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Flagship East London residential scheme gets underway

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 Morgan Sindall Construction on behalf of ECF and its partners – the Greater London Authority, the 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.

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.

Throughout the scheme, Morgan Sindall Construction is providing opportunities for local people and 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%.