South Poplar Masterplan

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Aerial view of masterplan area

Aerial view of masterplan area

Welcome to the South Poplar masterplan online exhibition page and thank you for engaging in this exciting new project.

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected the ability for us to engage on this project in more traditional forms, however this exhibition page has been prepared to ensure that we continue to engage and inform the local community in a safe and secure way.

Your feedback

During this exhibition, we are seeking your valuable input and ideas as the council develops a masterplan for South Poplar. You can share your feedback on the masterplan here.

The masterplan

The masterplan is a joint project involving the local community, the Council, Transport for London and the Mayor of London. Maccreanor Lavington (Architects & Urbanists) and Soundings (Community Engagement Specialists) are assisting in the development of the masterplan.

The aim of this masterplan is to sustainably manage the significant growth being experienced in the area and to ensure it benefits existing as well as new communities.

Wider context map

Wider context map
The masterplan is being developed as a supplementary planning document (SPD). It will support the delivery of the Tower Hamlets Local Plan and the Mayor of London’s Isle of Dogs and South Poplar Opportunity Area Framework. The Isle of Dogs and South Poplar area is expected to see a further 31,000 homes and 110,000 jobs by 2041.

This masterplan will cover approximately 30 hectares of land through both South Poplar and Canary Wharf. This engagement page has been prepared to explain the masterplan's opportunities and strategies that we feel will help guide development in the area.

Masterplan opportunities

1. Create physical links with new public space over Aspen Way to improve connectivity

2. Complete and enhance green routes and walking and cycling networks

3. Positively relate to the lower-rise, residential South Poplar neighbourhood

4. Create a south-facing public open space along the dockside that maximises access to the water

5. Deliver new public spaces including a new entrance to Poplar DLR station

6. Provide a mix of uses that compliments South Poplar and Canary Wharf and creates a transition in scale

7. Locate new social infrastructure around the existing clusters on Poplar High Street

8. Create gateway to Crossrail Place and Canary Wharf

9. Contribute to the Canary Wharf skyline

10. Protect and enhance the setting of heritage assets

11. Improve public spaces along Aspen Way

Engagement so far

In August and September 2020, we carried out initial engagement with residents, landowners, local organisations and other stakeholders. We're grateful to everyone who took the time to contribute. Take a look at a summary of the feedback we received.

Masterplan principles

Through our preliminary work, we have identified and developed the following six principles that will guide the project. Please click on the links to read more about each one:

Have your say

This further online engagement has been prepared using the information and opinions provided during the previous engagement exercises.

We would now like to gather further feedback and gain a more detailed understanding of the needs and aspirations of the local community. There are a number of ways you can do this, including using our interactive map, completing a survey or leaving an idea on our suggestion board.

To discuss any aspect of the project, email planmaking@towerhamlets.gov.uk or phone 0207 345 5009 (weekdays 9am to 5pm) to arrange a call back.

Aerial view of masterplan area

Aerial view of masterplan area

Welcome to the South Poplar masterplan online exhibition page and thank you for engaging in this exciting new project.

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected the ability for us to engage on this project in more traditional forms, however this exhibition page has been prepared to ensure that we continue to engage and inform the local community in a safe and secure way.

Your feedback

During this exhibition, we are seeking your valuable input and ideas as the council develops a masterplan for South Poplar. You can share your feedback on the masterplan here.

The masterplan

The masterplan is a joint project involving the local community, the Council, Transport for London and the Mayor of London. Maccreanor Lavington (Architects & Urbanists) and Soundings (Community Engagement Specialists) are assisting in the development of the masterplan.

The aim of this masterplan is to sustainably manage the significant growth being experienced in the area and to ensure it benefits existing as well as new communities.

Wider context map

Wider context map
The masterplan is being developed as a supplementary planning document (SPD). It will support the delivery of the Tower Hamlets Local Plan and the Mayor of London’s Isle of Dogs and South Poplar Opportunity Area Framework. The Isle of Dogs and South Poplar area is expected to see a further 31,000 homes and 110,000 jobs by 2041.

This masterplan will cover approximately 30 hectares of land through both South Poplar and Canary Wharf. This engagement page has been prepared to explain the masterplan's opportunities and strategies that we feel will help guide development in the area.

