LDDC Completion Booklets
Royal Docks (Dedesignated 31st March 1998)
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Contents

Foreword
The origins of the Royals
What the area was like in 1981
The LDDC 's strategy
The Memorandum of Agreement
Strategic infrastructure schemes completed 1986-93
Changes between 1981 and 1998
The Park and the Campus
The Bridges and the Park
London City Airport
London's New Exhibition Centre
Investing in the community
Conserving the past
Environmental improvements
As we hand on the Royal Docks
The future - London Borough of Newham
English Partnerships and the future of the Royal Docks

Other Completion Booklets
LDDC Monographs
Popular Press Releases
Annual Reports and Accounts

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Note by Webmaster:  For a fuller history of the Royal Docks, and more up-todate information about developments there, visit the website of the Royal Docks Trust. For more on London City Airport, and on the latest on transport projects in the Royal Docks visit the website of the London City Airport Consultative Committee. Visit also West Silvertown Online- the website of the West Silvertown Village Community Foundation

 

(Note: This Booklet has been reproduced by kind permission of the Commission for the New Towns now known as English Partnerships. It is published for general interest and research purposes only and may not be reproduced for other purposes except with the permission of English Partnerships who now hold the copyright of LDDC publications)

Top of PageRoyal Albert Dock 1913


Foreword

The London Docklands Development Corporation (LDDC) was set up in 1981. Its task was to secure regeneration by bringing land and buildings into effective use, encouraging the development of existing and new industry, creating an attractive environment and ensuring that housing and social facilities are made available to encourage people to live and work in the area.

As the LDDC's regeneration work has been completed, it has progressively handed on its responsibilities in the Urban Development Area (UDA). It was always clear from the early days that the regeneration task was the greatest - and would take the longest in the Royal Docks. So it has proved, and the Corporation's completion of remit in the Royal Docks on 31 March 1998 marks also the demise of the LDDC.

However, the Corporation is leaving the area on a high note with the funding agreement signed in January this year, to build a new international exhibition centre - ExCeL on the north side of Royal Victoria Dock.

There are good reasons why the Royal Docks have taken longer to regenerate. The area is Europe's largest development site, comprising about a quarter of the UDA. With Beckton to the north, it is the area furthest away from the City and West End. The dock estate is vast. A walk around the edge of all three docks in the Royals takes over three hours. The docks themselves cover some 230 acres (94 ha.) of water, surrounded by 540 acres (220 ha.) of land an area equivalent to that between Marble Arch and Tower Hill and Kings Cross to Waterloo. The scale of derelict land and disused buildings n the Royal Docks was greater than elsewhere in the UDA, and most of this land was held by the Port of London Authority and other public bodies. Transport, both public and by road, was poor. The existing infrastructure was not capable of sustaining even modest regeneration.

Mauretania 1939Of course, some of these problems were present in other parts of Docklands. However, nowhere else did they occur in such profusion, and nowhere else did the dock estate present such a problem in itself. Today the picture is substantially different. Transport and infrastructure have changed from poor to excellent. London City Airport in the Royals, built on a quay between the Royal Albert and King George V Docks, is Europe's fastest growing airport, serving more than one million passengers a year. The housing picture is being transformed with the construction of the UK's first new urban village at West Silvertown. A business park is planned and a university campus is under construction. By 2000 the Royals will be home to the large, modern, easy-to.get-to exhibition centre which London needs. With these and other developments in the Royal Docks, London's centre of gravity is shifting eastwards.

It cannot be said that regeneration in the Royals has reached the point at which it is self sustaining. However, with the completion of the LDDC's remit, English Partnerships will take over the Corporation's land holdings and contractual responsibilities in the Royal Docks. This they will do by working with the London Borough of Newham. With the opening of the Jubilee Line station at Canning Town in Spring 1999, the area will be fully integrated with the rest of London.

Neil Spence and Roger Squire
Joint Chief Executives, London Dockland Development Corporation

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The origins of the Royals

The history of London's docks is a story of obsolescence. In Wapping and Limehouse, the docks became obsolete almost as soon as they were dug, unable to cope with the ever larger ships made possible by the age of steam. By contrast, the Royal Docks were at the forefront of technology for a good many years and enjoyed a period of great prosperity before the end came suddenly in 1981.Royal Docks 1975

Royal Victoria Dock, the first of the Royals group, was opened by Prince Albert during the Crimean War in 1855. It incorporated a whole range of firsts: it was the first dock to use the new railways, the first designed to take the new iron steamships, and the first to use hydraulic cranes and lifts to raise ships in a pontoon dock. Its success led to an extension to the east and the construction of Royal Albert Dock, which opened in 1880. Finally came King George V Dock, begun in 1912 and, after delays caused by the First World War, opened in 1921. Marsh land to the north, which is now Beckton, was earmarked for further expansion of the dock system.

