Magazine article The Spectator

Hot Property

Magazine article The Spectator

Hot Property

Article excerpt

Like the round-shouldered, haggard-looking subject of a TV makeover programme who emerges at the end buffed, styled and botoxed into one of life's pearly-toothed, wrinkle-free winners, Stratford E15, home to the real Albert Square, will shed its seedy skin over the next two decades in a Cinderella-like transformation. Fairy godmother Ken Livingstone has given his blessing to Stratford City, a £3 billion, 73-hectare regeneration programme that will begin next year and will conjure up 4,500 new homes, 465,000 sq m. of office space and 140,000 sq m. of retail space, as well as schools, games areas, water features and ecological habitats. All this may sound faintly reminiscent of those sinister-sounding 'master-planned communities' so popular in the US, but the mayor is confident: 'Stratford City will transform the area into a thriving new urban community.'

One of the driving forces behind this imminent metamorphosis is London's status as Candidate City for the 2012 Olympic Games; wherever you turn in E15, you are entreated to Back the Bid and optimistic posters show an athlete majestically hurdling Tower Bridge. But even if the bid fails, the London Development Agency has pledged its commitment to regenerate the area. …

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