New riverside town centre at Thamesmead in south-east London could be a game changer for the area.
Thamesmead rose out of the Erith and Plumstead Marshes in the Sixties, the modernist vision of the Greater London Council.
Fifty years on it is infamous as one of Britain’s great post-war planning disasters and as the backdrop for Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of A Clockwork Orange.
Decades of indifferent housebuilding have produced a sprawl of low-rise homes in a mishmash of styles, plonked in culs-de-sac, sprouting from an ugly car-dominated public realm.
AMBITION ON A GRAND SCALE
This is a regeneration ambition on a grand scale — but it has been seized by Peabody, one of London’s most influential housing associations. Thamesmead, named as one of London’s 38 Opportunity Areas, is also among the largest of these sites, covering an area the size of central London.
Peabody’s 30-year plan is to increase the existing 46,000 population to 100,000, build up to 20,000 new homes and create 20,000 jobs.
The opening of Abbey Wood Elizabeth line station in 2019 will put Bond Street within 25 minutes and Canary Wharf within 11 minutes.
LONDON'S NEW TOWN
Peabody acquired Thamesmead in 2014. A £1 billion regeneration programme was announced last year and planning permission in principle has since been won for 3,000 new homes on several major sites.
The vision is simple It is realising Thamesmead’s potential as London’s new town.
There is also a Royal Institute of British Architects-led competition for a new library and community building as part of the scheme.
Peabody has completed a £6 billion merger with housing provider Family Mosaic, and signed off on a partnership deal with the Greater London Authority, which has pledged £80 million funding.
West Thamesmead Gateway is a much larger proposal, for 1,300 homes immediately east of Plumstead Overground station. Four private developers are competing for the deal.
Thamesmead Waterfront is the big prize, however. This 197-acre undeveloped site west of Thamesmead town centre has 1.2 miles of Thames frontage. King’s Cross is about 80 acres by comparison. There is enough space for 11,000 homes and perhaps a million square feet of commercial development.
VISION FOR THE FUTURE
The DLR will emerge from a tunnel into the town centre, This will be the real game changer for the area and make people interested in Thamesmead.
“It’s an opportunity to create the town centre Thamesmead never had. A centre that will be sustained by Thamesmead people, but which will also capture a huge number from a wider area — a water city centre.”