All change for Canada Water: epic 15-year project to turn overshadowed Zone 2 area into London’s newest town centre

You wouldn’t know that King’s Cross was 20 years ago when it was a predominantly industrial area and railway backlands. It was also known for drug dealing and sexwork. The man who led that transformation has now set his sights on the former docklands at Canada Water. British Land’s leading property developer Roger Madelin has begun work to transform the quiet residential area near Canary Wharf, which is currently dominated by post-war housing, old industrial docks and a shopping centre. This will be London’s new town centre. The 15-year-old masterplan for a 53-acre urban center, built in the nook by the river, has been put into action. British Land will build 3,000 new homes at the site. A 35-storey tower of 186 apartments will be built first, overlooking the central quay called Canada Water Dock ( These apartments will be launched in autumn, with prices starting at GBP791,141 for a new build in Zone 2. Red-brick houses and Sixties council housing will be left intact, but Surrey Quays shopping center and Tesco will be demolished in order to make way for offices covering 2.5 million square feet and providing employment for 20,000 people. The old car park will be used to create a new high street with cafes and restaurants. A leisure centre will also be built for residents of Southwark. The Paper Garden is a place where children can attend workshops about ecology. It is run by the charity Global Generation / Handout. A curving red promenade will be built to skirt the top of the water at the central quay. Canada Water has many unique assets that should not be interfered with. Piers Gough and CZWG Architects designed a theatre and library. The Printworks nightclub is located in the concrete shell of the former Daily Mail and General Trust Group print shops. It covers 107,000 square feet. Madelin is looking at ways to create a separate section that allows residents to enjoy water sports without having to worry about swimmers coming from all directions. This was just one of many problems. Another was what to do about the Printworks. It’s a large building that is difficult to manage. Madelin says that the events program must be appealing to locals and not disrupt them. He says, “My wife said I had to keep the Printworks. But the problem was making it financially viable.” British Land has confirmed that a plan is in place to retrofit the structure, as well as provide a mix for workspaces and cultural venues. This was after much planning and deliberation. READ MOREHousing crisis: Skyscraper boom in outer London boroughs. What not to buy? The six types of London home you should avoid. London asking house prices reach new record highs. Canada Water promises to be the largest net zero neighbourhood in the UK by 2030. A spokesperson for the company said that the project was the first to use cement-free concrete in the construction of permanent buildings, which reduces embodied carbon by 45%. Instead of using a district-wide heating system that can leak energy, each building will have its own system powered with air and water source heat pump. Any excess energy will be recycled from offices to the homes. 1,000 electric charging points will soon be installed, 1200 trees will be planted, 10,000 bicycle spaces will be added, and new cycle paths will be created. The new Paper Garden is located next to Printworks, where children can attend workshops on ecology run by Global Generation. This is also a test ground for sustainable materials. Madelin, who worked for Argent at King’s Cross, created a unique regeneration scheme that was widely regarded as a rare success in planning. However, the cost of some residential projects has been closely scrutinised. A three-bedroom penthouse for GBP7,000,000 is currently on sale. Canada Water doesn’t seem to see this as its destiny, as only 35% of new homes will be affordable and 70% of those will be in social housing.