Eclectic team appointed to masterplan new era for Thamesmead

  • 28 Apr 2021

The Thamesmead Waterfront development covers 100 hectares of largely undeveloped land in southeast London, where Peabody and Lendlease have entered into a circa £8bn joint venture, which offers the opportunity to lead the way in post pandemic living and working.

Today (29 April) it was announced that this team of designers and planners, all sharing inspiration, passion and energy for the opportunity will help plan a once in a generation opportunity. The team includes youthful innovators like Jayden Ali and passionate culture experts like Tracey Sage and Place Bureau, working hand in hand as part of the team assembled and led by Prior + Partners and Arup.

Their work will lead to the creation of a new community where there is space for thousands of homes alongside new commercial and leisure space, set amongst an unrivalled natural environment in London with lakes, green spaces and over a mile of undeveloped river frontage.

A unique project of this size demands new perspectives and ideas, and the team was selected on the basis of its impressive approach to collaboration - offering the opportunity to combine the large scale delivery expertise necessary for such an ambitious project, with the diversity of thought and innovation possible from a broad range of specialist partners. The spirit of partnership and openness to different views that the team have was evident in their approach to the competition process; and will provide a strong platform for engaging with the local community and broader stakeholders to ensure that Thamesmead is a place everyone can feel at home.

Established design industry leaders in architecture - Alison Brooks, Marc Koehler and Carl Turner - will bring some of the smartest innovation in the design of homes and living neighbourhoods. ‘Living in the Landscape’ and natural resilience will be enabled by West 8 and Schulze + Grassov who offer world beating skills in public realm and integrated landscape design. Sitting across everything the team do will be an active approach to engagement with the local community developed with Soundings.

Of the proposed core team, 12 are SMEs, ten employ less than 30 people and five are microbusinesses employing less than ten people. Three are based outside the UK and are industry-leaders pushing boundaries in innovation and placemaking in northern and western Europe.

At the centre of the team’s approach is the idea that communities evolve from existing places and relationships, and at the heart of their philosophy is the need to understand, build on, and grow the social capital that already exists at Thamesmead. This will help ensure that Thamesmead Waterfront becomes a natural extension to and of Thamesmead, whilst also being an attractive and welcoming place to newcomers from near and far.

Peabody Executive Director Thamesmead, John Lewis, said “Throughout this process, the team presented a compelling vision of what a fantastic place the Waterfront can become. Offering a range of diverse perspectives and expertise, they share our commitment to making the most of the amazing natural environment, and offered some really interesting insight into what makes successful places work.

“We now have an opportunity for genuine place-making with cultural curation, leisure, connectivity, sustainability and wellbeing at the forefront of our thinking. Putting people first, we want to create a wonderful new mixed-use town centre for Thamesmead, with an approach that complements the wider regeneration of the town.

“With the right transport connections, including a DLR river crossing, the Waterfront project can also create thousands of new homes and jobs and help drive the capital’s recovery post pandemic.”

Bek Seeley, Managing Director of Development for Lendlease in Europe, said: “We believe the local community deserve the best expertise available and that the winning team brings together a wealth of knowledge to work on a project with some very unique characteristics. Their role will involve serious consideration of how Thamesmead Waterfront will evolve over the future decades, and how we need to meet the needs of both the existing and the future communities that will make the area their home. Critically the team selected starts as we mean to go on, embracing diversity and ensuring that everyone is able to contribute”

Jason Prior, Prior + Partners said: “We are thrilled that our team has been chosen to develop the vision and masterplan for this remarkable site. Thamesmead Waterfront has the potential to exemplify the best of what can be achieved when communities are conceived around strong principles of social value and natural resilience. The selection process has allowed our diverse team to explore this potential through a challenging dialogue with Peabody and Lendlease and we are delighted to have been selected to help shape the next stage in Thamesmead’s evolution.”

Sowmya Parthasarathy, Arup said: “The aspiration for Thamesmead Waterfront demands that we rewrite old rules on how to design and deliver a truly resilient and sustainable place. I am thrilled to be bringing Arup’s integrated design expertise to a project that will set the standard for how net-zero neighbourhoods will look, feel, and function. We look forward to working with Peabody, Lendlease, local residents, and our creative team to help shape a shared vision for Thamesmead.”

The Joint Venture partnership has already developed a set of guiding principles and an emerging shared vision for the site and the new masterplanners will be required to nurture and develop the Joint Venture vision, which embraces 5 principles:

• Natural living - Using and enhancing the existing landscape to create a unique natural destination for Thamesmead, London and the South-East - providing a place where people can unwind and find space to enjoy the natural world.

• A city neighbourhood - Providing the social infrastructure and workplaces to enable a resilient mixed-use neighbourhood with the choice, variety and opportunities of the best parts of London and the South-East.

• Better connections - Transforming connectivity into central London, including use of the river; connecting into the ‘Go East’ production corridor; and creating a legible, connected local network across Thamesmead.

• A safe, stable and sustainable community - Creating a place that people are proud of, through community ownership and participation. A place where you know your neighbours and your neighbourhood, where you feel safe and healthy. A place that is founded on robust stewardship and long-term viability.  

• Inclusive and affordable for all - Making affordable but high-quality homes, workplaces and neighbourhoods, for a diverse community of people and businesses, creating jobs and opportunities for all.

For more information contact:
Benjamin Blades, Head of External Affairs at Peabody M +44 (0) 7875 020 950

Jonathan Edwards, Head of External Communications, Europe at Lendlease – M +44 (0) 7753 581 086

Notes to editors:

• Thamesmead is a town in South-East London and is the same size as central London – The area measures around 760 hectares, with Peabody – one of London’s oldest and largest housing associations - owning around 65% of the land. It is home to 45,000 people and the homes are spread broadly across nine neighbourhoods. Development spans four decades, ranging from early modernist 1960s concrete homes in the South Thamesmead estate to more traditional suburban housing across the north and west of the town, built predominately in the 1980s and 1990s.

• Its rich landscape includes 75 hectares of greenways, pocket parks and other accessible green space, 7km of canals, five lakes, 5km of river frontage and 30,000 trees. It is a remarkable place.

• More than 50 years after the first homes were completed in 1968, Peabody’s vision is that Thamesmead will finally realise its potential as London’s new town. To achieve it we are going to ensure that new homes are intelligently designed, and older homes well maintained. Neighbourhoods will be expertly managed, with extensive public realm assets, and shops and leisure facilities for the local community and visitors. The area will feel safe and secure, with good schools and things for young people to do. The area’s green spaces, waterways and lakes will be at the heart of everyday life – yet thanks to the coming transport improvements will be just 20 minutes away from the West End.

• As the largest and most significant development opportunity within Thamesmead, Thamesmead Waterfront is a key and essential component in the long-term process of change within the town.

• The Thamesmead Waterfront Joint Venture is a 50/50 Joint Venture partnership between Peabody and international property and investment group, Lendlease. The Joint Venture was formally incorporated in October 2019, to masterplan and deliver Thamesmead Waterfront over the next 30 years. It is a unique partnership between one of the oldest and most prestigious housing associations and an industry leader in designing and building sustainable, innovative and thriving places.

• The partnership shares an aligned overarching vision and values, and a common focus on placemaking, long-term stewardship and socio-economic betterment, that will support long-term sustainable outcomes.

Further information about the Joint Venture and the project is available at