Royal Victoria and Royal Albert Docks handled bulk grain. As refrigeration methods improved, they started handling frozen meat as well as fruit and vegetables. During the 1926 General Strike, the threat was posed of some 750,000 frozen carcasses in the Royals rotting when electrical power was cut off, but two Royal Navy submarines sailed in to save the Royals' bacon by connecting up their generators to keep the freezers going. Passenger cargoes also became big business. King George V Dock could berth the biggest liners of the time. Passengers could travel from mainline London stations by rail, some staying overnight in the now Grade II listed Gallions Hotel.

By the 1970s, features which had made the Royals ultra modern in their heyday were militating against them. For example, cargo operators preferred ports with good road connections, which the Royats lacked, whilst passengers not surprisingly preferred the speed of air travel to that of the sea. The Royal Docks were still open when the LDDC was set up in 1981 but the Port of London Authority closed them in December of that year.

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Tate and LyleWhat the area was like in 1981

In 1981 the Royal Docks and the surrounding areas of North Woolwich and Silvertown were areas of economic and social deprivation, characterised by inadequate and poor social and community facilities. The area was physically isolated with few and poor public transport links, whether to elsewhere in Newham or to the City and West End.

It is hard today to realise how much industry was once based in East London, a good deal of it near the Royals. Some industry continued after the closure, but much of it was there for reasons such as low rents in poor quality property. Transport, storage and industrial processes were among their number. There were, of course, notable exceptions such as sugar refiners, Tate & Lyle, with a long term commitment and long term loyalty to the area. The area has benefited considerably from their presence of more than one hundred years. But for the rest, it is hard to convey the sheer desolation of the area in the period after the closure of the Royal Docks: so close to the City and West End, yet so remote. Most Londoners remained ignorant of this huge blighted area of their city - an area which, today, is beginning again to realise its potential in contributing to London's prosperity as it did in the heyday of the docks.

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Royal Docks 1982The LDDC's strategy

The Corporation's first development framework for the Royal Docks was published in 1985. It had taken longer to think through than the equivalent frameworks for more compact, more central, less problematical areas of Docklands. However, the time had been well spent. The framework, and its successor published in 1992, sought to respond to the challenges presented in the Royal Docks by securing development equivalent in stature to the position the docks had held in the British economy. It was also important to encourage buildings of a similar scale to the vast expanses in the area and to find employment generating uses that could benefit local people, as well as the capital as a whole.

As elsewhere in Docklands, regeneration was to be achieved by a combination of public and private sector investment. The public sector would concentrate on infrastructure by investing in environmental improvements, new roads and public transport, and services including drainage. The private sector would build on the new infrastructure, making imaginative use of the potential of the dock waterscape, and providing developments of international quality. The Government agreed to provide the resources needed for a comprehensive infrastructure, environmental and transport programme. By 1988 most of the work was underway including a network of new and improved roads and a comprehensive drainage system. Construction of the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) Beckton extension started in 1989.

When the LDDC was set up it had been vested with large tracts of land, particularly on the Isle of Dogs. In other areas, such as Bermondsey Riverside, the LDDC was able to proceed with regeneration without physically owning much land itself. However, the scale of work needed in the Royals meant that the Corporation had to acquire land and the docks themselves before it could swing into action. First, Royal Victoria Dock was bought from the Port of London Authority in 1983, followed by Royal Albert and King George V Docks in 1986. That same year, the Corporation acquired a large British Gas holding in the Royal Docks and in Beckton - a hundred years earlier the Beckton Gasworks had been the largest in the world, and their condition a century later added considerably to the regeneration task. Finally, between 1990 and 1994, the Thames Barrier construction site was acquired.Londondome

When the development framework for the Royal Docks was published in 1985, private developers could see for themselves that regeneration in Docklands was both serious and succeeding. They responded positively and in 1986 three large consortia put forward mixed schemes for different parts of the Royals, totalling some 12 million sq.ft (1.1 million sq.m.). The principal land uses were residential, retail, exhibition, leisure, business space and community. The Corporation granted planning permission for all three. However, the property recession at the end of 1980s and early 1990s meant that none of them proceeded.

