Riverscape

Canada Water: How Van Rysel has launched in London Decathlon

French cycling brand Van Rysel opens its first UK store with bikes and products on sale

The Van Rysel store at Decathlon is shown with bright lights and bikes on display
The Van Rysel store in Decathlon at Canada Water

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Decathlon in Canada Water is vast, a multi-level temple to sports and outdoor equipment for all kinds of activities.

That the store sells bikes is nothing new. However, a major change has occurred.   

For the first time, the French retailer has brought cycling products from its subsidiary Van Rysel into the store – the brand’s first presence in London.

Since its creation in 2018, the company has been making waves.

Flemish for “From Lille” its name recalls the location of Decathlon’s worldwide headquarters, conjuring forth images of the bumpy cobbled streets used to help prove its products’ mettle. 

Not, of course, that there’s much metal involved.

Van Rysel’s stated mission has long been to boost road riders’ performance through the use of high-end components and carbon frames.

An image of a Van Rysel bike frame is seen with others behind it
The store offers a multitude of bikes

Available now in south-east London

Located on the ground floor, Decathlon has dedicated a sizeable chunk of floorspace to this mission featuring bikes, clothing, workshop space and fitting facilities as well as racks of accessories.

It’s all aimed at drawing cyclists in, with eye-catching video displays, bright, glossy lighting and reflective blocks for the machines themselves to stand on.

Decathlon lead designer, Marc-Antoine Aubert, said “We opted for a distinct and eye-catching layout, with a centralised podium that showcases the hero Van Rysel bikes in the range. 

“Behind this is the welcome desk, built from a material inspired by the famous showers of the Velodrome of Roubaix.

“Above the welcome desk is a large screen with a video playing that reflects and shines on the ‘miroir d’eau’ or ‘reflecting water’ of the big podium – that is a tribute to two main architectural jewels of the Roubaix area, the Villa Cavrois  and the Museum La Piscine of Roubaix. 

“Finally, the central structure is made out of steel grating, which took inspiration from the wind tunnel where Van Rysel developed its bikes.

“Each aspect of the store was considered and we can’t wait to see how the public engage with the space.”

A group of men in Van Rysel T-shirts are seen standing in the new store
The store has Van Rysel staff on hand to help with purchases and servicing

Ready to ride

It’s the bikes themselves, of course, that are the main attraction with a wealth of models released in recent years. Prices range from £999 to £5,500 for the core collections.

However, much was made at the store launch of the remarkable success currently being enjoyed by the bike used by pro team Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale. 

The consumer version, the Van Rysel RCR Pro Replica, costs £9,000 (pricey but about £3,000 cheaper than comparable models) and has aerodynamics honed in military grade wind tunnels that has seen the machine that inspired it claim multiple professional racing victories so far this season.

Somehow its smoothed black lines fit perfectly in Decathlon’s new space.

Spare, economical, but rich in promise. 

This images is a portrait of Van Rysel founder Nicolas Pierron wearing a white shirt and posing in front of bikes in the store
Van Rysel founder Nicolas Pierron

“We are thrilled to open our first Van Rysel store in London,” said brand founder Nicolas Pierron.

“This expansion is not just about opening a new store – it’s about inviting more people to experience the rich heritage and superior craftsmanship that Van Rysel stands for. 

“We are excited to share our passion for cycling with the vibrant community of cyclists in London and look forward to becoming an integral part of the local culture.”

key details

Van Rysel’s products and workshop can be found on the ground floor of Decathlon in Canada Water.

The store is open 9am-8pm Monday-Saturday and 11am-5pm on Sundays.

Find out more about Van Rysel products here

Two men look at the Van Rysel RCR Pro Replica at Decathlon in Canada Water
Visitors survey the Van Rysel RCR Pro Replica at the store

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Canada Water: Why 2024 is a significant year for British Land’s regeneration scheme

Developer’s joint venture with AustralianSuper is set to see a bridge and market hall open up

An artist’s impression of Asif Khan’s bridge across Canada Dock

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Large regeneration projects are a marathon, not a race.

Their benefits often appear incrementally – a crescendo building to something truly revolutionary for an area transforming the lives of those who live and work in it.   

So it is with British Land’s epic 12-year plan for 53 acres of Canada Water and 2024 is set to be the year where a number of the project’s key parts will arrive. 

As those who’ve already read this piece will know, the first of up to 3,000 homes to be delivered across the site are now on sale.

But this article is about more immediate, material changes that are coming.

Nearing completion, for example, are the luxurious red curves of Asif Khan’s boardwalk, dipping pond and pergola which form the centrepiece of a package of improvements to Canada Dock itself.

Those arriving at the station will be confronted by an enriched waterside habitat replete with reed beds, benches and steps down to the dock edge – all aimed at boosting biodiversity, water quality and access to the blue stuff.

But these installations aren’t just a pretty gimmick – they’re a practical statement of intent, guiding visitors more directly towards what will be the new town centre.

In the meantime, the bridge will also bring people to a new foodie destination that is expected to open up at Surrey Quays Shopping Centre.

“While we’re waiting to redevelop it, we’re in the process of taking back the unit that’s currently home to The Range,” said Emma Cariaga, joint head of Canada Water at British Land

“We’re going to convert that into a food, beverage and cultural space, which will start to be symbolic of the sort of programmes we’ll be running locally.

