DD1419 Royal Docks OAPF - consultancy work

Type of decision: 
Director's decision
Date signed: 
11 November 2015
Decision by: 
Fiona Fletcher-Smith, Executive Director of Development, Enterprise and Environment

Executive summary

The Royal Docks Opportunity Area Planning Framework (OAPF) is a joint project being undertaken with the London Borough of Newham (see ADD259). 
This decision requests approval for additional expenditure of £35,000 in order to:

1.    Continue employment of a consultant to produce specialist graphics and desktop publishing for the production of the Royal Docks Opportunity Area Planning Framework document.  The GLA and Newham have agreed that further work, including evidence gathering, is required before the document can be published for consultation. 
2.    Expedite the commissioning of an Employment Land Review to assess the supply and quality of employment land in the OA to inform the land use strategy for the document.



That the Executive Director approves:

•    Receipt from National Grid PLC and additional expenditure of up to £20,000 on specialist graphics, desktop publishing and printing costs for the Royal Docks OAPF project; and
•    Expenditure of up to £15,000 as a contribution to the London Borough of Newham towards the cost of an Employment Land Review in the OA.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1    The Royal Docks is identified as an Opportunity Area in the London Plan with a minimum capacity for 6,000 jobs and 11,000 homes.  In recent years, the context of a growing London population and following-on from the success and considerable public investment in the 20123 Olympic and Paralympic Games and legacy, there has been considerable momentum for growth in the Royal Docks Opportunity Area, aided by improvements such as the Emirates Air Line. This growth is anticipated to continue over the next 10-15 years which will be accelerated by the arrival of Crossrail in 2018.  There is significant potential for the redevelopment of currently underused or vacant areas of industrial land and safeguarded wharves. The Royal Docks Opportunity Area Planning Framework (OAPF) is a joint project being undertaken with the London Borough of Newham which will set a direction of travel for forthcoming Local Plan reviews, in respect of land use, transport intervention and public realm/urban design.  The OAPF once adopted by the Mayor, will be Supplementary Planning Guidance to the policies of the London Plan, and it is anticipated that it will also be endorsed by Newham Council. 

1.2    It is essential that specialist graphics and desktop publishing work is undertaken on this project to enable its delivery to a high quality standard. Specialist consultancy services were employed in April 2015 (see ADD259) to enable the production of the document. The consultant has experience in urban planning and previous knowledge of OAPF document requirements in this context, and an extension to their contract is required in order to for work to continue on the production of this document. There is no in-house capacity to undertake this work.

1.3    The work being done by Newham on their Local Plan has led to the need to review the evidence base for the OAPF.  As a result it has been agreed to undertake further work, and delay consultation until January 2016.  One of these pieces of work necessary is an Employment Land Review to provide a suitable evidence base for decisions on future development of Strategic Industrial Land.  Newham Council do not have the resources to carry out this work within the timeframe necessary to meet the OAPF milestone of a consultation draft early in 2016. In order to expedite this piece of work they require financial support from the GLA.  The GLA has agreed to contribute 50% (£15,000) to the total costs of the review (estimated at £30,000).  

1.4    For information, to balance the budget and support the resourcing of this project, National Grid PLC, one of the major landowners in the Royal Docks area, has agreed to contribute £20,000 towards the project. It will have no editorial control over the document..

1.5    The project is highly important as it contributes to the Mayor’s jobs and growth agenda. It is estimated that Royal Docks can provide at least 6,000 jobs and 11,000 homes with the impetus of a Crossrail Station opening at Custom House in 2018 and the planning for the associated major regeneration projects must commence now.     

Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1    The objective of this project is to produce the Royal Docks OAPF consultation draft document in conjunction with Newham Council in the early part of 2016. The graphics and desktop publishing services, and Employment Review are needed to commence immediately. 

Equality comments

3.1    In arriving at the recommended decision to approve this proposed budget, equalities issues have been considered in line with the GLA’s duties under the Equalities Act 2010. It is unlikely that this project will have negative equalities impacts but identified equalities issues (both positive and negative) will be covered in the Integrated Impact Assessment that will accompany the project. This will ensure that at each point of the drafting and consultation process for the proposed document, equalities impacts are considered and actions decided upon to address any emerging issues. The project will also be subject to a review and this will also address equalities impacts.

3.2     Given the regeneration focus of the proposed project, identification of relevant equalities groups and potentially vulnerable locally affected populations will be undertaken at the outset of the project. Population data is available for this purpose such as indices of deprivation used to identify regeneration areas in the London Plan. A detailed public consultation strategy will also need to be drawn up in consultation with Newham Council to ensure that any local hard to reach groups are engaged in the process to ensure that resulting document is appropriate and accessible to all and meets the needs of different Londoners.

Other considerations

a) key risks and issues

4.1    If financial support is not provided to Newham Council, there is a risk that the OAPF will not be completed or will not be completed within the required timeframes. This would undermine the Mayor’s growth agenda set out in the London Plan 2015 (consolidated with alterations since 2011)
b) links to Mayoral strategies and priorities 

4.2    The project officer and consultancy support will assist in the production of the OAPF.  OAPF’s are supplementary planning guidance to the London Plan and bring together the Mayoral priorities for housing, economic development, development, transport and the environment.  Realising the development potential of Opportunity Areas is a Mayoral Priority, and OAPFs bring together strategic and local stakeholders to deliver an area-wide spatial planning framework in accordance with Government policy, as set out in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)

c) impact assessments and consultations.

4.3    OAPFs are subject to public consultation, and equality and environmental assessments.

Financial comments

5.1    ADD 259 approved expenditure of up to £27,000 on specialist graphics and desktop publishing consultancy services for the Royal Docks OAPF project and printing costs.  Approval is now being sought for additional expenditure of up to £35,000 on the following;

  • £20,000 to support the production of the OAPF document; and
  • £15,000 as a contribution to the London Borough of Newham towards the cost to expedite work on an Employment Land Review in the opportunity Area.

This will bring the total expenditure on the Royals OAPF to £62,000.

5.2    All the work on this OAPF and Land Review will be done in 2015-16.

5.3    There is an agreement with National Grid Plc to provide £20,000 to the GLA to fund the production of the OAPF document. The remaining £15,000 will be funded from Planning 2015-16 OAPF budget approved under Directors Decision (DD) 1359. Officers should ensure that they invoice National Grid Plc for the full recovery of costs before the end of the financial year (2015-16).

5.4    As this work relates to a consultancy contract, officers have to ensure that the requirements of the Authority’s Contracts & Funding Code are adhered to and that the requirements relating to consultancy services within the Authority’s Financial Regulations and Expenses & Benefits Framework are also adhered to.

5.5    All required budget adjustments will be completed and any changes to this proposal including budgetary implications will be subject to further approval via the Authority’s Decision Making Process.

5.6    The Planning Unit within the Development, Environment and Enterprise will be responsible for managing this contract and work. 

Planned delivery approach and next steps



Procurement of contract [for externally delivered projects]

Feb 2015

Announcement [if applicable]


Delivery Start Date [for project proposals]

March 2015

Final evaluation start and finish (self/external) [delete as applicable]:


Delivery End Date [for project proposals]

March 2016

Project Closure: [for project proposals]

April 2016

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