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Old Poplar Library
45 Gillender Street
E14 6RN
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The Masterplan
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A Regeneration Showpiece

The redevelopment of Old Poplar Library is the first stage of the regeneration of the entire area known as Poplar Riverside. The proposals are bold and imaginative; and will build on the tremendous potential generated by its strategic location, particularly the natural asset of the river (one of Tower Hamlets hidden treasures) and excellent accessibility. It is imperative that this site achieves the high quality sought in a way that directly addresses the needs of local communities currently suffering high levels of physical, economic and social deprivation. This will be a flagship project to promote the development of underused sites along both sides of the River Lea ensuring that the river will become a center of attraction, rather than the 'gap' between the boroughs of Tower Hamlets and Newham.

A Vision for Change

The vision is that Poplar Riverside will be a high density; mixed-use area containing a fine-grain mix of apartments and live/work units truly integrated with business premises and community uses. This will be a place that stimulates the growth of a progressive high-tech business community, with a network of links to the adjacent existing and developing technology industries but with its roots set firmly in the local community. The place will be lively over much of the day, with the new residents and the existing community, workers and visitors transforming the River Lea into a vibrant hub of activity.

The Regeneration Framework

The 4.7 hectare (11.7 acre) Poplar Riverside site has been highlighted as a crucial component supporting a massive regeneration effort currently being driven forward by Leaside Regeneration in partnership with the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and a wide range of other key players including:

  • London Borough of Tower Hamlets
  • Transport for London
  • London Development Agency
  • Docklands Light Railway
  • Thames Gateway London Partnership
  • Bow Peoples Trust
  • Bromley by Bow Centre
  • Bow HAT
  • Poplar HARCA

The Leaside area is surrounded by a wealth of opportunities, developments and assets. The Royal Docks in the east have witnessed incredible regeneration with a series of major economic developments including the London City Airport and the ExCel exhibition center. To the south, Canary Wharf continues to build out at an impressive rate attracting blue chip companies. There is also considerable capacity for sustained commercial redevelopment down at the Millennium Quarter on the Isle of Dogs and at North Greenwich.

Leaside is also well placed to take advantage of the increasingly important business center developing at Stratford, reinforced by the new Jubilee Line extension and the International Eurotunnel Station.

Business Regeneration
Set within this context, the development of the Poplar Riverside site will announce the start of an ambitious regeneration programme that will see the transformation of the Leaside area. It will provide the catalyst for the sustained regeneration of key sites along the length of the River Lea. The result will confirm Leaside as a key element of East London's emerging new 'Water City' with Poplar Riverside as a major component, becoming a sought after location for businesses supporting the City, Canary Wharf and the Isle of Dogs and the Royal Docks.

Employment Regeneration
It will be possible to accommodate some 1000 jobs on this site whilst also providing a high quality residential environment. The range of employment accommodation will be flexible, with a range of small and medium sized units at rental levels that target the identified local employment need as well as those of business start-ups. Importantly, the proposals will also introduce a critical mass of live/work units, ensuring an essential transition between business and residential use and providing, quite literally on this scale, a viable 'business community'.

Community Regeneration
The scale of Poplar Riverside demands, and can support, purpose built community facilities that will provide not only for the site alone but will support the needs of adjacent communities. There will be new shops, cafes, bars and restaurants as well as a surgery and additional leisure facilities. It will provide opportunities for relocation of existing local businesses as well as providing key worker housing and affordable rented accommodation within a sustainable mix of tenures.

The development of the site will bring with it a considerably improved and upgraded infrastructure provision. The Blackwell Tunnel Northern Approach road (A12) will be 'calmed', a new junction and vehicular entrance will also support a new surface pedestrian crossing connecting the site, the river and beyond to adjacent communities. New bridges over the Lea will link the site and surrounding area to the existing and planned services and facilities in Canning Town and West Ham. The worked exemplar provides new, safe, direct and convenient bus links and cycle links that avoid potential congestion on the A12. In addition, the development principles ensure considerable improved pedestrian connections between the site and the rail network at Bromley-by-Bow, West Ham and Canning Town as well as the proposed new DLR station at Langdon Park to the west.

To the south of the site, London Docklands possesses one of the most advanced ICT infrastructures in Europe with a cluster of businesses all feeding off broad band high speed data links. The strategy is to extend this telecommunications infrastructure further north and to create a technology and media corridor stretching from Hackney Wick to the Thames along the Lower Lea Valley. As such, Poplar Riverside will benefit from both the existing and planned investment in ICT.

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