“That will be in place before Christmas and the bridge is set to open around September time. 

“Both should be open before we complete on our first buildings at the end of the year and will be a really good amenity for them.

British Land’s joint head of Canada Water, Emma Cariaga

“They too will have restaurants and cafés on the ground floor – overlooking the water at the front and spilling out into a courtyard at the back.

“What we consistently hear from residents locally is that they love Canada Water but what they need in the short term is more places to eat and drink.

Canada Water Cafe and Leadbelly’s are excellent and this new opening should be phenomenal.

“We also took back a Victorian building near The Engineering And Design Institute to the east of our site, which has now reopened as The Pacific Tavern pub – a grill and barbecue concept that’s doing really well.”

All this speaks to a key benefit of having a single developer involved with a project for a significant period of time. 

British Land, now backed by the financial muscle of pension fund AustralianSuper, knows it has to deliver a consistent, compelling pipeline of amenities and attractions with visitors as much as it is future residents. 

Fortunately it has both the time, money and imagination to do this, having already altered its scheme to include the retention and upgrading of Printworks London as a venue.

“We’ve worked really well with Broadwick, which has run the venue – it surpassed all our hopes and dreams of what it could become,” said Emma.

“It’s seen millions of people pass through its doors over the past six years and, while it’s become best known for electronic dance music, we’ve also had the Canadian Royal Ballet, Secret Cinema, the BBC Proms and a whole range of product launches, conferences and studios using it as a filming location.

“This diversity really gave us confidence that we wanted to keep it as part of the project.

“Ultimately people will come to Canada Water because they live here or work here – but the key to success is also to get them to visit because they enjoy what’s here.

“Printworks has done that – we’ve had visitors not only from across London and the UK but also internationally.

“It has that kind of reach. It will be a catalyst for the site’s ongoing development.”

In addition to housing, plans for Canada Water include some 2million sq ft of office space, 650,000sq ft of retail and leisure space and 12 acres of new public space.

“We’ll be delivering a really healthy mix – somewhere that people will want to live and work, but also great places to come out and enjoy themselves,” said Emma. 

“We have lots of open spaces all around us with Southwark Park on our western boundary and Russia Dock Woodland to the east.

“Then we’ve got our own spaces including the most significant which is a new public park of three-and-a-half-acres. 

How the first phase of Canada Water will look when exiting the Tube station

“That will be delivered alongside Printworks and we hope to start work before the end of the year once we’ve got planning permission.

“Construction will then take about two years.”

Alongside the cultural venue, Printworks is expected to house 158,000sq ft of flexible workspace, and boast 10,000sq ft of external terraces on its third and sixth floors with views across London. 

Also mooted is a full complement of food and drink establishments to keep both visitors and workers appropriately sated.

Coming sooner to the overall scheme will be The Dock Shed – one of the buildings delivered as part of phase one.

Located next to residential tower The Founding, and just a few seconds from the station, this combines 180,000sq ft of office space over five floors with a new leisure centre to be run by Southwark Council. 

This includes pools, sports courts and a gym spread over the basement and ground floor of the structure.

“We’re really pleased to have this facility, which includes an eight-lane, 25m pool because it will provide constant footfall,” said Emma.

That’s something that, with all these plans progressing, is only set to increase in the years to come. 

key details

The Canada Water masterplan covers 53 acres of space on the Rotherhithe peninsula and will see a new high street and shopping destination created alongside 3,000 homes.

Find out more about the plans here

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Property: How Barratt London’s Bermondsey Heights offers Zone 2 value

Developer’s South Bermondsey scheme is on the edge of major local regeneration projects

An artist’s impression of Barratt London’s Bermondsey Heights scheme

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“People are smart nowadays, they’re not just buying somewhere because it’s a great place to live – they’re looking at lots of different elements and whether they’re going to see capital growth on their purchase,” said Yolanda Jacob, sales and marketing director at Barratt East London

“Even if they stay for five years, they want to see a property will be a good investment for them. 

“Buying at the beginning of regeneration is nearly always the best time to purchase, because you’re going to see capital growth because of everything that’s going on in the area.”

We’re discussing Bermondsey Heights, the developer’s latest south-east London scheme. 

When complete, the Ilderton Road complex will house 163 one, two and three-bedroom homes as well as 32 shared ownership apartments, rising to 26 storeys at its highest point.

This includes the Skyline Collection, a clutch of properties spread over the top four floors with an enhanced specification and, presumably, the best views the scheme has to offer.

Barratt has a bit of a track record in building developments in areas that then go on to see vast swathes of regeneration unfolding, with buyers enjoying the upswing in property values and boost in amenities that result. 

Maple Quays at Canada Water and Enderby Wharf on Greenwich Peninsula would be two examples. 

This could well be true for Bermondsey Heights as well.

The development features views across London from its communal roof terrace

Over the road to the north, Renewal has plans for some 3,500 homes, office spaces and, potentially, a new Windrush Line station on land surrounding Millwall FC’s ground. 

For context, New Bermondsey is a scheme comparable in size to Royal Arsenal Riverside in Woolwich or Kidbrooke Village.

“House prices locally are forecast to rise by 25%, which is huge compared with other areas,” said Yolanda.

