It can be said that the Thames Gateway is the largest and most significant growth and regeneration site in the UK. Despite the fact that th development has slowed since the credit crunch and the economic downturn, it remains a significant driver for sustainable growth and innovation in London and the Greater South East.
This narrative will provide an overview and agenda for renewed interest in the initiative, through a collection of high-level perspectives on what the Gateway has to offer.
The continued importance of the Thames Gateway is demonstrated in this set of essays that challenge and provoke us to think beyond tomorrow: how could the Thames Gateway develop over the decades to come?
It is vital to supporting the economic success of London and the Greater South East, enabling as it does the region to grow.
Massive investment – public and private – that has been and continues to be made in the area. Despite the economic recession, despite the housing market downturn, despite the historic under performance of the region. Perhaps one of the most important is to maximise the potential of what is already happening. Given the importance Sir Terry attaches to the places that make up the Thames Gateway, it is unsurprising that David Higgins highlights the catalytic effect of the Olympic Park. This new place is helping to kick-start change on a huge scale in the Lower Lea Valley and will leave a lasting legacy. But what is important is that we make the most of it.
Another new place is Ebbsfleet. It may be developing more slowly, owing to the housing market downturn, but from December domestic services on High Speed 1 will significantly cut journey times for travel between Kent and London.
The long-term challenge that is hardest of all is to establish the Thames Gateway as an eco-region. This year has seen significant progress towards getting the Institute for Sustainability, launched at last year’s Thames Gateway Forum, up and running.
As Professor Malcolm Grant highlights, there is already a significant research agenda, with the testing of “retrofitting” carbon-emission reduction measures to homes at its heart, and alongside that new sustainable industries are coming to one of the institute’s homes, the Sustainable Industries Park at Dagenham – created by the London Thames Gateway Development Corporation.
Securing inward investment in the Thames Gateway is vital to the area’s future success. As Jeff Alexander points out, the region has unique advantages: it has direct access to London’s economy, but has far lower costs for business than central London or the City itself; it has an infrastructure that makes it easy to get to the rest of the UK and –perhaps more significantly – Europe; and it offers a workforce that is both skilled and affordable.
Firstly, it is important to understand the area’s role in supporting London in an increasingly competitive world. London is the UK’s most important economic asset. It drives one of the most successful regional economies in the world, the Greater South East. This is the only UK region that competes on the world stage.
In order for it to continue to compete internationally, London must grow. Within the Greater South East, the Thames Gateway is the biggest growth opportunity
by far, and it has attracted major investment including the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, High Speed 1, Canary Wharf and now the Olympics. Crossrail will transform the area’s metropolitan connectivity.
But compared with the rest of the Greater South East region, the Thames Gateway underperforms considerably. Unlike successful growth corridors to the north, west and south of the metropolitan area, wealth creation here has been slow. Only 23% of residents have skills qualifications to NVQ 4 level, compared with a regional average of 32%. It has pockets of severe deprivation. It has suffered from long-term economic decline since a peak experienced in the 1960s. While the Gateway covers only 3% of the land area of the Greater South East, 20% of the region’s brownfield land is located there.
Success in the Gateway requires a step change in quality of life as well as the eradication of very negative perceptions of it as a place. It has been called a “cockney Siberia” and is regarded mostly as a landscape of post-industrial blight. Without changing both the perception and the reality, it will not be possible to attract investment here and people will not want to live here or visit as a matter of choice.
The Thames Gateway has enormous potential to achieve major change. Along with the fact of major public-sector landholdings in accessible locations, there can be no doubt that the creation of the Homes & Communities Agency is an opportunity to capitalise on the billions of pounds of investment that have already been made in the Gateway, and this should not be missed.
Delivery of the vision is dependent on a long-term approach. International experience in Germany, the Netherlands, the US and Canada shows that implementation takes several decades, often in a series of small steps all going in the same direction. In Germany, Emscher Park in the Ruhr was programmed over two decades to achieve landscape regeneration, but as a growth and regeneration initiative it is very much alive and under way for the foreseeable future. We need to develop a shared perception of what the Thames Gateway is and what it offers as a place over the next 40 years.
It is worth remembering that success in the Thames Valley was planned for in the government’s 1971 South East Plan and was based on attracting high-value, hightechnology industries. Four decades later, this is still in the process of maturing.
