London City Island: another East End shut-out?

London City Island development Leamouth Peninsula Canning Town Docklands 2015 © Ballymore
Leamouth 20215 ©
Leamouth wall painting, one of several

* UPDATE 250816: The first lot of 100 flats on City Island have sold quickly this month August 2016 for between £400,000 and £760,000. The next lot, of 217 apartments, are going on sale this week at up to £740,000 for a three-bedroom flat


LIKE A prophet in ancient times the young woman, right, staring out at walkers on their way to the mouth of the River Lea appears full of fear and trepidation.

She could be saying that change is abroad, a warning that this site passed on to readers months ago

Now via a platoon of publicists and marketeers, Ballymore has given East Enders an idea of that change.

It seems the property developer has “vowed to “bring the arts to a new audience” by creating a number of dedicated performance spaces in a multimillion-pound Docklands housing project”.

That’s how the Evening Standard put it, and other mainstream news outlets sang the same song.

The paper breathlessly announced that the scheme,  — “due for completion next year — will also feature artisan restaurants and shops as well as the City Island Arts Club, where residents will have access to a screening room, gym, concierge service and swimming pool”.

In The Times an arts commentator was delighted by the announcement that in 2018 the English National Ballet school will quit its West London premises for a purpose-built home on the island.

An arts venue — any social facility — is always to be welcomed, but does the 5-hectare development of 1,700 flats have to be so unimaginative?

EastIndia Dock London 210415 ©
Nature reserve near the Thames: note London City Island scheme looming up at right

The chance for beautiful architecture, even something as controversial as Bow’s Balfron Tower, with more open space, more thought for the nature reserve next door, and more cyclepaths, has been missed by a developer prepared to pay the  architect, London firm Glenn Howells, only for standard skyscrapers.

Of course, the light-blocking towers pay obeisance to the fashion of the day: “green” (grass) roofs (will they always be maintained?) and in contrasting colours (how very early Noughties that will one day look).

Don’t ask the prices of the flats, let alone where the buyers will come from. But they are unlikely to be within the reach of the families who lived and worked around E14 before big money started to eye its profit potential.

Those people are unlikely even to be allowed full access to the island. After all, one of the facilities at the flats is “concierge service”, in itself a deterrent to the public.

David Altheer 110915

Backstory: See Leamouth before it’s too late; Bow’s Balfron Tower popup attacked

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