“People who bought at the start of similar schemes in Brixton, Shoreditch or King’s Cross will be very happy with their investment after five or 10 years. 

“These are destinations people now go to for socialising, entertainment and shopping.”

Alongside New Bermondsey, British Land’s 12-year redevelopment of Canada Water – complete with a new town centre – is also within walking distance of Barratt’s scheme and will benefit buyers.

But what will those future residents actually be purchasing? 

“Each apartment will have outside space – either a winter garden or a balcony,” said Yolanda.

“They have open-plan living areas and kitchens with all your appliances, finished to a high specification. 

“Buyers can have the option to choose a colour scheme – they can bespoke the apartment and pick flooring, tiles, carpets and bathroom decor.

“The designs are very fresh, clean and bright. 

Apartments feature open-plan design

“We also offer furniture packages, with designers who can come in and help buyers personalise their home.

“Then there’s a concierge service at the development as well as a podium garden and a roof terrace for residents.”

While some developments come stuffed with facilities, Barratt’s approach in South Bermondsey is to pare back its offering to keep service charges down in a move it believes will be attractive to buyers.

“These days new-builds offer so many options,” said Yolanda. “There are developments offering cinemas and golf simulators, but you’re going to pay a lot for those facilities.

“What we want to do is make sure we’re building homes that are affordable, and where they don’t have the worry of having to pay thousands of pounds a year on service charges, for facilities they may not use that much.

“In the middle of London such amenities can easily be found and we don’t want to tie people into spending lots of money on things they don’t want to use. 

“Our aim is to cover the basics and then leave it up to personal choice.

“That way we can keep the service charge to around £3 per square foot, which is attractive to buyers.”

Bermondsey Heights is located within 10 minutes’ walk of South Bermondsey station for services into London Bridge. 

Residents can also walk 15 minutes to Surrey Quays station for Overground services on the Windrush Line and connections to Canary Wharf within two stops.

One, two and three-bedroom homes are available

“It’s a largely unregenerated area at the moment with industrial units, workshops and warehouses – but there’s a major injection of funding coming and it has brilliant backup with its neighbouring places,” said Yolanda.

“You’ve got Deptford down the road, which has seen quite a bit of a resurgence in popularity as well as Surrey Quays and Elephant And Castle, which have already seen extensive regeneration.

“Then there’s New Bermondsey in the pipeline.

“Bermondsey Heights for people looking for affordability and somewhere they can put down some roots.

“It’s an interesting proposition in terms of pricing – statistics from JLL show we’re about 19% lower compared with other Zone 2 developments across the capital.

“That’s been a huge draw for people whether they’re buying for investment or to live in because they can see lots coming here and that the infrastructure is going to improve.”

An explanation, perhaps, for the fact Barratt’s scheme is already more than 50% sold.

Be quick.

need to know

Properties are now on sale at Bermondsey Heights through Barratt East London.

Prices start at £490,000. 

A new show home is set to launch at the development in May, 2024, with further details available online.

Find out more about Bermondsey Heights here

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Canada Water: How The Founding offers homes with views across London’s skyline

British Land and AustralianSuper’s regeneration of Canada Water see first homes hit the market

An artist’s impression of The Founding

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Just over a month ago, something momentous happened in London’s property market.

British Land and its partner, AustralianSuper, celebrated the topping out of their first phase of development at Canada Water

Dominating that site is the steel-clad edifice of The Founding, the project’s first residential tower, and every inch of its 35 storeys a flagship structure.

While its neighbouring buildings will contain a leisure centre, workspace and places to eat and drink, apartments mean people in residence 24-hours a day, 365 days a year, a potent addition to an already thriving south-east London community.

The building boasts views of central London and Canary Wharf

Over 12 years, the wider 53-acre site will have much more to come but our focus here is on what The Founding will offer as a place to live.

“It contains 186 apartments and the views from every side are fantastic,” said Simon Capp, head of residential sales at British Land. 

“We’re super-lucky in that we’ve got low-rise geography locally overlooking Southwark Park to the west and Canada Dock to the east. 

“Architecturally, it’s special, designed by Allies And Morrison, who have a strong track record in large-scale towers.

“It has quite an industrial, urban aesthetic – appropriate for Canada Water, which historically has been a hard-working part of town dealing with shipping and cargo.

“It has a warehouse-like feel.”

A show home interior at The Founding

Head inside, though, and while there are some stylistic nods to industry, there’s also plenty of home comforts.

“All the interior architecture has been created by Conran And Partners, which has a really strong track record in luxury hotels and premium residential developments,” said Simon.

“We have two show flats – a one-bed and a two-bed – available for buyers to view at the marketing suite.

“The properties feature oak flooring and Crittall-style windows as well as concrete-style worktops, wooden kitchen cabinets and open-plan design.

“The building predominantly houses one and two-bedroom apartments, with around 15 three-beds on the upper floors with fabulous views and studios also available.”

Kitchens include Samsung appliances as standard

Residents can expect Samsung appliances as standard as well as underfloor heating and comfort cooling in one, two and three-beds.

Properties come with LED downlighters and track spotlights in the coffered ceiling areas of living rooms, sizeable bathrooms and balconies with views across London.

“Even for this first phase, we’ve got a very good level of enlivenment in the form of restaurants, cafes and bars,” said Simon.

“We’ve started work on the transformation of the courtyard, which will be completed late this summer.