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The Memorandum of Agreement

Prior to 1981, the London Borough of Newham had actively pursued regeneration in Beckton, to the north of the Royal Docks. As the Royal Docks were still in use until after the LDDC was set up, they were not able to extend their efforts to these.

A key step was taken in 1987 with the signing of a social and community compact - the Memorandum of Agreement - by the LDDC with the London Borough of Newham. This sought to achieve a significant package of housing, employment, training, social and community benefits for the people of Newham through the redevelopment of the Royal Docks.

The two authorities agreed to promote affordable and social housing, to ensure that local people had the skills to secure employment in the new schemes and to provide a range of new facilities for the area from schools to health care centres.

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Strategic infrastructure scheme completed 1986-93

Connaught Crossing

Roads: The LDDC built a series of new and improved roads through the Royals Docks linking the A13/A406 in the east and Aspen Way/Limehouse Link in the west, The first to be built, commencing in 1986, was Royal Docks Road, running south from the A13/A406 to a new roundabout at the Gallions Pumping Station. From there the 1 mile (1.8 km) dual carriageway Royal Albert Way was constructed along the north side of Royal Albert Dock, with the DLR running between the two carriageways along part of its length. Roundabouts were built to serve development sites and, in two cases, to accommodate DLR stations.

A new four lane north-south road, the Connaught Crossing, was built between the docks incorporating a swing bridge to allow shipping to pass beneath. North Woolwich Road was widened and, in turn, connected to a new crossing over the River Lea to the Isle of Dogs.

The Docklands Light Railway: The eleven-station eastern extension of the DLR from Poplar to Beckton opened in March 1994. The stations were all designed by Ahrends Burton and Koralek, and provide a good demonstration of the LDDC's sponsorship of distinguished modern architecture.

Tidal Basin Pumping StationDrainage: The LDDC established a 16 mile (1 1 km) foul and surface water drainage network including two new pumping stations at Tidal Basin and North Woolwich (Store Road), the former designed by Richard Rogers Partnership, the latter, completed in 1997 by Nicholas Grimshaw. The LDDC also provided a service network for gas, water and a variety of communications.

Landscaping: A landscape framework for the area has been provided by the Corporation with roadside planting, quay edge treatment and a series of footpaths and cycleways.

Between 1986 and 1993, when most of the strategic schemes were completed, some 500 million had been invested in the Royal Docks by the LDDC.

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Royal Victoria Dock 1993Changes between 1981and 1998

The time needed to regenerate the Royal Docks can be illustrated by statistics. For example, the population increased by less than 1%, between 1981 and 1991: from 4,178 to 4,211 (although households had increased by 17% from 1,571 to 1,846). The improvements that have characterised the 1990s are demonstrated by a population rise to 4,800 by 1997: a rise of 15% since 1981.

In employment, the first decade actually showed a further deterioration. Whereas in 1981 16% of the economically active population were unemployed, by 1991 this had increased to 23%. However, by October 1997 unemployment in the whole of Newham Docklands (the Royals and Beckton) had fallen to an estimated 701. In 1981 there were 12,400 people working in 258 businesses in the whole of Newham Docklands (no data exists specifically for the Royals). By 1997 the number of employers had increased by nearly two-thirds to 422 (of which 237 were in the Royal Docks). Over 10,900 employees were working in Newham Docklands (of which nearly 6,500 were based in the Royal Docks).

In 1981, 95% of households lived in rented, mostly local authority, housing. Only 5% were in private owner occupation. By 1991, 68% lived in local authority rented housing: 11% were in private or housing association rented homes, and owner occupied homes had increased to 21% from 87 to 379 homes. By 1997, owner occupation was estimated to have increased to 23%.

West Silvertown Urban VillageThe construction of the first phase of West Silvertown Urban Village in particular illustrates the changing face of housing in the area. Located on the south side of Royal Victoria Dock, this will provide 1,100 homes, attractively spread across 36 acres (14 ha.) with 777 homes for sale. By February this year 250 homes had been sold and 200 occupied. Balance continued to be maintained: the LDDC gave a 1.9 million to secure 235 homes for social housing in the first phase to be built by Peabody Trust and East Thames Housing Group. The first of these will be occupied in June 1998. This will allow the redevelopment of the West Silvertown area, as part of the Urban Village, including the demolition of the two tower blocks at Barnwood Court which the tenants supported overwhelmingly in a ballot.

