Another interesting example of the availability (or not) of facilities for all occupiers of a development. This is a difficult conversation on many sites - the artificial separation of access benefits few, but there does need to be an open and frank exploration of the advantages of maintaining a genuinely affordable service charge versus the cost of providing often quite costly on-site facilities.
We are increasingly seeing politicians (and by extension, planning officers) seeking to deal with this issue through planning obligations. Whether planning is the right regime, or s106s are a suitable tool, is up for debate. What is important is grasping this nettle to ensure vibrant and inclusive communities are created through the development process.
It has been billed as the world’s first swimming-pool bridge, a dazzling feat of acrylic engineering that will span the 14-metre gap between the two buildings and give residents the feeling of “floating through the air in central London”. But, although he lives in Embassy Gardens, Iqbal and his neighbours will never enjoy the thrill of going for an aerial dip. “We have a front-row seat of the Sky Pool,” he told me. “But the sad thing for us, living in the shared-ownership building, is that we will never have access to it. It’s only there for us to look at, just like the nice lobby, and all of the other facilities for the residents of the private blocks. Nobody expects these amenities for free, but we’re not even given the choice to pay for them.”