ADD2091 Lea Way Commission

Type of decision: 
Assistant Director's decision
Code: 
ADD2091
Date signed: 
20 March 2017
Decision by: 
Fiona Fletcher-Smith, Executive Director of Development, Enterprise and Environment

Executive summary

The Greater London Authority Regeneration Team is contributing a one-off payment of £10k, along with £10k per annum from LB Newham (LBN) and £10k per annum from LB Tower Hamlets (LBTH), towards the creation of one officer post to manage all aspects of the Lea River Park programme within the London boroughs of Tower Hamlets and the London Borough of Newham. LBN and LBTH will look to fund the £10k shortfall after the first year.

The officer will be responsible for bringing forward detailed design and delivery of a diverse range of connectivity and development projects through the Lea River Park joint agenda of GLA, LBTH and LBN. Projects will enhance the river and its banks to maximise environmental, deliver leisure and wellbeing impacts and help to create high quality urban and architectural design along the Lea and in the communities around it.

The appointed officer will report to the Senior Area/Area Programme Manager at the London Borough of Newham. However, as the post is jointly funded by Greater London Authority (GLA), LBTH and LBN the officer will be required to work across the three partners to provide professional design advice, procure and manage consultants, advisors and design teams and manage internal and external stakeholder relationships.

The draft job description for the role is attached as an appendix to this ADD.
 

Decision

That the Assistant Director of Regeneration approves a GLA contribution of £10,000 to the London Borough of Newham as a contribution towards the Lea River Programme.

 

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

The Lea River Park connects Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to the Royal Docks and the River Thames with new continuous public parklands - ‘completing’ the 26-mile long Lee Valley Regional Park and improving access east and west between communities in the neighbouring boroughs.

The strategic first phase of this vision is the delivery of a linear park named the Leaway, which creates a continuous walking and cycling route along the River Lea. This connects a series of existing but fragmented public open spaces. Over time this route will be added to with new parks and additional pedestrian and cycle connections, delivered as land becomes available.

It is viewed as central to the wider regeneration of the area, which will continue to undergo massive change over the coming decades. The LLDC have championed the delivery of the park creating a vision, landscape strategy and delivery framework, which has informed local planning policies. This has already influenced a number of property developments and supported the delivery of a number of public space and connectivity projects.   

The LRP and its connecting infrastructure is critical to the sustainable growth of the Lower Lea Valley over the coming decades. Without it, the planned housing will be marred by poor quality environment, severance of communities and businesses from public transport, and a lowering of the socio-economic prospects for new and existing residents. Not least because PTALs for all of the development will be significantly improved through the delivery of LRP infrastructure.

As part of a rationalisation of priorities the LLDC has ceased being involved in Lea River Park (as of January 2017). After considerable consultation and engagement, the LLDC handed over all files and documentation to LBTH and LBN, including responsibilities and ownerships, such as: CPO agreements; consultant contracts for LRP projects; management and leadership of Steering Groups and media/press activity. 
 

Objectives and expected outcomes

The Greater London Authority Regeneration Team is contributing a one-off payment of £10k, along with £10k per annum from LB Newham (LBN) and £10k per annum from LB Tower Hamlets (LBTH), towards the creation of one officer post to manage all aspects of the Lea River Park programme within the London boroughs of Tower Hamlets and the London Borough of Newham. LBN and LBTH will look to fund the £10k shortfall after the first year.

The officer will be responsible for bringing forward detailed design and delivery of a diverse range of connectivity and development projects through the Lea River Park joint agenda of GLA, LBTH and LBN. Projects will enhance the river and its banks to maximise environmental, deliver leisure and wellbeing impacts and help to create high quality urban and architectural design along the Lea and in the communities around it.

The appointed officer will report to the Senior Area/Area Programme Manager at the London Borough of Newham. However, as the post is jointly funded by Greater London Authority (GLA), LBTH and LBN the officer will be required to work across the three partners to provide professional design advice, procure and manage consultants, advisors and design teams and manage internal and external stakeholder relationships. The officer will utilise the Lea River Park Steering Group to ensure that decision making is coordinated across the borough boundary and that the efforts of various stakeholders are properly coordinated.

The draft job description for the role is attached as an appendix to this DD.

