Neither Paxo on last night's Newsnight, nor John Humphreys on this morning's Radio 4 Today 'knew' there'd be a Westfield at Stratford. Apparently from within their BBC bubble Westfield is only that thing near to TV Centre at Wood Lane? Or perhaps they're being briefed? Whichever it was, both occasions provided a platform (again) for Tessa Jowell's lies on legacy claiming Stratford Westfield.
In April 2003, the Stratford City development partners (Chelsfield, Stanhope and London & Continental Railways) submitted an application for outline planning permission to Newham for the development of the Stratford Rail Lands. The Stratford City development is one of the most ambitious building schemes ever proposed in London. Centred on Stratford’s excellent transport links, which will soon include a new International Station linking Stratford directly with Paris, this major new town centre development will attract major businesses to Newham.Most importantly, Stratford City will increase the prosperity and wellbeing of local people, with thousands of new jobs promised, as well as 4,500 new homes. There will be prestige offices, department stores and shops, premises for small businesses, schools, health centres, parks, community facilities and much more. All this will be achieved by reclaiming the Rail Lands, a brownfield site that has always been inaccessible to the people of east London, and so has divided communities from each other.
THE KEY ELEMENTS IN THE SCHEME
The scheme covers the whole of the Rail Lands and integrates fully with surrounding areas. It divides into four districts: Town Centre district, Carpenters district, West Leyton district and Lea Valley district. Each of these has a distinct character, but a central aspect of the proposal is that all areas should contain a mix of uses. So whereas, for example, there are many homes in the West Leyton district, it also has shops, offices, open space and so on, while there is plenty of residential in other districts, too. Here, we divide the scheme into the key elements set out in the planning application.
Shopping and leisure
The main shopping area is the Town Centre district, where 140,000 square metres of retail are proposed. This would be made up of three large department stores and around 120 designer and high street shops, plus a wide range of other specialist outlets, restaurants and cafés. Across the rest of the site, 10,500 square metres have been allocated for additional retail – primarily local shops, food shops and numerous cafés, restaurants and bars. There are also 36,500 square metres of leisure space which could include a large cinema complex, an arts and cultural centre and health and fitness clubs, as well as nightclubs and other facilities.
In total, 465,000 square metres are proposed for offices and businesses. On this scale, and with the right quality, it should attract major European businesses to locate at Stratford. A range of types of offices is proposed, from starter units to corporate headquarters. Just over half the commercial buildings are planned for Carpenters district, to the southwest of the site. The rest would be in the Town Centre district, integrated with shops, and at the southern end of the West Leyton district, close to the International Station. It is calculated that commercial activities, including all the offices, retail and leisure, will generate 33,000 jobs.
It is intended that there should be 120,000 square metres of hotel and conference space in Stratford City, clustered around the International Station. With 2,000 hotel rooms, there are likely to be some four large hotels. Residential Stratford City will contain 4,500 homes, with 460,000 square metres allocated to residential throughout the site.
Homes will be of all different designs and sizes, and will house 11,000 people. The planning application proposes that 30 per cent will be affordable housing, made up of homes for key workers, social housing and homes for those with special needs.It is also planned that houses should be grouped together according to people’s lifestyles, rather than according to income brackets. Thus, family homes of all kinds are envisaged for the West Leyton district, with plenty of open space for children, while there may be more flats and apartments in the Town Centre district.
Among a wide range of proposals to serve the community are state-of-the-art health facilities, including a primary healthcare centre and a drop-in health centre.At the northern end of the West Leyton district will be a brand new education campus, including a two-form entry primary school, a secondary school with the capacity for 900 pupils, a lifelong learning centre and a two-classroom nursery. Located next to playing fields, the campus will contain play and sports facilities.In addition, it is proposed that around the site there will be multi-use community facilities, youth facilities, nurseries, crèches, a recruitment centre and a visitor information centre.
Open and ecological space
Across the whole site, over 13 hectares (32 acres) are allocated to public open space. This ranges from squares and public gardens to parks and natural and ecological habitats, and will be distributed across all parts of Stratford City. It is also intended that all housing should be close to safe, public and properly equipped spaces for children to play in. In addition, plenty of water is featured in the scheme, including a long, stepped lake with a total area of 13,500 square metres, to be known as the Cascades.
Stratford City is planned as a development that especially favours pedestrians. However, important transport elements will be incorporated. A new ticket hall for the existing Regional Station is proposed on the north side of the railway tracks, with a new additional bus station. Everywhere on the site, pedestrians will be just a short walk from a bus stop, and there will be substantial public car parking for Town Centre shopping. And, of course, there will be trains to Paris and other European destinations from the International Station, with parking, and coach and taxi drop-off facilities. All around the site there will be dedicated cycle lanes.The site will be well linked into the local road network, and new and upgraded roads, bridges and streets will both stitch this part of London together and allow easy access to Stratford City by foot, cycle, bus and car.
Documents from the Stratford City Planning Application