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Allies and Morrison's mammoth Canada Water scheme set for approval

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Allies and Morrison’s masterplan for British Land’s £4 billion regeneration of a 21ha chunk of Canada Water has been recommended for approval by planning officers

A bumper 244-page report by Southwark planning officers argues that plans for building up to 4,000 homes, 40 new buildings and three clusters of high-rise towers should progress. 

The scale of the scheme means the application will be spread over two separate planning committees with the first scheduled for next Wednesday (25 September).

Southwark councillors will vote on the masterplan which has been described by officers as an ’ambitious scheme’ which delivers a ’robust urban framework that would deliver a lasting legacy to the area’. 

The masterplan covers the former Daily Mail printworks, the Surrey Quays Shopping and Leisure Centre, the Dock Offices and the former Rotherhithe Police Station.

Overall the development will provides 35 per cent affordable housing with 25 per cent social rent and 10 per cent intermediate. British Land has secured a £39.1 million grant from the GLA for the project.

Alongside the outline, detailed proposals have been submitted for three plots with 650 homes, approximately 93,000m² of workspace, a leisure centre and ‘enhancements’ to Canada Water dock.

The first plot, A1, is designed by Allies and Morrison and includes a 35-storey tower providing 186 homes and 10,700m² of office and retail in an adjoining six-storey building.

Eight of the flats will be discounted rent units and the other 178 would be private homes.

The practice has also designed a second building, A2, overlooking Canada Water with 15,800m² of flexible workspace, wide planted balconies and a public leisure centre beneath, complete with an eight-lane swimming pool.

Since being submitted, the building’s timber panels have been swapped for terracotta to improve fire safety.

The third plot, K1, is a red brick six-storey block designed by Morris + Company Architects with 79 flats (down from an original 86) with a courtyard garden located on Roberts Close next to Russia Dock Woodland.

Web crop morris co canada water

Web crop morris co canada water

The scheme was first submitted in March 2018 but was scaled back in height after Historic England argued the seven tall buildings would harm views of some of the capital’s most famous landmarks.

The impact on Tower Bridge would be ‘particularly harmful’, the body argued, as it would block part of its silhouette in views along London Bridge, ‘visually competing with its monumental character and reducing its landmark status along the Thames’.

According to the council officer’s report, the scheme generated 233 objections and 48 letters of support.

Residents were concerns over the height of the scheme and the amount of affordable housing being delivered overall, as well as the low level of affordable housing in the Allies tower block. 

The scale and architecture of Morris + Company’s building also received a high number of objections, according to the report. 

There was also a 330-signature petition from the Canada Water West Resident Action Group, which called for building heights to be limited to the existing Ontario Point tower (87m).

Architects involved on subsequent phases include Hawkins\Brown, which has been appointed to draw up plans for the redevelopment of the Printworks, vacated by the Daily Mail in 2012 and now used as a nightclub and events space. 

Maccreanor Lavington has also been appointed to prepare a feasibility study for a building in one of the project’s later phases. The public realm elements of the masterplan was designed by Townshend Landscape Architects.

Subject to planning approval, construction of the first buildings will begin in spring 2019, with the entire scheme expected to be completed by 2033.

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