Benefits of the LRP

Stitching the Valley together
A coordinated planning policy, based on the current LRP Design Manual, would ensure the Lea River Park can be maximised and enjoyed as a whole park and connected series of places – rather than a set of disconnected, uncoordinated and undersized spaces, which is the risk, if left to the market. The LRP will connect the LLV from north to south and improve access east and west between communities and beyond into the heart of the boroughs. This will get people using the area for general recreation and making walking and cycling journeys between locations adjacent to the LRP north to south and west to east.  PTALs for all of the development will be significantly improved through the delivery of LRP infrastructure.  Future LRP parkland development will expand this urban parkland to other sites, opening them up for development. 

Developers will benefit from being able to market properties’ proximity to the park and the improved connectivity it would provide. A coordinated partnership will more readily be able to harness financial benefits these schemes will gain from LRP

Supporting Housing Delivery 
The Lower Lea Valley will be focus for the growth of over 20,000 new homes over the coming decades, yet it currently suffers from high levels of severance with regard to access to open space, access to public transport, and very poor quality pedestrian and cycle connectivity. The connecting infrastructure will provide new residents with access to public transport infrastructure, local centres, and education and community facilities. The Lea River Park will be instrumental in creating and assembling 235ha of new and improved public open space within the Lower Lea Valley.

Health & Wellbeing
The park will improve local air quality through creation of attractive new walking and cycling routes between local centres and transport hubs, thereby promoting health and wellbeing and reducing vehicular journeys.  In addition, three new parks connected with green infrastructure are planned to further enhance environmental and health benefits. 

Community cohesion
The park will connect existing local communities to new parks and the expansive river Lea, as well as the thousands who will be moving into the area in the coming decades. Communities who have historically suffered from deficiencies in open space, and who are frequently unaware of the river’s existence will have their neighbourhood experience transformed through enhanced riverside routes, improved access to greenspace, safe walkways and attractive cycleways. 

Economic Benefits 
Taken from the 2009 Green Book economic appraisal prepared by BiGGAR Economics for LTGDC. Assessment and measurement of economic benefits is challenging due to the difficulty of quantifying their £ value. However, the Lea River Park, once complete is estimated to create a potential net additional benefit at the local level of:
•    employment – 19 fte jobs;
•    GVA – a NPV of £2.32 million over 25 years;
•    health – a NPV of £4.45 million saved through improved health over 25 years;
•    recreational – a NPV of £4.72 million over 25 years;
•    visual – a NPV of £9.51 million in Year 4 reflected through house price uplift; and
•    construction – 34 job years created with a GVA NPV of £1.59 million.

There is a clear rationale for public intervention based on market failures and equity considerations. 

Place making 

Given the amount of new development and growth taking place in the Lower Lea, the LRP will create an identifiable ‘place’ with a strong identity, which will help to catalyse development. It aims to:
•    reinstate a sense of identity and pride (developing it as a place in the public’s mental map)
•    Unite a series of discrete park areas that respond to local context, need, topography and potential for hosting activities.
•    Create an area which encourages community cohesion and interaction not division and isolation
 

Equality comments

GLA, LBN and LBTH are committed to and champion equality and diversity in all aspects of employment and service. Recruitment will be managed by LBN and all processes will be in line with their Equality and Diversity Policy. The appointed officer will be expected to understand and promote LBN’s Equality and Diversity Policy in the course of their work.

 

Other considerations

a) key risks and issues

 

 

Risk description

Mitigation/Risk response

Probability (1-5)

Impact   
(1-5)

RAG

 
 

1

Insufficient funding and/or developer interested to progress LRP projects

Importance of LRP is being written into both LBN and LBTH local plans. Jointly sponsored role ensures there can be a greater of coordination of S106 / CIl spending, as well as coordination of GLA / borough funded activities

2

4

Amber

 
 

2

A competitive tender process does not find a suitably qualified  candidate

GLA, LBH and LBTH will all make sure job ad is widely circulated

2

3

Amber

 
 
 
 

3

LBN and LBTH unable to find funding for long term appointment

GLA officers will continue working with LBTH and LBN counterparts to identify potential revenue funding for long term appointment to see projects through to completion

 

2

3

Amber

 
 

 

Financial comments

5.1    The GLA contribution of £10,000 to London Borough of Newham for this proposal will be funded from the Development Enterprise & Environment Minor Programme budget for 2016-17.

 

Planned delivery approach and next steps

Activity

Timeline

Job advertised

March 2017

Interviews

March-April 2017

Officer in post

April –May 2017