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Network Rail submits plan to turn east London brownfield site into freight logistics hub

Network Rail Property has submitted an outline mastrerplan to regenerate a 12ha brownfield site in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park site in East London into an integrated rail freight logistics hub.


The site at Bow Goods Yard would become London’s largest rail freight logistics hub and cater for both construction sector traffic while also featuring rail-enabled last-mile warehousing. It would create “future model for rail freight site regeneration” according to the company.


The masterplan is Network Rail Property’s first independent planning submission. It was developed alongside a wider team led by Maccreanor Lavington Architects and Urbanists and featuring UMC Architects, Architecture 00, East, WSP, make:good, Useful Projects, Montagu Evans and Currie & Brown.


Bow Goods Yard is the final parcel of land to be unlocked as part of the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics legacy.


It has been protected for rail freight use and is already one of London’s primary railheads. It is said to be “vital to the capital’s construction sector” as it currently supplies over 1Mt of concrete annually. When developed, it will allow sustainable movement of up to 3.5Mt of construction materials to and from the site each year.


According to Network Rail Infrastructure: “The new scheme maximises the capacity of the railhead, improves rail freight efficiency through consolidating operations and encloses and screens the concrete-batching facility and rail sidings.


“In addition to the industrial operations, the masterplan provides an opportunity to deliver a new centralised hub for Network Rail, as well as extensive warehousing and workspaces. Additionally, a range of leisure uses are proposed to increase activity around Bow Goods Yard and complement existing facilities on the Olympic Park.


“The design also delivers a series of green open spaces around the site, to make the most the site’s emerging neighbourhood. The Greenway will become a central feature alongside nearly a hectare of publicly accessible open space across three public spaces


As per the masterplan, the site will have up to 190,000m2 of floor space including 39,000m2 heavy and light industrial. It will also feature the flexibility for up to 32,000m2 destination leisure that will be supported up to 3,000m2 of food and beverage offering and 5,000m2 of sports pitches.


There will also be up to 7,000m2 of new accessible public realm and part of the minimum 10%

biodiversity net gain will include improvements to the existing Old Ford Wood.


The roof area will be maximised for solar panels with an aspiration to achieve 4GWh per year of renewable energy production. The development will also feature sustainable water management including sustainable drainage systems (SuDS).


The site will create up to 5,000 new jobs.


The masterplan was created following “extensive” community consultation. This involved the creation of a Community Brief which includes principles for the site set by residents key stakeholders and neighbouring businesses.


The proposals include commitments to:


Make industry a better neighbour

Improve connections and routes

Create green, wild and useable landscape

Deliver benefits to the community, including jobs and skills training

The Bow Goods Yard will take up to 90,000 HGV movements off London’s roads annually, according to Network Rail.


This integrated rail freight logistics hub will be critical to achieving the government’s stated ambition of growing UK rail freight by 75% by 2050.


Network Rail Group property director Robin Dobson said: “This masterplan takes an ambitious approach to unlocking a challenging site and putting infrastructure at its heart. By reimaging the land-use, we are creating a state-of-the-art freight, warehousing and logistics campus that is vital to London.”


“The scheme supports a more sustainable capital with the new green spaces and leisure areas positively contributing to the local community now and for future generations. Being a better, more sustainable neighbour is a clear priority for us.”

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