Over the next 10 to 15 years, it is important to maintain the momentum of active projects, and there is much investment still to be capitalised on relating to the Channel Tunnel Rail Link and High Speed 1, not to mention the Olympics legacy.
The economic benefits relating to new infrastructure always take time to realise, as experience from the Victoria and Jubilee underground lines shows. By 2030, the proposed port at London Gateway could well be completed and handling3.5 million standard container units a year. The proposed London Array offshore wind farm could be generating enough power by this time to supply 1 million homes (there are 750,000 homes in the Gateway). All public buildings by then could be retrofitted to run on clean, low-carbon energy. A new Thames Gateway University of Sustainability could provide a national centre for technical training for green industries. By then there could be a European centre for logistics and distribution skills too.
Components of the core vision
Seven items culminate the key components of the Thames Gateway core vision
1. A parklands landscape
The long-term aim is to create a landscape quality comparable with the Thames Valley. In the Gateway’s urban landscapes, no resident would live more than 300 metres from a high-quality local park. We can imagine a complete Thames Estuary Path, restoration of piers and promenades, and new walkways and nature trails. The world’s largest wetland estuary could be created. All the Thames tributaries could be restored as local amenitiesand nature reserves, and a natural flood management system put in place.
2. Environmental innovation
In the long term, the Thames Gateway could become the leading place for environmental
innovation and change in the UK, achieving an 80% carbon-reduction target by 2050 despite vigorous, large-scale growth. It could be the UK’s leading location for low-carbon energy generation, including wind, solar, tidal and biomass.
Water neutrality could be achieved throughout the Gateway. All the waste would be reprocessed locally, and none exported. All buildings, public and private, would be retrofitted to be low-carbon and run on clean energy. District and local energy networks would be in place, utilising excess heat and waste from all power stations
3. East London’s places remade
The third theme of the core vision is to remake east London’s places. The largest opportunity area in the whole of the South East is right on the doorstep of Canary Wharf, Europe’s second-largest financial centre after the City of London. The aim here is to provide a quality of life that is comparable to that in the rest of London.
In 40 years’ time the renaissance of east London should be complete: the population reaching 900,000, from its present level of 500,000, while house prices, life expectancy,income and employment all match the Greater London average. The area could become aplace of choice for middle- and high-income families. Stratford would become a major centre comparable to Croydon, and the Royals, London Riverside and Erith would all emerge as centres of metropolitan significance. The world’s largest water park complex could open in the Docklands, and east London become fully part of and every bit as attractive as already successful parts of London.
4. The estuary towns strengthened
By 2050 one could anticipate seeing the population of the estuary towns reaching 1.6 million, from a present 900,000, with growth concentrated in Medway, Basildon and North Kent. Thriving and complementary local economies could exist, each with their own distinctive offer. House prices and socioeconomic indicators could match the regional average. We could see creative industry in places like Gravesham and Leigh.
A network of vibrant resorts could include Southend, Swale and Sittingbourne, and local tourism wouldthrive throughout the estuary.
5. Excellent connections
The fifth theme is to create the best-connected communities by focusing growth on the most accessible locations. Crossrail 1 and 2, the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, the North Kent and South Essex lines, not to mention High Speed 1, are major assets that should be the basis for new growth.
We could look forward possibly to high-speed, low-carbon connections across the outer estuary, by either bridge or speed ferries; Southend Airport and City Airport forming part of a national network connected by high-speed rail; integrated port facilities at London Gateway and at Tilbury; Sheerness and Medway connected to a national and European rail freight network; intelligent public transport information systems, linked to every home in the Gateway; and distribution hubs throughout the Gateway, based on lower emission vehicle fleets.
6. Increased educational skills levels
There are specific opportunities throughout the area for specialisation: for example, aerospace at Southend; advanced manufacturing in Medway; biodiversity research centres linked to colleges and schools; climate change research stations; an international centre for the creative arts possibly linked through to a creative arts campus in St Pancras, with skills training in film, TV, creative writing and fashion; and a sports university perhaps in the Lea Valley focusing on the Olympic legacy.
All this could be part of an intense programme of increasing skills levels that could form the basis of building up new industries and new economies in Thames Gateway.
7. Economic growth
The final theme is economic growth, based upon these new skills, with the emergence of new green industries as well. Environmental industries could be the focus for innovation in the UK. This could provide new jobs, including in the areas of carbon recycling, capture and storage. Financial services employment at Canary Wharf, second only to central London,would cascade further out to other areas in the Isle of Dogs.
