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Developer set to submit Canada Water planning application

Developer British Land is preparing to submit a planning application to develop a 46-acre site around Canada Water in the Rotherhithe area of south London.

The project would see a major mixed-use development measuring 5.5 million sq ft. It would include 3,500 new homes, as well as new leisure, culture, retail and office space. New buildings would include both low and high-rise structures, with the loftiest being up to 50 storeys high.

Such a project would provide plenty of work for the construction industry over a ten-year period, not least for those fitting insulation in the new homes and waterproofing the showers residents will use.

The area has been substantially developed in the past couple of decades, with most of the homes in the area being comprised of low-rise apartment blocks built around the old canal linking Canada Water and the nearby Surrey Water, two former canal basins that now provide habitat for waterfowl. Other features include the Surrey Quays shopping centre, a cinema and bowling complex and links with both the Underground and Overground.

Discussing the project, British Land chief executive Chris Grigg said: "Our active programme of engagement with the local community and other stakeholders includes our fourth public consultation which started earlier this month and we are targeting submission of a planning application around the end of the financial year," Construction Enquirer reports.

He added: "We will evaluate phasing of the project and potential funding structures as we move closer to securing planning."

The company is seeking to work with Southwark Council and Transport for London on its plans. The latter aspect may be particularly relevant, for the creation of new transport links to Canada Water has been a major catalyst for its regeneration.

Central to this was the extension of the Jubilee line in the late 1990s. Before this, the nearest stops to Canada Water were Rotherhithe to the north and Surrey Quays to the south on the short East London line. When the Jubilee line was extended, a new station was established where it crossed under the East London line at Canada Water. Not only did this make it easier to connect to the East End via the East London line, but also provided a direct link via the Jubilee line to the O2 Arena and North Greenwich, Canary Wharf, the Olympic developments around Stratford, London Bridge, Waterloo and the West End. 
Since then, the East London line has been absorbed into the London Overground system, despite several of its stations being physically underground. This has improved the connections between the Canada Water/Rotherhithe area and locations beyond the limits of the old East London line, such as areas south of New Cross and to the north and west beyond Shoreditch like Hackney. The construction of a bus station at Canada Water has meant it now has connections by three modes of public transport.

Transport links in this area of the capital are set to improve further through a proposed extension of the Bakerloo line, which will include an interchange at New Cross. This may help support further new housing developments in the area.

British Land is not just seeking to develop the area around Canada Water. It has also been investing in new properties across London, including the £49 million acquisition this week of a block on Ealing Broadway close to the new Crossrail station.