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The Park and the CampusModel of UEL Docklands Campus

The Royals Business Park on the north side of Royal Albert Dock was launched in February 1997. This will be a new generation of business park, combining closeness to the City and West End with road, rail and air links unique for an inner city location. The first major business tenant, Norton Healthcare, a subsidiary of the American IVAX Corporation, one of the world's largest generic drugs companies, has started building a 320,000 sq.ft (29,700 sq.m.) building on the site. This will be Norton's European headquarters, with laboratories and other pharmaceutical facilities, as well as a customer services centre, located there. The park will also be home to another very important tenant: the London Docklands Campus of the University of East London (UEL). This will include the Thames Gateway Technology Centre which, in addition to its academic functions, will provide a full range of services for new and existing companies in East London. The first phase of development, scheduled to open in time for the 1999/2000 academic year, will accommodate 3,000 students and is under construction.

On a four acre (1.6 ha) site at the western end of the dock, Sports Lottery Funding of 8.9 million, matched by LDDC and English Partnerships' contributions totalling 7.2 million, will enable construction of an international rowing course and regatta centre. To accommodate a 2000 metre Olympic standard course in the dock, Woolwich Manor Way, including a new bridge, will be realigned to the east.

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The Bridges and the Park

The LDDC has pioneered the construction of footbridges throughout Docklands to give pedestrian access to and across docks. Designed by Lifschutz Davison and Techniker, the 3.9 million Royal Victoria Dock footbridge linking the Urban Village on the south side of the dock to the planned exhibition centre and Custom House DLR station on the north, is a leading example.

Thames Barrier ParkWork is underway on the 23 acre (9 ha.) Thames Barrier Park, London's newest and most spectacular park, developed following an international competition won by a team led by the acclaimed French landscape architect, Alain Provost, best known for his work at the Parc Citroen in Paris. The larger part of the funding of the Park, which is due to open by the Millennium, has been met by the Corporation, with a major 3.4 million contribution from English Partnerships. Ownership of the park will pass to the London Borough of Newham. Another new footbridge over North Woolwich Road, designed by Eva Jiricna, will directly link the park with the Urban Village on the north side of the road.

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London City AirportLondon City Airport

London City Airport was the Royals' first major success. The prevailing winds in London mean that the correct alignment for airport runways is 280 degrees. It was in 1982 that it was noticed that, by happy coincidence, the quay space between Royal Albert and King George V Docks followed this same alignment and an airport was proposed.

Careful consideration was given to the environmental controls needed, with most parties, who were given the chance to air their views at a public enquiry, satisfied by the end. The Airport opened in 1987. It was originally useable only by a few types of approved STOL (Short Take Off and Landing) turboprop aircraft. These had a limited range of 400 miles and limited passenger capacity. However, following a second public inquiry, the British Aerospace 146, the world's first quiet passenger jet aircraft and other similar aircraft, were able to use London City Airport as the runway was extended to accommodate these aircraft, which have a flying range of some 1000 miles (1800 km). Jet flights started in 1992.

London City Airport is the first entirely new airport built in the UK for 40 years. As the 1990s progressed, it became Europe's fastest growing airport, with features such as the ten minute check-in, making it extremely popular with business people. More and more routes are being added all the time, and the airport is now dealing with more than one million passengers a year, serving 20 UK and European destinations. The airport has also become a major local employer, providing jobs for some 736 people, a visible symbol of the Royals' regeneration, and a crucial factor in attracting developments such as the ExCeL exhibition centre to the area.

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London's New Exhibition Centre

The agreement to build the new international exhibition centre, ExCeL on the south side of Royal Victoria Dock, crowns, in the most spectacular way possible, the Corporation's achievements over the past 17 years.

Model of Exhibition CentreThe deal secures the future of the Royals, which were thought by many to be too large and too remote to be developed on any realistic timescale. Not only will the East End of London have an exhibition space as big as Earls Court and Olympia combined, the 200 million phase one of the project will be the impetus for further developments in the Royals.

The ExCeL agreement was signed by the LDDC and Country Heights Holdings, a large Malaysian property developer, and shareholders of the London Internationa Exhibition Centre Ltd, which has promoted the project to date. Even the first phase is a massive undertaking with 710,000 sq.ft (66,000 sq.m.) of gross lettable exhibition hall, 260,000 sq.ft (24,000 sq.m.) of conference meeting and banqueting accommodation and parking for 5,000 cars. Three on-site hotels with 1,000 bedrooms are planned. The LDDC is contributing to the 85 acre (34 ha) site and investing in associated infrastructure in return for a shareholding and a percentage of turnover, leaving no net cost to the public purse.