Masterplan opportunities

1. Create physical links with new public space over Aspen Way to improve connectivity

2. Complete and enhance green routes and walking and cycling networks

3. Positively relate to the lower-rise, residential South Poplar neighbourhood

4. Create a south-facing public open space along the dockside that maximises access to the water

5. Deliver new public spaces including a new entrance to Poplar DLR station

6. Provide a mix of uses that compliments South Poplar and Canary Wharf and creates a transition in scale

7. Locate new social infrastructure around the existing clusters on Poplar High Street

8. Create gateway to Crossrail Place and Canary Wharf

9. Contribute to the Canary Wharf skyline

10. Protect and enhance the setting of heritage assets

11. Improve public spaces along Aspen Way

Engagement so far

In August and September 2020, we carried out initial engagement with residents, landowners, local organisations and other stakeholders. We're grateful to everyone who took the time to contribute. Take a look at a summary of the feedback we received.

Masterplan principles

Through our preliminary work, we have identified and developed the following six principles that will guide the project. Please click on the links to read more about each one:

Have your say

This further online engagement has been prepared using the information and opinions provided during the previous engagement exercises.

We would now like to gather further feedback and gain a more detailed understanding of the needs and aspirations of the local community. There are a number of ways you can do this, including using our interactive map, completing a survey or leaving an idea on our suggestion board.

To discuss any aspect of the project, email planmaking@towerhamlets.gov.uk or phone 0207 345 5009 (weekdays 9am to 5pm) to arrange a call back.

  • Engagement so far

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    03 Nov 2020

    The early stages of engagement for the South Poplar Masterplan project has been led by Soundings. In light of Covid-19, and to ensure that we were reaching out to people in a safe and secure way, all engagement took place digitally. Prior to any outreach, Soundings undertook a stage of research to identify key stakeholders to reach out to.

    The engagement process is made up of four stages:

    1. Digital stakeholder meetings – August 2020
    2. Digital Survey – September 2020
    3. Digital Exhibition – November 2020
    4. Statement of Community Involvement Report – December 2020

    After this engagement, the masterplan is expected to...

    The early stages of engagement for the South Poplar Masterplan project has been led by Soundings. In light of Covid-19, and to ensure that we were reaching out to people in a safe and secure way, all engagement took place digitally. Prior to any outreach, Soundings undertook a stage of research to identify key stakeholders to reach out to.

    The engagement process is made up of four stages:

    1. Digital stakeholder meetings – August 2020
    2. Digital Survey – September 2020
    3. Digital Exhibition – November 2020
    4. Statement of Community Involvement Report – December 2020

    After this engagement, the masterplan is expected to be delivered in May 2021 and will be integrated in a local plan SPD. A statutory public consultation will take place before this and will allow further submissions to be considered from the community and interested parties.

    As part of this exhibition, we want to hear your thoughts on the masterplan.

    Engagement summary

    The results of the early engagement stages have provided a rich source of primary data for the project team to consider and incorporate into the South Poplar Masterplan. Below is a summary of the key engagement undertaken and the themes that have been identified as part of the initial analysis of the survey findings.

    How we engaged: 835 surveys completed, 4359 digital votes, 595 free comments, 12 stakeholder meetings

    Who we engaged: 79% local residents, 6% local workers, 2% students and 12% visitors. Please note that those statistics have been gathered from the survey responses only.

    Key themes

    Through the online poll and stakeholder sessions, the following themes were identified and analysed. These themes have formed the basis of the draft masterplan principles that are being presented through this further online engagement.

    Stakeholder mapping

    One of the first steps of the engagement process was to carry out a detailed stakeholder mapping exercise, creating a database of all relevant contacts, organisations and groups who are located within and around the South Poplar area and those who may want to be involved in the engagement process.

    Within this exercise, we identified various groups and categories for stakeholders. This has enabled us to ensure that we speak with a rich cross-section of the community and that we hear a variety of voices and opinions.

    This exercise of identifying stakeholders is an ongoing process and evolves as we speak to and engage with more people throughout the engagement programme.

    Have your say

    To provide feedback on the masterplan, you can head to our interactive map, complete a survey or leave an idea on our suggestion board.

  • Character and identity

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    02 Nov 2020

    As part of this exhibition, we want to hear your thoughts on the masterplan.