“The Founding’s proximity to the station means it’s about a minute to get from the building’s lobby to the Tube and Overground services.

“As a residential offer, this is really one of a kind.”

With more than a decade of work taking place locally, The Founding is also well located to avoid much of the construction that is in the pipeline.

By the end of this year work to renovate Canada Dock will be complete meaning residents can move into The Founding safe in the knowledge that no significant building work on the project will take place on adjacent land.

The tower features three roof terraces

Instead they’ll be able to take advantage of Asif Khan’s bridge over the docks and a new food, drink and cultural destination that will be installed at Surrey Quays as regeneration takes place further to the south and east. 

“Canada Water is already a fully established place – a very nice neighbourhood,” said Simon.

“Our Canada Water project is more of a revitalisation  – stitching something really exciting into what is already a well-established community.

“We’ve taken what we’ve learnt from other large scale developments such as King’s Cross and putting that into action.

“There will be a great mix of residential and commercial space and, with the dock, we’re working to increase the biodiversity to make this an even better place to live – a fresh and lively district.”

The Founding itself includes three roof terraces for residents to use as well as communal spaces for work and relaxation.

Further perks include three years’ membership to a London cycle hire scheme as well as bike storage for each apartment.

Ideally located for public transport, buyers can be in Canary Wharf or London Bridge within minutes, with the Windrush Line offering rapid access to the likes of Whitechapel, Shoreditch and Dalston. 

Simon said: “Given that rents are currently high, people are looking to purchase.

“We’ve been getting interest from a mix of buyers including people who work in Canary Wharf, some of whom don’t want to live there and are looking for something a bit different.”

Studios, one-beds, two-beds and three-beds are all available

key details

Prices at The Founding start at £704,000 for studios and one-beds.

Two-beds start at £986,500, while three-beds are expected to start at around £2million. 

Properties come with a circa 500 year lease and an estimated service charge of £6.56 per sq ft. 

Find out more about The Founding here

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Canada Water: How Phantom Peak offers a total escape from the real world

Immersive experience welcomes visitors into a mysterious world of canals and platypuses

Phantom Peak co-founder Nick Moran

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…we’re on the trail of a missing package, but something sinister is going on. There’s blackmail, a robotic AI doctor that’s scathing about our putrid human bodies, a curious undertaker, odd business cards, a disgusted scientist and TVs that play sinister messages when tuned to the right channel. Oh, and there’s something just not quite right about that mayor…

Welcome to the strange, uncanny world of Phantom Peak.

The comic book adjectives seem appropriate for an immersive experience that aims to place those attending right in the middle of a larger than life narrative.

Located a short walk from Canada Water station inside and outside a disused industrial building, the venue promises a fully realised steampunk town complete with canals, waterfalls and residents to interact with.

But things don’t stand still.

The place may have opened a little over a year ago, but it’s just launched its fifth season – the latest chapter in a complex, involved saga designed to keep people coming back for more.

Each time it resets, there are fresh characters to meet, new mysteries to solve and adventures to go on – an approach that for co-founder Nick Moran is akin to another medium altogether.

“When you come to Phantom Peak, you’re essentially coming to a real-life, open world, role-playing video game,” he said.

“It’s up to you whether you walk to the hills and carry on walking or spend your time crafting minerals – you can do what you like. 

“It’s all about player agency, creating a world where people can explore and experience many different things.

“You can do all the events that the townsfolk run all day, or you can follow the trails and the stories.

“It’s not like immersive theatre where you don’t know what you’re doing – you’re guided through the experiences.”

The setting is Phantom Peak, a cultish sort of town in the grip of corporate entity Jonaco, which rebuilt the place after a suspicious blimp accident, founded and controlled by the buff, messianic figure of Jonas.

Part of the vast Phantom Peak installation in Canada Water

Visitors are encouraged to download an app and answer questions to find a quest to follow – although everyone is equally free just to wander around chatting to the townsfolk, playing games and indulging in the street food and beverages on offer from the various outlets.

It’s extensive, expansive and – because of the myriad paths on offer – filled with eager puzzle-solvers hunting solutions, intrigue and adventure.

Oh, and there’s a platypus hooking game in honour of the town’s peculiar mascot.

“This place was an abandoned warehouse and a car park when we came here,” said Nick.

“We’ve transformed it and it’s impossible to do everything at Phantom Peak on a single visit. 

“Each time – whether you come with your friends or your family – it will be different, with new stories and trails to explore.

“Then, each season, we create a new chapter in the life of the town – some characters may have gone, others will remain, but there will always be something new and it allows us to move forward or backwards in time with the narrative. “

That’s an aspect Nick and the team take extremely seriously.

Following a degree in classics he trained in writing for the stage and screen before working to create live experiences around newly published books.

This led to a job as creative director of Time Run – a pair of escape room-style games that welcomed thousands of competitors through their doors.

He then performed the same role for The Game Is Now, an immersive experience – officially tied into TV series Sherlock – which he co-wrote with Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat.

The puzzle, which features Gatiss, Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman and Andrew Scott, continues to run in west London.

But, having teamed up with set-building expert Glen Hughes, Nick wanted to create something that went beyond the medium of escaping from a room.

“We decided we wanted to do something that would combine all the things we liked about immersive experiences – gamification, storytelling, open world, choice and being able to sit and relax too,” said Nick.

