DD2312 Royal Docks Early Works

Type of decision: 
Director's decision
Date signed: 
03 April 2019
Decision by: 
David Lunts, Executive Director Housing and Land and Interim CEO of OPDC

Executive summary

MD2338 approved expenditure of up to £212.5m for the Royal Docks Enterprise Zone (EZ) Delivery Plan, which will deliver an integrated and catalytic package of projects under five strategic objectives: Place, Connectivity, Economy, Activation and Promotion. The MD delegated authority to the Executive Director of Housing and Land to approve through Director Decision forms, the income and detailed spending proposals for each project that is to be funded within the initial £212.5m envelope. This Director’s Decision (DD) provides more detail for a package of early capital works under the Place strategic objective of the Delivery Plan and, following the endorsement of the Royal Docks EZ Programme Board on 5 December 2018, requests approval of the detailed expenditure proposals, amounting to up to £4,000,000 (within the envelope approved under MD2338). The expenditure will be on capital works to:

1. Improve the public realm around the Royal Docks by upgrading landscaping, signage and way finding and installing new street furniture such as bins and seating.

2. Improve future development plots so that they can be used for meanwhile activities to support the activation of the Royal Docks and promote the future redevelopments.

The majority of these works will be on GLAP land. There will be some areas where investment will be on land owned by third parties.


That the Executive Director of Housing and Land approves:

Up to £4,000,000 of capital expenditure in 2019/20 on capital works for a programme of improvements to the public realm in the Royal Docks as set out in section 1.8 in this Director’s Decision.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

MD2338 approved expenditure of up to £212.5m for the Royal Docks Enterprise Zone (EZ) Delivery Plan to deliver an integrated and catalytic package of projects that are identified under the five strategic objectives of Place, Connectivity, Economy, Activation and Promotion. The MD delegates authority to the Executive Director of Housing and Land, to approve through Director Decisions, the income and detailed spending proposals for each project that is to be funded within the overall £212.5m expenditure budget envelope.

A spatial framework underpins the Delivery Plan strategy and ensures the Delivery Team concentrates investment in the areas that will deliver maximum long-term value for the EZ and wider area. This includes:

Unlocking Development: A priority for the Delivery Team is to enable the successful delivery of the key development sites across the EZ. The sites at Royal Albert Dock, Albert Island and Silvertown Quays represent considerable private sector investment in the Royal Docks (delivering investment of c£5bn and 7m square feet of commercial floor space) and will need to be supported by a co-ordinated and comprehensive package of public investment in promotion, place-making, transport infrastructure and activation to help bring them to life.

Maximising Key Gateways: Another priority for the Delivery Team is to capitalise on the unique assets that we have in the Royal Docks to drive transformation. Three strategically important locations at Custom House Interchange (Elizabeth Line), London City Airport and Royal Victoria Dock are crucial gateways to the Royal Docks. These will be a priority for intervention within the Delivery Plan period with investment focussed on enhancing the overall environment, connectivity and user experience.

Connecting Corridors and Communities: Whilst the Royal Docks is well served in terms of transport infrastructure with excellent road, rail and air links the public realm offers very poor permeability (especially for walking and cycling) across the different sites in the Royal Docks. Significant investment is required to ensure good quality linkages and safe and attractive routes between these areas as well as enabling effective integration between existing and emerging communities. Three priority corridors have been identified for investment and improvement within the Delivery Plan period. These are Custom House to North Woolwich Road, Northern Dock Edge and North Woolwich Road to Canning Town.

In addition to the spatial framework, five cross-cutting strategic objectives have been identified to help drive and deliver the transformation of the Royal Docks and ensure it delivers long-term economic and social value. These are:

• Place: Transforming the Royal Docks into a modern ‘Great Estate’ for London; by creating a platform for growth, investment and activation and improving the public realm in a way that reflects the area’s unique landscape and heritage;
• Connectivity: Boosting capacity and connectivity to support movement to and through the Royal Docks, making it one of the most accessible places in London to do business and provide improved digital connectivity;
• Economy: Supporting the growth of a fully diverse and competitive economy and strengthening the area’s reputation as an international centre for innovation, enterprise and trade;
• Activation: Establishing the Royal Docks as an outstanding place to live, work and visit by nurturing local creative talent; enhancing cultural facilities and curating a world-class programme of events and activations to help increase awareness and interest in the area; and
• Promotion: Helping to re-establish the Royal Docks as a globally significant London centre, utilising distinctive marketing campaigns and inward investment to draw businesses, people and visitors into the area.