    The masterplan site includes the areas of Poplar and Canary Wharf. Both these areas have distinct identities and operate in very unique ways. To the south, Canary Wharf is a high-density business and financial hub of national and international importance. North of Aspen Way, Poplar is an established, vibrant, multicultural low to medium residential area. So that the masterplan complements and provides a transition between these two communities, we have defined local character areas.

    Character areas

    The proposed masterplan character strategy begins by looking at what...

    As part of this exhibition, we want to hear your thoughts on the masterplan.

    The masterplan site includes the areas of Poplar and Canary Wharf. Both these areas have distinct identities and operate in very unique ways. To the south, Canary Wharf is a high-density business and financial hub of national and international importance. North of Aspen Way, Poplar is an established, vibrant, multicultural low to medium residential area. So that the masterplan complements and provides a transition between these two communities, we have defined local character areas.

    Character areas

    The proposed masterplan character strategy begins by looking at what exists and how this could be enhanced. By defining local character areas, the masterplan aims to focus on what unique assets exist already, so the area continues to grow as a distinctive series of interconnected places and homogeneous new development is avoided.

    The below drawing outlines the local character areas within and around the masterplan which have been defined to respond to existing qualities. This includes the dock edge, Poplar High Street, Poplar Station and Canary Wharf.

    Existing and proposed character areas

    (1) Canary Wharf: Canary Wharf is a key global employment centre with a high density of office space. There has also been an increase in the number of leisure and residential-led developments. The planned opening of the Elizabeth Line at the new Canary Wharf Crossrail station provides significant opportunity for connectivity across the wider area.

    (2) North Quay: The southern portion of the masterplan area should contribute to strengthening Canary Wharf as a global business centre while making it a more vibrant, attractive destination. Although office space will continue to be a major part of the character, it should be mixed with food and beverage, retail, community, and residential uses so the area becomes an active place in the daytime and evening. This area falls within the Canary Wharf tall building zone, in which tall buildings are considered appropriate. However, new tall buildings must step down from 1 Canada Square, providing a transition to the residential context of Blackwall and Poplar.

    (3) Dockside: North Dock is one of the masterplan site’s greatest assets. The new hard-landscaped dockside promenade should reflect the area’s industrial heritage and provide places to sit and enjoy views to the water. Ground floor uses should animate and activate the space for example with cafes, restaurants, and retail.

    (4) Aspen Way: A major highway which supports the economy of London, Aspen Way is also a significant barrier and source of noise and air pollution. Upgraded existing and new bridge connections should create attractive walking and cycling routes with planting and seating. New development facing Aspen Way should act as a buffer to internal streets.

    Creating a new landscaped connection across Aspen Way and incorporating taller elements into urban blocks with active ground floors that animate streetscapes.

    (5) Station Gateway: Improve the existing access to Poplar Station with a hard-landscaped stepped and ramped route incorporating planting and seating. In the future, there is also potential for a secondary eastern station entrance and public square at the landing of the new bridge over Aspen Way.

    (6) Blackwall Edge: The Blackwall area is a predominantly residential area undergoing substantial change and transformation. Its edge should act as an interface between taller and denser development in Canary Wharf and the residential context of Poplar and Blackwall.

    (7) Poplar Neighbourhood Centre: Poplar Centre currently offers a mix of shops, food and drink premises and local services but is somewhat hindered by vehicular traffic and poor-quality pedestrian experience particularly at the junction with Cotton Street. New ground floor uses should contribute to active streetscapes and improved pedestrian experience.

    (8) St Matthias: New development within and adjacent to St. Matthias Conservation Area must positively interface with historic buildings and context. There already exists a concentration of community uses around Poplar Park which has the potential to become a vibrant community hub.

    (9) All Saints: The area surrounding All Saints Church extending south of Poplar High Street is predominantly characterised by low to mid-rise, post-war social housing. Any redevelopment in the area must be sensitive to the existing residential and historic contexts of both the All Saints Church Poplar and the St. Matthias Conservation areas.

    Building heights

    In addition to defining character areas, the masterplan will develop a heights strategy for the area to mediate between the tall buildings within Canary Wharf and the lower scale context of South Poplar. In this regard, the development of tall buildings will be addressed as part of the masterplan.

