16 Mar 2020

London's second city centre, rising out of the Royal Docks, is set to become the heartland of the new East End within a decade

London's second city centre, rising out of the Royal Docks, is set to become the heartland of the new East End within a decade

London's second city centre, rising out of the Royal Docks, is set to become the heartland of the new East End within a decade. As recently as the Eighties it was a blighted area, cut off from the rest of the capital.'

But now '8 billion is being sunk into the 1,200 acres of land and 250 acres of water that were once the heart of the UK shipping industry.

More than 30,000'new homes'will be delivered ' that's a conservative estimate ' hopefully with ample community space and parklands.

The Royal Docks, from'Canning Town'to Gallions Reach, down to North Woolwich and the Thames Barrier, already includes 11'Docklands'Light Railway stations, a pier, two ferries, the ExCeL London convention and exhibition centre and a 1,100 metre-long cable car line to'Greenwich Peninsula.'

The multi-scheme regeneration district is the size of central London, from Hyde Park to Tower Bridge.

It will bring a new business district to rival the City, a cutting-edge shipyard, new high streets, watersports facilities, at least seven new residential quarters and 60,000 new jobs.'

Peter Murray, chairman of New London Architecture, says it will be the 'epicentre' of the new East End, linking the Lower Lea Valley and Beckton.'

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Royal Victoria Dock stretches beyond'ExCeL'London to'Royal Albert Dock, City airport and King George V Dock

Royal Docks revamp: a 20-year plan in the making

The Royal Docks ' known also now as 'The Royals' consists of Royal Albert Dock, Royal Victoria Dock and King George V Dock.

Together, these three formed the world's busiest docklands in the late 1800s, creating wealth that helped propel the development of'east London. But they were massively damaged in the Blitz, de-industrialisation followed and closure came in 1981.

A paper by the London Docklands Development Corporation read: 'The Royal Docks and the surrounding areas of North Woolwich and'Silvertown'were areas of economic and social deprivation

It is hard to convey the sheer desolation, so close to the City and West End, yet so remote. Most Londoners remained ignorant of this huge blighted area.'

The reawakening of The Royals, 20 years in the planning, puts trade and commerce at its core once again. It is London's only designated Enterprise Zone, offering tax breaks and incentives to businesses.

Albert Island southeast of the docks will house light industrial sheds, studios, office space and a new shipyard. The Asian Business Centre at Royal Albert Docks will bring 460,000sq ft of commercial space and a new high street.'

Close to 6,000 students commute daily to the University of East London and the figure is set to rise as the area becomes an established centre of learning and skills.

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Events at'ExCeL'London pull in four million visitors a year and the docks' lively new programme includes jazz festivals and a roving disco

Six new DLR stations ' and Crossrail is coming

The reimagining of The Royals is rivalled only by the Old Oak and Park Royal regeneration in west London, where High Speed 2 will meet Crossrail.

HS2 funding disputes have delayed planning in the west. NLA's Peter Murray expects the Royal Docks to become 'one of the most connected places in London', within the next 10 years.

London City airport is undergoing a an upgrade which includes quieter planes and the construction of a new terminal.

Six new DLR stations will be added with 43 new trains, and Crossrail will link Custom House to Liverpool Street in 10 minutes and to Tottenham Court Road in 15.'

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Royal Wharf is a scheme of 3,385 new homes on the south side of the docks and overlooking'the north side of the Thames

Royal Wharf: a new riverside village

On the south side of the docks, across the water from Charlton, Royal Wharf will deliver 3,385 homes with 40 acres of green space.

At the water's edge, this quarter has brick townhouses along proper streets in a nod to Georgian London, plus contemporary burnt-orange apartment blocks with balconies jutting out. Residents have already moved in, a Sainsbury's and Starbucks have opened and The Windjammer pub opens this week.

On the 500-metre riverside promenade is outdoor gym equipment, cycle paths and the newly opened Royal Wharf Pier, London's longest riverboat terminal. A new nursery and 450-place primary school will welcome pupils in September and there's a community centre and library.

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Forty per cent of new homes at Royal Albert Wharf will be lower cost or shared-ownership

First-time buyer homes: Royal Albert Wharf

At the other end of The Royals is Royal Albert Wharf, a 1,500-home scheme to include 100,000sq ft of workspace, artists' studios, a caf' and a community centre.

Forty per cent of the homes will be lower cost. There are homes on sale in the Riverside complex through Notting Hill Genesis.'

Help to Buy homes at Gallions Point

The 127-home scheme Gallions Point, at the entrance to King George V Dock, completes this summer, set around three courtyards with a private residents' lounge.

Silvertown: bringing heritage back to life

Lendlease, developer of Elephant & Castle, got the go-ahead to transform Silvertown Quays in December.

The site around Pontoon Dock is home to derelict Millennium Mills. Once London's largest flour mill, it will be restored as part of the scheme, which will bring 7,000,000sq ft of residential and commercial space and parks. Phase one will offer 1,000 homes.'

The Refinery, towards the old Tate & Lyle factory, offers shared ownership, from '119,700 for 35 per cent of a one-bedroom flat and '165,375 for 35 per cent of a three-bedroom flat.'

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Many of the new homes at Royal Wharf face the Thames and overlook a 500-metre riverside promenade is outdoor gym equipment and cycle paths (Adrian'Lourie)

Are the royals really coming together now?

The Royal Docks team insists 'there isn't a single masterplan', giving rise to fears that this vast area could become siloed. And it is true that there is no obvious core landmark, high street or park to give it an overall sense of place.'

Knight Frank's James Barton says there is also procrastination by the local authority over how to blend industry and residential in some parts.'

But Benjamin O'Connor of New London Architecture claims a new strategic plan known as the Public Realm Framework will bring The Royals together retrospectively.

It includes the layout of cycleways and pathways to create flow and stitch together the different quarters. How to cultivate new green space, mass tree planting and use of water are also covered in the document, which is going through public consultation. Locals have called for better food outlets and more parkland.

Source: Homes & Property


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