First look at Canary Wharf’s plans for North Quay

North Quay at Canary Wharf – that scrappy piece of land used as a building site for the Crossrail station – will become a “vibrant mixed-use district” with office space and homes.

Canary Wharf Group has submitted an outline plan to Tower Hamlets Council planners after months of consultation.

North Quay is the largest undeveloped site remaining at Canary Wharf and one of the largest development sites in London. The masterplan has been drawn up by architects Allies and Morrison.

What Canary Wharf Group says

The company says, “New public realm in the form of streets and squares will be at the heart of the scheme creating connections between Canary Wharf and South Poplar and integrating the Elizabeth Line and DLR.

“Previously inaccessible dockside will form the backbone of the design providing a 250-metre-long east-west waterside promenade. The flexible framework will enable a campus of buildings with a mix of uses, integrated with ground level amenities, retail and open space providing a vibrant, urban feel.”

What the chairman says

Sir George Iacobescu, executive chairman of CWG, said: “Our plans offer a great new place to work and to live, with extensive public realm, high-quality retail, and new connections.

“This will be a fantastic addition to the Canary Wharf estate and offer an exceptional environment for a range of occupiers and sectors including health and life sciences, technology, media, financial or business services organisations.

“In a dynamic and unpredictable world, the extensive flexibility in this plan will enable us to respond quickly to market demand.”

What the architects say

Jason Syrett, Partner of Allies and Morrison, said: “The masterplan for North Quay is structured around making connections – from South Poplar to Canary Wharf north-south and from West India Quay through to Billingsgate west-east, reactivating the north quayside of the old West India Import Dock.

“This masterplan provides a confident step forward to the next phase of Canary Wharf as a vibrant, mixed-use and truly connected place.”

Keeping it loose

CWG has notably put a caveat on how it intends to deploy the space – with a “flexible framework to suit the demands of future London”. That follows the huge upheaval in the commercial office space sector since Covid-19 sent everyone to work from home (and wanting to stay there).

The flexible framework set out in the planning application includes options for:

  • Between 1.6 and 2.5 million sq ft of business space
  • Up to 1.6 million sq ft of residential apartments
  • Up to 640,000 sq ft of retail and / or leisure and / or community uses

Other options for uses on site include student housing, hotels and serviced apartments and co-living space.

Barclays booster

Meanwhile, Barclays chief executive Jes Slaley has given a fillip to those who want to see commercial activity back in the capital.

He said he wanted to see his people back in offices, stating that Barclays had a sense of obligation to places like Canary Wharf, where the bank is headquartered.

He told Bloomberg TV: “We want our people back together, to make sure we ensure the evolution of our culture and our controls, and I think that will happen over time.”

Previously, he had said that offices might be a thing of the past.

Read more: Transport carnage: Fast ferry sunk and DLR extension hits the buffers

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