The approved indicative budget set for the Place strategic objective in MD2338 is £15.8m with a £1,385,000 revenue and £14,443,375 capital split. This request for capital expenditure on public realm improvements of £4,000,000 will come out of the Place budget as set in the MD. The investment will be incurred in the 2019/20 financial year.

The works will all take place on publicly accessible areas and where there is no obligation on a developer or third party to undertake the works. They include the following works (and as set out in more detail in Confidential Appendix 1 (Royal Docks Scope of Works Estimate):

- Opening up the northern edge of Royal Albert Dock to provide a connection between Newham Dockside and the first phase of ABP’s RAD development (open March 2019) and the new London Design & Engineering UTC building (open January 2019);

- Installation of new benches and planters at locations around the Royal Docks to improve the spaces and make it more usable by more people;

- Upgrade spaces around the Crystal building to enable its use for more events and activation in 2019;

- Cleaning and repairs to the public realm in various places to improve the experience and look of the area;

- Vegetation clearance, hoarding and fencing improvements to development sites at Royal Albert Dock and Silvertown Quays to improve the look of the area;

- Works to parts of the Silvertown Quays site to open it up for more events and activation in 2019; and

- Various signage and cleaning projects to improve the appearance of the area.

The programme of works will be managed, procured, contracted and monitored by Mott MacDonald who are the project managers for the work. They were appointed following the approval of DD2273. This will comply with all GLA procurement rules and be signed off by a GLA/TfL Procurement Manager.

This package of works was endorsed by the Royal Docks EZ Programme Board on 5th December 2018.

It is anticipated that most of the works will be undertaken on GLAP owned land or public realm unless stated otherwise. In some cases, improvements in public realm (such as landscaping, seating and planting) may occur on third party land to ensure consistency of the space. In these cases, the investment will only be made in areas that are fully open to the public. No investment will be made on third party land unless there is a valid business case and the legal team have signed off the state aid risk.

Objectives and expected outcomes

The objectives of the commission(s) are to:

Undertake a programme of works to improve the public realm in the Royal Docks; to show an immediate impact from the approval of the Delivery Plan; support the first phase of the RAD development and provide a platform for activation and events.

Equality comments

Under Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010, as a public authority, the GLA must have ‘due regard’ of the need to:

• Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation; and
• Advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people who have a protected characteristic and those who do not.

The Delivery Plan projects are aimed at implementing a number of the Mayor’s policies such as the London Plan, A City for All Londoners, Healthy Streets Approach, draft Culture Strategy, London Housing Strategy, Transport Strategy and is aligned with the Mayor’s Equalities Framework to consider the requirements of relevant equalities groups.

Equalities considerations will be taken into account by the GLA in connection with all of the work
procured. Quality impact assessments will be undertaken to ensure the relevant characteristics of the Equality Act 2010 are considered by the GLA.

Impact assessments will determine whether any persons with those characteristics will be unduly impacted by the activities described in this DD, and the course of action in order to mitigate any impacts.

Relevant areas of the London Plan and Healthy Streets Approach will be followed in all areas of public realm improvements. To include:

• Additional benches to assist less mobile people to use the area more easily and encourage the use of public space;
• LED street light upgrades to provide brighter lighting to assist those with visual impairments;
• Works will ensure that all meanwhile spaces are fully inclusive and accessible and compliant with statutory obligations; and
• Improved wayfinding to support increased physical activity for local users and visitors.

Other considerations

a) Links to Mayoral strategies and priorities

The placemaking and public realm projects in the Delivery Plan fit with the Mayor’s Healthy Streets approach and the London Plan.

The environment for pedestrian and cyclists is presently poor – reflecting the industrial uses still in existence in the area. There is a significant opportunity to rectify this through well designed streetscape and public realm improvements that encourages walking, cycling and better public spaces for people to interact. Focused investment in the three key areas will improve the local environment and user experience across the Royal Docks.

Financial comments

There is headroom within the Place element of the Delivery Plan budget approved by MD2338 for up to £4 million estimated capital expenditure in 2019-20 proposed in this decision. The funding for the £212.5 million of expenditure approved for the Delivery Plan is coming from a combination of retained business rates, the GLA’s Strategic Investment Fund, third party income and GLA borrowing (if necessary in advance of other sources).

All appropriate budget adjustments will be made. Any changes to this proposal, including budgetary implications will be subject to further approval as necessary.

Activity table



DD Approved

April 2019

Works packages finalised

April 2019


April 2019


From May 2019


From June 2019

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