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Over the last few years, we have kept a close eye on many of the developments taking place on the Island and Canary Wharf. One of the largest developments has been Wood Wharf which is considered one of the most ambitious urban regeneration projects in London.
Unlike the main part of Canary Wharf, Wood Wharf is being developed into a 23 acre site with 5m sq. ft of mixed use space. Built on the former docks site, it is envisaged that Wood Wharf will have one of the largest clusters of tech and creative businesses in the UK. Canary Wharf Group are hoping that this Hi Tech hub will bring 20,000 jobs to the region, generate £2bn gross value from new jobs and £199m into the local small business economy.
Canary Wharf Group have produced some computer generated impressions of the finished site that offer a view of Canary Wharf which will probably the final stage of large development in the near future.
The site will have open spaces, waterside walkways, running trails and more retail areas and will be designed to high sustainability standards. The development will be targeting zero-carbon and zero-waste and is being built to have a positive social impact on the local area and communities. 25 per cent of the 3,600 residential homes will be affordable housing.
Although the new development does not directly impinge on the Isle of Dogs, indirectly it will have a knock on affect will more people living and working in the area. The top of the Island has seen unprecedented amounts of development in recent years and that development is slowly encroaching towards the bottom. It is likely that the development of Wood Wharf will accelerate that process even further.
The 1980s and 1990s saw the development of one of the largest business districts in Europe, that development was not necessarily welcomed by many Island residents. However in last 30 years, the Island has changed considerably and many will view the Wood Wharf development as more of an extension of the Canary Wharf footprint. Lots of Islanders use Canary Wharf for shopping, attending the various events and the transport system and of course, many residents work on the Canary Wharf estate.
In the 1800, the Isle of Dogs was largely inhabited before the coming of the Docks, after the rise and fall of the docks, we now have the rise of Canary Wharf. So the only real constant for the Island is change but there are few areas in London that have been the site of so many large global concerns in a relatively short time.
The Island has a long history of street parties and on the 4th June the bunting and plates will come out of storage to celebrate the Queen’s 90th Birthday.
The party is open to everyone and will be held on Glengall Grove close to the centre of the island.
The reign of Her Majesty The Queen has seen remarkable changes all over the country, but few areas have seen such rapid change as the Island. As well as celebrating the Queen’s Birthday, the street party will be an opportunity for the different parts of the Island to come together to share some time together. These type of events depend on the time and generosity of a wide range of individuals, groups and organisations.
This event has been supported by Canary Wharf Group, One Housing Group, the Isle of Dogs Neighbourhood Planning Forum, Cubitt Town Junior & Infant school, The Metropolitan Police, Tower Hamlets Council, Cafe Forever, The George pub, Friends of Island History Trust and St Johns Community Centre.
There will be plenty of activities for young and old at the party, so why not join in the fun in Glengall Grove. It will take place between 3pm and 6pm on Saturday 4th June.
At this time of the year, West India Dock has very few ships visiting but still there is always plenty to find interesting.
The Canary Wharf Group is pressing ahead with two of their major building projects in Heron Quays and Wood Wharf.
The Heron Quays site in particular has been the focus of considerable activity, interestingly part of the project is virtually on the water and a large number of piles have been driven into the dock. Large cranes on pontoons have also been used and yesterday crowds of people watched as one of these pontoons was moved from Heron Quays to Wood Wharf.
Although it was a tight squeeze under the DLR track, the major disruption was the swing bridge which was out of action for some time. ‘Bridgers’ were a well known hazard of living on the Isle of Dogs as the ships entered the docks. However many of the modern office workers who got stuck on the South Quay side looked distinctly unimpressed by the procedure.
As the pontoon was pulled and pushed by tugs into position in Wood Wharf, I took the opportunity to wander past the Will Sailing Barge and down to where the Lord Amory, the Portwey and the Massey Shaw are berthed.
An interesting new addition to the dock is a houseboat with a difference, it is certainly a innovative design the top looks like an apartment placed onto a wide boat base. You would certainly get a great view but looks like it would have to be towed from place to place.With house prices rocketing it may offer a more economical approach and represent the modern version of living on a houseboat.
An artist impression of Wood Wharf
Regular readers will know that I often take an interest in the plans to build major developments in Canary Wharf and on the Isle of Dogs. I tend to be quite sceptical when I see artists impressions of massive tower blocks because the history of Canary Wharf and other areas suggest that the buildings do not always get developed due to a multitude of reasons. The Riverside development at Westferry Circus is a good recent example of grandiose schemes that hit problems and are mothballed often for years.
However the news of the Wood Wharf project being approved by Tower Hamlets council is perhaps more significant because the plans for more than 3,000 homes to be built is supported by the Canary Wharf Group and would represent the first extension to the financial district since the 2008.
The green bits illustrate much of the Wood Wharf development
Canary Wharf Group has been granted planning permission to build 30 buildings, comprising 4.9m square feet of homes, offices and shops, at Wood Wharf.
The building will be a mixture of residential and business with its centrepiece being a 211-metre 57-storey residential skyscraper facing the South Dock.
25% of the housing stock is earmarked as affordable housing with proposed new primary school, health facility and a library.
The creation of a mainly low-level mixed use area is a move away from the usual business orientated Canary Wharf Group and represents an effort to promote Canary Wharf as a place to live as well as work.
The proposed 57 storey building near South Dock
This attempt to diversify is probably sensible due to the large number of large building offering office space both in Canary Wharf and the City of London. The booming property market is another factor with Canary Wharf looking at the luxury end of the market.
It is expected some of the buildings will be completed at the same time as the arrival of Crossrail in 2018.
More than 100,000 people commute into Canary Wharf every day and it has been estimated that could double in ten years.
What all this means for rest of the Isle of Dogs is unclear, will the Wood Wharf development reduce the amount of development on the Island ? or will it increase it with developers cashing in on the arrival of Crossrail. Either way it will be an interesting development to follow in the next few years.