Big plans for Canning Town: hundreds of new homes set to be built on an industrial wasteland the size of six football pitches

The Leamouth Peninsula, an isolated "island" in Canning Town, is set to get a new high-density housing scheme in what critics fear could be a return to its ill-famed past.

Hundreds of new homes are to be built on an isolated and unloved “island” in Canning Town, creating one of the highest-density housing schemes London has ever seen and, claim critics, echoing the 19th-century slums the area was once notorious for.

Detractors say the proposed new buildings will pack in singles and families in a collection of small flats and studios. The site is on the Leamouth Peninsula, an inaccessible industrial wasteland set within a deep meander of the River Lea close to its junction with the Thames.

The Greater London Authority has asked developer Ballymore for reassurance that it will improve the site’s connectivity to the Underground and DLR stations.

Ballymore is this week expected to be granted permission to demolish semi-derelict warehouses on six acres of the peninsula and replace them with just over 800 flats and townhouses, plus shops, and offices in buildings of up to 30 storeys high. The GLA wants a greater proportion of family homes.

The entire site is around the size of six football pitches, and will also include a small playground, a primary school, and public square.

Ballymore says peninsula residents will be ferried to the “mainland” via a new river boat service at Trinity Buoy Wharf, and a new pedestrian footbridge.

Tower Hamlets council strategic development committee is expected to approve the proposals at a meeting tomorrow. A report by the council praises the quality of the architecture and the “well-thought-out” layout on the tight site.

Ballymore is currently building almost 1,000 new homes on the northern end of the peninsula, as part of a £2.2 billion joint venture with Eco World Investment. The development, known as City Island, is due to be completed later this year.

Architects Allies & Morrison believe that “Leamouth may seem like a remote area today but it is on the cusp of dramatic change”.

The Leamouth Peninsula was used to unload ships docking in London as early as the 13th century, and by the late 19th century it was one of the capital’s worst slums, described as being inhabited by “rough, very poor people, living in overcrowded conditions.”

Most of its buildings were pulled down as part of a slum clearance programme in the Thirties, and its 300 residents relocated. It was then the site of an iron foundry until the Sixties, and later became home to a vegetable oil refinery.


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