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BL lodges outline plans and signs develoment agreement for Canada Water makeover

By Paul Norman - Monday, May 14, 2018 9:00

British Land has entered into a Master Development Agreement with Southwark Council and submitted an outline planning application for the Canada Water Masterplan, one of London’s largest development projects which will create an urban centre for London. CoStar News takes a whistle stop tour.

The submission of a planning application follows four years of collaboration with Southwark Council and consultation with the local community.

Alongside the overall Masterplan the planning submission also includes a detailed planning application for the project’s first three buildings, which include workspace, homes (of which 35% will be affordable) and a leisure centre.

These three buildings are part of a major first phase of the development covering a total of 1.8m sq ft of mixed use space, comprising 1m sq ft of workspace, 250,000 sq ft of retail and leisure and 650 homes. Subject to planning approvals, construction of the first buildings will begin in spring 2019.

The wider Masterplan is expected to deliver up to 3,000 homes, 2m sq ft of workspace and 1m sq ft of retail, leisure, entertainment and community space including proposed health and social infrastructure, and educational uses for all ages.

Roger Madelin, Head of Canada Water Development, British Land, said: “Submission of our planning application for the Canada Water Masterplan marks an important milestone in the delivery of this project.

“Drawing on our experience of creating vibrant, mixed-use places across the capital, this major urban centre at Canada Water will provide an exciting place to live, work and visit, delivering high quality design, active spaces and significant economic and social benefits for the local community.

“We have worked closely with Southwark Council and the local community of Canada Water to achieve this important first step, and will continue to work with them to deliver a low carbon, energy efficient neighbourhood. We will put health and wellbeing at the heart of our plans to ensure the buildings and spaces we create encourage and support healthy lives.”

Cllr Peter John, Leader of Southwark Council, said: “It is fantastic to see this project moving forward. British Land have done great work to consult and engage with local people and the resulting Masterplan will deliver what local people want to see, including a guaranteed 35% affordable housing split 70% social rent and 30% shared ownership in the first phase, new retail spaces and job opportunities, education and health facilities and a brand new leisure centre. In addition British Land, in conjunction with the council, has committed to a Social Regeneration Charter which will ensure that the lives of existing local residents will be improved by the project which we believe to be a first for a project such as this.

“People will be able to see the proposals and make further comments through the planning procedure, so there is still time to get involved and help create the future of Canada Water.”

The 53 acre site comprises Surrey Quays Shopping and Leisure, the SE16 Printworks, the Dock Offices and the former Rotherhithe Police Station.

The Masterplan envisages a "mix of uses and innovative public spaces designed for a range of ages, incomes and life stages".

BL said: "The buildings, set around water and green public spaces, will together create a vibrant destination where people can live, work and be entertained throughout the day and into the evening. This approach is already evident at Printworks, an exciting 119,000 sq ft events space with capacity for 5,000 people that British Land has created on the site of the former SE16 Printworks."

On completion, the Masterplan will be home to approximately 20,000 jobs with thousands of people working on site during construction, including apprenticeships and training. A decision on the planning application is expected by the end of the year.

The plans

Roger Madelin says BL's emphasis is on innovation at Canada Water, which is a 53-acre London regeneration project notable for its lack of association with an obvious anchor when compared to rivals such as White City, where the BBC has long made its home, or Battersea Power Station and its iconic chimneys, or Stratford and the London Olympics Park.

That gives BL the opportunity to create something entirely fresh, something Madelin says that will offer options for all forms of housing and working styles.

"This is a scheme that will lead to increased productivity that works for people across all areas of life in overlapping ways."

BL has assiduously slotted together the pieces of the site, buying two fringe sites recently including the historice Dock office and clock tower.

Madelin says occupier interest in what the scheme can offer is already strong, with seven leading corporates he says considering a move.

That said, one local occupier that BL is courting openly about the potential for a major educational campus is King's College, which is understood to be eyeing a location for an advanced engineering facility potentially at the site in partnership with educational departments at Arizona State University and University of New South Wales.

Madelin's experience in bringing Central St Martin's College to the King's Cross Central and the life and character that comes from clearly informs part of this conversation.

Emma Cariaga, head of operations, points to the sheer size of the scheme - the planning application when printed out is reckoned to be the tallest in terms of a paper mountain - as key to creating variety.

There will be 40 new buildings, six new public spaces, 16 streets and lanes and a town square the size of Leicester Square she says.

There will be innovations around water features at the heart of the site whcih will celebrate Canada Water and its rich dockyard history.

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