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Landmark student tower set to revitalise London Olympics legacy

A new 41-storey tower for Unite Students in Stratford, designed by BDP, has been given planning approval by the London Legacy Development Corporation.


The design proposes a community-first, residential high-rise tower which aims to revitalise the heart of Stratford, providing much-needed student accommodation while enhancing access to local services and public realm. The approved plans propose extensive greening around Meridian Square and Meridian Steps, create a new entrance to Stratford Station and provide a new home to local social enterprise, You Press.  

The design works to resolve a complex urban site, presenting a new gateway to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The building is formed of cluster flats with 952 bedrooms and public-facing facilities, including a café and retail outlets located on the three ‘ground’ floors - accommodating the different levels at Meridian Steps.

The student spaces are designed to open new opportunities for social interaction and allow the student cohorts to grow and develop their own community, in a new model of vertical living. All student cluster flats are located close to internal and external amenity spaces, to prioritise student wellbeing and offer access to a wide range of facilities with panoramic views of London. The proposal also boasts contemporary study areas, gyms, and cinema rooms, all designed to enhance student living.  



Sustainability is prioritised in the design, incorporating features such as green roofs, sustainable drainage, and being carbon neutral in operation.

Chris Jones, Architect Associate at BDP, said:

"We have created a design for a sustainable, people-first development which reflects the potential of the site and will be a recognisable destination for years to come. There are more than 20,000 full time students studying within 2.5 miles of Meridian Steps, so this building uses density and cutting-edge amenities to deliver much-needed housing for the area while enriching the local community. We are so pleased to see it gain planning approval and we look forward to seeing this building bring more vitality and diversity to Stratford.”

Tom Brewerton, Group Development Director at Unite Students, said:

“We are excited to get started with construction in the swiftest possible timescale. It is fantastic to have received approval at planning committee for this exciting new Stratford development that will positively contribute to the area’s changing skyline.

“We are trusted by parents, students and universities to provide quality, safe and affordable accommodation that supports the entire university experience and are committed to delivering our record development pipeline to meet this demand.”



In addition to its architectural and community benefits, the development is poised to inject £7 million into the local economy annually, supporting businesses and fostering a dynamic, youthful atmosphere, reminiscent of the London Olympics. The new entrance to Stratford Station will alleviate pressure on one of the busiest transport hubs in the UK and the development will act as a hub for creative expression and youth engagement, with You Press providing services to a diverse range of young people in Newham through the use of creative art. The project also includes 307 square metres of affordable workspace, aimed at supporting local businesses and entrepreneurs.

The project will now move to construction phase and will be open for occupation in time for the beginning of the 2027/28 academic year.


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