Boris Johnson has just given a final green light to a massive regeneration project in the east London area surrounding the O2 Arena.
The development will completely transform the Greenwich peninsula from an area where people generally only go to watch concerts or watch a movie, to a major housing centre with in excess of 12,000 new homes being built for a cost expected to be at least £8.4 billion ($US12.86 billion).
The site’s developers, Knight Dragon, are already constructing more than 2,800 homes in the area under existing planning permission. Boris Johnson’s approval now gives them a chance to take the total number of homes built to more than 15,000. Roughly 3,000 of the new homes will be considered ‘affordable’.
It is being billed as the largest ever regeneration project ever taken on by a single developer.
On Friday, Boris Johnson said “This gigantic site at Greenwich Peninsula has sat dormant for far too long, so I’m pleased that since City Hall took control of this land, we are already beginning to see construction underway. This will not only provide thousands of much-needed new homes for Londoners, but also bring jobs as part of the wider regeneration towards the east of the capital.”
Alongside the plans for new housing, the Greenwich peninsula development will include thousands of square metres of retail space, two hotels, a park, and bizarrely, a 40,000 sq/m film studio. It is also thought that a ferry link called the ‘Star Ferry’ will be created between Greenwich and Canary Wharf across the Thames.
A Greenwich councillor, Danny Thorpe, said in a statement “The Council has long held a vision to make the most of the huge potential offered by the Greenwich Peninsula. The approval of this planning application makes it one of the most exciting developments in London, bringing huge long-term regeneration benefits to the Peninsula and cementing it as a new district for London.
“We are particularly proud that, at a time of critical housing shortage, this development will deliver so many affordable homes, of which more than two-thirds will be for social rent, at no more than 50 per cent of market rent.
“This is an ambitious vision for an extremely exciting site and I look forward to it now finally moving forward, and seeing the delivery of this major new regeneration project to the borough.”
The move eastwards to build new housing is part of Boris Johnson’s public endorsement for the new ‘City in the East’, project. In October, the mayor announced plans to create more than 200,000 new homes in areas stretching east along the Thames.
Despite the Mayor’s enthusiasm, some current Greenwich residents aren’t particularly happy about the plans: “The overriding concern is about the sheer pressure of numbers on the stretched infrastructure — we have pretty poor road links at the moment and this will be gridlock on top of gridlock,” Richard Baglin, who chairs local charity the Greenwich Society told the Financial Times.
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