The Green Party has called for a “radical rethink” to plans to develop Canada Water into a new £2bn town centre.
The proposals, which were revealed last month at a series of exhibitions, shocked some residents, who described it as a “high-rise jungle.” The 5.5 million-square foot development includes five ‘landmark buildings’ towering up to 50 storeys in height, plus another two towers of at least 21 storeys and numerous others measuring between six and fifteen storeys.
The Green Party has now outlined its objections to the project, with London mayoral candidate Sian Berry urging developers British Land and Southwark Council to go back to the drawing board.
She said: “From what I have seen, this masterplan seems to be an unpopular development which hasn’t won over the support of the existing community. Nobody disputes that we need many more new homes in London. But we also need to site them sympathetically and that means persuading the local community of the benefits of a scheme, rather than imposing it on them from on high – literally so, in this case.”
Southwark Green Party leader Colin Boyle declared that Rotherhithe “will be lost” and replaced by a “high-rise, densely packed urban landscape, with all the pressures on transport and amenities that impact many other parts of inner London.”
Emma Cariaga, Canada Water Masterplan project manager for British Land, said: “The proposals shared last month have evolved as a direct result of community feedback and showed a point in time in the development of the Canada Water Masterplan. We are now reviewing all the feedback received, which will inform the further development of the Masterplan. We will consult further as the plans develop, throughout 2016 and are committed to involving the local community every step of the way in the development of our plans for Canada Water, ahead of a planning submission.”
Councillor Mark Williams, Southwark Council cabinet member for regeneration and new homes, said the project represented an effort to tackle the housing crisis “head on.”
He said: “At Canada Water, this means building new homes, including new genuinely affordable homes for local residents, as well as new schools, a new leisure centre, and a new thriving town centre. We are working with TfL to make sure there is significantly more transport provision at Canada Water including more Jubilee Line and Overground services, more buses, removing the Lower Road Gyratory, extending cycle hire and building a new pedestrian and cycling bridge from Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf. There are over 12,000 families on Southwark’s waiting list for homes and developments like Canada Water will make a significant contribution in helping these Southwark residents find a home.”