British Land wins permission for '3bn London development
British Land has won planning permission for a '3.3bn development at Canada Water, in a major step towards the creation of a new 'town centre' in south-east London across the river Thames from Canary Wharf.
The listed company said on Tuesday it would start work on the 53-acre site, one of the UK capital's largest current projects, in 2020 after five years of consultation.
The master plan by architects Allies & Morrison effectively creates a town centre in south-east London, including 3,000 homes, up to 2m square feet of workspace for 20,000 workers, a high street and 12 acres of open space. It is expected to take about 15 years to complete.
The outline planning permission from Southwark council came despite a last-minute objection from Canary Wharf Group, which runs the eponymous east London financial district, over transport capacity.
Chris Grigg, British Land chief executive, said: 'This is an opportunity to build a new part of London, a new town centre, something unique, from the ground up, using space more intensively?.?.?.?London has been moving east for over a decade now, so this is in a sweet spot.'
The permission, which also includes approval of detailed plans for the first phase of construction, has been granted as the UK capital awaits the outcome of chaotic'Brexit'deliberations on the part of Boris Johnson's government. The UK is currently due to leave the EU on October 31.
Mr Grigg said British Land had 'built a lot of flexibility into the master plan?.?.?.?we would expect that by the time we are pressing the button [to start the scheme], in terms of Brexit we will have moved forward.'
British Land, which has a market capitalisation of '5.4bn, is funding work on the development from its own resources, but is likely to seek joint venture partners for future phases, Mr Grigg said. It has previously formed partnerships, such as one with Singapore's sovereign wealth fund GIC for the Broadgate office development in the City of London.
The Canada Water development'site'includes the old Daily Mail printworks, which for the time being will be maintained as an arts and music venue.
The scheme's first phase includes a 34-storey tower but Mr Grigg said building heights would be mixed and would not echo the cluster of skyscrapers in Canary Wharf, which include the headquarters of banks such as HSBC and Citigroup.
Canary Wharf Group had lobbied for a greater contribution to transport budgets from British Land, on the grounds that London Underground's Jubilee line would become overcrowded. But British Land said its development included '33m of transport funding, including new bus routes and 10,000 cycle parking spaces.
The Canada Water development will include a town square
Some 35 per cent of the new homes will be affordable, an increase on British Land's original commitment as London mayor Sadiq Khan demands more affordable housing from developers.
Canada Water is one of British Land's most ambitious schemes after the group moved towards large developments involving multiple buildings. As demand for land and buildings in London remains strong, developers are building on some of the last big former industrial sites, such as the land surrounding Battersea Power Station and the'Wembley'Park area.
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