“Escape rooms are all about high engagement, high throughput and pushing people from one thing to the next.

The level of detail at Phantom Peak is phenomenal with much attention paid to props, characters and design

Phantom Peak isn’t like that. It’s about being as engaged as you want to be. It’s all about stories – less a fundamentally passive theatre experience than a place where you can take on a role.

“We wanted it to be a world of play – man-made canals, platypuses, a huge muscular impresario named Jonas.

“From there the stories write themselves – but we take it seriously. It’s like making a TV show.

“There’s a writers’ room where we think about the characters and how we can make the narratives resonate with people.

“It’s novelistic – a place that has real depth, where there’s lots to explore but also lots to do.

“It’s like the platypus itself, the mascot of the town. It’s neither one thing nor another – not quite a mammal, not quite a bird.

“But it’s the symbol of the place and the townsfolk love it.

“Some of the actors we have working here have been with us since we opened and they’ve really grown with the town.

“They are as much a part of the place as anything in the stories and it’s been a real pleasure to see it develop that way.” 

Nick and Glen are currently raising funds to expand Phantom Peak globally. 

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Canada Water: How British Land is building a new, 53-acre town centre for Rotherhithe

As the first concrete cores rise, we take a snapshot of the mammoth mixed regeneration project

An artist’s impression of British Land’s new bridge over Canada Water

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Before we begin our walk across the 53 acres that British Land (BL) is regenerating on Rotherhithe peninsula, Roger Madelin indulges in a raspberry croissant at Canada Water Cafe (only £2.70 for those who fancy a treat).

The place is packed. Local residents are meeting, chatting and working at tables. It’s the kind of image developers like to mock up on computers to show the thriving neighbourhoods their schemes will hopefully create.

It’s also cause for Roger to reflect on the fact that BL has a very rare opportunity at Canada Water – a project it describes as a chance to “build London’s first new town centre in 50 years” at the heart of a mature, expectant community. 

Carpeted with mostly suburban housing in the first flush of Docklands regeneration, the area is already home to residents, increasingly attracted by its close proximity to both the central London and Canary Wharf, thanks to the Jubilee line, but also to east and south London via the Overground.

Roger tells me it’s within 45 minutes of more places in the capital than anywhere else.

As joint head of Canada Water at BL, there’s a glint in his eye as he talks about the firm’s ambitions for the area.

Having spent 29 years at developer Argent overseeing the projects across the country such as Brindleyplace in Birmingham and the rebirth of King’s Cross in north London, there’s a sense that he couldn’t quite resist this one.

“BL noticed I was leaving Argent and asked if I wanted to come and run Canada Water,” he said.

“At first I was sceptical, I didn’t want to do a residential development, which is what I thought it would be.

“But then I came down here and realised it would be an opportunity to build a new town centre – what an extraordinary privilege.

“Then you get to ask what that is and I think it’s about health, environment and sustainability.

“Everyone in the world should regard urban places as very important and I think both Canada Water and Canary Wharf can be exemplars for how to reposition areas as urban centres.”

British Land’s joint head of Canada Water, Roger Madelin

While Canary Wharf continues its transition from pure business district to a place that’s home to companies, residential housing and a potent blend of leisure and hospitality attractions, Canada Water is still in the first chapter of its journey.

Concrete cores are rising on the first of its new buildings, which will include a new leisure centre for the area and social housing on the site’s eastern periphery. 

But these first structures are very much the vanguard in what will be a transformation of a plot that includes the whole of Surrey Quays Shopping Centre, the old Harmsworth Quay Printworks and connects Southwark Park with Greenland Dock and Russia Dock Woodland.

“With the planning permission we have, we can create a new urban centre,” said Roger.

“We have the ability to flex from 3million sq ft of commercial space to 4million – likewise we can build a minimum of 2,000 homes or a maximum of just under 4,000.

“Similarly, we can build up to 1million sq ft of retail and leisure space – we may not do that, but it will be a substantial amount. With the current shopping centre and leisure park, the area has about 350,000sq ft.

“As an overview, we’ll have about 35 new buildings, 20 acres of new public space and a 3.5-acre park.

“Many of our buildings will be five storeys high to protect the view of St Paul’s from Greenwich, so this will be on a human scale and I think that will attract people.

“The development I was involved with at King’s Cross has more people going there at weekends than to work during the week.

“There are dozens of places around London that are teeming with people on Saturday and Sunday.

“It’s great for people that live in them, but we also want people living outside to come here and enjoy themselves.”

British Land intends to preserve The Printworks building as a cultural venue

That attitude has doubtless been bolstered by the success of event and music venue Printworks, which has seen Harmsworth Quays’ immense press halls regularly fill with revellers enjoying some of the very best electronic music in London.

While originally conceived as a temporary use for the vast building in partnership with Broadwick Live, the plan is now to preserve the venue as part of the overall scheme, enclosing and enlarging the existing building and creating a park next to it.

“I credit my wife entirely for the decision to explore retaining the whole building,” said Roger.

“She and I walked round here in the summer of 2015 and she immediately saw the amazing opportunity it presented and asked what we were going to do with it.

“I said the assumption was that we would knock it down because it looked a bit harsh but she said we shouldn’t because nothing like it would get built again.

