With the new offices for Transport for London and the Financial Conduct Authority now growing skyward, Stratford’s skyline continues to undergo dramatic changes.
Across from that major construction site, in the Olympic Park, modifications to the Olympic stadium are nearing completion, ahead of its practical transfer to football club West Ham this year. The stadium, which has been reduced in scale, will also feature a pre-Rio athletics gathering this summer, as well as an AC/DC concert.
The Olympic legacy is considered part of the City in the East expansion, with 32,000 homes, and 50,000 jobs delivered in the area across five major development sites.
The new FCA and TfL offices, shooting up between the park and Westfield shopping centre, will eventually reach 19 storeys, with the first workers moving in during 2017. Developers Lend Lease and LCR are also developing two residential towers as part of the International Quarter development. These, named Glasshouse Gardens will provide 333 homes between them.
The Northern Olympic Fringe area is drawing together a number of schemes, with supporting infrastructure including the reopening of Lea Bridge station, due soon. The station was previously closed in 1985, and its rebirth is considered key to regenerating local sites.
Among those sites are the Lea Bridge Industrial Estate, potentially a site for 300 homes, and a site belonging to waste management company Bywaters, with the potential for 685 homes and commercial space. Both of these projects went to Waltham Forest planners for pre-application presentations last September.
To the west, the new developments of Sweetwater and East Wick will add 6,000 homes and 160,000 sq m of commercial space. A consortium of Places for People and Balfour Beatty are working up project details ahead of a full planning application.
In Stratford itself, regeneration and redevelopment should provide 12,000 homes and around 700,000 sq m of commercial space. Local authority Newham published its Metropolitan Masterplan for Stratford ahead of the Olympics in 2011, identifying four areas of focus, each with potential for more housing development: Chobham Farm, the old town, Greater Carpenters, and Sugar House Lane. The masterplan covered densification, as well as other environmental benefits. And the aspiration was to aim to deliver projects within a ten year timeframe.
LPA Perspective: The fact that the developers of the International Quarter attracted two major office tenants, and have also forward sold their office blocks, has given a confidence boost to Stratford as a business location.
The transition of the athletes’ village into a major rented housing scheme has been smooth and successful, with further homes now being built to add to the community already there. And the reuse of the components of the Olympic Games is proceeding apace. Yes, parts of the area still look rather like windswept car parks, but there is plenty of activity taking place, and much more already in the development pipeline. A great Olympic legacy is being delivered, while playing its part in creating the mayor’s City in the East vision.