Plans lodged for 1,800 new homes at Murdoch’s former ‘Fortress Wapping’

Planning application by St George developers, new owners of News Inrternational's former printworks

Planning application by St George developers, new owners of News Inrternational's former printworks in Wapping - Credit: St George Central London

A planning application to redevelop the massive former News International printing plant at Wapping in London’s East End has been lodged with the local authority.

Proposals have been submitted to Tower Hamlets Council for 1,800 new homes and 200,000sq ft of commercial space at the 15-acre London Dock site off The Highway.

The scheme has evolved over the past 12 months following public consultations by the new owners, St George Central London, who say the development will create 1,200 new jobs.

The vast complex—once dubbed ‘fortress Wapping’ during the 1978 printworkers’ strike when Rupert Murdoch took on the trade unions—has been virtually empty since News International pulled its production operations out three years ago.

Ambitious plans now include 1,800 new homes, some low-cost ‘affordable’ properties, a six-form entry secondary school, nearly three hectares of public open space with a new civic square and “a varied skyline with buildings ranging from five to 33 stories.”

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The developers also want to revive the listed Pennington Street Warehouse with cafés, restaurants and small offices.

The plans have been submitted as a hybrid application which includes detailed designs for the first development phase, including the civic square to be known as the Gauging Square.

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Another public exhibition of the proposals is to open next month. The application is expected to be determined later this year, with the first phase starting in 2014 and the entire complex taking up to 15 years to complete.

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