A new four lane junction will link the site at its eastern end with Royal Albert Way. The centre will set new standards for the exhibition industry and satisfy the escalating demands for a more modern venue in the heart of the capital. It will bring major benefits to the area with the potential for 14,000 new jobs and provide a significant boost to the local economy.

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Investing in the community

The Royals, by dint of their sheer size, lend themselves to strategic investment for the larger community. This is particularly true in the field of education. The London Docklands Campus of the University of East London, due to open for the academic year some eighteen months after the de-designation of the LDDC, with 5 million in funding from the Corporation, will rightly crown the process, but should not take away from the Corporation's other investments in education.

The University Campus on a 25 acre (10 ha.) site on the north side of Royal Albert Dock will include purpose built teaching and research facilities and business and retail units. The 30 million first phase will accommodate 3,000 students. When completed, the full 562,000 sq.ft (55,000 sq.m.) development will accommodate up to 7,500 students and 1,000 staff.

The Campus will also include the Thames Gateway Technology Centre which has received 7.8 million from the Government's Single Regeneration Budget. The Centre's services will include training and demonstration facilities, business start-up space and consultancy, a technology resource centre, an industrial design centre and research and development services.

The LDDC has given 5.2 million in grants to the 17 million 1200-place Royal Docks Community Secondary School, opening in 1998, which will be the first secondary school south of the A13 in Newham. Drew Primary School and Storey Primary School at either end of the southern side of King George V Dock have benefited from LDDC funding for curriculum assistance.

Kennard Street Health CentrePlans are well advanced to provide a new primary school to serve the developing community of over 1,500 new homes at West Silvertown. The Corporation is contributing 700,000 towards the cost. A village hall will also be built and will include a multi-purpose hall available for sports, leisure, social and community activities, together with meeting rooms and a doctor's surgery.

Pier Training in North Woolwich was refurbished to expand access to training in business and computing with a grant of 131,000 from the LDDC. The Thames Gateway Technology Centre within the Docklands Campus of the University of East London will, of course, be the ultimate Docklands Training Centre, working in partnership with London Borough of Newham and local schools.

In healthcare, the LDDC contributed 700,000 towards the new 2.2 million Royals Medical Centre. Located just to the north of the Royals in East Beckton, this provides a model of modern primary healthcare, with four GPs, a dentist, a pharmacist and community health staff such as health visitors, school nurses and midwives, all housed under the same roof. The Corporation also contributed 175,000 towards the refurbishment of Kennard Health Centre in North Woolwich, while 863,000 was invested in the North Woolwich Children's Centre, providing full-time nursery and day care.

Docklands Watersports Cl;ubIn addition to providing major support for infrastructure projects with statutory bodies, the LDDC has worked in partnership with grass roots community projects to establish or refurbish key local facilities. These have included grants to Andrew Street Tenants Association Tenants Hall (21,000), Ascension Church (134,000), Woodman Street Tenants Hall (43,000), Royal British Legion Club (17,000) and St. John's Church and Community Centre (55,000). The LDDC has also supported innovative projects such as the Docklands Motorcycle Project (128,000), providing an off-road motorcycle track and maintenance and safety skills for young people.

The Royal Docks Waterski Club was established in 1985. A commercial operation, since 1986 it has used approximately two thirds of King George V Dock. The Docklands Watersports Club for jet-skiers and wetbikes has been based at the eastern end of the dock since 1988 and its new floating clubhouse, funded with a 800,000 grant by the LDDC, opened in Summer 1997.

Two much bigger watersports facilities were under way as the LDDC prepared to complete its remit: the International Regatta Centre and Rowing Course in the Royal Albert Dock and the Royal Victoria Dock Watersports Centre, which will be a focus for sailing and windsurfing activities of regional significance. The latter will receive 1 million of LDDC funding, subject to Sports Lottery Funding, for a new permanent building.

