DD2017 Commissioning Fund - Studies in Charlton Riverside

Type of decision: 
Director's decision
Code: 
DD2017
Date signed: 
14 July 2016
Decision by: 
Fiona Fletcher-Smith, Executive Director of Development, Enterprise and Environment

Executive summary

Approval was obtained in the High Street Fund report to IPB in January for a £400,000 ‘Commissioning Fund’ to develop a pipeline of projects in areas of London where there is strong growth potential. 

This decision concerns two Royal Borough of Greenwich projects as part of this fund - an Employment Activity Mapping and Heritage Scoping Study aimed at maximising the area’s growth potential by providing a robust evidence base for the emerging masterplan and SPD for Charlton Riverside- that can in turn lay the foundations for a pipeline of potential heritage and employment- related regeneration projects for future GLA funding rounds and that can influence the borough’s wider emerging Economic Strategy. 
 

Decision

To approve expenditure of £35,000 from the Commissioning Fund as a contribution to the costs of the following Royal Borough of Greenwich projects:

•    Charlton Riverside- Employment Activity Mapping project (£20,000), and;
•    Charlton Riverside- Heritage Scoping Study project (£15,000). 

 

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1.    Approval was obtained in the High Street Fund report to IPB in January for a £400,000 ‘Commissioning Fund’ to develop a pipeline of projects in areas of London where there is strong growth potential. 

1.2.    This was signed off in Mayoral Decision MD1469, and the decision to delegate allocation of the fund to the Executive Director Development Enterprise and Environment.

1.3.    Two projects brought forward in this decision are Employment Activity Mapping (£20,000) and Heritage Scoping Study (£15,000) for Charlton Riverside, RB Greenwich. 
 

Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1.    Commissioning Fund 

2.1.1.    The general criteria for selecting projects for funding, in order to identify suitable areas of London in which to develop pipeline projects, follows that described in the Accommodating Growth in Town Centres report. The report identifies three characteristics for areas to receive regeneration funding. They should have the potential for intensification, be under threat of decline as a result of structural change and there should be a local commitment and capacity to deliver intensification.

2.1.2.    It is likely that priority areas for intervention will be Major or District Centres that form the middle category which retail research suggests is vulnerable to restructuring. Further indicators would be persistently high vacancy rates for retail floor space, a worsening retail offer, a high proportion of comparison goods relative to the size of centre, retail rents that are low by sub-regional standards and are stagnant or declining, a poor qualitative experience, high levels of secondary office space, SHLAA potential for residential development, high levels of public transport accessibility and planned transport improvements that might improve accessibility.

2.1.3.    Prior to presenting projects for commissioning funding, the GLA’s Regeneration team has spent time with boroughs in the areas identified to develop a series of project proposals for future rounds of high street funding and for bidding to other funding streams.

2.1.4.    The type of support that is proposed to be provided through the commissioning fund varies depending on the degree to which development work has been developed by the borough, local business or community organisation, from town centre strategies to more focussed place specific development projects aimed at addressing the threats and opportunities outlined above. The commissioning fund is also aimed at building a relationship with and promoting proposals in areas that had not historically received regeneration funding from the GLA, Charlton Riverside and RB Greenwich fits into this category.

2.2.    Charlton Riverside – RB Greenwich

2.2.1.    Charlton Riverside is located in south east London in the Royal Borough of Greenwich. It is located within the Thames Gateway and is adjacent to other riverside areas undergoing considerable transformation. Charlton lies on the riverside between Woolwich and Greenwich Peninsula, stretching south towards Kidbrooke. Charlton’s character along the riverside, the area often referred to as  Charlton Riverside, reflects its rich industrial heritage and this area remains in use predominantly for industrial purposes including the Aggregates site on the protected Angerstein, the protected  Murphy’s Wharf as well as  the locally listed and well preserved heritage assets; Windrush School and the Siemens factory buildings as part of the Westminster Industrial Estate. More recently it has become home to a growing cultural and creative community, including Second Floor Art studios, which is the single largest site for artists’ studios in London and has a membership of over 410 artists, craft makers and designers, as well as the London Sculpture Workshop, a circus skills school and leisure facilities such as indoor go karting and London’s largest indoor climbing wall. The area also has some large scale retail development in Charlton Business Park to the south west of the industrial area.

