Keeping London at the forefront of global business
working with and for the whole UK
Pandemic accelerates need for regeneration
4 January 2021
Years of hard work and planning are coming to fruition on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, with buildings transforming from two dimensional drawings into three dimensional buildings, filling out the Park as it was envisaged so many years ago. To date, we at LLDC have supported the delivery of over 10,000 homes across the wider area with a vision to deliver 33,000 homes by 2036.
We started last year as ambitious as any other, planning to complete existing neighbourhoods like Chobham Manor — the Park’s first neighbourhood — and build new ones. However as events unfolded in March, we were forced to adapt our plans quickly.
The impact of Covid lockdown last spring and the subsequent social distancing measures on construction sites brought little respite to our on-site teams, who had either reduced their workforce or temporarily ceased construction altogether. However, our development partners have remained committed to delivering our housing legacy and so while construction teams have been reduced to up to 50%, we have found ways to maximise productivity, including introducing double shift patterns, to minimise the delay in delivery.
At Chobham Manor the finishing line is almost in sight. The last piles were driven in the summer and the framework is coming out of the ground for the fourth and final phase of housing.
And as one neighbourhood nears completion another takes shape. We have seen the first rental properties, affordable homes and homes for market sale at East Wick – the first phase of our East Wick and Sweetwater sites which will provide 1800 homes once completed. This phase also saw the opening of the Clarnico Club café, and is already a much used venue by parents dropping off or collecting children from nearby Mossbourne Academy.
We have been surprisingly reassured by the level of public interest in these new homes, with half of the 70PRS homes at East Wick occupied and nominations for our social rent and affordable units ready to be announced early next year.
Equally, we have received keen interest from developers who continue to see the Park as a long term investment. Our three remaining legacy sites – Stratford Waterfront, Pudding Mill and Rick Roberts Way – will deliver approximately 2,600 homes over the next 12 years, and crucially will offer 50% affordable housing overall, using a portfolio approach.
We had two successful procurements earlier this year including our Stratford Waterfront and Bridgewater Triangle sites, where over 120 developers attended our online launch event looking for the opportunity to build 600 homes on each site. Here, we are trying something new by entering into a Joint Venture with the developer, rather than a Development Agreement as we have done with previous neighbourhoods. This gives us a seat at the table, granting us greater control over governance and pace of development while giving us complete transparency around the numbers. We are looking forward to working with those two developers in the New Year.
Stratford Waterfront will be built next to East Bank, a cultural and education quarter with world renowned institutions including the UCL, UAL’s London College of Fashion, V&A, BBC and Sadler’s Wells. Once complete, aside from providing a bustling environment for nearby residents to look over, it will also provide 2500 jobs, homes for 10,000 students, and generate £1.5bn for the local economy.
All of this work is helping to maintain the confidence of investors in Stratford, driving more businesses to relocate out of the city and in to East London and secure the long-term impact of our regeneration work.
Of course, we need to acknowledge that while progress has been good — even in a year like the one we have just had — we cannot afford to be a victim of our own success. All of this work inevitably puts pressure on the local infrastructure, driving people to the area to visit, work and live. Which is why we are now working with Network Rail, HM Treasury, TfL, Newham Council and others to secure the investment to future-proof Stratford Station and drive further regeneration. This will be the key to unlocking the full potential of our beloved park and East London.
Become a member
Our members include over 200 of the capital’s leading employers across a wide range of sectors, with a common commitment to our capital.