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AJ exclusive: Farrell's £1bn Asian Business Port in Royal Docks

Terry Farrell has revealed plans for a massive £1 billion business park for Chinese companies in Royal Albert Dock, east London

The low-rise, 14 hectare office scheme is to be built on long-redundant land in Newham in the enterprise zone by London City Airport and is being billed as a ‘mini-Canary Wharf ‘.

Chinese developer Advanced Business Parks (ABP) and development manager Stanhope have signed an agreement with the Greater London Authority to take forward the project which insiders expect to create a wealth of new work for practices.

Known as Asian Business Port, the first phase will deliver 63,000m of offices and, subject to planning consent, could complete by 2017.

Airport safeguards preclude any buildings higher than 10 storeys.

Early stages also included a new ‘central square’ and a dock edge walkway. As well as plans for a new pedestrian bridge into Beckton Park, the project backers intend to create a series of ‘meanwhile uses’ during construction. 

Delivery of the whole project, which is expected to create 300,000 sq m of commercial space, ‘is tentatively scheduled’ for 2023. More than £56 million will be spent on infrastructure.

Terry Farrell said: ‘This crucial component of the Royal Docks, almost 40 acres of local and national opportunity, [acts] as a missing connection in the re-invention of the east side of London.’

Lee Mallett, urban regeneration adviser at Urbik, said: ‘It is excellent news that land which has lain fallow for decades - after nearly 80 masterplanning attempts - is to become economically productive again thanks to Chinese interest in London’s economy. [Although] you can’t help feeling that the public sector’s role in this has not been as productive as it might have been… at last something is happening and London is realising its eastern promise.’

However not everybody has welcomed the proposals. Peter Rees, city planning officer at the City of London said: ‘Looks like the out-of-town business park concept isn’t dead after all.’

Ben Paul of East End-based practice Neu Architects added: ‘We don’t want to see another privately owner swathe of London being developed without any long-term connection to the local community.

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