Ports and logistics could become an even more significant employer, based on a high-technology, high value approach. The core vision defines aspirations for the Thames Gateway based on its character, identity and potential. Its aim is to create growth in order to maintain London’s status as a world city, and to help the Greater South East to compete internationally as Europe’s wealthiest region. It can do so only if we can transform its quality of life, and therefore its economic prospects. It must offer, in its own unique way, what the Thames Valley already offers today. This is a long-term initiative that requires continued government support.
Since greenfield development around London has been restricted the City has renewed its energy around core site development aiming to fulfill the Mayor of London's vision to make London the World Capital of business.
The Thames Gateway – a 73km stretch of land heading eastward along the Thames from central London – is a key development area in this long term planning. Partly because of the large amounts of brown field land available there and partly because of the synergies with the Stratford City centre and the ‘Olympic Boost' that it's received.
Long term planning is in place with what is called ‘The Economic Development Strategy' that sets out the vision and goals for the London economy and which defines the key development areas in the coming 10 years:
£22 Billion regeneration of the 20 million square feet Royal Docks
£15 Billion regeneration and development of Stratford City (Olympic Legacy)
Regeneration and development of the Thames Gateway area stretching 73 kilometers.
In raw numbers, this means:
At least 50,000,000 sq ft of commercial regeneration and development over the next 10 years.
Investment potential/opportunity of over £50 Billion.
The conference gives an overview of the development plans for the Thames Valley Gateway and some in depth focus on a few of the largest development sites here, including the future plans for Stratford, the Royal Docks, the Nine Elms site at Battesea, Wood Wharf – set to be ‘the next canary wharf' – and the exclusive Arundel Great Court-site that was recently purchased by Waterway PCP Property, a Dubai based private equity group.
The insights into the large-scale development focus of the Thames Gateway provides with a good overview for developers, investors, contractors and advisors. A total development budget of £50 billion is needed and the current plans offer a rich possibility for activity and good opportunities for business. The rather short term 10 years for an area this size also provides an unique opportunity for investors who like to turn their money more quickly in a stable, mature market.
The Conference Audience:
Commercial estate agents, developers, investors, contractors, city planners, consultants, financiers and other advisors with a vested interest in the property market of London will benefit from attending and gaining the overview of the Thames Gateway 2020.
Participant list, including contact information, programme and slide packages as pdf files will be forwarded in a digital format after the conference (slide packages subject to speaker approval).
Maximum number of participants:
Proof of Participation:
Some of our participants from time to time request proof of participation in our conferences and seminars. We happily provide this upon request.
Registration and Morning Coffee
The London Legacy Development Corporation is driving London's sustainable economic growth and is looking to cultivate £100bn worth of regeneration over the next 20 years. Urban regeneration is set to be concentrated on Thames Gateway, which is an area of land stretching 40 miles east from Inner East London and includes hundreds of acres of brownfield land, making it the UK's largest economic development programme. Some of the most high profile developments within the Thames Gateway include Stratford City (£15bn), the Olympic Park and the Royal Docks (£22bn). How will the planning process proceed, where has development started and what is London doing to attract investors and developers? Will the development assemble rows of offices, or will there be efforts to try and create some life in the newly developed areas? Concrete plans and pending decisions.
Michael White, Cllr and Director of Gateway to London , London Thames Gateway Development Corporation
Michael White has been the Leader of Havering Council since May 2004 and has been a Board Member of the London Thames Gateway Development Corporation since November 2004.
He was educated in Dagenham and Havering and has worked in information technology for the past 20 years. Michael joined the Conservative Party in 1982 and has been a member of Havering Council for 10 years. In 1998, he became Deputy Leader of the Conservative Group and Deputy Leader of the Council in 2004.
He is also Vice-Chair of Thames Gateway London Partnership; and from 2008 to 2010 was Deputy Leader of London Councils. In November 2010, Michael was appointed to the board of the Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust in the role of Non-Executive Director.
Has spoken / will speak at:
Thames Gateway Overview: £50 Billion between 2013 and 2022, 24/04/2013
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Thames Gateway Property Market – prices, supply and hot spots
How will the massive boost in regeneration and brown field development in east London affect property prices and local supply/demand in the areas? Will the market absorb the new development as fast as the planning seems to suggest and what kind of tenants will each of the prospected areas attract? Rent levels, vacancy rates and layover times in the Thames Gateway now and best-estimates for a 5-year horizon.
