Who is the developer/client of the project?
Hadley Property Group
Describe the context of this project and its contribution to the urban life and user experience of the place in 250 words max. and please upload an image of the project in its wider context or a drawing that best situates the project in its location.
Blackwall Yard is a 1.9-hectare riverside site on the north bank of the River Thames in Poplar, having been a private car park for more than thirty years. The last piece of the regeneration puzzle in this part of East London, it engages and interacts with the Thames in a part of the city where development has traditionally turned its back on the river. The scheme is being developed utilising the talents of three architectural practices selected through an international architectural competition. Glenn Howells Architects will deliver the overall masterplan and residential offer, whilst Stockholm’s White Arkitekter responsible for the riverfront aspect of the scheme (including a new river boat pier and reinterpretation of the listed Graving Dock). Panter Hudspith have designed the three-storey community hub and state primary school) with LDA Design completing the team.
Connections through the site were a central part of discussions within the community engagement programme – hundreds of survey responses highlighted a desire for local residents to engage the river again, after the site had previously refused them entry to one of London’s spectacular peninsula views. Responses also showed huge support for Hadley’s commitment to reopen the Thames Path (closed for more than forty years). A riverfront bar and restaurant, a cafe and a number of storefronts and workspaces at affordable rent levels are also integral aspects, as well as a community hub which offers co-working, a range of classes and spaces for local faith groups to pray, meditate and for residents to meet.
Please describe your approach to this future place and its mix of uses. How will it function as a vibrant place? How does it knit into, and serve the needs of, the wider area? 250 words max. Please attach a detailed masterplan that shows the mix of uses and public spaces.
We are passionate about creating a new inspiring place, an aspirational mixed-use development representing the highest levels of modern living standards, design quality and best sustainability practices. Our proposals will create an inclusive neighbourhood with community uses, including a two-form entry primary school with nursery and rooftop MUGA, wellness centre, riverside pub, café, restaurant, pop-up food market and grocery store. Our designs also include interactive play space for all ages, forest garden, nature trails and a football-pitch sized public square offering playable water features and a pavement café. The development will create considerable economic and social value for the local area, including jobs during construction and throughout the scheme’s lifetime.
There will be a central community hub at the head of the historic graving dock, providing workspace, a cafe, function and community spaces and prayer space. A new wellness centre will support healthy lifestyles with a gym, spa and swimming pool. The heritage graving dock will feature tiered public seating, publicly accessible gardens and squares, an outdoor classroom and open water swimming experience. Our plans intend to open the entire stretch of riverfront to the public, linking to a new river bus pier and station. Sustainability will remain a core value, with an innovative Shared Mobility Hub providing hire and storage of low carbon vehicles.
Through inclusive and considered design principles, the careful curation of spaces and a cohesive placemaking strategy, the development seeks to bring significant positive change to both the local community and the wider area.
How will the carbon use/material impact of the development of this new place be mitigated? What is the sustainability strategy? 250 words max. Please attach an image or drawing of the project that supports your statement.
Our Sustainability Strategy reﬂects our mission to deliver world-class mixed-use developments underpinned by our three pillars of sustainability.
Empowering Communities & Stimulating Economies
We aim to create a place that supports happy, healthy and prosperous lives, for example with a new Community Hub, wellbeing centre, swimming, planting, home working, exercise spaces and prayer rooms. There will be extensive green landscaping, ‘Secure by Design’ principles and enhanced accessibility. We will also be stimulating local economies by delivering circa 1,985sqm of new commercial space, creating 277 new jobs, generating up to £264m of local economic value and partnering with local employment organisations.
Protecting the Planet
We have focused on minimising carbon emissions and embedding resilience measures to future-proof the development. Low carbon designs will achieve 38% improvement in carbon emissions on Part L regulations, and the results of whole life-cycle carbon assessments show alignment with GLA’s aspirational benchmarks. A site-wide air source heat pump system will provide heating and cooling. Roof-mounted PV solar panels will reduce carbon footprint and our homes should achieve an ‘Excellent’ rating in the world’s leading sustainability assessment method ‘BREEAM’. Comprehensive air quality testing and modelling will mitigate air quality impacts, 150 new trees will be planted to create new habitats and circa 1,000m2 of bio-diverse and bio-solar roofs will deliver a biodiversity net-gain and integrate blue-green infrastructure solutions. The development will be car-free with a new river bus service and a Shared Mobility Hub so everyone can hire sustainable vehicles from cycles, scooters and electric cars.
What do you see as the greatest contribution of this project to the citizens of this future place and its surrounding areas? You may also attach an additional image or document to support your entry.
Blackwall Yard is the central, connecting piece of the regeneration puzzle in a part of East London which has remained disparate and disconnected despite consistent development over the last ten years. Open and inclusive, it has been designed in such a way that illustrates how high-quality design and extensive community engagement can create an inclusive place which functions without the walls and gates which prevent a local community from engaging with the reshaping of their neighbourhoods. By working on shared spaces and community uses, Blackwall Yard has received less than 20 objections despite its proximity to local residents – in fact, residents of the block most closely affected by the scheme have written showing their unequivocal support. Meanwhile and temporary allotments offer space and sanctuary to voices which traditionally remain unheard; a partnership with Brompton delivered more than four years ahead of completion will provide community cycling facilities long before residents arrive.
Non-residential uses have been curated with input from local groups, elected members, the Local Authority’s regeneration and planning teams. Despite much of the planning process taking place during lockdown, a hybrid mixture of digital and face-to-face engagement has ensured that Blackwall Yard will enhance rather than replace the existing culture of a part of London which has often been neglected. Outdoor swimming, playable streets, community spaces, a primary school, affordable workspace, a range of zero-carbon transport initiatives, prayer and reflection space and the reprovision of a walking and cycling link to one of London’s most memorable assets.