Cultural and community events will 'unlock potential’ of Royal Docks

26 October 2018

Package of events will showcase area to investors


Economic growth key to generating business rates for reinvestment


Mayor puts community at the heart of regeneration of area equivalent length of Hyde Park to Tower Bridge

Work has begun to develop an ambitious cultural and community programme as part of the massive Royal Docks regeneration scheme in east London, putting Londoners and local community at the heart of the area’s redevelopment.
The Royal Docks Enterprise Zone is a joint project between the Mayor of London, the London Borough of Newham, led by Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz, and the London Economic Action Partnership (LEAP). It has the potential to deliver 35,000 jobs, 4,000 new homes and more than £5 billion of inward investment by 2037/38.
As London’s only Enterprise Zone, the Royal Docks has a special government designation that means new business rates in the Zone are reserved and reinvested into the area.
This has enabled plans for £314 million of regeneration over the next five years, which were given the green light over the summer and are set to revive the area as a distinctive location for business and culture.
In addition to delivering much-needed jobs, homes and business in the area, projects and plans are underway to support local community activities that will increase the number of the visitors and ensure that the Docks are a genuine community asset.
The Royal Docks team is currently developing detailed plans for the cultural and community programme, which be unveiled next year. This will include a public art project across four sites – on which the community and other stakeholders will be consulted shortly – and a project on the history of Custom House and its connections with the Royal Docks in partnership with the London Festival of Architecture, leading architectural practices and the Mayor’s Design Advocates.
Key to this will be working with the local community and businesses around the Royal Docks to ensure they are involved in the regeneration of their local area from the outset.
Residents and businesses will see further benefits of the regeneration through a wide-reaching employment and skills programme to train local people and ensure a pipeline of skilled staff.
Enterprise Zones are designated areas in which employers can access business rate relief and other financial support.The wider Royal Docks area – including the 112-hectare Royal Docks Enterprise Zone – is set to deliver as many as 60,000 jobs and 25,500 new homes over 25 years.
All business rates generated in the Enterprise Zone are retained and reinvested in the Royal Docks by LEAP – directly benefiting local people and businesses.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “The Royal Docks area has enormous potential – not just to deliver thousands of jobs and new homes, but also to become a major new cultural hub for Londoners and visitors from around the world.
“I believe it’s vital that we put Londoners at the heart of regeneration – local communities must see the benefits, as well as businesses and investors. We mustn't end up with a regeneration scheme the size of a large town without a vibrant sense of community – otherwise we risk the Royal Docks being just a large dormitory.
“This is why a cultural and community programme IS key to unlocking the economic potential of the Royal Docks, as well as ensuring local residents and businesses benefit from the very outset. 
“Raising the profile of the area among investors and companies looking to relocate, as well as engaging residents and understanding what kind of growth and development they want to see, is a crucial part of the groundwork for this project’s long-term success.
“I’m really excited for Londoners and businesses alike to learn more about the enormous potential in the Royal Docks.”
The Mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz, said: “The Royal Docks will be transformed into a vibrant area that residents, visitors and businesses can enjoy and benefit from. The potential of the regeneration is hugely exciting and it’s important that local people are involved in the process from the start.
“Working with the Mayor of London and the Royal Docks Team, we will continue to organise cultural and community events in the Docks, opening up the area to more residents and visitors to Newham.
“I am also excited about the free firework display being held in the Royal Docks next week, which promises to be more spectacular than ever, and I am grateful to the Mayor of London and our business sponsors for helping to make it happen.”
During this year’s record-breaking summer nearly 50,000 people visited Royal Victoria Dock – almost double the number who came last year – to enjoy a ‘pop-up’ beach, a 22-metre swimming lido, a sun deck, street food stalls, film screenings and musical entertainment courtesy of the Mayor’s Busk in London initiative.
This was just the start of the exciting programme of cultural events and community engagement which is set to attract thousands of visitors to the Royal Docks, which will continue on November 3 with a fireworks display hosted by Newham Council.

Notes to editors



  • The Mayor of London is a major landowner in the Royal Docks – which includes Silvertown Quays, Royal Albert Dock and Albert Island – along with the London Borough of Newham. Sadiq recently established a Royal Docks Delivery Team at City Hall, which will lead on the implementation of the plan.


  • Sadiq is clear that economic growth must be inclusive and support economic fairness. Work taking place in the Royal Docks is aligned to his principles of ‘good growth’, which benefits local communities.