    Tall buildings can positively contribute to the local economy and environment by delivering growth for much needed homes and other valued uses, however tall buildings can also cause considerable harm to the character and identity of an area through individual or cumulative developments.

    The masterplan's proposed indicative heights strategy has been prepared in response to surrounding sensitivities and existing local and regional planning policies.

    Proposed heights strategy

    Have your say

    To provide feedback on this principle, you can head to our interactive map, complete a survey or leave an idea on our suggestion board.

  • Connectivity

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    02 Nov 2020

    As part of this exhibition, we want to hear your thoughts on the masterplan.

    Current connections around Poplar and the Isle of Dogs

    The masterplan site has excellent connectivity to Greater London. The area is well connected by public transport and the arrival of the Elizabeth Line at Crossrail Place will improve this further. The City of London is only 15 minutes via the DLR and 30 minutes cycling. From Poplar Station, the emerging cultural hub at Canning Town is only 5 minutes and Stratford is 20 minutes on the DLR.

    Diagram showing existing connections around Poplar and the Isle...

    As part of this exhibition, we want to hear your thoughts on the masterplan.

    Current connections around Poplar and the Isle of Dogs

    The masterplan site has excellent connectivity to Greater London. The area is well connected by public transport and the arrival of the Elizabeth Line at Crossrail Place will improve this further. The City of London is only 15 minutes via the DLR and 30 minutes cycling. From Poplar Station, the emerging cultural hub at Canning Town is only 5 minutes and Stratford is 20 minutes on the DLR.

    Diagram showing existing connections around Poplar and the Isle of Dogs

    Masterplan connectivity strategy

    The masterplan strategy is to both upgrade existing and create new north-south and east-west connections. The existing route from Poplar High Street to Poplar Station and across Aspen Way can be improved in terms of both accessibility and quality. A second north-south connection will link Poplar High Street to the current Billingsgate Market site and Crossrail Place. The new bridge link across Aspen Way is envisioned as a green, landscaped pedestrian and cyclist bridge and will allow for a future, secondary entrance to Poplar Station.

    Proposed cycling and pedestrian connections

    Precedent images

    Areas for change and improvement

    Despite having excellent city-wide and regional connectivity, local walking and cycling routes within the masterplan area can be much improved. Aspen Way, Trafalgar Way, North Dock and the DLR rail lines and depot all create physical barriers and restrict movement within the site and to adjoining areas. Not only does Aspen Way create a major physical barrier limiting north-south connectivity, but it also forms a socio-economic barrier between some of London’s most deprived communities in Poplar and some of London’s most affluent in Canary Wharf.

    The masterplan can help address such barriers to connectivity and improve the experience of pedestrians and cyclists. Currently, in many locations the pedestrian experience is poor and disjointed. Level changes and limited signage make access to Poplar station and between South Poplar and Canary Wharf difficult to navigate. Within the site, there is currently limited direct public access to the dockside or to the new Elizabeth Line Station.

    In terms of east-west connectivity, a new dockside promenade and public space will link West India Quay to Trafalgar Way and the forthcoming development at Wood Wharf. This link will improve wider pedestrian connectivity and help deliver the ambition of a ‘Thames-to-Thames’ walking route. Additional east-west connections north of Aspen Way can also embed the proposed redeveloped DLR depot site into the wider street network.

    Vehicle connections

    Proposed vehicular connections

    The masterplan area has good vehicular connectivity, however congestion along both Aspen Way and Poplar High Street has some negative impacts on the surrounding areas. In particular, air quality and the environment around Aspen Way is poor and additional development has the potential to increase vehicular traffic.

    The masterplan will promote active forms of travel, including walking, cycling and public transport, as the preferred means of transportation. However, vehicular access to new development will still be necessary for servicing, accessibility, and emergency services. Two new east-west vehicular routes are proposed with controlled access. Both routes will be pedestrian and cyclist priority.

    Have your say

    To provide feedback on this principle, you can head to our interactive map, complete a survey or leave an idea on our suggestion board.

  • Heritage and culture

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    02 Nov 2020

    As part of this exhibition, we want to hear your thoughts on the masterplan.