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Conserving the past

Part of the LDDC's rich and varied legacy is its investment in safeguarding the heritage buildings of Docklands. In the Royal Docks, the Corporation's imaginative contribution to preserving the past includes restoring to their former glory a flamboyant Victorian church, a 19th century hostelry, dockside cranes and even a rare Victorian pissoir. The innovative Samuel Saunders Teulon designed St Mark's Church, Silvertown. It was built between 1861 and 1862 after a cholera epidemic swept the district and local clergy appealed through the columns of The Times for funds to provide an architectural, as well as spiritual, beacon for the area. The LDDC worked with the local Passmore Edwards Trust to restore it after a fire destroyed much of it in 1981, contributing 464,000 towards the costs of renovation.

Gallions HotelThe Corporation spent 1.86 million to repair two of the Royal's oldest buildings, the Grade II listed Dock Manager's Office and the Central Buffet which stand together on the north side of the Royal Albert Dock. One of the most unusual restorations currently underway by the Corporation is the wash and brush up for a Grade II listed Victorian cast iron urinal, officially known as The Rotunda, but locally nicknamed the Iron Lung. Bought from Newham Council for 1, the Corporation is spending more than 47,000 to refurbish it. The Gallions Hotel at North Woolwich was built in 1881 and used by the St Katharine Docks Company to serve passengers travelling on the P&O Line from the Royal Albert Dock. It featured underground stables and an underground passage to the dock. The structural fabric of the property has been comprehensively repaired and restored by the Corporation, and floodlighting installed. The building's condition is being monitored until a new use is found.

Another imaginative project in the Royals was the restoration of the Cold Store Compressor House near Royal Albert Dock. It was built in 1914 as a refrigeration plant to service surrounding warehouses storing beef shipments from Argentina. It fell into disuse in the mid1970's. Landmark building D Silo on the south side of the Royal Victoria Dock has been reinstated to its original condition after a 350,000 restoration by the Corporation in 1994 and will be incorporated into the Urban Village. On the north side of the Royal Victoria Dock are the massive brick K-R warehouses. Built along with the dock in 1855, the buildings survived the Blitz. Their back wall is Grade II listed and the buildings have been refurbished at a cost of 3.547 million. Ultimately they will form part of ExCeL, the new exhibition centre, but currently they are let for entertainment and events.

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Environmental improvements

Numerous land reclamation, site services and landscape projects have been carried out on development sites. These include a comprehensive network of footpaths and cycleways through the area.

The sheer size of the Royals, combined with the other open spaces in the area, lent themselves to a programme of open woodland planting. The extensive environmental programme has transformed the way the area looks. Works have included hard and soft landscaping, open spaces and extensive planting along the new highways. A number of footpaths and roadside verges have been planted with native species such as field maple, hawthorn and blackthorn, creating an environment reminiscent of hedgerows.

Bow Ecology ParkBow Creek Ecology Park and the East India Dock Bird Sanctuary are geographically located on the borders of the Royals and the Isle of Dogs. Both areas have benefited from these two leading LDDC initiatives which will be taken over by the Lea Valley Regional Park Authority.

The Corporation established the Royal Docks Management Authority or RODMA in 1990 to provide for the maintenance and long term management of the dock estate. This includes water areas and items such as locks and the impounding station. To date, the company has been financed by the Corporation, with a service charge levied on a defined area of the dock estate and payable by developers as sites are sold. These, in turn, receive shares in the company. LDDC's shareholding in RODMA will pass to English Partnerships.

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As we hand on the Royal Docks

As the LDDC hands on the Royal Docks, a number of transport developments remain in progress or pending. A programme of junction improvements on the A13 at Canning Town, Prince Regent Lane and Woolwich Manor Way are in the Government's highway improvement programme and are expected to be started in about 2000. However, the issue of whether a flyover will be built between the A406 and the Royal Docks Road over the A13, one of London's major congestion black spots, remains unresolved.

Dockedge hard landscapingIntegrated transport planning of the kind which the LDDC has provided in Docklands lays strong emphasis on interchange facilities. In Spring 1999, the new Canning Town interchange will open. Passengers arriving on the DLR, the Jubilee Line Extension, British Rail and in buses at a large bus station, will be able to change modes of transport for their onward destinations. This interchange station will also be the Gateway station for London City Airport, with check-in facilities and a shuttle service to the airport.

Yet to come - it is hoped - are the go-aheads for river crossings to provide much needed improvements in the connections between the Royals and South East London and North Kent. It was in 1943 that Patrick Abercrombie wrote in his county plan for London that "intimacy between the two river banks is essential for proper development . . . The construction of the new Lambeth Bridge stimulated redevelopment on the south bank of the Thames: we can expect a similar process further East if the connection between the two banks is improved." We leave plans for the river crossings in the hands of the Government Office for London, under consideration for the next century.