2.2.2.    Charlton Riverside is an Opportunity Area in the London Plan identified for mixed use development and with significant capacity for jobs and new homes. The Royal Borough of Greenwich is seeking to examine the potential for intensifying and diversifying the Charlton Riverside area, which is one of the most obvious ‘missing pieces’ in the wider regeneration story of the River Thames and the Thames Gateway. With major transformative projects taking place to the east, west and north of the study area, this site clearly represents a major opportunity for a new, sustainable piece of city. Immediately to the west of Charlton is Greenwich Peninsula, an area which has already undergone substantial change in recent years with the development of the landmark Greenwich Millennium Village and the establishment of the O2 arena. The next phase of development for the Peninsula is currently under construction with a total of 13,000 new homes planned for the area. Further west, new public leisure, learning and healthcare facilities are planned for the Heart of East Greenwich scheme.

2.2.3.    To the north of the study area, on the opposite bank of the River Thames, the Royal Docks Vision and Strategy is unfolding within the wider Enterprise District context. Expansion of the ExCeL centre, City Airport and the University of East London are complete or well underway and new housing is emerging around Barrier Park. Development of Silvertown Quays and the Royal Docks business park are being actively promoted. To the east of Charlton Riverside, plans to re-establish Woolwich town centre as the major town centre in Greenwich are well advanced. The Royal Arsenal site is now part complete and there is a new transport interchange enhancing connections to Plumstead, Thamesmead and Charlton. The new civic headquarters and the extension of the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) to Woolwich Arsenal are in place and new Crossrail station at Woolwich is being built.

2.2.4.    Greenwich’s Regeneration Team has commissioned AECOM and White Architecture to put together a new masterplan to form the basis of a new updated SPD that will set out a vision for the area, as well as explore the area’s development capacity and provide a framework to enable and manage growth over the next 30+ years. RB Greenwich are keen to build the vision for the area around a fine grain understanding of what employment activities and accommodation is already on site already in order to support and grow the existing industrial, productive and creative economy as well as attract new businesses as part of the regeneration of Charlton Riverside, for this reason are applying to the GLA Commissioning Fund in order to undertake business mapping of the area. 

2.2.5.    Up until now, RB Greenwich has not been forthcoming in terms of submitting bids to GLA funding rounds for Charlton Riverside area. This is because of lack of clear design and planning framework and robust intelligence base in terms of employment activity and heritage value of the area. Therefore, undertaking an Employment Activity Mapping and Heritage Scoping Study will assist in maximising the area’s growth potential and influencing the borough’s wider emerging Economic Strategy by providing a robust evidence base for the emerging masterplan and SPD for Charlton Riverside, that can in turn lay the foundations for a pipeline of potential heritage and employment related regeneration projects for future GLA funding rounds.
 
2.3    Employment Activity Mapping study

2.3.1    RB Greenwich are seeking £20,000 from the Mayor’s Commissioning Fund, this will be matched by 4 days of RB Greenwich officer time in order to assist in undertaking the study. The funds will be provided as a grant, the study will be commissioned by RB Greenwich and co-cliented with the GLA Regeneration Team. This investigation will inform the work being carried out by the master planning team and assist in the consideration of opportunities for mixed use development, intensification of existing uses and decision making around future industrial and creative use in the area.

2.3.2    The aim of the study to achieve a finer grain understanding of business, industrial and creative occupiers of the site, in order to understand the spatial character and economic USP of the area, and to understand aspirations for the local businesses community in order to inform the emerging masterplan and SPD in terms of creating new employment accommodation that can support existing and new businesses.

2.3.3    The aims of the study will be to influence the development of project proposals in readiness for future rounds of GLA funding and other funding streams by:
•    Gaining a fine grained understanding of the businesses which are operating in the study area to inform the emerging masterplan and SPD, including proposals for new employment space.
•    Understanding the importance of the businesses to the local area
•    Understanding the importance of the businesses to the wider London economy
•    Producing an easily digestible graphical report that communicates the scope of activities taking place in the study area.
•    Publicising the preparation of and encourage engagement in the emerging SPD.
•    Feeding into a borough-wide Economic Strategy
•    Identifying opportunities for capital investment in the short and long term

2.4    Heritage Scoping Study

2.4.1.    RB Greenwich are seeking £15,000 from the Mayor’s Commissioning Fund. The funds will be provided as a grant, the study will be commissioned by RB Greenwich and co-cliented with the GLA Regeneration Team.  This investigation will inform the work being carried out by the master planning team and pre- application discussions on individual sites and assist in the consideration of how heritage of the area will influence opportunities for retention and restoration of heritage assets as part of mixed use development, and how redevelopment of the area can offer an opportunity to better reveal the area’s  historic and architectural significance.

2.4.2.    The area has a rich and diverse industrial heritage rooted in its riverside location and maritime history. Charlton Riverside is home to the area's surviving heavy industry and in the 19th century the area was dominated by a large ropewalk and other maritime businesses whilst in recent years marine aggregates have predominated, including the major facility at Angerstein Wharf which incorporates the former Christie's Wharf site. A notable establishment was the Siemens Brothers Telegraph Works opened in 1863, which manufactured two new transatlantic cables in the 1880s, and contributed to PLUTO oil pipeline in World War 2.

