Work on huge mixed-use scheme to start next summer

British Land has said it will appoint the first contractors on its mammoth Canada Water redevelopment in the first half of next year after the £3.3bn scheme was given the green light by local planners yesterday.

The developer had been hoping for a decision from Southwark council earlier this year but workload pressures meant the authority pushed the date back until the autumn.

Originally submitted last May, planners last night finally approved the firm’s masterplan for the mixed-use scheme which will see more than 40 buildings built at a 53 acre site in south east London over the next 15 years. It will include two million sq ft of workspace for 20,000 people and 3,000 homes.

Because of its size, London mayor Sadiq Khan will have the final say on whether it will go ahead with British Land’s joint head of Canada Water, Emma Cariaga, telling Building she was hoping for a decision by Christmas.

As well as the masterplan, drawn up by Allies and Morrison, the first three buildings at the site have also been given the OK.

Included is a 35-storey tower, also designed by Allies and Morrison, which is known in the plans as A1. The second building, A2, another Allies and Morrison scheme, is a leisure centre for the council while a smaller residential building, K1, designed by Morris + Co was approved as well.

Building has previously reported that a number of firms, including Laing O’Rourke and Mace, have run the rule over the jobs but Cariaga said no formal procurement process had yet been launched.

“We have spoken to firms but it will be first quarter of next year when we actively procure and look to appoint contractors.”

View of the new Dock Office Courtyard community square, looking towards A2 and the Leisure Centre entrance (1)

View of a community square looking towards the A2 building (right)

She said the developer had not yet decided on whether to hold a competition for the jobs or negotiate with individual firms. “The three buildings are very different beasts,” she added.

Cariaga declined to comment on whether Kier, which is also understood to have been in the running for the work, would be considered. “We don’t comment on individual contractors.” Earlier this summer, British Land said it was opening up its £300m Norton Folgate job to other contractors after deciding not to stick with the firm on the scheme in Shoreditch.

Consultants working across all three buildings at Canada Water include project and cost manager Aecom, structural engineer AKT II and services consultant Sweco.

Work on the three buildings is due to start by the middle of next year and finish in 2024 by which time Cariaga said 3,000 people could be based there with a further 500 people living there.

As well as offices and homes, the scheme will also have retail, leisure and education space.

Public realm, which includes a park, 12 acres of open space and 16 new streets, has been designed by Townshend Landscape Architects.

The site, which sits between the City and Canary Wharf and is close to Canada Water Underground station, includes the abandoned Daily Mail printworks and the disused Rotherhithe police station.

Cariaga said the printworks, which has been used as a music venue, would be turned into a music, cultural and events space.