    Masterplan history and heritage strategy

    The masterplan will make the most of the historic assets of the docks and the remaining beautiful building frontages along Poplar High Street. The North Dock and water characterise the southern portion of the site and act as a visual reminder of its industrial heritage. In recognition of their significance, the quay walls, copings and buttresses to the docks are Grade I listed and the Accumulator Tower next to Trafalgar Way is Grade II listed. The masterplan will celebrate these assets...

    As part of this exhibition, we want to hear your thoughts on the masterplan.

    Masterplan history and heritage strategy

    The masterplan will make the most of the historic assets of the docks and the remaining beautiful building frontages along Poplar High Street. The North Dock and water characterise the southern portion of the site and act as a visual reminder of its industrial heritage. In recognition of their significance, the quay walls, copings and buttresses to the docks are Grade I listed and the Accumulator Tower next to Trafalgar Way is Grade II listed. The masterplan will celebrate these assets by creating a generous new public space along that dockside, stepping buildings back to maximise public access to the water’s edge. Views to the water and the Accumulator Tower can be optimised from both the public realm and new buildings.

    Existing heritage assets map

    Images of existing heritage assets

    North of Aspen Way, part of the masterplan site falls within the boundary of the St. Matthias Church Conservation Area. The area is characterised by several architecturally significant buildings predominantly dating from the second half of the 19th century. At its heart, nestled in Poplar Park, lies the Grade II* listed St. Matthias Church, the oldest church in Poplar dating from 1654. Along Poplar High Street, several listed buildings, including Poplar Technical College within the site, are a reminder of when the area was the administrative centre of Poplar and a key route from Blackwall to the centre of London. New development should respect the scale and setting of these buildings by stepping down in massing towards Poplar High Street. Locating community uses and facilities within and near the historic cluster will enhance vibrancy and increase visibility and accessibility to the existing heritage.

    Have your say

    To provide feedback on this principle, you can head to our interactive map, complete a survey or leave an idea on our suggestion board.

  • Liveability

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    02 Nov 2020

    As part of this exhibition, we want to hear your thoughts on the masterplan.

    Current context

    People’s priorities are shifting. Health and wellbeing, sustainability, and work-life balance are becoming increasingly important. More people are choosing to live near their work or choosing active modes of transport. However, often there are physical and social barriers that means not everyone has access to the same choices.

    Masterplan liveability strategy

    The masterplan can seek to address certain inequalities by promoting neighbourhoods where everyone has access to essential services and amenities within a 15-minute walking distance. Prioritising high-density, mixed use buildings contribute to compact...

    As part of this exhibition, we want to hear your thoughts on the masterplan.

    Current context

    People’s priorities are shifting. Health and wellbeing, sustainability, and work-life balance are becoming increasingly important. More people are choosing to live near their work or choosing active modes of transport. However, often there are physical and social barriers that means not everyone has access to the same choices.

    Masterplan liveability strategy

    The masterplan can seek to address certain inequalities by promoting neighbourhoods where everyone has access to essential services and amenities within a 15-minute walking distance. Prioritising high-density, mixed use buildings contribute to compact neighbourhoods. This allows more people to live and work near transport hubs and more local services supported by increased population density.

    Diagram showing a high density block that combines mid and high-rise developments. In locations where tall buildings are appropriate, tall elements can be incorporated into urban blocks that create active streetscapes and quality amenity for residents.

    High-density does not always mean tall buildings, as medium-rise developments are more likely to deliver better amenity for residents. They provide a human scale and can create a better sense of community and intimacy. While there are appropriate places for tall buildings within the masterplan area, these should be incorporated into urban blocks that positively define streets, animate public spaces with active uses and provide amenities including quality open spaces for residents.

    Have your say

    To provide feedback on this principle, you can head to our interactive map, complete a survey or leave an idea on our suggestion board.

  • Uses and mix

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    02 Nov 2020

    As part of this exhibition, we want to hear your thoughts on the masterplan.

    Masterplan site context

    The masterplan site occupies a unique location bordering Canary Wharf and South Poplar. Canary Wharf is an international centre of business and finance although in recent years there has been increasing diversification with new housing, leisure, and community facilities. South Poplar by contrast is a vibrant, predominantly residential neighbourhood with a strong, multicultural community.

    Against the contrasting environments of South Poplar and Canary Wharf is the need to deliver new quality housing, jobs and supporting services.

