At the same time, it’s surrounded by over 160 acres of green spaces, park, woodland and some of London’s most historic docks. The masterplan outlines proposals to add 12 acres of new parks and squares for the local community and visitors to enjoy, as well as green corridors linking everything together.
According to the joint venture behind the scheme, the masterplan will deliver the right mix of ‘homes, shops, offices, and things to do and see that will appeal to everyone from all walks of life’. This will range from pubs, shops and restaurants to a new leisure centre with a swimming pool, gyms and sports facilities.
With more people under 35 living within a 45-minute commute than any new regeneration scheme in London, those behind the plans argue that Canada Water is easily accessible to London’s ‘huge and diverse pool of talent’.
Emma Cariaga, joint head of Canada Water, British Land, said: “We have an incredible opportunity at Canada Water. The chance to reimagine an entire town centre – in the heart of London, surrounded by parks and waterways – comes once in a lifetime.”
She added: “A truly unique place, Canada Water is central, but has a local, leafy feel. It is the sort of place where you’ll know your neighbours and feel part of a real community, where businesses can grow and where people will put down roots. A diverse area that is already home to people from all walks of life, the development will not only preserve but enhance all of the local history, character and biodiversity that’s already here.”
She said Canada Water will be the perfect place for people that want to live and work in green, healthy spaces with a real sense of community within walking distance of a range of amenities – ‘themes that have become increasingly important since the pandemic’.
The JV partners insist all of this will be achieved in the most sustainable way, ‘not just in terms of the environment but also the local community’.
Canada Water is set to be a net zero neighbourhood by 2030, delivered through materials innovation and a ‘sustainability first’ approach to all elements of design and construction.
What’s more, British Land – who are bringing to life the masterplan through a 50:50 joint venture with AustralianSuper, Australia’s biggest profit-to-member pension fund - says it has spent the last decade getting to know the local community and establishing initiatives that lay the foundations for local people to benefit from the opportunities the development will generate.
Councillor Helen Dennis, cabinet member for climate emergency and sustainable development at Southwark Council, said: “We are seizing the unique opportunity to transform a historic London docklands location into a distinctive, new waterside town centre in partnership with British Land and AustralianSuper.”
She added: “With easy links to central London and all that Southwark offers, Canada Water will have something for everyone. From thousands of new homes, particularly hundreds of much-needed social rent homes, to new shops, offices, open spaces and a brand-new public leisure centre.”
She continued: “Thanks to ongoing collaboration with the local community, we are bringing forward a vibrant, diverse neighbourhood with a strong connection to the area’s rich heritage. We recently approved planning for a 1.5 million sq. ft commercial scheme at Canada Water Dockside that will further strengthen our exciting plans with British Land to create a thriving business destination and new town centre for Southwark and London alike.”
The joint venture, which was announced in March this year, has resulted in additional funding to progress the major regeneration scheme. Phase 1 of the masterplan is already under construction and is expected to be complete in Q3 2024.
A long time in the making
The plans are nothing new. More than two and a half years ago, we covered the outlines for the Canada Water Masterplan as part of our ten-part London regeneration series.
At that point, in November 2019, British Land’s £3.3 billion scheme had only just been approved by Southwark Council after substantial consultations with the public, opposition and delays.
Not much appears to have changed with regards to the masterplan since then, although progress would appear to have been slow since the end of 2019 – not helped, of course, by the pandemic.
The announcement of the joint venture seems to have provided a fresh impetus for the scheme, which is expected to complete in totality by the mid-2030s.
Most of the opposition against it has concerned the number of affordable homes on offer and potential overcrowding at Canada Water station, a busy commuter hub. At present, the area is largely a place to pass through to other destinations, but it is trying to reinvent itself as a real destination in its own right – much like Paddington.
The latest announcement above doesn’t seem to offer anything new in terms of the masterplan itself or the progress of it, but sticks to the idea of the first phase completing in 2024.
In March, British Land - one of the largest property development and investment companies in the UK - sold half of its stake in the Canada Water Masterplan to AustralianSuper for £290 million, to accelerate the delivery of the 53-acre development, one of the largest London regeneration projects in history.