Designer behind King’s Cross unveils £2bn ‘new town’ in Docklands

The planning mastermind behind the transformation of King’s Cross today submitted a £2 billion bid to create a Docklands “new town” between the City and Canary Wharf.

Roger Madelin, who spent nearly 30 years turning King’s Cross from post-industrial wasteland into one of Europe’s most admired regeneration schemes, wants to repeat the achievement at Canada Water in Rotherhithe.

Today’s planning application from property firm British Land would create a new high street and a town square as big as Leicester Square.  

There would be 3,000 new homes, two million square feet of offices and other workspaces, and one million square feet of shops, entertainment and community space. There would also be a 35-storey tower.

The 53-acre site is a similar size to King’s Cross. 

It currently hosts the Eighties Surrey Quays shopping centre and leisure park next to the partly in-filled remnants of Canada Dock, former Rotherhithe police station, and the former Surrey Quays SE16 printworks where the Evening Standard and Daily Mail were once produced.

An outline application for a 10-year masterplan and detailed proposals for the first phase of the scheme were lodged today with Southwark council.

Mr Madelin, head of Canada Water Development at British Land, said: “Drawing on our experience of creating vibrant, mixed-use places, this urban centre at Canada Water will provide an exciting place to live, work and visit.”

If the scheme gets the go-ahead, construction is expected to start next spring and create about 20,000 jobs. 

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British Land originally planned to demolish the printworks site but is now considering keeping it after Printworks became one of London’s most successful music venues, described as “the jewel in 2017’s clubbing crown.” 

It was used for filming Ed Sheeran videos, and the launch of new Nike boots at an event attended by Neymar and Ronaldo.

Mr Madelin, who was lured out of retirement plans by the scheme, said the high street would be closed to private cars. Southwark council leader Peter John said: “It is fantastic to see this moving forward. 

The masterplan will deliver what local people want to see, including a guaranteed 35 per cent affordable housing split, 70 per cent social rent and 30 per cent shared ownership in the first phase, education and health facilities, and a brand new leisure centre.”

A decision on the planning application is expected by the end of the year.

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