    The drawing below shows a high-level strategy...

    As part of this exhibition, we want to hear your thoughts on the masterplan.

    Masterplan site context

    The masterplan site occupies a unique location bordering Canary Wharf and South Poplar. Canary Wharf is an international centre of business and finance although in recent years there has been increasing diversification with new housing, leisure, and community facilities. South Poplar by contrast is a vibrant, predominantly residential neighbourhood with a strong, multicultural community.

    Against the contrasting environments of South Poplar and Canary Wharf is the need to deliver new quality housing, jobs and supporting services.

    The drawing below shows a high-level strategy of where these new uses could be located across the masterplan site.

    Indicative use strategy

    Masterplan mix and uses strategy

    The site and immediate context continue to experience unprecedented growth and development pressures. This masterplan will help manage growth sustainably, secure benefits for the wider community, and ensure supporting infrastructure is delivered alongside new housing. New uses must also compliment the characters of both South Poplar and Canary Wharf and create a transition in scale between the iconic skyline of Canary Wharf and the low-rise, historic Poplar High Street.

    South of Aspen Way, development should contribute to the emerging metropolitan centre of Canary Wharf. New uses and facilities should contribute to a vibrant mix of housing, employment, retail and leisure. Different types of workspace should also be provided including modern offices, studio spaces, incubating emerging business, and industrial workspace, with a minimum 10% affordable workspace (in accordance with Tower Hamlet's Local Plan.

    The area north of Aspen Way is a vibrant, residential community and a suitable location for family housing, social infrastructure and low to mid-rise new mixed-use development.Precedent images

    New residential development will bring increased population that must be supported by additional services. A new education facility has been identified as part of the redevelopment of the Billingsgate Market site within the Council's Local Plan. The masterplan will help work out what further community services are required to serve an increased population. Community uses should be located to strengthen the existing cluster on Poplar High Street which is easily accessible by public transport.

    Have your say

    To provide feedback on this principle, you can head to our interactive map, complete a survey or leave an idea on our suggestion board.

  • Green and open spaces

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    02 Nov 2020

    As part of this exhibition, we want to hear your thoughts on the masterplan.

    Current open and green spaces

    To the north, Poplar Park and Bartlett Park are well-used, important public recreation spaces enjoyed by residents, visitors, and students. Canary Wharf to the south has several attractive landscaped squares and green spaces including the proximate Cabot Square and Canada Square Park. However, the site area itself currently has very limited open space and access to nature. The water space and historic docks are one of the site’s greatest assets. However, public access is discontinuous. Additionally, physical barriers and poor connectivity...

    As part of this exhibition, we want to hear your thoughts on the masterplan.

    Current open and green spaces

    To the north, Poplar Park and Bartlett Park are well-used, important public recreation spaces enjoyed by residents, visitors, and students. Canary Wharf to the south has several attractive landscaped squares and green spaces including the proximate Cabot Square and Canada Square Park. However, the site area itself currently has very limited open space and access to nature. The water space and historic docks are one of the site’s greatest assets. However, public access is discontinuous. Additionally, physical barriers and poor connectivity between South Poplar and Canary Wharf decreases accessibility to the existing nearby quality public spaces.

    Open and green space strategy

    The masterplan green and open space strategy is to create a series of new public spaces and landscaped routes which connect to the wider network of green spaces. A new green north-south spine bridges Aspen Way and connects South Poplar with Canary Wharf. A new east-west dockside promenade links the popular West India Quay across to Trafalgar Way, Poplar Dock Marina and eventually to the Wood Wharf Development. The continuous, attractive waterfront space should be sufficiently generous to accommodate public and café seating, a promenade and maximise access to the water’s edge.
    Proposed green and open spaces

    Precedent images

    New public spaces along the north-south and east-west routes will have a variety of characters ranging from the dockside promenade to a planted, landscaped bridge over Aspen Way. Smaller squares and pockets parks provide local places for physical activity, socialising, sitting, and dwelling and allow for different activities throughout the day and evening. The placement of these new public spaces in relation to new buildings must be carefully considered to optimise daylight and reduce the impacts of noise and air pollution from Aspen Way.

    Precedent images

    Have your say

    To provide feedback on this principle, you can head to our interactive map, complete a survey or leave an idea on our suggestion board.