“Today, of course, you’d start with that assumption because of all the embodied carbon in the building.

“That was a little in my mind at the time, but not as much as today, when the view is where possible you don’t touch existing buildings.

“So, after three years of investigations – drilling, digging and studying – we’re pretty confident it was built a lot better than we even hoped, so we have applied for planning permission to keep it and extend it.

“If that’s successful, we’ll aim to be opening it by the end of 2025 – an amazing cultural venue to complement the others in the city.

“We already know the acoustics are extraordinary, whether it’s an electronic music event or a BBC Prom, both of which have been hosted there.”

Another artist’s impression of how The Printworks could look

This article is, naturally, far too short to do justice to the extent and depth of BL’s Canada Water project.

Even a brief walk to its borders reveals the sheer scale of the project, with plans for a new pedestrian bridge across Canada Water itself, which will also include work to boost wetland habitats and see the water level pumped up.

Already there’s been space made for charitable endeavours, work to help boost startups and a facelift for Surrey Quays Shopping Centre itself, including wallball courts and a new climbing wall.

Then there’s investment in a modular building for TEDI-London – a new higher education enterprise co-funded by King’s College London, Arizona State University and UNSW Sydney and focused on engineering – that was erected in only six weeks.

While some of these are temporary benefits, they significantly add to the buzz of the area and provide a flavour of BL’s direction of travel as the wider project continues to unfold.

“If we could do something here with applied engineering higher education, that would excite me,” said Roger.

“How we deal with the world always involves engineers sorting stuff out and I think, in the UK, the sector has had a bad rap in the past. 

“The other things I think are crucial is what we do with the new high street, which will be along Deal Porters Way – what it means to build a space like that now and how we create the public spaces and routes to the amazing parks, docks and woods that are already here.

“We want to make it so that if you have nothing on your agenda for the weekend and you want to stay in London, then you’ll just go to Canada Water and all the amazing stuff that’s there.

“King’s Cross is great – I think this will be bigger, better and greener from a public space point of view.”

An artist’s impression of the first phase from Canada Water station

Read more: Discover the 2022 Greenwich Theatre panto

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- Jon Massey is co-founder and editorial director of Wharf Life and writes about a wide range of subjects in Canary Wharf, Docklands and east London - contact via jon.massey@wharf-life.com
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Canada Water: What Squid Markets’ Canada Water Market offers shoppers

Company behind Wapping Docklands Market expands to Deal Porter Square, south of the Thames

Canada Water Market on its very first day of trading

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Not to be confused with South Korean ultraviolent Netflix phenomenon Squid Game, Squid Markets has reached a milestone.

On the first birthday of its first successful project – Wapping Docklands Market at Brussels Wharf – it unveiled a second, this time south of the Thames. 

Even for its first iteration on Easter Sunday (April 17, 2022), it was clear Canada Water Market is the right thing in the right place. 

Despite hordes of Londoners heading off to see families, the traders, street food vendors and refreshment stalls were doing brisk business at Deal Porter Square – something that will doubtless continue as the market is set to run every Sunday outside the library from 10am until 4pm.

It offers visitors a heady blend of live music, cuisines from around the world, German beer, wine, baked goods, fresh produce, crafts and art – a place to shop, but also to meet, eat, drink and be merry as the sun sparkles on the waters of the nearby dock.

Squid Markets founder Will Cutteridge

The divide created by the Thames itself was indirectly the inspiration for Squid’s latest venture – a physical obstacle that Londoners have been working to overcome (somewhat unsuccessfully) for hundreds of years.

While previous generations have tried tunnelling to connect Wapping and Rotherhithe, for Squid founder Will Cutteridge the solution was simpler – take what already works in one location and replicate it in another.

“We know at Wapping Docklands Market that the majority of our customers come from north of the river,” he said.

“So I thought we should have a market south of the Thames but in relatively close proximity to our first operation. 

“That way we’re able to start to grow the brand both in east and south-east London. That’s when I started looking for sites – literally on Google Maps, zooming into open spaces.

“Because London is so densely packed, if there’s a large open space it’s pretty obvious and I began looking in Rotherhithe and Deal Porter Square seemed the obvious place to do it – it was the right sort of area for what we’re offering.”

Art by Ed J Bucknall on sale at the market – more here

With swathes of regeneration already completed – and a great deal more in pipeline – the peninsula has seen a steady increase in population with new businesses and ventures arriving in the area. So what is Squid bringing to that mix?

“Canada Water is, like Wapping, primarily a food market,” said Will.

“We want people to come and do their weekly shop with us, get all their fruit and veg, their bread and all the standard items, while also grabbing a coffee and catching up with their neighbours.

“One of the most exciting things that we’ve seen at Wapping is that it has brought the local community together.

“People who live in the same building, right across the corridor from each other and have never spoken, have met at the market, and I think that’s the joy of something like this.

“That’s exactly what we want to create at Canada Water – something that brings people together in an old-fashioned way. 

“I think that’s important in this day and age, because people don’t talk to each other in London very much and the market provides a friendly environment where they can.

Produce from Chegworth Valley is also available – more here

“You go to the supermarket, pick up a bunch of carrots and put them in your basket, and it’s not very immersive or interactive.

