Tens of thousands commute to London's Canary Wharf every day to work in a bustling hub of the capital's powerful financial services industry - but would they want to live there 24/7? As Hayley Platt reports, a new multi-billion pound development proposal may offer just that choice to those who want it.
It overtook the City to become London's main financial centre. Now Canary Wharf is to become the location for a new multimillion-pound building development. The Canary Wharf Group, which manages the site, wants to build high-rise housing along existing office skyscrapers. It's the first major development since the 2008 banking crisis. Offering Canary Wharf workers the chance to live closer to the office - if that's something they want. SOUNDBITE: Unidentified London worker, saying (English): "I'd like to live a lot closer because I'm commuting about 3 hours at the minute." SOUNDBITE: Aleta Archer, London worker, saying (English): "I don't think I'd want to live anywhere I could actually see the building where I worked." Around one hundred thousand commute to London's Canary Wharf every day. And more people are moving to the capital. London has now become the fastest growing city in the country. That's music to a property developers' ears, says Adam Challis from estate agents Jones Lang LaSalle. SOUNDBITE: Adam Challis, Head of UK Residential Research at Jones Lang LaSalle, saying (English): "A whole wave of new build towers is coming through and there'll be a number on the horizon. That will represent not just the opportunity to live up in the sky but vertical living often means that buildings often have the right sort of amenities, extra bells and whistles that people want not just on the doorstep but within their doorstep to be able to enjoy a well rounded quality of life." Canary Wharf is majority owned by Songbird Estates. It recently rejected a 2.2 billion pound approach from the Qatar Investment Authority and US-listed Brookfield Property Partners. Reuters correspondent Clare Hutchinson says a second bid is likely because it's such a desirable site. SOUNDBITE: Clare Hutchinson, Reuters correspondent, saying (English): "Cross Rail is potentially going to double the size of the population here so there's a new audience for them to attract. It's also part of a growing population in east London generally. The Olympics brought a lot of people to Stratford. There's more development going on in the Royal Albert Dock, so generally London's geography is moving east." An extra 2.7 million people are expected to be living in London by 2050, bringing the total to an estimated 11.3 million. And they'll all need somewhere to stay. It can't accommodate them all but for some of the capital's new residents - Canary Wharf could become home sweet home.