building (subsequently reduced to eight storeys) to be used partly as offices for Arsenal FC
- A vehicle access point to the stadium undercroft via Queensland Road
Reviewing the 2002 plans
Events have moved on since 2002, requiring a review of the original Queensland Road proposals. In particular,
- Arsenal FC, which was to have occupied much of the nine storey office block along the western part of the northern side of Queensland Road, has relocated to a new building above the north-east pedestrian bridge access stairways.
- The market for commercial office space has proved to be weak and has raised questions about the viability of this part of the development
- The viability of the original scheme has been further questioned because land acquisition has proved to be significantly more expensive than originally planned
The 2007 proposals
The revised proposals for Queensland Road, were subject to public consultation in September 2007, and followed the same regeneration principles as the 2002 and 2005 schemes and comprised:
- The replacement of the eight storey commercial building on the northern side of Queensland Road with a similar sized residential building
- An increase in height of the four residential towers, with the lowest remaining at 11 storeys and the tallest rising from 14 to 21 storeys
- An overall increase in the number of market and affordable residential units from 288 to around 725
- The creation of a vibrant commercial and leisure destination comprising a Multi-Screen Cinema, Health and Fitness Centre, Restaurants and Bars to replace the previously proposed leisure uses for which there is already a planning permission
- An increase in car parking spaces from 177 to approximately 300, to be shared between residential and commercial users
Arsenal organised a Public Consultation Programme which was designed to both inform and involve local residents, businesses and key stakeholders in discussions about the regeneration of the Queensland Road area. The programme involved;
- Over 4,500 newsletters were sent to households and business surrounding the site setting out the initial proposals and inviting them to the public exhibition on 11th and 12th September.
- A two-day public exhibition was held in the Emirates Stadium and was staffed by representatives from Arsenal’s professional team who were on hand throughout the exhibition to explain the proposals and answer questions.
Revising the proposals following the public consultation - May 2008
- Following the public exhibition an initial set of revisions were made to the proposals, including;
- The amount of affordable housing was increased from 25 to 50% on a habitable room basis within the development.
- A pedestrian access to the site was introduced from the Emirates Stadium podium at the Clock End bridge to create a through route for pedestrians and therefore increasing permeability.
- The entrance to the car park was moved towards the centre of the new residential development to create a better environment for residents of the eastern part of Queensland Road
- The entrance to the service yard was also moved to the centre of the development.
- The design of the towers was developed to make them more elegant.
- The colours of the towers were revised with a slightly different shade of blue for each of the towers moving from darker to lighter as the towers step up.
- As a result of the concerns raised by Bryantwood Road residents about the need to ensure safety and security at the rear of their properties, Arsenal will be rebuilding the existing walls to a height to be agreed with residents.
Further revisions and responding to public consultation – September 2008
A second newsletter setting out the revisions was circulated to 4,500 households and businesses in May 2008.
A range of further issues were raised by the public following the publication of the revised changes. In particular, concerns were raised by the public about;
- The height of the proposed residential towers
- The need for a sports centre, similar to the former JVC Centre operated by Arsenal FC.
As a result of these concerns, which were also shared by Islington Council, the proposals were further revised in September 2008, as follows;
- A community sports centre has been included
- The four residential towers have been reduced in height. The new heights vary from 10 to 15 storeys compared to 14 to 21 storeys in the previous proposal.
- The proposed cinema has been removed from the new scheme
- Car parking has been reduced from around 300 spaces to 179 parking spaces
- The number of new residential units is 734, of which 50% is affordable
- The height of the proposed South Block residential building remains six storeys