New University campus in Canada Water?

9 March 2013 at 11:31 | Posted in Docklands present, Maps and plans, Photos | 5 Comments
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At the moment, the University of East London (UEL) is the only Docklands-based university, although Ravensbourne College also recently moved from Bromley to the Greenwich Peninsula.

Now, however the prestigious Kings College London is eyeing a new campus opportunity near Canada Water. They have taken an option on the former Mulberry Business Park, and last week displayed their plans for 750 student rooms along with a new office and postgraduate accommodation, affordable housing, and some ancillary uses such as cafes and possibly some small retail units.

At the exhibition I attended, there was a good deal of support from local people, myself among them. It should bring hundreds of people through the area during the day, and with no car parking, the impact on traffic will be minimal.

What’s even more interesting is that while this is a standalone proposal which they are seeking to progress in time for the September 2016 student intake, KCL are also looking at what opportunities the relocation of Harmsworth printworks may bring. KCL don’t own the print site, but are drawing up a masterplan which includes using part of that site to not only extend the student and staff accommodation, but to also potentially bring teaching and leisure uses to the site, creating a Canada Water campus. These are very exciting plans, and I think would bring some very welcome activity to an area which can be very quiet by day when everyone’s gone off to work.

There is a lot of detail currently available on KCL’s website here, but a few photos from the exhibition below give an impression of their ambition. They are hoping to submit a planning application to Southwark for the Mulberry site in Spring 2013.

KCL's Mulberry site

KCL’s Mulberry site


Model of proposed student block

Model of masterplan for Canada Water

KCL's campus vision

KCL’s campus vision


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  1. Hi Tony, I wonder can you help. I am the Vice Chair of the North Port Dwellers Association, a residents association here in Docklands Dublin Ireland. A major planning scheme is about to get underway here in Docklands and I write asking what resources (studies, books etc) can you point me towards with regard to the Londoners who felt they were forced/pushed out of London Docks area?

    • Hi Tony
      That’s a good question. Sadly any change has winners and losers, and local communities can feel the brunt of these changes. I’m not an expert on the social side of things to be honest, others will be better placed to help you. There is a huge amount of new housing in the area but it is generally occupied by new people. The existing communities have benefitted from big improvements to the area to an extent, but the main issue is that house prices are too high for many local people to afford, so younger people are struggling to stay in the area. That’s the biggest problem; there is more of a push now to include new social housing (including rental) in new developments but it remains to be seen how successful that will be. Another issue to my mind is a big lack of local school capacity, so that many people who move here in their 20s then move away again when they have children, which means they’re replaced by more new people, so the community doesn’t gel as well at it could if more people stayed and integrated with the existing community. Another angle which may be slightly less of an issue in Dublin is that many of the new people are from overseas, which creates another barrier to integrating with the local community, though perhaps in modern Dublin that could be an issue there too. There are some books on the subject written by people who know much more about this than I do; for example there is Docklands: Cultures in Conflict, Worlds in Collision by Janet Foster, which digs into the impact of change on the existing communities. That would be a good place to start to see what didn’t go well and there may be lessons in that. Good luck

      • Many thanks, I will start with Janet’s book, thanks for responding so quick, Tony

  2. Rotherhithe will never be the same again.

  3. Very interesting site. It is amazing to see how the area is chaning. There is now an SE16 forum online which should be a good place for people in the SE16 area to ask questions/recommendations etc.

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