Work has begun to develop an ambitious cultural and community programme as part of the massive Royal Docks regeneration scheme in east London.
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.
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.”
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 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."
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.