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Development roundup – all-star shortlist for Thamesmead regeneration

A ‘diverse and innovative’ group of architects and designers, with UK and international expertise, have made the shortlist to potentially become strategic masterplanners for the £8 billion Thamesmead Waterfront regeneration in South East London.

The group will now enter the final phase of a competition designed to appoint strategic masterplanners with ‘the visionary and strategic ability to help shape an enormous new neighbourhood’.

The Thamesmead Waterfront site covers 100 hectares and is within thirty minutes of central London. If selected, one of this group will work alongside Peabody and Lendlease, who have entered into a joint venture to plan and deliver a project that will create a brand-new town centre designed to meet the challenges of the post-pandemic world.

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The five teams that have been shortlisted range from within businesses of all sizes. They are:

  • Allies and Morrison with Jas Bhalla Architects; SLA; Ramboll; Montagu Evans; and Frances Holliss – This group of architects, urbanists and planners are based in London and work in cities around the world. They have a reputation for designing characterful and sustainable pieces of city and are known for their work in regeneration, housing and community.

  • Prior + Partners (with Arup; West 8; The Place Bureau; Alison Brooks Architects; Turner Works; Marc Koehler Architects; JA Projects; Schulze+Grassov; Soundings; and Sage Culture) - P+P propose a creative and innovative, multi-disciplinary masterplan design and engagement team, with the purpose of creating a meaningful and successful new place at Thamesmead Waterfront. The team brings a strong understanding of the social, civic and environmental responsibility that lies at the heart of this opportunity and a rigorous approach to design delivery.

  • Studio Egret West & Cobe (with Dark Matter Labs; Studio Weave; Freehaus Design; Yinka Ilori Studio; AKTII; Hilson Moran; and Biomatrix Water) – Lead Designers Studio Egret West and Copenhagen-based Cobe have forged a 50/50 collaboration, bringing together two practices that equally value ‘the symbiosis of architecture, urban design and landscape’. SEW have led the design of large-scale transformative projects across the UK and Cobe are the visionary lead designers of Nordhavn, the largest metropolitan development in Northern Europe.  

  • Urban Orchestra led by Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design, Mikhail Riches, Haptic and Expedition with Create Culture; Gardiner and Theobald; Gibson Thornley; GS Solutions;  Innovation First; Kjellander Sjöberg; LOLA; Madeleine Kessler Architects;  Mary Duggan Architects; Nick Elias Studio; Nordic – Office of Architecture; William Matthews Architects and ZCD Architects - The Urban Orchestra team is made up of range of innovative design and placemaking specialists. This international team is strong on collaboration and sustainability, and would bring extensive expertise across the built environment sector in creating new places with a clear purpose to support local people and grow their potential.   

  • White Arkitekter (Publica; Tredje Natur; Central Saint Martins; Public Works; Bohn & Viljoen; Buro Happold; GL Hearn; and Aurora) - White Arkitekter is an interdisciplinary practice with the mission to enable sustainable life through the art of architecture. Since being founded in Sweden by Sidney White in 1951, the practice has grown to an international collective of almost 800 staff. Their London Studio was founded in 2015 and since that time has applied an interdisciplinary approach to sustainable urban masterplans, high-quality affordable housing, state-of-the-art hospitals and award-winning cultural buildings.

Bek Seeley, managing director of development for Lendlease in Europe, commented: “We’ve been hugely impressed with the quality of the teams that have come forward. There is a superb mix of expertise from both the UK and overseas. And we’ve been particularly impressed with the smaller practices that are playing key roles within the shortlisted teams.”

A panel of external partners, created by the joint venture partnership, will now interview all of the shortlisted teams. Further details of the membership of the panel is set to be released in ‘due course’, with the competition’s winner expected to be announced in April.

John Lewis, Peabody’s executive director of the Thamesmead regeneration project, one of the largest in London, said: “Thamesmead is a remarkable place and the project we are working on will require a remarkable team of masterplanners. Their task will be to help us deliver a scheme that will make a real difference to people’s lives. We’ve been very encouraged by the work we’ve seen so far and look forward to announcing a winning team later this year.”  

Teams taking part in the competition were asked to submit expressions of interest which demonstrated the ability to understand, nurture and develop the principles of the joint venture vision. This included:  

  • Natural living - using and enhancing the existing landscape to create a unique natural destination for Thamesmead, London and the South East - providing a place where people can unwind and find space to enjoy the natural world.   

  • A city neighbourhood - providing the social infrastructure and workplaces to enable a resilient mixed-use neighbourhood with the choice, variety and opportunities of the best parts of London and the South East. 

  • Better connections - transforming connectivity into central London, including use of the river; connecting into the ‘Go East’ production corridor; and creating a legible, connected local network across Thamesmead. 

  • A safe, stable and sustainable community - creating a place that people are proud of, through community ownership and participation. A place where you know your neighbours and your neighbourhood, where you feel safe and healthy. A place that is founded on robust stewardship and long-term viability.  

  • Inclusive and affordable for all - making affordable but high-quality homes, workplaces and neighbourhoods, for a diverse community of people and businesses, creating jobs and opportunities for all. 

