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Docklands and Canada Water
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Canada Water is next to get the King's Cross big regeneration treatment

This £4 billion project will create the first new London town centre in 50 years

Written by
Alice Saville
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King's Cross is basically unrecognisable, after a ten-year redevelopment programme transformed it from a grimy hinterland of raves and nefarious activities into a shiny, design-led district that's soon to be home to Google's HQ. And whether or not you miss its rough-round-the-edges past, it's definitely brought plenty of new blood to N1. Now, another well-connected-but-neglected postcode is getting the major redevelopment treatment at the hands of the same developer, Roger Madelin of British Land. Canada Water has landed a whopping £4 billion of investment to transform its town centre and provide thousands of new homes. 

The next 15 years will be massive for Canada Water. It's getting a shiny new town centre, including 10 new streets with a new shopping high street at their heart. 3,000 new homes will be built, of which 25 percent will be social rented, and another 10 percent will be designated as affordable (which includes shared ownership). New office buildings will provide over two million square feet of workspace for up to 20,000 workers. And there'll also be one million square feet of shopping, leisure, entertainment, education and community space included in the plans. 

The most novel aspect of the development is probably the emphasis on sustainability and the outdoors. Developer British Land is promising that it'll be net zero on carbon emissions, taking measures such as using cement-free concrete to cut carbon use, in a UK first. 1,200 new trees will be planted. And it'll also include shedloads of green space, including a new boardwalk and pergola over Canada Water itself, which'll offer views over seven wetland islands, and a dipping pond for kids to discover aquatic wildlife.

The project has already begun with the construction of 79 homes for Southwark Council, 60 of which will be council homes at council rents, to be completed in 2023. There's also a new leisure centre coming in the first phase of the plans.

But the plans aren't without their fair share of controversy, with local residents complaining that new tower blocks will cast a shadow over local school playgrounds. Even more unfortunately, it looks like much-loved mega club Printworks will be lost as part of the development: it's slated to be turned into a mixture of offices and 'cultural venues'. But where King's Cross's big redevelopment attracted criticism for the sky-high top prices of the flats on sale, Canada Water's development at least includes a decent chunk of social housing. Plus the emphasis on green space means that although it might be bad news for ravers, it's great news for ducks. 

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