DD2203 Royal Docks Activation and Events Programme

Type of decision: 
Director's decision
Date signed: 
16 January 2018
Decision by: 
David Lunts, Executive Director Housing and Land and Interim CEO of OPDC

Executive summary

MD2049 approved expenditure of up to £3.5m for Royal Docks Enterprise Zone (EZ) Delivery.  This Director’s Decision (DD) provides more detail of the activation and events element of the programme and requests further approval for spend of up to £700,000 at director-level in this light. 
The expenditure will both support future activation (for example, through audience research and place marking at key sites) and directly deliver activation (for example, the Royal Victoria Beach Festival for summer 2018). 


That the Executive Director of Housing and Land approves:
1.    Up to £300,000 of capital expenditure for public realm art commissions throughout the Royal Docks;
2.    Up to £400,000 of revenue expenditure for support and delivery of the activation and events programme;

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1    Mayoral Decision 2049 approved expenditure of £3.5m between financial years 2017-19 to fund the establishment of the new Royal Docks EZ Delivery Team, to enable the preparation of a EZ Detailed Delivery Plan and implement an early programme of regeneration and promotional activity to drive forward the potential of the EZ and, critically, to achieve an early business rate income.

1.2    The next two years are critical in the 25-year lifetime of the Royal Docks Enterprise Zone (EZ), and it is important that there is a visible change to developers, investors, businesses and visitors to the area. The key development partners in the Royal Docks have identified the activation of their sites and the surrounding area as one of the highest priority short term actions required to catalyse investment and occupation. 

1.3    Working with key development partners, the EZ Delivery Team will accelerate the delivery of commercial space and activate underused or vacant sites, creating better places and ensuring high quality development. Additionally, the team will create a distinct and inclusive cultural offer and will develop a programme of activation that will promote the cultural and economic significance of the docks on a local, regional and international level. 

1.4    To address the limited cultural and leisure offer, a strategic approach placing creative activation at the centre of the Royal Docks transformation is required to create a liveable, world- class commercial and cultural destination. Activation will work to:

•    Position the Royal Docks on the world stage as a distinct location for unique events; 
•    Develop visitor and local footfall through consistent and varied programming;
•    Maximise cultural programme opportunities and impact through partnerships;
•    Attract cultural organisations to establish a thriving creative district/ community;
•    Enrich and enliven the public realm through place making, giving a sense of arrival and place;
•    Engage local communities in their changing place via the cultural programme.

1.5    The approved indicative budget set for activation and events in the MD2049 is £800,000 with a split of £500,000 revenue and £300,000 capital. Previous approvals of £20,000 expenditure on ADD2132 and £80,000 on the Royal Victoria Beach 2017 project were progressed under the authority of the original MD. The activation and events request of £700,000 for this DD approval will come out of the remaining budget as set in the MD. This expenditure will be incurred between 2017-19 financial years.

1.6    This activation and events approval request is one of three DDs for which approval is being sought, all of which link back to the MD2049. There is also a DD for promotion and investment and a DD for estates and public realm improvements. 

1.7    Development and Delivery of Cultural Events and Projects. 
As stated in MD2049 (section 44) delivery of cultural events and projects will take place in Royal Victoria Dock, Royal Albert Basin and Royal Albert Dock. 

Services for development and delivery of cultural events and projects will where relevant be procured as per the GLA’s Contracts & Funding Code and via TFL procurement. 

1.8    Urban Beach Festival 
The Urban Beach has been delivered annually at the Royal Victoria Dock since 2011. In Summer 2018 the programme and production of the event will be enhanced to incorporate a wider site and range of activity. This will include procuring event production and a cultural programme as well as promotion and marketing. This expenditure will be incurred in the 2017-19 financial years. (£300,000 revenue)   

1.9      Grant Funding
London Festival of Architecture
Undertake marketing activity, host public events and work collaboratively with the London Festival of Architecture in 2018 in the Royal Docks to advance the marketing of the Royal Docks Enterprise Zone. The outputs of the programme will focus on promotion of the development underway on GLAP sites and a design competition. This will enhance place-making across the wider opportunity area and increase inward investment in the Royal Docks Enterprise Zone. This expenditure will be incurred in the 2017-19 financial years. (£30,000 revenue)

1.10   Development Research 
Audience Research 
Commission audience research to form a baseline of intelligence on the local population as they are now in the context of the wider London population (with some projections based on the new developments), a range of impact measures and a framework for long-term evaluation that can be undertaken annually. This expenditure will be incurred in the 2018-19 financial year. (£20,000 revenue)

Footfall Data Capture and Analysis 
Commission a study to assess the general connectivity of the Royal Docks for existing and future scenarios and assess the walking and cycling potential in the area and the impact of planned and emerging intervention projects on such potential. This expenditure will be incurred in the 2018-19 financial year. (£40,000 revenue)

Thames Estuary Production Corridor Consultancy 
A contribution to GLA Culture led consultancy scoping the Thames Estuary Production Corridor, a hub for the creative and cultural industries with project approval in MD2129 Core Cultural Programme 2017-18. This expenditure will be incurred in the 2018-19 financial year. (£10,000 revenue) 

