Morris + Company adds second staircase to decommissioned Canary Wharf skyscraper

Developer Ballymore halted plans for the 424-house tower in January, hours before Tower Hamlets Council would rule on the application. It came on the heels of the fire brigade saying they “disagree” that the proposed single-stair design provides a “proper and convenient means of escape” in the event of a fire.

Now Morris + Company, working with WSP fire architect and planning consultant Rofle Judd, has updated the tower’s plans, replacing the lift in the building’s south core with a new staircase accessible from each floor.

The changes, which do not affect the number of houses or the facade of the building, mean that there will be one less elevator for the building. However, a planning statement said the other three lifts “have been increased in size and will operate more quickly to meet waiting time requirements”.

The document also said that some of the rest spaces were “provided with their own separate core access/exit lobby” and that a “direct firefighting access corridor” was provided on the ground floor.

An updated fire statement said the plan in the event of a fire was still available to residents, with a simultaneous evacuation of other places, including shops.

She added that the fire risk will be reduced through the construction, mainly through the use of “non-combustible concrete” in addition to the external non-combustible cladding and insulation. She also said the building will have sprinklers, and that fire alarms are recommended for single apartments.

In January, the London Fire Brigade said: “We do not believe that sufficient justification has been given for the one long staircase approach, nor do we agree that certain aspects of the design are compatible with such an approach.”

The LFB’s objection followed a vicious campaign by Tower Hamlets Justice for Leaseholders (THJL), a local group of renters who live in apartments with combustible cladding and other fire safety defects.

A spokesperson said: “We would like to thank Ballymore for listening to the concerns of local residents and tenants and getting back to the drawing board for this scheme. They didn’t have to put in a second fire escape stairway as per national legislation or the Regs Haven building hasn’t changed, but they decided to do the right thing.”

“We urge other developers to do the same on this, but the law must change to align with Scotland imposing second staircases on all new apartment buildings over 18 metres.”

Single stairs are permitted in high-rise apartment buildings in England if the fire safety strategy for the building involves most residents remaining on the property – rather than evacuating – in the event of a fire. However, the single-stair towers came under scrutiny in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire, as the cabin failed.

The London Fire Brigade has raised concerns about more than 120 planning applications featuring high-rise single-stair buildings between April 2021 and January 2022, according to the London Fire Brigade. inside the residence.

The 174-meter Morris + Company Tower, along with the Pocket Park, is dedicated to a 0.44 hectare site that runs along Cuba Street. The Tower Hamlets Strategic Development Committee is now set to judge the castle-inspired scheme in the coming months.

A Ballymore spokesperson said: “We have revised the design of our project on Cuba Street, following comments from the London Fire Brigade during the planning consultation process. These plans have now been submitted to the Planning Committee.

Each Ballymore development is built in strict accordance with all current guidelines and advice from independent fire safety experts and industry best practices. No development would proceed without full consultation with the London Fire Brigade and the support of Building Control, with whom we continue to work closely across our development portfolio.

A London Fire Police spokesperson said: “While we are not legal advice on such planning applications, we are currently in discussions with the design team for this development and will provide comment to the local authority in due course.”

Morris+ has been contacted for comment.

NEW: Updated ground floor plan of Morris + .’s proposed Canary Wharf skyscrapers

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