University set to resubmit plans for new business school

An image of what the new business school could look like

An image of what the new business school could look like - Credit: Nicholas Hare Architects

Proposals for the redevelopment of former student accommodation to become a business school are set to be resubmitted.

Queen Mary University London (QMUL) presented its pre-planning application proposals for the former Hatton House, on its Mile End campus, to Tower Hamlets Council's strategic development committee.

The plans would see the building demolished and rebuilt to house the university's School of Business Management.

Proposals also include the refurbishment of 357 Mile End Road to be a free legal advice hub for the community, while the Lock Keeper's Cottage will be used as a cafe and events space.

The committee refused the university's original application in December 2019.

357 Mile End Road was earmarked for demolition in the initial plans and was a reason for refusal, as was the height and mass of the proposed development.

Ian McManus, QMUL's director of estates, told the February 16 meeting that the height of the latest development has been reduced from eight storeys to seven storeys.

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Committee chair Cllr Kevin Brady said: "It's a much nicer building as far as I can tell. We're very aware of how important the university is to the borough.

"This is a much more sympathetic design and that is really pleasing to see."

The meeting also heard from Professor Mike Noon, the business school's dean, who explained the significance of the proposals.

He said the business school has doubled in size over the last four years to more than 3,000 students, with the biggest growth in home undergraduates.

Prof Noon said half of these undergraduates were from east London, while more than half of the school's students are from households with an annual income of less than £20,000.

"If there's one thing we've learnt from the pandemic, when we had to teach students online in their homes, the overwhelming majority of our local students lack high quality individual study space. This building provides it.

"I know all our students will benefit from this building, but I believe it will be the greatest benefit to the local students from the least privileged backgrounds."

Cllr Val Whitehead felt the scheme was a "huge improvement" but said she had received concerns from residents unhappy at the university's consultation on it and that local organisations found out "by accident".

John Greenshields, from Kanda Consulting, said 3,500 physical flyers were delivered, around 70,000 social media adverts posted and stakeholders were informed about the scheme.

The committee noted the report and presentation, with QMUL now expected to submit a planning application.