Fans of Ikea can take their love of flat-pack furniture to the next level by living in Strand East, an entire London neighbourhood constructed by LandProp, part of the Inter IKEA Group.
IKEA have set their sights high for their first British project: with 1,200 houses, as well as shops, cafés and a 350-room hotel covering 26 acres by the Olympic Park in Stratford, East London.
The whole site will be surrounded by two waterways, so the idea is to create a "mini Venice", the developers explained on Thursday. Residents can make the most of their waterside location by using the moorings, water taxi service, and even a floating cocktail bar.
The aim is to create a friendly neighbourhood idyll, with courtyards and a public square to encourage interaction, and the unsightly aspects of life will be kept to a minimum. Cars will be parked underground and rubbish will be discreetly disposed of through underground tunnels. A school, health surgery and nursery will be built to minimise inconvenient travel.
If it goes ahead, it will be the second biggest private investment in Stratford after the Westfield shopping centre. Boris Johnson, the London mayor, described it as "yet another great example of the 2012 legacy rippling out of the Olympic Park".
House prices are not yet known because the planning permission has not yet gone through, but Ikea hopes that trimming production costs should make Strand East affordable.
Demolition work has already begun. The company hopes to get outline planning permission by next autumn so that it can begin construction in 2013. If queues for the Ikea stores are anything to go by, there is sure to be an unsightly scrum when the houses do finally go on sale.
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