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Canada Water

left: An eye-catching shape and distinctive aluminium cladding ensures Canada Water Library sits proudly on the vibrant quayside. below: The staircase acts as a huge, sound-absorbing drum, ensuring peace and quiet.

place for dusty books. “You could find yourself learning in the morning, listening to a poetry performance at lunchtime, studying in the afternoon, watching first-class theatre at night and then relaxing in the cafe after that,” she says. “We are definitely leading the way in London with our libraries.” The new square is to be known as Deal Porter Plaza, in memory of the thousands of workers employed here as porters to carry the southwarkmagazine.com

deal wood arriving in the docks from across the Atlantic Ocean. The weight of history lies heavy on this area, and is something Southwark Council and its development partners have been keen to celebrate and incorporate into the new projects. Barry Duckett has lived on the Canada Estate for 32 years and represents his community on bodies such as the Rotherhithe Area Housing Forum and the Canada Estate

tenants’ and residents’ association. He admits having felt dismal when the once-thriving docks closed down, like most in inner-London, between 1960 and 1980, but says the new wave of regeneration has brought hope once more. “I saw it going from being a thriving, really industrial area to a wasteland – and now it is becoming sort of a town – exactly what we want,” he says. “I remember when I was 17, it was a great life for a young man. There were hundreds of ships coming in and out, day and night: paper from Finland, wine from Spain – all sorts. You never knew what to expect. And it was all families living around here. But when the docks shut, they remained shut. It was desolate.” Duckett has helped communicate the views of the diverse local community to developers such as Barratt Homes and found them pleasingly amenable to taking people’s ideas on board. “This is a vibrant area. There was once so little here but now there is so much. We have such a great wealth of diversity in this area – people of every nationality living here which is a great thing,” Duckett says. “The library is an example of this: it is more than just a library, it is a community space for meetings, an outlet for the arts,” he adds. “It has all of these and it far exceeded my expectations. I’m feeling hopeful now about this area’s future.” Steve Platts, director of regeneration for Southwark Council, pointed out that the library, plaza and Maple Quays are the important first piece of the regeneration jigsaw at Canada Water. Once complete, this will deliver a mixed-use town centre for Rotherhithe, creating jobs, homes, new public spaces and community facilities. The redevelopment of the Decathlon site will be next, with opportunities arising from the recently announced relocation of the Harmsworth Quays print works from the area, releasing approximately 5.8 hectares. Redevelopment of this land will provide further opportunities to deliver the vision set out in the council’s area action plan. In January, British Land announced plans for a £34 million investment at the nearby Surrey Quays shopping centre, alongside the public realm improvements and boosts to the area’s already strong transport network. “Canada Water is becoming a demand location, one stop from Canary Wharf, two stops from London Bridge and the Shard (Southwark’s tapered icon and Europe’s tallest building), and with brand new connections to the East London line,” says Platts. “It is an amazing place and many of the flats here, even those set slightly back from the water, have fantastic views and a unique sense of openness. We are well on our way to building, in the plaza, a heart of a new town centre in ISSUE

9 AUTUMN 2012 19

Profile for 3Fox International Ltd

Southwark #9  

A high profile, high-quality business publication, Southwark magazine covers every aspect of Southwark Council's 12 year development program...

Southwark #9  

A high profile, high-quality business publication, Southwark magazine covers every aspect of Southwark Council's 12 year development program...