Watch: Royal Docks Team ‘On Location’ conferences, delivered in collaboration with New London Architecture
On 3 November the Royal Docks Team held the first of two ‘On Location’ conferences, delivered in collaboration with our partners at the NLA. With an online audience of approximately 300 attendees across the two sessions, this was an informative and engaging programme of presentations and discussions.
The first session focussed on the Enterprise Zone as a global gateway. With Programme Director, Dan Bridge providing an update on the progress made by the team on the delivery plan for London’s only Enterprise Zone and largest regeneration project. However, it was the news that the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan his confirmed his decision to move City Hall from its current location to the Crystal building in the Royal Docks that created a flurry of excitement. This is a ‘real vote of confidence for everything we are trying to achieve’ said Dan Bridge.
He went on to say that the move to make it the home of London government had increased the focus on the significant schemes going on in the area. This including the Terry Farrell-designed project for Chinese developer ABP comprising some 3.5 million sq ft of commercial space, a 1,000 seat ‘meanwhile’ theatre, Albert Island, and Lendlease’s major work at Silvertown Quays, including the reworking of Millennium Mills. ‘Having the focus and the interest of the Mayor of London and all of the London Assembly in everything we do will be challenging’, said Dan Bridge in a Q&A session. ‘But it will be really good to raise the profile of the project and give that level of political confidence to sift through to our development partners’.
Ballymore is a critical player in the area, with its Royal Wharf scheme having been around ten years in the making and which comprises of over 3,000 homes and 10,000 residents. This is a ‘rich community’ in the sense of its array of supporting infrastructure, said Creative Director for Ballymore, Roger Black in a video presentation. It constitutes a new piece of east London, master-planned by Glen Howells, which is ‘finding its place in London’s diaspora of new communities’. Project Director, Nicola Zech-Behrens added that it was a benchmark for the developer against which its other projects will be measured and learned from. It is adding an additional 762 units next year and is delivering around 7,000 units over the next couple of years.
Infrastructure is also critical to the Royal Docks development, reflected by London City Airport’s Director of Infrastructure and Planning, Tim Halley talking through its expansion plans, including a new terminal, despite the tough time aviation is having currently. Transport for London’s Strategy Manager, Rajesh Gami added that making the Royal Docks easier to get to was a key consideration. With projects like a new Elizabeth Line station at Custom House on the way, as well as new DLR trains and station upgrades, the Silvertown Tunnel and the Royal Wharf Pier, plus a brief to include active travel.
Following this, the second session on the area focused on culture titled ‘A New Place for People, led by the Royal Docks’ Head of Cultural Programmes and Partnerships, Kate Anderson. Kate ran through the teams approach to cultural placemaking and creating a ‘cultural ecosystem’, with Millennium Mills the backdrop to a ‘Joining the Docks’ programme of events and planned innovation festival next Summer. Kate Anderson said the team are working hard to position the Royal Docks as a world leader in water featured cultural activities. Lendlease Development Director for Silvertown, Edward Mayes said Millennium Mills could be an iconic centrepiece for its development, but that one of its main aims was to allow people engagement with an inactive waterscape to improve the place’s public realm, especially since its history showed that the docks were once a private space. Other speakers included Clive Lyttle of the arts organisation Certain Blacks. Clive showcased the range of work they get involved with, ‘supporting artists to make the best work that they can’, including a live art show outside the Crystal – the Mayor of London’s new home.
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