MD2176 Royal Docks - Design & Engineering UTC land disposal

Type of decision: 
Mayoral decision
Date signed: 
12 October 2017
Decision by: 
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London

Executive summary

Approval is sought to dispose of four acres of land in the east of the Royal Albert Dock to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to enable the development of this land for educational uses.
It is proposed that GLA Land and Property (GLAP) enters a sale and option agreement with the Secretary of State, which will enable the department to draw down long leases in three phases, subject to meeting a number of conditions precedent. 
The sale of this land to the University of East London (UEL) was previously authorised under Mayoral Decision 1591, however UEL decided not to complete the purchase. Except for some minor variations, the sale to the Secretary of State follows the same terms as previously agreed with UEL. 


The Mayor approves GLA Land and Property Ltd entering into a set of sale and option agreements with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, materially on the terms set out in this paper.


Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1    In January 2016 Mayoral Decision 1591 approved the sale of a four acre site to the University of East London (UEL), via a series of optional sale agreements. The purpose of the sale was to facilitate the delivery of a new Design & Engineering University Technical College (UTC) on 50 per cent of the site, with the remainder being divided into Plots 2 & 3. The long leases for these plots could be drawn down by the University for other educational uses once planning had been achieved. 

1.2    It was agreed that UEL would draw down Plot 1, install a new road for access and then sublet the site to the UTC under a long lease. Plots 2 & 3 were meant to serve as future expansion space for the University.

1.3    A short-term lease has been granted to UEL and sublet to the UTC to accommodate the provision of temporary school facilities. Due to project delays, this has recently been expanded to accommodate a second year’s intake of students and now has circa 400 students.

1.4    Planning permission has now been secured for the permanent UTC, but further consents would be required to build on Plots 2 & 3.

1.5    Prior to the option agreements being completed, UEL and the Education & Skills Funding Authority (ESFA) approached the GLA and proposed that the ESFA (who are funding the UTC) would be best placed to deliver the project and it was requested that the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) step into the purchase of the sites (acting on behalf of the ESFA). 

1.6    The ESFA have agreed that DCLG will enter the deal on the same terms as those previously agreed by UEL. On this basis, it is recommended that GLAP enters into the sale agreements with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), who would enter into the agreements on behalf of the ESFA.

1.7    UEL continues to support the school and feedback received from the ESFA indicates that the UTC it is popular and over-subscribed.

Sale structure

1.8    The sale structure follows that set out within MD 1591, however as planning permission has now been granted the sale agreements will be modified to reflect this change. 

1.9    The site has been divided into three plots (see Appendix 1 for a Site Plan and Appendix 2 for the Plot Plan). GLAP will enter into option agreements on Plots 1, Plot 2 and Plots 3 with DCLG, allowing drawdown (sale) of the Plots once certain conditions have been met proving development will occur.

1.10    The new UTC and access road will then be constructed on Plot 1 by the ESFA’s contractor. 

1.11    The full terms of the sale are set out in Part 2. 

Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1    The objectives and outcomes remain the same as those set out within MD 1591. The sale of land to the ESFA will facilitate the construction of a new UTC. The Design and Engineering University Technical College (UTC) in partnership with the Department for Education (DfE), Thames Water and Costain which will provide up to 750 places for 14-19 year olds. Students will specialise in engineering, construction, art, design and applied science.

2.2    If drawn down, the future development plots will be used for other educational uses.

Equality comments

3.1    Consideration has been given as to how the proposed disposal relates to the public sector equality
duty and the potential impacts of this decision.

3.2    No negative impacts have been identified by the proposed sale. The UTC Equality and Diversity Policy identifies the need to eliminate discrimination and be fully inclusive. The policy can be viewed here:

Other considerations

4.1    Please see Part 2 for identified risks.


Financial comments

5.1    The disposal of four acres of land at Royal Albert Docks was approved in MD1591.  This Decision is seeking approval for disposal of the sites to Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.  The sites will be disposed with the same conditions as set-out in MD1591.


Planned delivery approach and next steps



Enter Sale & Option Agreements

October 2017

Draw down of leases for development

October 2017 - 2023