One of the last large empty plots of land at Canary Wharf, which was recently used to support the construction of the Crossrail station is to be finally developed into offices.
The North Quay site at Canary Wharf has always been earmarked for development, sitting in an empty space between Poplar station and the rest of the development, and now the estate plans 2.5 million sq ft of commercial office space and up to 1.6 million sq ft of residential space. It’ll also include p to 640,000 sq ft of retail and/or leisure and/or community uses.
There have been a number of previous planning applications for the site, which were later withdrawn, and some of the delays can be put down to the late arrival of the Elizabeth line as transport options in the area are already at bursting point and the last thing they needed was new offices opening too soon.
At the moment, the planning application is limited to the layout of the area and the size of the buildings, but not to their design, or final use. Canary Wharf argues that this gives it the flexibility to adapt the design over time as needs change. That’s not totally unlike how the rest of the estate emerged, with footprints agreed long before the buildings arrived.
That is why the plans are light on detail about what the buildings will look like, and heavier on the public spaces and how they will be laid out.
However, the indicative usage suggests that the residential flats will be on the corner closest to the busy road and the DLR. The soundproofing will need to be very good.
On the upside, as the entire development will share a single site-wide basement (including over 3,800 long-stay cycle parking spaces), that leaves lots of space on the tops of the buildings to be used as shared gardens.
One advantage of the scheme is that it will finally make it a lot easier to get from Poplar to Canary Wharf. While there a rather famous covered footbridge over the busy Aspen Way separating the two, it ends next to the road rather than in Canary Wharf. Fortunately, the plan preserves the footbridge rather than needing to replace it.
Also, the currently rather unpleasant space underneath the DLR’s delta junction will be opened up into an entrance park, albeit one next to a very busy road and underneath a railway.
A Grade I Listed brick dock wall (Banana Wall) exists below the surface of part of the site and is currently covered in a concrete slab, which originally formed the dockside until it was extended over to the south. The plan will be to put a supporting row of piles around the wall to support the buildings above so that the brick wall can remain in situ, albeit still hidden from view.
The full consultation is here.
The development plans at North Quay are in addition to a further 2 million sq ft Canary Wharf has underway in construction projects and a further 2.5 million sq ft in design.
The development sits next to Billingsgate fish market which will be moving to Barking Riverside in a few years time, releasing a plot of land that’s slightly larger than North Quay for development that’s being eyed up for around 1,500 homes.
All images from the planning application.