Following this week’s news that Daily Mail and General Trust is planning to sell its interest in the Harmsworth Quays print works site to British Land, Southwark Council – which owns the freehold to much of the site – has said that it wants to acquire DMGT’s interest in the land “with a view to delivering a mixed use scheme with a significant element of employment and commercial uses”.
“Southwark Council, as freeholder of the majority of the site, has held discussions with both parties during which it has been made clear that for the foreseeable future the council does not intend to sell its freehold,” said a council spokeswoman on Friday.
Cllr Peter John, leader of the council, said: “Harmsworth Quays is of strategic importance for the regeneration of Canada Water.
“Following the announcement by the Daily Mail of their intention to vacate the site, the council is about to begin a programme of public consultation on its future.
“This work will inform the review of the Canada Water Area Action Plan, the principal planning policy document for the area.
“Until this work is significantly more advanced the council feels that it would be premature to consider disposal of the site.”
However, this claim stands at odds with the council’s own annual plan, agreed by cabinet earlier this month, which includes “develop strategy for the disposal of the council’s freehold of Harmsworth Quays” as a target for the cabinet member for regeneration in the year 2012/13.
British Land is to buy the Daily Mail print works at Harmsworth Quays.
The company will buy Daily Mail & General Trusts’s part leasehold part freehold interest in the 14.57 acre site.
British Land is no stranger to Canada Water from its joint venture with Southwark Council and its share in Surrey Quays Shopping Centre.
British Land will take possession of the site in late 2013 following the relocation of DMGT’s printing operations from Harmsworth Quays to Thurrock.
“The purchase of this large site adjoining our existing ownerships re-enforces our confidence in the area and demonstrates our continued commitment to the wider Canada Water regeneration and Rotherhithe,” says development director Mike Rayner.
“We look forward to working together with the London Borough of Southwark and the local community to realise the full potential of this site.”
DMGT’s David Dutton said: “Canada Water has been a really good location for our printing works, it has been changes in technology that have led to the relocation out of the area and I am sure British Land will deliver a really first class scheme on the site which will benefit the local community.”
The freehold of part of the site is held by Southwark Council which is expected to sell its interest in the land.
Last week 10 former street-children performed in Kagyu Samye Dzong’s shrine room in front of a full house.
The children were brought to London by the ROKPA charity, which runs the orphanage in Kathmandu where the kids have been looked after, cared for and educated after becoming homeless in often very traumatic circumstances.
The evening started off with a moving speech by the co-founder of ROKPA and vice-president of the charity Lea Wyler. She explained how much it has helped the children to be given a platform to tell of their traumatic experiences in the form of song, dance and play.
The children’s lively eyes, engaging smiles and faces full of hope could not fail to melt every one of the 120 hearts in the room. Photographs and film footage projected onto a screen behind the young performers provided the context to their story showing shots of their home country and also of what their lives were like before they were taken in by the ROKPA children’s home.
After the tumultuous applause had quietened down, Dr Akong Tulku Rinpoche the founder of Samye Ling Monastery in Scotland, and co-founder of the ROKPA charity was invited onto the stage. He spoke of his own struggles of facing a situation of near-starvation when he escaped Tibet, having to beg and experiencing tremendous suffering and explained how that has lead him to see how important it is to provide, food, shelter and, possibly above all, much-needed kindness.
Southwark resident Lionel Shriver – author of the million selling We Need to Talk About Kevin – enthralled the audience at a packed Canada Water Library on Monday.
Lionel talked about her latest novel The New Republic – published last week – with its twin themes of terrorism and the mystery of charisma. After reading from the book, Lionel took part in a lively question and answer session with the audience of over 100 fans, talking about the writing process and sharing her entertaining thoughts on other writers and literary critics. After the event Lionel signed copies of her books.
The bestselling author said that the new Canada Water Library was “…a terrific place – and my local library!” Lionel went on to describe the library’s own theatre, the Canada Water Culture Cpace, as “a fantastic venue with a really professional setup”.
Southwark Council has published an update on plans to relocate Cherry Garden School to the Gloucester Primary School site in SE15.
The opening of the expanded Cherry Garden School has now been delayed till September 2015.
If you’re interested in local history, Peter Snow’s programme about Docklands tonight on BBC One promises to include a section on Greenland Dock.