1.11   Place Marking
As stated in MD2049 (section 44) delivery of place marking will take place in Royal Albert Basin and Royal Albert Dock and will embed place marking through high quality public art commissions, drawing on the area’s heritage along with place narrative and brand identity – to include the creation of cultural corridors along key routes, working with developers to ensure quality, safe and well used public realm and social spaces. This expenditure will be incurred in the 2018-19 financial year. (£300,000 capital) 
1.12    Sponsor and Income Revenue 
Sponsorship and revenue from hiring of GLA meanwhile event sites. As the Royal Docks is a new venue, the sponsorship and revenue from hire is untested and therefore a target income has not been set. Any sponsorship income received will be spent to provide additional activity on the sponsored event.  

1.13    Note the above allocations are indicative and there may be some movement of budget and expenditure between workstreams. Any significant changes to the allocation of budget such as the cancelling of an event will be shared with both finance and governance. 


Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1    To improve movement and connectivity within the Royal Docks by making public spaces more accessible and desirable

2.2    To change perceptions of this part of London by offering a programme of world class activations. 

2.3    Improve accessibility and permeability within the Royal Docks

2.4    To promote health and wellbeing and increasing sustainable public realm spaces

2.5    To promote activities and new opportunities to visitors, creating a Royal Docks destination.

Equality comments

3.1        The activation programme is planned to be inclusive and aimed at all Londoners, culturally and     socially.  Within the programme different events will engage with a number of different     communities and stakeholder groups.  Through the Royal Docks Cultural Partnerships forum local     stakeholders will have the opportunity to input into the development of the programme.

3.2        Equalities considerations will be taken into account by the GLA in connection with all of the work
    procured. Quality impact assessments will be undertaken to ensure the relevant characteristics of the     Equality Act 2010 are considered by the GLA. Impact assessments will determine whether any     persons with those characteristics will be unduly impacted by the activities described in this DD, and     the course of action in order to mitigate any impacts.

Other considerations

4.1    The overall objective of this approval is to develop and deliver activation projects in order to     accelerate and maximise the regeneration of the EZ and wider Royal Docks Opportunity Area whilst benefitting the existing community. The projects will improve connectivity and permeability to and through the Royal Docks, increase footfall and support the development of the Royal Docks as a cultural destination. 
4.2    Delays in the programme may occur. To mitigate these risks, a detailed project plan outlining timescales has been created. Contingency time will be incorporated into the project plan to manage over-runs.

4.3    Overspend may occur. To mitigate these risks, a detailed project plan with budgets will be created. A     10% contingency fund will be allocated at the outset of the project. 

4.4    Links to Mayoral strategies and priorities include:
•    Developing world-class events in line with the Mayor’s Cultural Strategy – to assist in the development of a ‘stimulating, creative and cultural London’.
•    Developing ‘a programme of activities/events to engage with London’s diverse communities to help deliver the Mayor’s priorities, strategies and policies, as well as celebrate London’s rich diversity’.
•    Promoting sustained economic growth and competitiveness of London as a World City through tourism, economic development and positive media coverage.
•    London is open to business, to talent and to creativity. The Thames Estuary has historically been our gateway to the world and the heart of London’s manufacturing industry. Our vision for the world’s largest creative production corridor is bold. It will position London and the South East as a world leader for the creative industries on a scale never seen before, creating a landmark corridor along the estuary, powering skills opportunities and new jobs. (Thames Estuary Production Corridor Vision, 2017)

Financial comments

5.1    This decision requests approval to expend up to £700,000 (capital of £300,000 and revenue of £400,000) for the Activation and Events Programme at the Royal Docks EZ.

5.2    MD2049 originally approved £800,000 for Activation and Events activities at the Royal Docks (capital of £300,000 and revenue of £500,000 see section 44, bullet points 4 to 6, for further details). Subsequently, two decisions (ADD2132 £20,000 and MD2049 £80,000) approved the total spend of £100,000 and this decision will utilise the remaining amount.

5.3    The requested amount (£700,000) is broken down by activities as follows:


Capital (£)

Revenue (£)

Totals (£)





Urban Beach Festival




London Festival of Architecture




Audience Research




Footfall Data Capture and Analysis




Thames Estuary Production Corridor Consultancy




Place Marking













5.4    This expenditure is to be funded from the Royal Docks EZ Projects Delivery Budget (MD2049) and forecasted to be expended over the 2017-19 and 2018-19 financial years. MD2049 (section 56) provides further details around business rates income forecasts.


Planned delivery approach and next steps




DD approved

January 2018

Commence Activation consultancy projects (Audience Research, Footfall Data Capture and Analysis and Thames Estuary Production Corridor Consultancy).    

January 2018

Procurement for Event Production Company for The Urban Beach

January 2018

Issue Grant Funding Letter to London Festival of Architecture

January 2018

Develop and issue Place Marking tender brief

March 2018

Final evaluation of Urban Beach

November 2018


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