Boats, bats and boardwalks

London’s ‘last’ great canal basin is to get a makeover
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East London is to get its answer to Little Venice — a £65 million new development ranged around one of the capital’s last surviving Georgian canal basins.

Work on the project is due to begin in September after Hackney council gave planning permission for more than 200 homes, a new health centre, café, shops and offices around the Kingsland Basin.

The London and Quadrant Housing Trust (L&Q), which is developing the site, will put the first homes up for sale in 2011. They are expected to be priced at about £450 a sq ft, which means a two-bedroom flat will cost about £280,000. A premium will be charged for homes with a view of the basin.

‘This is an area in transition. It is only two miles from Liverpool Street Station’

The basin was built in the 1820s as a place to load and unload cargo being transported along the Regent’s Canal. Two listed stable buildings will be restored as part of the project and will be used as offices and workshops for small businesses.

Another highlight of the project will be the creation of an eco-area on the edges of the basin. This will be planted with native species to attract birds and other wildlife. Bat boxes will be part of scheme.

A new boardwalk is to be build around the edge of the basin, linking up to the existing canal tow path.

L&Q’s Simon Baxter says: “This is an area that is undergoing great change. To the west is Islington, which is already very sought after, but to the east you have areas are very much in a state of transition. Yet this is only two miles from Liverpool Street, so I think it has a great deal of potential.”

Of the 207 homes on the site, about half will be one- or two-bedroom flats. There will also be 45 three-bedroom apartments, and 23 four-bedroom properties. About 65 of the homes will be affordable, and earmarked for key workers and buyers on low incomes.

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