“If you buy a bunch of carrots from our Chegworth Valley stall, the team running it all live and work on the farm – they pick the fruit, plant the seeds, and you’re meeting the people who grow your food – you have a dialogue with them, come back every week and it’s always the same people.

“We also have a small craft section in all our markets, because we tend to find that there’s a lot of local people who have a side gig making things.

“For example, we have a a guy who hand-makes all his terrariums – Plant And Person – which is quite cool.

“Hosting those pitches is a great way to get local businesses to the market, and it provides a bit of variety in addition to the food itself.

“We also have a local artist – Ed Bucknall – who sells his works, and one lady who takes all of our empty bottles from the wine stall at the end of the day and uses them to make candles.

Cheese from The French Comte – more here

“Street food is, of course, a critical part of our operation – visitors to the market can do their shopping and then listen to some live music, have a beer or a glass of wine and then grab a pizza, some curry, steak or a wide variety of Asian food.

“There’s also a guy selling Portuguese sandwiches and vegan Caribbean food from Joy’s Caribbean Fusion, so there’s a lot to choose from.

“Our plan is to have a total of 35 traders here, which is enough to provide a really good mix of food, produce and services – we’re always on the look out for new traders, so anyone interested should get in touch.

“We might have re-branded, but we remain hugely passionate about sustainability – it’s incredibly challenging but it’s something we remain focused on.

“One of the ways in which Squid does this is to find small businesses through its markets and help them build their brands nationally – we’re always seeking really interesting food producers that we can go into partnership with.”

Spinach rolls for £4 from Rodgis – more here

Read more: How Canada Water Dockside will transform Rotherhithe

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Canada Water: How Canada Water Dockside fits into regeneration plans

Art-Invest’s scheme to build offices on the edge of the water will see work at town centre’s heart

An artist's impression of how the office development might look
An artist’s impression of how the office development might look

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Art-Invest is doing something a bit unusual – at least in the context of the ongoing regeneration of Docklands, east and south-east London. 

The German developer recently received outline planning permission from Southwark Council for a scheme covering the former Decathlon store (now temporary events venue Dock X) on the edge of Canada Water.

But while rolling cranes onto such sites isn’t exactly out of the ordinary, the fact that it intends to build offices, is.

Art-Invest’s plans for Canada Water Dockside cover a chunk of land either side of Surrey Quays Road, including the now defunct Hawker House, adjacent to the 53 acres that developer British Land is currently engaged in regenerating. 

It’s a missing piece in the redevelopment of the area – a site originally earmarked for housing – that enjoys a lengthy stretch of dock edge and connects the British Land project with buildings already completed beside the Tube station.

Art-Invest’s plans are for a series of three buildings housing about 1.5million sq ft of space alongside community facilities and places to eat and drink at ground floor level. The scheme also promises to bring up to 10,000 jobs to the area.

“Back in 2019, there was an opportunity to get involved in this particular site, and we were very aware of what was happening in the area with British Land,” said Luka Vukotic, development director at Art-Invest.

“Given that the whole area was going to change from a residential district to a proper town centre, we thought it would be quite remarkable to help with that wider vision.

“What really attracted us to it was that it was already established, with existing communities all around it.

“As we were starting to consult with people, we realised how strong they were and how much local identity there already was. In addition, we were really attracted by the green and blue spaces of this place – its parks and its docks. 

“With British Land coming forward with a town centre, our scheme needed to be more than just a residential building with a boring ground floor.

“We wanted to create office space with lower levels that everyone could use – both occupiers and local communities.”

Art-Invest development director Luka Vukotic
Art-Invest development director Luka Vukotic

While many had questioned whether people would return to workplaces following the pandemic, Art-Invest remains confident that its plans have a place in the evolving way businesses and organisations operate.

“A lot of existing offices will become less attractive in the coming years for a number of reasons, some technical and some social,” said Luka. 

“We’re convinced we’ve got a really special location, so it’s now about how we make something really remarkable out of this opportunity.

“We want to help build this new town centre and to create the offices of the future. 

“What’s really helped us in this process was talking to the local community – I personally had more than 150 meetings with community stakeholders, local businesses, local residents and local groups. 

“We realised that people really like the idea of a town centre as a place to socialise – to have a drink and some food and to enjoy it.

“So then we asked people what they wanted to see and they said they would like so many things – a food hall, restaurants, local shops, a community centre, a health hub, a bike repair shop. They told us what they thought was missing.

“That allowed us to think about our buildings in a different way – instead of having a large reception area for the offices on the ground floor, we thought it would be amazing to make that space vibrant, to create streets and squares there, before looking at what’s above.”

The next round of consultations focused on what the office buildings themselves might be like.

“That’s when we started thinking about the urban green factor, with external space and terraces, and how we make this a car-free place, a zero-fossil fuel development,” said Luka.

“It’s how we’ve begun to develop the vision of what the office of the future will be. 

“That’s very different from the old thinking, where developers created these super buildings where you can spend the entire day without leaving.

“We thought it would be much nicer to deconstruct the building and ask what’s needed that’s not already there – then you can create a relatively simple development that plugs into the existing grid of facilities and amenities.

“We ended up with a planning application that has been really well received by the local community.

“That wasn’t surprising to us because of all the work we’d done.

“Now we’ve got the go-ahead, the next five to seven years are going to be really exciting, where we can actually put a lot more thought into what this development is going to be like – to bring more colour to what we have already shown.”