The first river crossing would be underground. The Woolwich Metro has been planned as a rail tunnel which would enable a new Metro-type service to run between Stratford, the Royals, Woolwich Arsenal and North Kent.

The second new river crossing would be Thames Gateway Bridge. It would be between the Royal Docks and Thamesmead, and would have a fixed public transport system on it, such as a guided bus, which could run on the existing roads on either side of the bridge.

More progress has been achieved in the regeneration of the Royal Docks than could have been envisaged in the LDDC's Development Framework of 1985. By 1993, most of the 500 million of strategic infrastructure work laid down in the framework was in place. What the framework could not predict, however, was when and with what commitment private developers would then move in to take advantage of the foundations we so meticulously laid. The satisfaction of our last five years of work in the Royal Docks, rising to a climax in the major announcements made during our last year, has been to see major developers from all around the world decide to move into the Royal Docks. The process of regeneration may not be complete, but it is well under way.

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The Future - London Borough of Newham

The LDDC has laid foundations for the successful future development of the Royals. Most of the infrastructure schemes have been completed, a number of high profile developments have been agreed and work on some of these schemes has started. The success of the London City Airport has demonstrated the potential for business in the area.

Aerial view of Royal DocksAs a Council designated Showcase Area, where resources will be targeted to improve the physical and social environment, the Royals will play a crucial role in the ongoing Regeneration of Newham. The Royals, along with Stratford, Canning Town and Beckton, make Newham the pivotal player in East London's Arc of Opportunity. Our aspiration for the Royals, as for the rest of Newham, is to achieve balanced regeneration that meets a number of strategic regeneration objectives including: developing a strong and diversified community; providing an environment that supports a high quality of life for residents, businesses and visitors; improving access to employment across London for Newham's residents; and creating and promoting a positive image for the borough. The Council will promote initiatives and seek developments of regional and European significance that build on the area's strategic location and positively contribute to meeting the above objectives.

The immediate task is to establish, with English Partnerships, an investment framework, programme and initiatives to promote the continued development of the Royals and ensure that the momentum is sustained after the LDDC s involvement ceases. The Council has worked closely with the LDDC to achieve regeneration in the Royals. The same level of close co-operation with English Partnerships will be needed to take forward and complete the substantial remaining programme of works.

London Borough of Newham

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English Partnerships and the future of the Royal Docks

Windsurfing in the Royal DocksWith effect from 1 April 1998 after the de-designation of the London Docklands Development Corporation, English Partnerships - the Government's Regeneration Agency - formally assumes responsibility for completing the regeneration and development of the Reyal Docks, in partnership with the London Borough of Newham. English Partnerships will oversee the completion of all infrastructure projects in progress, together with the development and disposal of all undeveloped land, currently standing at approximately 100 acres (40 ha.). The agency also inherits the freehold of the water areas (about 240 acres or 97 ha.) that are leased to RODMA (The Royal Docks Management Authority). The London Borough of Newham will assume responsibility for all the usual local authority statutory functions in relation to planning and the adoption of infrastructure.

English Partnerships has carried out an audit of all information relating to the transfer of responsibility to the agency and a high priority identified is the continuation of the existing marketing and disposal strategy for uncommitted development sites. English Partnerships anticipates future development taking a further 6-8 years to complete, with a portfolio of work that includes the new ExCeL Exhibition Centre, the Royals Business Park, the university campus and technology centre, premises for Norton Healthcare, residential development, together with other new opportunities for developers and end users. English Partnerships has worked alongside LDDC as a joint client in respect of the development of a new international standard rowing course and regatta centre, a spectacular new Thames Barrier Park, and infrastructure projects. The agency will also be taking forward plans for Phase II of the West Silvertown Urban Village.

Strategically located and already home to London City Airport and Docklands Light Railway, the Royal Docks is destined to become a leading, premier business location within London.

English Partnerships


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Completion Booklets

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LDDC Monographs published in 1997/98

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Annual Reports and Accounts

As with most organisations the Annual Reports and Accounts of the LDDDC are a good source of chronological information about the work of the Corporation and how it spent its money. Altogether these reports contain more than 1000 pages of information. These have been scanned and reproduced as zip files on our Annual Reports and Accounts page

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LDDC History Pages
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Page last modified: 18th April 2009