Building Community in the Royal Docks

This spring, the Leaders Plus 9 cohort got a brilliant guided tour of what’s happening at Royal Albert Wharf, thanks to Jodie Norman, a course participant and Notting Hill Genesis Head of Commercial Properties . Her summary of what’s going on is below, along with further resources and a few images from a fascinating walkabout. 

Royal Docks Regeneration

Over 175 hectares of these historic docklands are in public sector ownership. The Mayor of London and Mayor of Newham are committed to using their powers to ensure that the transformation of the Royal Docks directly benefits local people and businesses. The creation of a joint delivery team by both mayors in 2017 means that the public sector can provide good stewardship over public assets in the Royal Docks — ensuring that its public areas are improved, well-lit, well-maintained, and enlivened by events and activities.

Through a joint delivery team, the Mayor of London, Mayor of Newham, and Local Economic Action Partnership are directly working with local businesses and communities to shape the future of the Royal Docks. The Royal Docks Good Growth Fund and crowdfunding initiative will support projects, led by local businesses and groups, that lead to genuine economic and social benefits.

This area can become a real exemplar for how good regeneration can happen, both domestically and internationally. The Royal Docks will be at the centre of the Mayor of London’s ambition to ensure that London remains a global and open city.

Royal Albert Wharf

Royal Albert Wharf is a multi-phase waterfront development secured through a Development Agreement with the GLA. Mixed tenure residential-led development is being delivered over five phases, creating a new neighbourhood of 2,100 homes in the Docklands. The first two phases of the development were delivered by Notting Hill Genesis with contractor Vistry.

The next three phases will be delivered as Joint Venture partnerships – with Telford Homes and Vistry, NHG will become the landowner at completion of the schemes as the partners exit the project. NHG is now five years through a 10-year build programme, with Phase 1 & 2 complete and other parts of the scheme due to hand over later this year.

The scheme sits at the very end of the Royal Docks at Gallions Reach adjacent to Albert Island, and includes a working pump house as part of the public realm. The area was commercially untried, so NHG developed meanwhile use and commercial strategies to activate the ground floor and enable community-building. NHG determined the best route for delivery was to partner with Bow Arts Trust, which has 10,000 sqft of affordable workspace and manages NHG’s wider commercial scheme and placemaking programme.

The focus of the field trip was on partnerships to deliver regeneration; different priorities for different types of partnerships; and how those interact to deliver successful regeneration and build thriving communities. The aim was to show the range of partnerships from high-level strategic (GLA/JV Partners), to third sector (Bow Arts Trust) and then micro-partnerships with individual tenants, plus how everything feeds out through that hierarchy and how it all ties together.

Guest speakers were Paul Creed, Head of Placemaking & Development, Royal Docks Team and Joss Taylor, Head of Enterprise & Placemaking at Bow Arts Trust

A few links which might be useful: