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UCL walks away from £1bn east London campus

University College London has walked away from controversial plans to build a £1bn campus overlooking the Olympic Park in Stratford, east London.

Construction News sister title The Architects’ Journal said the high-profile deal crumbled after UCL and local authority Newham Council failed to reach a commercial agreement over the 9 ha Carpenters Estate site.

Aecom, Farrells, Hopkins, John McAslan and Make were shortlisted to masterplan the new academic quarter. A further 15 firms were also shortlisted for engineering, cost consultancy and transport consultancy.

In a statement, Newham Council said: “We are disappointed that we were unable to bring UCL to the Carpenters Estate. The council remains supportive of UCL establishing a major presence in Stratford.

“Newham Council remains committed to redeveloping the Carpenters Estate and will now explore other options to take this forward.”

The local authority said it would now reopen discussions with a “number of parties” which had expressed interest in the housing estate but were turned away while it was in exclusive negotiations with UCL.

UCL president and provost Malcolm Grant said the university remained interested in a move to Stratford.

In a statement, he said: “This was an ambitious but extremely complex proposal and the process of intensive and lengthy examination has led us both to conclude that we cannot reach a commercial agreement.

“However, the process has re-affirmed the commitment of both parties to establishing a UCL presence in Stratford.

“UCL has ambitious plans for growth in the coming years as we move beyond the capacity of our central London location to meet the demand for suitable space to support the development of world-class teaching and research.

“We remain confident of the benefits a presence in Stratford would deliver both to UCL and the local community, and we will continue to work closely with Newham Council and other stakeholders to make this ambitious project happen.”

The shortlisted firms

  • Architects: Aecom, Farrells, Hopkins, John McAslan, Make.
  • Engineers: Aecom, Arup, Atkins, Buro Happold, Pell Frischmann.
  • Cost consultant: Aecom, Gardiner & Theobald, Jones Lang LaSalle, Summers Inman, Sweett Group.
  • Transport and traffic consultant: Arup; MVA Consultancy, Pell Frischmann, SKM Colin Buchanan, WYG Environment Planning Transport.


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