After fears back in January of rejection, Leamouth Peninsula was finally given the Green light on May 10th 2007 by the London Thames Gateway Development Corporation.
Original plans for the site called Orchard Place raised questions from the planning committee due to poor transport links and reservations of the proposed housing being to small, the committee favouring larger family oriented housing, a rare thing in a time when apartments are aimed at young professionals.
But freshly back from the drawing board and situated opposite the Millennium Dome, the massive 1.9 million square feet scheme will act as a gateway to London's 2012 Olympics that is being held in the lower Lea Valley as well as extending the eastern edge of the Canary Wharf cluster even more.
Designs feature buildings all laid out either side of a central pedestrian axis that cuts north to south through the Leamouth Peninsula. Linking the southern end into Blackwall will be a bridge that earlier images showed incorporated the buildings in a unique way by having high tension cables strung from them giving it structural support.
Unfortunately this bridge may not be what we end up with. Speaking to Skyscrapernews, SOM tell us that the bridge is currently under redesign but new plans for it will be out sooner than later.
The basic cladding and look of the buildings is all the same with the visual flair added by the architects in the form of the way the different towers are massed. When taken with the heavy use of external balconies, many of which appear randomly splattered over the faces of the building, what could have been a boring project becomes more aesthetically arresting.
With work expected to begin in autumn 2007, the plans include provisions for up to 1837 homes, a community centre, an arts centre, a primary school with places for up to 371 children. They also incorporate nursery provisions and a new pedestrian and cycle bridge allowing the site to be connected with nearby Canning Town.
The final sweetener of the project may well be the contribution by the developer in excess of £9 million towards health education, public transport improvements and offsite highway improvement and open space provisions.
Along side the new homes and amenities areas of business will be providing a large number of jobs in the area although at present it is unknown which companies will be attracted to the former site of Pura Foods.
Designed by architects Skidmore, Owings and Merrill in conjunction with Martha Schwartz Inc and being developed by Ballymore who are behind a lot of the larger developments in the area, the tallest tower in the project will stand at 85 metres with the smallest standing at a modest 44 metres.
With the inspiration of the Olympics hanging in the air it's likely we will see more large scale, shiny new enterprises on drawing boards and before committees in the near future, including revised proposals for Hercules Wharf.
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