We submit plans for one of London’s largest strategic rail freight terminals


An outline planning application has been submitted by Network Rail Property for the 30-acre brownfield site at Bow Good Yard in Stratford, next to Pudding Mill Lane DLR. The project is the first project of its kind in the country at this scale that envisages an industrial estate as a piece of a city, with its own unique ecosystems. It will deliver up to 5,000 jobs for a wide range of blue- and white-collar employees.

Maccreanor Lavington is leading the design with Architecture:00, UMC, East, WSP, make:good and Useful Projects.

Bow Goods Yard is currently home to several heavy rail freight uses and is the last remaining large industrial site in the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) area, strategically located next to the A12.  It is the final parcel of land to be unlocked as part of London’s 2012 Olympic and Paralympic legacy. Industrial in use and in character, it sits in the middle of the emerging international centre and adjoins the London Stadium, UCL East and several new neighbourhoods. This dichotomy has informed the brief and the vision for the project.

The industrial focus of the masterplan is centred on it being one of London’s primary railheads. Protected for rail-freight use, the site is vital to the capital’s construction sector, currently supplying over a million tonnes of concrete a year, as well as bringing construction aggregate in and construction spoil out via rail. The intensified railhead will enable Bow Goods Yard to help London transition to a greener future by taking up to 90,000 HGV movements a year from London’s roads, reducing congestion and emissions.

The new scheme maximises the capacity of the railhead, improves rail freight efficiency through consolidating operations and encloses and screens the intensified heavy industrial. 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. Alongside the industrial estate, a range of leisure uses are proposed to increase activity around Bow Goods Yard and complement existing facilities on the Olympic Park.

This leisure angle of the masterplan forms part of the strategy to positively contribute to the emerging metropolitan setting of the site and its neighbours. A series of open spaces and public-facing buildings are proposed to link, animate and overlook the Greenway that runs parallel to the site, forming a missing link between Pudding Mill and Sugarhouse Island on one site and Fish Island and Hackney Wick on the other.

The creation of the masterplan follows extensive community consultation and the creation of a Community Brief which set principles for the site informed by residents, key stakeholders and neighbouring businesses. These include proposals 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.

Robin Dobson, Group Property Director at Network Rail, 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.” 

NRP and the wider masterplanning team, led by lead urbanists Maccreanor Lavington Architects and Urbanists, will continue to work closely with the community to deliver the vision for this site.”

Blazej Czuba, of Maccreanor Lavington’s Urban Studio commented: “We see Bow Goods Yard as providing the two missing pieces of the Olympic jigsaw. Firstly, through its employment component, it will deliver a wide range of skilled blue and white collar jobs and progressive employment opportunities. Secondly, through its leisure component, it will offer a range of amateur sports and recreational opportunities for the local communities that currently struggle to access them around the Park.”

Irene Frassoldati, Associate Architect with Maccreanor Lavington said: ‘This project is underpinned by the aspiration of being regenerative, rather than just sustainable. Giving back more than taking away, the masterplan adopts interfaced design for people and nature to regenerate ecosystems and benefit the community. We acknowledge that the long-term aspirations of the masterplan might be challenging to achieve in today’s market but the framework that we developed with Network Rail enables these stretch targets to be met throughout the development of the project”

Masterplan Key Facts

  • Up to 190,000m² floor space including 39,000m² heavy and light industrial, with the flexibility for up to 32,000m² destination leisure, supported by up to 3,000m² food and beverage offering and 5,000m² of sports pitches;
  • Up to 5,000 new jobs – the site currently supports around 100 jobs today;
  • Up to 3.5 million tonnes of construction material transported by rail from and to the site;
  • Up to 7,000m² of new publicly accessible public realm;
  • Minimum 10% biodiversity net gain including improvements to the existing Old Ford Wood
  • Aspiration to achieve 4GWh/y of renewable energy production
  • Sustainable water management on site including SuDS and water capture for on-site reuse