ADD2215 A Case for a River Thames Cultural Vision

Type of decision: 
Assistant Director's decision
Code: 
ADD2215
Date signed: 
13 March 2018
Decision by: 
Shonagh Manson, Assistant Director of Culture and Creative Industries

Executive summary

The River Thames spans seventeen local authorities across London and has helped to form our city as we know it today. As well as playing a role in providing transportation, sanitation, leisure and ecology, it is a major part of the heritage of the city and plays a key role in the cultural life of London.

This decision seeks approval to receive £5,000 from the Port of London Authority as a contribution towards commissioning a detailed study. The study will undertake consultation and mapping activities to make the case for a joined up and ambitious cultural vision for the River Thames. The GLA and the Port of London Authority will act as co-commissioners of the study.

Decision

That the Assistant Director of Culture and Creative Industries approves:

1. The receipt and expenditure of £5,000 from the Port of London Authority towards the activities detailed in this decision.

2. Expenditure of £20,000 from the Culture Strategy 2017-18 budget (approved via MD2129) towards the activities detailed in this decision.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1    The River Thames covers seventeen London Boroughs and is an important part of London’s 
cultural heritage. From its iconic bridges in the centre of London to the outer boroughs it flows through, it is one of London’s most famous and world-renowned features.

1.2    In partnership with the Port of London Authority, the GLA will appoint a supplier to develop the case for a cultural vision for the River Thames and its banks, to realise the many benefits that the River can offer across multiple themes, including education, cultural heritage and transport. The study will consult and engage with the multiple stakeholders involved in the River on a day to day basis and will result in the delivery of a report.

1.3    The GLA will contribute £20,000 towards the contract costs from the Culture Strategy 2017-18 budget (approved under cover of MD2129). Port of London Authority’s contribution will be £5,000. Together with the Port of London Authority we will act as co-commissioners of the planned research and mapping activity. The proposed total contract cost is therefore £25,000.
 

Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1    The GLA will procure a consultant to undertake research study. The objectives of the study will be:

• To explore how a future vision for the River Thames could:
-    support the growth of the night-time economy along the river
-    improve governance and leadership for cultural investment along the river
-    strengthen cultural engagement, especially in the emerging opportunity areas

• To explore opportunities in the following sectors, through meetings with stakeholders and potential partners:
-    Communities, skills and education
-    Culture, heritage and tourism
-    Development and investment
-    Environment, ecology and nature
-    Movement, commerce and transport

• To create a renewed and coherent narrative around the importance of the river and its banks to London’s cultural life, as the basis for a new vision.

2.2    The report produced will provide the following outcomes: 

• A case for a strategic vision identifying key opportunities with recommendations to inform next steps.

• A mapping of the river through collation of existing information and fieldwork, showing the existing cultural offer, the variety of potential partners and land ownership along the River.

• A compilation of relevant international precedents.

Equality comments

3.1    Under Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010, as a public authority, the Mayor of London must have ‘due regard’ to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation as well as to advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people who have a protected characteristic and those who do not.

3.2       The proposed research and mapping to be undertaken will consider the views of the major stakeholders who have an interest in the River. This will include consultation with local communities along the River and with local authority agencies such as the Environment Agency or Transport for London for example.
 

Other considerations

4.1    The long-term aims of this study are signalled in the draft new London Plan (the Spatial Development Strategy for Greater London): to increase Londoners’ engagement with the River, including an increase in night-time use and engagement with under-used areas, to provide information on the heritage and importance of the River Thames to London. 

4.2    The proposed study and mapping exercise will link to various Mayoral priorities including improving the health and wellbeing of Londoners, improving access to culture and heritage, developing cultural tourism, mapping cultural infrastructure, informing education and skills opportunities, and reducing environmental impact. 
 

Financial comments

5.1    The Case for a River Thames Cultural Vision is a subsidiary of the Culture Strategy programme which was previously approved under MD2129 and as such this decision seeks to approve the receipt and expenditure of £5,000 from the Port of London Authority.

5.2    The total expenditure on the Case for a River Thames Cultural Vision will be £25,000 in which the above £5,000 will be the Port of London Authority’s contribution to the programme.

5.3    The expenditure will be met from the Culture and Creative Industries 2017-18 budget and subsequently managed within this unit.
 

Planned delivery approach and next steps

Activity

Timeline

Appointment of supplier

March 2018

Interim report delivered

April 2018

Final report delivered

June 2018

 

Appendices and supporting papers