Proposal to demolish and rebuild 28 Ensign Street (Topps Tiles) – Ensign Court

On my first trawl of planning applications of 2014, I noticed an application for the demolition and rebuilding of what is presently 28 Ensign Street, London, E1, possibly noted as a Topps Tiles and previously home to the only walk-in cigar humidor I’ve ever seen.

The full application and all attachments can be found here. The design and access statement which is the more accessible bit is in three parts: one, two, three.
It’s all a bit generic, and based on the photo render, looks like their hope is for a Tesco Express in the basement- the retail space is reduced by a third compared to the current shop and there’s no car park.
My first reading of the plans made me think  the anticipated residents of the affordable rented flats clearly couldn’t be trusted  – surely the only reason why they have to have their own bike storage (or was it vice versa?). I then realised, no, it’s actually because ground floor access for the affordable renters is on Dock Street, and for the private accommodation on Ensign Street with a wall separating the two groups. Ne’er the twain shall meet. A separate but equal policy I’m sure.

“There are two entrances into separate cores, with a bin and secure bike store controlled by fob to ensure safe and secure access for all users”

There is supposedly a loading bay – which I assume is on Ensign Street by the bin rooms. As the car park of the current building has been lost I assume that means that pedestrians can expect to have to walk into the road when a delivery arrives. Not ideal given that Ensign Street is one way and any congestion on Ensign Street arising from the building may lead to greater issues for Westbound traffic on The Highway.

My big short term concern though is the impact on pedestrians during demolition and construction. I assume the pavement is going to have to close, which either requires two crossings of The Highway, or walking about 400m around the block. Even if access isn’t closed, pedestrians will be pushed towards The Highway – the necessity of this is evident from the render of the retail space on The Highway – although ground floor will be recessed from the roadway, the first floor is quite close.

Whatever the outcome, expect some moderate inconvenience as the 16 storeys emerge.

Separate but equal
View from the South on Vaughan Way

West elevation (Dock Street)

Sketch from East down the Highway

East elevation (Ensign Street)

Retail on southern aspect

View from the West
Photo mash up Dock Street

Southern elevation

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