News in focus: The ever-changing Stratford skyline
- Credit: Archant
Since winning the Olympic bid in 2005, Stratford has changed almost beyond recognition.
And four years on from the most successful games in history the pace of change is showing no sign of easing off.
Multi-million pound developments are still popping up on both sides of the station and construction will begin on schemes like Stratford Island and Olympicopolis in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park within the next few years.
Totalling four million square feet, the £2.3billion International Quarter is one of the largest commercial developments in the capital and already dominates the skyline on the edge of the park.
With the likes of Transport for London (TfL) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) preparing to move in over the next two years, 25,000 people are expected to work and visit the buildings every day when completed .
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Ian Crockford, project director at Lendlease, said: “We’re creating one of the most agile, healthy and efficient business communities in London with The International Quarter delivering the capital’s next major business district.”
Further into the park, plans are being finalised for the new cultural and education district.
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Olympicopolis will house new outposts for the V&A museum, the London College of Fashion and Sadler’s Wells theatre while talks continue with the Smithsonian Institute, the world’s largest museum and research complex.
Built over two sites – one south of the Arcelormittal Orbit, the other north-east of the stadium – the plans, which will be submitted later this year, are expected to deliver 3,000 jobs and £2.8bn of value.
About 75,000sqm of residential space will also be included, with two 30 and 40-storey towers adding new homes.
Over by the station, developer Telford Homes is busily thrusting towers skyward. Already completed is the 26-storey Stratford Plaza at the edge of the bus station with 198 homes, while across the way the 36-storey Stratosphere is steadily climbing higher. Due for completion by autumn 2018 at the latest, it will create 307 homes.
Further up the road, near Theatre Royal Stratford East, Telford is building yet another tower – the 31-storey Stratford Central with 157 homes that will be ready next year. Next to it, Unite Students has built a mammoth complex of private student accommodation, sister to the edificial Stratford One in International Way, also owned by the firm.
In the middle of it all is the Stratford Shopping Centre, which is set for regeneration as part of the Stratford Island plan. It was given the green light in February and will deliver around 600 new homes in two tower blocks – one of 42 stories, the other of 25 – by 2018.
Headed up by Catalyst Capital, it will create more space for shops around the mall and preserve the street market while providing 587 new homes.
But who can afford them?
House prices in Stratford have risen by more than 55 per cent in the past six years, according to Zoopla, with the average home worth £367,138, and set to rise.
A study released by property consultant CBRE predicts average prices around Crossrail’s Elizabeth Line stations will rise above normal levels until the route opens in 2018, resulting in an average hike of £133,000 in two years.
And what effect will the massive population increase have upon a train station already bulging at the seams during rush hour?
A spokesman for TfL said: “At Stratford we are planning to build a new entrance to the Tube station, which will improve access and journeys through the station.
“We are also planning to increase the frequency of Jubilee line trains serving Stratford by the early 2020s.”