What is Thamesmead Waterfront?

An 100-hectare development site on the southern bank of the River Thames within the Royal Borough of Greenwich, it is described as being ‘one of the few remaining undeveloped waterfront sites in London and the South East that offers the scale and capacity to accommodate significant, sustainable, long-term economic growth and housing, particularly in a post Covid-19 world’. 

With approximately 2km of river frontage, Thamesmead Waterfront is the ‘most significant growth opportunity within Thamesmead,’ with the ability to deliver a new concept for waterfront living ‘that is accessible, inclusive and productive’.

It’s surrounded by ‘a richness of green spaces’ and a natural environment, while the site is expected to include a strong retail, commercial and leisure offering as well as a substantial number of new homes, of all tenures.

In 2019, Peabody selected Lendlease as its preferred bidder for the £8 billion, 11,500-home development, with the corporate joint venture finalised later that year.

The site is currently undeveloped and underpopulated, but is home to open grassed and wooded areas, canals, two major lakes and an existing town centre.

The plans outline a new waterfront district focused around a proposed new DLR station in the heart of the development, to bring the area closer to London, as well as rejuvenation of the existing town centre, creating one million sq ft of new cultural, community and commercial spaces for Thamesmead and for London.

It is one of the largest regeneration projects in Europe, with Thamesemead as a whole the same size as Central London. You can see more about the scheme here.  

Doncaster apartment development completes ahead of schedule

Elsewhere, a new 14-unit apartment development in Doncaster town centre has been completed.

‘Atteys House’, Cleveland Street, is situated a short distance from the new civic and cultural quarter, offering an ideal location for buy-to-let investors.

The site, completed three months ahead of schedule in January 2021, was developed in partnership with northern construction firm, Empire Property Concepts. All 14 one-bedroom apartments have been refurbished ‘to a high standard’.

London-based property developer HJ Collection purchased the site in late 2019 for £670,000. The completed Atteys House development has now been valued at £1.4 million, with each individual unit available for rent.

Reece Mennie, founder and chief executive of HJ Collection, said: “In recent years, Doncaster has become an attractive location for both property development and investment, following record levels of inward investment, which amounted to approximately £460 million.”

He added: “The completion of Atteys House, therefore, comes at an excellent time for the region and we are in no doubt that the quality finish of the units will attract professionals looking for a high-end, first-time home or for investors looking to expand their property portfolio in the Yorkshire area.”

Mennie launched HJ Collection in early 2019 following the success of his City-based investment introducing firm, Hunter Jones.

Despite the challenges presented by Covid, Mennie says 2020 was a very successful year for him and the HJ Collection team, with a range of properties being developed and completed on schedule.

With HJ Collection being ‘Permitted Development Rights’ specialists, he says 2021 looks to be an exceptional year for the company, given the abundance of commercial property coming to market with a potential for development. PDR makes it easier and simpler for retail premises to be converted into residential.

“HJ Collection has been created to revolutionise the development sector and the asset-backed loan note market by diversifying risk for investors and developing attractive residential sites in strategic locations across the UK,” Mennie claimed.

“Atteys House is a prime example of how we operate, with the development completed ahead of schedule to an incredibly high standard with all investors repaid on time. Doncaster and the Yorkshire region remains a key area of interest for us and we are currently in the process of looking for our next HJ Collection development within the region, so watch this space!”

Sales launched at riverside community

In other development news, GRE Assets has officially launched the sales of the first apartments at Nene Wharf in Peterborough. The latest scheme from the Oxford-based property developer and investment company offers high-end design and a prime location overlooking the River Nene, but ‘at reasonable prices’. It says the 128 one and two-bedroom apartments will raise the standard for Peterborough living.

Against the backdrop of the pandemic, the company argues this launch represents a positive step and joins the wider narrative of regeneration in the local area.

With £600 million of planned development within walking distance of Nene Wharf Apartments, including Station Quarter and ARU Peterborough, GRE Assets says Peterborough is cementing its position as England’s fastest-growing city.

Nene Wharf, which sits only a four-minute walk from Peterborough’s historic city centre, aims to encompass stylish, modern design, with a landscaped public realm and retail units, to create a thriving new community.

With Covid meaning that outdoor space is higher than ever on a home buyer’s agenda, every home at Nene Wharf has a private balcony or terrace, as well as access to landscaped podium gardens and private parking.

Development roundup – all-star shortlist for Thamesmead regeneration

Andrew Topping, senior operations manager at GRE Assets, said: “We are delighted to launch the sales of the first apartments at Nene Wharf, as it’s a project we are extremely proud and excited about.”

“When we first invested in Peterborough, we recognised what it had to offer in terms of connectivity and economic growth. It certainly hasn’t disappointed, we have seen with our own eyes the rate of development and regeneration, which is fantastic to see.”

He added: “GRE Assets sees Nene Wharf as very much part of this story, creating a new riverside community in the heart of this historic yet rapidly growing city. We look forward to welcoming our first residents to the apartments very soon.”

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