An artist's impression of how the ground floor of Canada Water Dockside might look
An artist’s impression of how the ground floor of Canada Water Dockside might look

Art-Invest is working with BIG Architects on the scheme, which will have an eye firmly on sustainability, aiming to create a net-zero development entirely powered by electricity.

“The office of the future is not the building itself, it’s the environment you’re creating,” said Luka. 

“Workplaces will be spaces where you come maybe three or four times a week, but not somewhere you’d come to sit at a desk for the whole day.

“When it comes to the buildings, we think that the look and feel of office blocks needs to change – they should be more welcoming. 

“Our intention is also to have lots of terraces. A lot of people complain about the weather in the UK, but I think for most of the year you can actually work outside, depending how cold it is

“We use the terrace quite extensively at our office for about eight or nine months of the year.

“Fresh air is very important to us – Canada Water has some of the cleanest air in London and we want to create buildings with opening windows, not sealed boxes that don’t feel very human.

“In the future, offices will also be places where you might come to meet other people and to do other things in addition to work that you wouldn’t necessarily do at home.

“That’s why we think Canada Water has a lot to offer – you can do all sorts of activities within a 500m radius. 

“For example, Decathlon are our next-door neighbours and with everything the area has to offer there’s an opportunity to encourage healthy lifestyles.

“When we engaged with Decathlon, we realised its vision aligns with what we’re trying to achieve in terms of healthy living, active transport, and so on.

“That’s why we have a partnership with them and have set aside a £200,000 fund to encourage health and wellbeing in Canada Water over the next five years.

“This is a grass-roots project, supporting what’s already here. 

“We are strong believers that we don’t need to create a place here – there’s already a place here – we just need to see if there’s something missing or if we can help with something that’s already in existence.

“I’d really like to thank everyone who’s been involved in the processes over the last couple of years – all those who have worked with our teams, but also all the stakeholders, the community and Southwark Council who will be engaging with us to make this a success.

“We feel that Canada Water is going to be the start of an amazing journey in the years to come.”

Art-Invest hopes to start construction in 2023 with its buildings coming in phases. Residents can expect some spaces to open by 2025 or 2026.

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Canada Water: London Oktoberfest pitches up in Dock X on the Rotherhithe Peninsula

Event promises to blend German traditions with British atmosphere in an all-weather venue

In previous years London Oktoberfest has been held in tents

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Event venue Dock X is set to reverberate with the sounds of a party that started more than 200 years ago. The Canada Water warehouse space will host London Oktoberfest for three weekends this autumn. 

The tradition has its origins in a wedding party held in 1810 for the crown prince of Bavaria (who later became King Ludwig I), which lasted five days culminating in a horse race. Having got a taste for celebration, the following year an agricultural fair was tagged on with food and drink stalls for visitors.

By the 20th century these had become vast beer halls with each local brewery hosting up to 6,000 people a day over the last two weeks in September.  

Its something former banker Carsten Raun knows all about. It’s a tradition he’s successfully been bringing to London since 2011.

“It’s the 10th anniversary since we first brought the authentic Oktoberfest to London, which is a celebration in itself,” he said. 

“First of all, we’ll have the original beer and sausage from Germany, just as we always have, despite Brexit. The mood in the hall is always fantastic with live oompah music.

“The Brits and Germans share a love of beer, it’s a common theme between the two countries – we brought it to London and found people really love it. The German traditions and the British attitude fit together perfectly.

“This time we have some different ideas too. Dock X is a new venue for us and it means the weather won’t affect the event.

“In many ways it’s like the tents in Munich which are really permanent structures laid out like beer halls.

“There is no Oktoberfest there this year because they’ve decided it’s not the right time to hold an event that sees six million people come from all around the world. 

“We can do this in London because it is a local event with a capacity of 1,500 people and we’ll be following all of the government rules with hand sanitising available throughout the venue.”

Dancing and singing are encouraged at London Oktoberfest

For those quick off the mark, tickets are still available for the October 1-2 sessions at the Canada Water venue before the event returns to Rotherhithe from November 4-6 and 11-13.

For those prepared to travel to west London, there will be a chance to sup from a stein under canvas when London Oktoberfest pitches its traditional tent for Halloween from October 28-31. 

Those visiting the pop-up in Ealing’s Walpole Park are invited to dress up for a spooky session, with families also welcome on the Sunday.

Carsten said: “In addition to Halloween, we will also be hosting Pink Oktoberfest when we’re back in Canada Water on November 5.

“This started some years ago and now we’re hosting it for the LGBTQIA+ community to show there is some Oktoberfest for everybody – it will be very welcoming.

“While it is a new world since Brexit and the pandemic and it hasn’t been so easy to organise, we have found a way to bring the beer, the food and all our stuff to London.

“It’s something we want to keep doing. For all of our events, I hope people come and experience the same great atmosphere that we always had before Covid. It’s time to raise those steins again.

“It’s so exciting to be coming back to London again and it will be a really wonderful feeling to see people enjoying themselves. 

“We hope that the events we are hosting will act as a second freedom day so that people can have a chance to celebrate.”  

Prices for Oktoberfest start at £5 for general entry, with a multitude of options available including VIP and corporate packages. Dock X is located within easy walking distance of Canada Water station.

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