Royal Docks Enterprise Zone


  • The Enterprise Zone has the potential to raise more than £800 million in business rates, of which the first £315 million is ring-fenced for reinvestment in the Royal Docks to transform the area’s physical connectivity, support small businesses with affordable and accessible workspaces, ensure local residents can access the thousands of new jobs being created, and ensure that the area becomes a vibrant destination for business, tourists and residents.


  • Projects are self-funded through business rate income retained by the LEAP, received directly from new business within the Enterprise Zone.


  • The Enterprise Zone is part of the larger Royal Docks & Beckton Riverside Opportunity Area, which has the potential to create up to 60,000 jobs and 25,000 new homes.


London Economic Action Partnership


  • The London Economic Action Partnership (LEAP) is the local enterprise partnership for London. The LEAP brings entrepreneurs and business together with the Mayoralty and London Councils to identify strategic actions to support and lead economic growth and job creation in the capital.


  • Under the current Mayoralty, the LEAP has invested £19.2 million in 122 start-ups, which in turn has leveraged an additional £136.24 million in investment from the private sector.


  • LEAP has created more than 1,600 jobs and apprenticeships, as well as providing business support to more than 2,300 entrepreneurs and SMEs.


  • Central Government allocates funding to local enterprise panels across the country specifically to promote economic growth. Such funding is ring-fenced and may not be diverted to other areas.

Dock Beach


  • Dock Beach was launched in 2013 and is funded through the LEAP using businesses rates generated in the Royal Docks. The six-week attraction increased footfall for local traders, raised the profile of the Royal Docks among potential investors, and engaged residents on the area’s future.


  • It also included permanent public realms improvements to support future events, thereby helping generate increased business revenue and generating greater business rates receipts to be reinvested in the area.


  • The budget for the six-week event was £462,794, which was entirely funded by retained business rate income generated in the Enterprise Zone and ring-fenced for use within the Royal Docks.


Enterprise Zones


  • Enterprise Zones are hosted by Local Enterprise Panels (LEPs), which are responsible for spending money allocated through retained and recycled local business rates, under national legislation introduced in 2012.


  • Enterprise Zones offer tax breaks and government support and are designed to be attractive places to do business, especially for new and expanding companies. The first 24 were launched in 2012 and 24 more were created in 2016 and 2017.


  • Businesses locating in Enterprise Zone can access numerous benefits, including business rate discount, tax relief and simplified planning regulations.


Fireworks display


  • The London Borough of Newham will host a fireworks display on Saturday, November 3 in Silvertown Quays in the Royal Docks.
  • This was jointly funded with £75,000 each from the LEAP and Newham Council.



Feedback on Dock Beach 2018 provided to the Royal Docks team


Local businesses (provided via email)


Dan Turner, PR & Marketing Director at The Silver Building, said: “The beach and surrounding recreational areas that were set up this summer at Royal Victoria Dock were brilliant. They brought real vibrancy and fun to the area. Every time I visited the beach it was packed - with families enjoying a day out or workers relaxing and catching a few rays between shifts, or while on their lunch breaks. I know a lot of our tenants at the Silver Building visited it frequently. The beach helped to create a sense of place, and personally, I'd bring it back again next year”


Liutauras Vaitkevicius MIH, General Manager, The Good Hotel, said: “Good Hotel was delighted to support this year’s Dock Beach with its very own Good Snack Shack. It gave us a new way to showcase ourselves and to integrate with the surrounding programming. We were able to continue our business objectives by creating a new revenue stream, allowing us to donate all profits (£9,651) to our NGO partner – Ninos de Guatemala.”


Helen Fernandes, Community Development Manager, West Silvertown Foundation, said: “Dock Beach was a huge asset to the area over the summer. Parents were so happy to have a place to take their children, with good opening times and all completely free. Every time I walked past I saw families who use our community centre spending time together – whether watching a film, playing on the grass or in the paddling pool. Most activities for under 5s stop over the summer holidays, so to know that there was something high quality happening in the area was a life-saver for many local families!”


Local residents (provided via public survey)


“The dock beach is wonderful! It gave the children some space to play around the docks...even the picnic area is perfect for everyone to enjoy the sun! I could even feed my baby comfortably in the tented area!”


“Went down to the beach with my infant daughter, we had a wonderful time playing on the green and watching the older children in the paddling pool, we will definitely be back with our swimming cozies, a wonderful addition to the neighbourhood”


“So excited for the beach this year- I have always loved it but it's great that you can now swim in the dock and relax with some music and films in the evening too! I think it'll be great for all the local businesses in the area and will show off our lovely dock!”


“I think it's fantastic for the local community...local beach for the kids holidays…swimming son is so excited! So am I!”

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