Royal Docks to be revived in London

A £300m regeneration plan for the Royal Docks in east London has been given the green light, with plans in motion to introduce a new district to the area.

Plans have been approved for a £314m regeneration of the Royal Docks in east London over the next five years. A new waterside residential, leisure and business district is included as part of the plans.

The plans were led by the Mayor of Lon- don, Sadiq Khan, and Mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz. According to City Hall, the Royal Docks project has the potential to generate 35,000 jobs, 4,000 new homes, and attract more than £5bn in inward investment by 2037/38.

Some of the key projects in the plans are a new district, the enhancement of the public realm, improvements to transport and digital connectivity for both businesses and residents, an increased provision of affordable workspaces, and skills and cultural programmes.

To be carried out over five years from 2018/19, the plans include proposals of investment in transport infrastructure, connectivity, economic development, peacemaking, creative programming, promotion and estate management.

A delivery plan for the 112 hectare Royal Docks Enterprise Zone was signed off by the board of the London Economic Action Partnership (LEAP), which, as London’s Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), is responsible for allocating funding raised through the Enterprise Zone. The Royal Docks is currently London’s only Enterprise Zone, a designated area where employers can access business rate relief and other financial support.

The area which is now known as the Royal Docks played an important role in the capital’s economy for more than a century from the mid 1800s, before falling into decline in the 1960s and 70s. The last vessel to be loaded there left the docks in December 1981. Around the same time, the wider regeneration of London’s Docklands began, leading to the creation of the Canary Wharf estate, the development of the Docklands Light Railway and the opening of London City Airport in 1987.

Thousands of visitors are attracted to the area each year, the Royal Docks offering exhibitions, events, water sports activities, bars restaurants and gardens.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said the news “marks a major step forward in the development of this site, which has the potential to become not only an im- portant new business destination but also a key part of the capital’s cultural life.”

He continued: “Through these plans to attract businesses and talent into the Royal Docks, we are aiming to unlock this area’s potential to support the growth of innovative new businesses across all sectors of our economy.

“The Royal Docks was once an eco- nomic powerhouse – with these plans we are aiming to lay the foundations so that it can once again play a crucial role in the life of the capital.”

Mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz also commented on the “exciting news,” praising the project for funding more “homes, highly skilled jobs, apprentice- ship opportunities for our young people and improved transport infrastructure to an area steeped in rich industrial history.”

She believes the plans have the poten- tial “to improve the lives” of residents, and “benefit the whole of London.”

“I am really excited to be working with residents, partners and the Mayor of London to help deliver this ambitious plan,” Fiaz concluded.