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Flagship East London residential scheme reaches for the sky

One of the biggest projects in East London to help tackle the capital’s housing crisis is underway in Canning Town, with a ceremony held to formally mark work starting on the Manor Road Quarter.

The new development is from The English Cities Fund (ECF) and will bring 804 homes to the London Borough of Newham, of which 50% are affordable homes, across three phases.

The scheme features three towers and a range of apartment types, along with some 8,000 sq ft of commercial space. The ceremony was focused on phase one of the project, which will create 355 homes in the largest of the three towers. At 32 storeys, it will become one of the tallest buildings in Canning Town on completion in 2024, adding to its rapidly changing skyline, which ECF has been instrumental in transforming since starting its work in the area in 2008.

The scheme is being delivered by ECF in partnership with the Greater London Authority, London Borough of Newham and Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing Association (MTVH), one of the UK’s largest housing associations. MTVH will own, manage and administer the affordable homes.

The Mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz, was joined by Tom Copley, deputy mayor for housing and residential development at the Greater London Authority, at the site, which is close to Canning Town underground and DLR station. The guests ceremonially signed a wet concrete slab to mark the occasion, which will be incorporated into the scheme.

ECF was represented by its board and its chairman, Sir Michael Lyons. Originally from Newham, Sir Michael went on to have a distinguished career in local government and also served as chairman of the BBC for a period.

Sir Michael Lyons, chair of ECF, said: “We are pleased to be continuing the regeneration of Canning Town, which has proved to be a catalyst to the wider renewal of the area. Manor Road Quarter will further help to reinvent the area in a bold and imaginative way, while at the same time attracting investment and creating much-needed affordable homes for the people of Newham.

“At ECF, we bring together the very best of the public and private sector, which means that we are uniquely equipped to help in shaping and strengthening local economies; by taking on complex sites, committing for the long term and creating the momentum needed to positively transform places.

Rokhsana Fiaz, Mayor of Newham, said: “How we reimagine spaces is important as it gives local residents confidence about the possibilities that exist in their communities. The partners involved in the new Manor Road Quarter, including ECF, the London Borough of Newham and GLA, have worked hard to build up this confidence and provide a much-needed resource for our people – homes that people can afford.

“Speaking to residents about London and their hopes and fears with regard to the cost of living has instilled in me a focus on the fundamental human right of access to genuinely affordable homes and social rents. I’m looking forward to welcoming residents into their new homes in the future and am grateful to all the teams involved for being driven by so much social purpose and social value.

“We are at the new epicentre of this amazing global capital city, with City Hall recently moving into Newham, and the Elizabeth Line just about to open, and we've got an ambitious agenda of really thinking bold and big about the future of Newham. At the heart of it, we'll have our people first and foremost. Developments such as this, supported by ECF with 804 homes, 50%, that of which will be at genuinely affordable levels is exactly what our people need in this borough. We've got population growth - the projections are we'll get to over half a million in the next 10 years.”

Tom Copley, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Residential Development at the Greater London Authority, said: “At the GLA we have ambitious targets to deliver across two affordable homes programmes. It’s vital that we deliver these homes for the people that need them - for homeless families, people living in overcrowded accommodation, people living in temporary accommodation and for those renting small flat shares that are paying extortionate rents.

“We need to be building these genuinely affordable homes to help the people of Newham, as well as Londoners across the capital. I’m really looking forward to seeing this development progress and will be eagerly watching it go up as I walk to the nearby City Hall each day.”

Adam Wadsworth, Development Manager at Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing Association, said: “At MTVH, we know Canning Town well, in fact we invested in the previous ECF scheme at Rathbone Market at a very early stage through our private rented operation Fizzy Living. We are also working in partnership with the Brunel Street Works project which is just down the road. These projects show what can be achieved in the area with regard to the delivery of homes and affordable homes and we’re delighted to be continuing our involvement in the local area at Manor Road Quarter. It’s been a pleasure to work with all the partners on this project and it’s been great to see their commitment to developing this land into a scheme that will integrate brilliantly with the local community.”

Manor Road Quarter will be environmentally friendly across a score of measures. Set in a newly created two-acre park, the scheme’s residents will benefit from green space that supports their wellbeing and promotes active travel through new walking and cycle routes – creating a vibrant, inclusive and connected community space.

Other measures include a large cycle store combined with only seven on-site car parking bays and its close proximity to tube and bus links will encourage the use of sustainable transport options. External features such as green areas, a skate park and an outdoor gym will help improve the health and wellbeing levels of those living and working in the area.

It will operate entirely gas-free, with air source heat pumps providing an ambient temperature supply to the apartments, avoiding the need for additional ventilation. To actively minimise energy requirements, photovoltaic cells generating renewable energy are also being installed, along with efficient lighting with controls to ensure lights are not left on unnecessarily.

Manor Road Quarter is being delivered by Morgan Sindall Construction. To provide opportunities for local people, the contractor has already been engaging with Newham Works, the agency which helps candidates secure apprenticeships and employment. To date, seven previously unemployed people have been hired at the Manor Road site and six apprentices are learning trades on the project.

At the same time, Morgan Sindall Construction has worked with both Newham College and London Design and Engineering College on behalf of ECF. The activities include the contractor attending careers fairs to help prepare sixth form students for the types of questions they will encounter when applying for careers in construction.

Richard Dobson, Morgan Sindall Construction’s London area director, said: “This ceremony marks an important moment for Canning Town as it shines a spotlight on the benefits the Manor Road Quarter will bring to the local area. The community is an important factor in every decision we make and we maintained a clear focus on maximising social value. Just one way we’ve made sure the project has a real impact on the lives of residents has been to find new ways to bring people into the construction industry through jobs, work placements, apprenticeships, graduate roles and training.”

ECF, which is a national strategic partnership bringing together the best of the public and private sectors in Homes England, Legal & General and leading urban regeneration firm, Muse Developments, has a vision to enhance the appeal of Canning Town as a place to live and work.

Manor Road Quarter follows on from ECF’s successful completion of the Rathbone Market, across the road from the site in Canning Town. This scheme saw the transformation of an unproductive site into a £160 million mixed-use development that features 652 new homes, 32,000 sq ft of retail space, a brand new library and Neighbourhood Centre and two new public spaces including the permanent home of the newly revitalised Rathbone Market.

Its Manor Road Quarter has been designed by EPR Architects, with Gardiner and Theobald as the quantity surveyor, and Gleeds operating as the client project manager. The project is targeted to achieve a ‘Very Good’ rating on BREEAM and it is estimated that the design of the building will reduce the building’s carbon output by 51%.