2.4.3.    Despite its rich history and plethora of well preserved and impressive historic buildings, little of the area is protected in terms of heritage designation, there are no Conservation Areas or Listed buildings, apart from the 13th-19th century former Woolwich dockyard buildings. For this reason, the aim of the heritage study is to appoint a specialist heritage consultant to achieve a finer grain understanding of the heritage significance of the cluster of well -preserved heritage assets including investigation the current listing status of the buildings, in order to for RB Greenwich to be able how these could be brought forward as part of sustainable and viable mixed- use development and also be able to influence imminent pre- application discussion on the site with developers.

2.4.4.    The aims of the study will be to influence the development of project proposals in readiness for future rounds of GLA funding and other funding streams by:
•    Providing a detailed ‘Statement of Significance’ and audit of heritage assets for the buildings on and around Bowater Road, including detailed study of their history and use, an assessment of their architectural and historic significance, for example the degree of innovation in the construction and design. This is in order to provide recommendations in terms of retention, renovation and creative reuse to influence the development of potential project proposals for future rounds of GLA funding and other funding streams including HLF’s Enterprise Fund.
•    Wider piece of work looking at heritage assets within the SPD area and a detailed study of the historical morphology of the area, in terms of the network of streets, wharves and yards to inform emerging masterplan proposals and identify potential public realm projects that could be delivered in the short and long term.
•    Highlight any further heritage- based work that may be required as an evidence base to the SPD, for example a more detailed audit of heritage assets, or a heritage statement including review of designations and advice on further work required and listing status of the buildings.
 

Equality comments

3.1.    Through their existing public sector duties and via the requirements which will be set out in the funding agreement, the Council must ensure that they give due regard to the requirements of the Public Sector Equality Duty: eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between different people when carrying out this project.

3.2.    The following issues have been considered specifically:

Design (project) proposals:  All design (project) proposals will be assessed in terms of accessibility to ensure we minimise disadvantages suffered by people who share a protected characteristic. age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, gender, religion or belief, sexual orientation.

Documents and publications: all documents produced will comply with Mayor of London branding guidelines, it being based on guidance from the Royal National Institute of Blind People. Where possible accessible formats will be available.

Events: all events will be open to all and, where possible, we will encourage people who share a protected characteristic to participate in any activity in which their participation is disproportionately low.
 

Other considerations

4.1.    Key risks and issues:

4.1.1.    Key risks and their control measures will be reported to BPR as part of the regular updates and performance management.

4.2.    Links to Mayoral strategies and priorities:

4.2.1.    The Charlton Riverside and Opportunity area in the London Plan and this study is linked in order to inform emerging masterplan and SPD for Charlton Riverside as well as the borough’s wider emerging Economic Strategy. 

4.2.2.    The Commissioning Fund has been developed to support London Plan policies with regard to Town Centres, Retail, Lifetime neighbourhoods, public realm and urban design. It also supports the ambition set out in Action for High Streets to make high streets better places to live in, work in, and do business in.

4.2.3.    Mayoral Strategies on Strategic Industrial Land and the London-wide need for workspace.

4.3.    Impact assessments and consultations:

4.3.1.    As part of the tender process for consultants and contractors on the project, tenderers will be asked to provide details of their equality policy and environmental impact policy.
 

Financial comments

5.1    This report is seeking approval to provide the Royal Borough of Greenwich a grant of up to £35,000 to deliver the following projects (to be governed by a funding agreement):

•    Charlton Riverside- Employment Activity Mapping (£20,000).
•    Charlton Riverside- Heritage Scoping Study (£15,000). 

5.2    MD1469 approved an allocation of £400,000 for the establishment of a commissioning fund, specifically for the development of high street regeneration projects to maximise growth potential. It is from within this budget allocation, the proposed grant to the RB of Greenwich will be funded from. 

5.3    Any changes to this proposal, including budgetary implications will be subject to further approval via the Authority’s decision-making process. All appropriate budget adjustments will be made. 

 

Planned delivery approach and next steps

The GLA’s funding contribution to the RB Greenwich’s  Charlton Riverside project is to be made in accordance with  a grant agreement, administered by the GLA Regeneration Team.

How the project will be delivered, and the outline timetable is set out below:

Charlton Riverside – RB Greenwich

Activity

Timeline

RB Greenwich’s procurement of consultants

Jul 2016

Draft report issue

Aug 2015

Project Closure

Sept 2016