Royal Docks 2012 – 2022- 20 Million square feet and £22 Billion Investment Potential
The Royal Docks as a whole covers approximately 20 million sq ft and is London's last major regeneration opportunity. The area has been granted Enterprise Zone status subject to further UK Government approval. Chelsfield Partners has been named preferred bidder to develop the Silvertown Quays site in the Royal Docks and has plans for 2.3 million sq ft of commercial and retail development and around 400 homes. A preferred developer for the Royal Albert Dock site is due to be selected by September 2012. What are the plans and opportunities for the Royal Dock for investors and developers? What funding is in place? What developers are interested? Timeline? Progress?
Daniel Lovatt, Agent for Royal Albert Dock, Drivers Jonas Deloitte
Daniel Lovatt is the lead agent at Driver Jonas Deloitte on the Royal Albert Docks Development scheme seeking a development partner.
Drivers Jonas Deloitte provides comprehensive real estate advisory, transaction and consultancy services to a wide range of private and public sector clients across the UK and abroad. They are the real estate advisory arm of Deloitte LLP, one of the world’s leading providers of professional services. Together, they claim to have established a new benchmark in how real estate advisory services are delivered, with an unparalleled capability to provide innovative cross service solutions to the most complex property challenges.
Has spoken / will speak at:
Thames Gateway Overview: £50 Billion between 2013 and 2022, 24/04/2013
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Do you have questions or comments for World In Property?
Stratford City 2012-2022 – 5 Million square feet of Prime Office Space
Stratford City is the most ambitious development within the M25. It will result in one of the largest mixed-use developments in the UK for many years to come. Covering 5 Million sq ft of largely derelict land, the next 10 years will see the creation of 675,000 sq ft of commercial, hotel and leisure space and 165,000 sq ft of retail space. Home to the Olympic Park, Stratford City is set to become a new, contemporary and vibrant metropolitan centre in the Thames Gateway. Stratford is a prime opportunity for those looking for industrial space or development property. What plans are in place and what decisions are still pending? Timeline? Progress? What funding is in place? What development or investment opportunities remain?
Wood Wharf 2012-2019 – 3.1 Million square feet of office space
In January 2012, Canary Wharf Group acquired full ownership of Wood Wharf Partnership and an overriding 250 year lease for the 16.8 acre Wood Wharf site immediately adjacent to the Canary Wharf district. The current master plan received one of London’s largest ever single outline planning consents in 2009 for 4.8 million sq ft net, which includes 3.1 million sq ft of offices (Five skyscrapers). The development will not be completed until 2019 due to the enormous size of the development. What are the plans and opportunities? Timelines? Progress? Is funding in place? When will contractors go in?
Strand (Arundel Great Court): 400,000 square feet of prime office space
In March 2012, Land Securities exchanged contracts to sell its 3.3 acre Arundel Great Court, WC2 site for £234m to Waterway PCP Properties Ltd, a Dubai-based private equity group. The site has had planning consent since 2009 for a mixed use development, including 147 private apartments, a five star hotel overlooking the Thames and a 398,000 sq ft office building designed by Wilkinson Eyre on the south side of the Strand. As the site moves into new hands, does this signal that there will be further developments soon? What are the plans and opportunities? When will Waterway properties start development? Are any investors lined up? Has a Developer been chosen? Progress? Time lines?
Embassy Gardens – Battersea – 3.5 Million square feet
Nine Elms site in Battersea is one of the few large scale development opportunities left in London. With the US government building their new embassy on 5 acres, starting in 2013, Ballymore are developing the retained 15 acres and plan a bold 21st century mixed use development, comprising 2.6 million sq ft mixed use community of apartments, office space, retail and leisure, and potential for up to 600,000 sq ft of office space, as well as of 100,000 sq ft of retail and leisure space. Ballymore received planning consent this Autumn. What plans are in place and what decisions are still pending? Timeline? Progress? What funding is in place? What development or investment opportunities are there? When will contractors move in?
Lunch and conference guide
The conference is held on April 24th, 2013 at 09.00 – 13.00
For further details go to www.worldinproperty.co.uk
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