Plans for 1,700 student bed scheme at Canary Wharf get go-ahead

Skyscraper student accommodation at Canary Wharf

Artist view showing what the skyscraper accommodation at Canary Wharf will look like - Credit: Apt 

Plans for almost 1,700 students to live in three skyscrapers have been given the go-ahead next to Canary Wharf.  

Construction is set to start in 2022 on the towers reaching between 28 to 46 floors at Trafalgar Way, next to the Poplar Marina, which also include 80 private apartments. 

The three student towers for Canary Wharf reaching 46 floors with a 'sky bridge' linking two of them

The three planned Canary Wharf towers reaching up to 46 floors with a sky bridge linking two of them - Credit: Apt 

The planned scheme by Urbanest developers has 41,000sq ft of commercial office space suitable for business start-ups and small enterprises, while shops and a children’s playground are also featured. 

“This is an excellent location for students,” Urbanest director Anthony Mellalieu said. “It’s the largest sustainable student accommodation building globally and a massive undertaking to create the sort of place future generations want to live and work in.

“We have worked hard over the past few years to create something that responds to the demand we are seeing.” 

Vision is 'a vertical campus' where living co-exists with study and working

Apt's vision is "a vertical campus" where living co-exists with study and working - Credit: Apt consultancy


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The scheme, supported by University College London and designed by Apt consultancy, has been given the green light by Tower Hamlets Council. 

It is set to transform the empty gateway site at the eastern end of Canary Wharf between the marina and Blackwall Basin dock.

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The developers estimate £10.5m a year being spent in the area by students and leaseholders in the 80 apartments.    

Designer James Ewen, from Apt consultancy, said: “Our vision is a vertical campus where living, studying and working co-exist, which will extend into the ground-floor public area and beyond.” 

Construction is to start next spring, with proposed completion in time for the 2025-26 academic year. 

The approval comes just days after Southern Grove developers unveiled their £55m plans to turn the former Broadwood piano factory at Fish Island into a “student city” next to the River Lea opposite the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. 

It would have more than 200 bedrooms and sit next to a 330 bed student scheme run by a sister company.

The Old Ford development would serve five university campuses within a two-mile radius, such as Queen Mary at Mile End, University of East London at Stratford, Loughborough’s London postgraduate campus and UCL’s east campus both in the Olympic Park. 

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