Stratford City

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Stratford City is a project to create a major new urban centre for East London on the site of a former railway good yard at Stratford. It lies to the north of the existing Stratford town centre around Temple Mills and is adjacent to the existing Stratford London Underground and National Rail train station, which is the best connected public transport hub in East London and is due to receive major enhancements. The Stratford International Eurostar station will be in the centre of Stratford City and the Channel Tunnel Rail Link project is a key catalyst for the project. Crossrail Line 1 will also connect to Stratford.

The outline planning application for Stratford City was one of the largest ever submitted in the United Kingdom and was approved on 17 February 2005. A shortlist of three bidders for major elements of the project was announced in August 2006, and work is expected to start in 2007. <ref>lcrhq.co.uk press release, 10 August 2006</ref>The project will involve creating a high density mixed use urban quarter on a 170 acre brownfield site at a project cost of £4 billion. The project is being led by Stratford City Development Partnership, and will be funded variously from both public and private sources. Many more detailed planning applications will be required for specific aspects of the development.

The development totals 13.5 million square feet (1,300,000 m²), including 5 million square feet (460,000 m²) of offices, 1.6 million square feet (150,000 m²) of retail and 4,850 new homes. The retail element will be anchored by three department stores and it is hoped that it will become the third most important retail centre in London after the West End and Knightsbridge shopping districts in the city centre. There will be a cluster of tall buildings including towers of 50 and 30 storeys designed by Richard Rogers.

Stratford City will be divided into four districts. Each of them will have a mixture of uses, but the predominant uses will vary, giving each district a different character:

  • Town Centre district (roughly to the southeast): Closest to the existing town centre, and containing the main retail area and some office space. There will also be many catering and leisure facilities, and several hotels. The shopping will be largely street based, rather than in an enclosed shopping centre.
  • Carpenters district (southwest): This will be a major office district with supplementary retail and catering outlets and some smaller sized housing units.
  • West Leyton district (northeast): A mainly residential district close to the parkland to the north of Stratford City. There will be a health centre and an education campus with two new schools, as well as a small amount of office space. This district will form the main part of the Olympic Village for the 2012 Summer Olympics and will then be converted to its long term use.
  • Lea Valley district (northwest): A largely residential district with some significant open spaces. The most striking feature will be The Cascades, a series of stepped lakes, with quiet waterfalls between them. Part of this district will also be in the Olympic Village.

Stratford City was planned with the possibility in mind that London would host the 2012 Olympics, but was not dependent on the success of the bid. The Olympic Park will be immediately to the west. The main developers of Stratford City are the Stratford City Development Partners: Made up of Westfield, Multiplex, Stanhope plc, Aldersgate and London and Continental Railways. Work is expected to start in 2006 and to last around 15 years. It is the largest single development in the wider Lower Lea valley regeneration scheme, which in turn is an element of the Thames Gateway project. These 21st century schemes in East London and the Thames Estuary build on the successful regeneration of London Docklands which first began to shift the growth of London eastwards in the 1980s.

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Stratford City

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