On Sunday 9th June (yes Sunday!) RTPI London joined in with the International Federation of Housing and Planning (IFHP)’s Centenary Congress by teaming-up with URBEGO (the ‘young’ arm of the IFHP) and headed east to look at the on-going regeneration of Newham’s arc of opportunity: the Royal Victoria Docks.
The day started with a visit to the Siemens ‘Crystal’ centre. The centre is home to a permanent exhibition on sustainability of cities. Walking around the centre it was good to see that city planning was seen as a key competent in the sustainability of cities, with even an interactive screen on making the city plan. One key message from the exhibition was the importance of demographics to inform how we plan the cities of the future.
After a walk around The Crystal, Zoe Green from Atkins gave a brief history of the last 200 years in the Royal Victoria Docks. The modernisation of exporting and importing had led to the decline of the docks, as they were not able to expand to take new ships. The 20th century had seen a move to make the docks a residential hub to house the workers at Canary Wharf. Recent years have seen the introduction of an enterprise zone, development of the Excel Centre, extension of the Jubilee line and DLR with the aim of making the area more mixed use and accessible. In May 2013, the Mayor of London struck a £1 billion deal with ABP to create a state of the art business port aimed initially at China and Asian businesses. It is estimated that this could lead to the creation of 20,000 jobs and development worth £6 billion to the UK economy and essentially transform the Royal Docks into London’s third business district.
Andrew Dorrian from Transport for London introduced the Royal Docks Transport Study undertaken by TfL and Newham Council. This introduced the infrastructure which has been delivered and the future infrastructure needed to support the development of the Royal Docks. One piece of major infrastructure which has regeneration benefits as well as providing a useful crossing over the Thames is the Emirates Air Line . Andrew explained the planning and delivery process, including issues around the London City Airport safety zone, noise, river navigation and the marine considerations. Through close working with all stakeholders the application was through committee stages of three different bodies in 13 weeks and was delivered ahead of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games used by those visiting the Excel Centre and North Greenwich Arena. Andrew also updated on the River Crossing Consultation including possibly moving the Woolwich Ferry to Thamesmead or having a fixed link and the Silvertown Crossing. We then boarded the Emirates Airline to North Greenwich . Upon embarkation at the Greenwich Peninsula, an update was provided on one of London’s other major growth areas, the Greenwich Peninsula. Predicated on a 2004 Lord Rogers masterplan the area is expected to provide 10,000 new homes and 29,000 new jobs through the regeneration of the former gas works site by a consortium of developers. It is an example of positive thinking around sustainable city development exhibited through the provision of segregated bus ways, bus priority signals, linear parks and cycleways, delivered through the masterplan. The Peninsula is also home to the O2 and has an important transport function sub-regionally with the North Greenwich Interchange, QEII River Pier and Emirates Airline.
The group finished up at The Pilot Inn for informal networking and discussion of spatial planning experiences from across the globe. For more details of the event please see the attached presentation.
RTPI London hope URBEGO comes to visit London again soon!Goes East RTPI Presentation