DD2464 Royal Docks Place & Connectivity Expenditure

Type of decision: 
Director's decision
Code: 
DD2464
Date signed: 
17 March 2020
Decision by: 
Rickardo Hyatt, Assistant Director of Housing and Interim Deputy Executive Director

Executive summary

In August 2018, Mayoral Decision 2338 approved expenditure of up to £212.5m for the Royal Docks Enterprise Zone (EZ) Delivery Plan to deliver an integrated and catalytic package of projects that are identified under the five strategic objectives of Place, Connectivity, Economy, Activation and Promotion. In October 2018, Director Decision (DD)2273 approved expenditure of £0.4m of that budget for consultancy to support the Place theme of the Delivery Plan in 2019/20, in January 2019, DD2297 approved expenditure of £5.29m of that budget to progress projects in the Place, Economy and Connectivity themes of the Delivery Plan in 2019/20 and in April 2019, DD2312 approved a further £4.0m of the budget for capital works to support the Place theme of the Delivery Plan during 2019/20. This DD seeks approval for expenditure approval of £7.565m for projects in the Place and Connectivity themes of the Delivery Plan during the 2020/21 financial year. This investment was endorsed by the Enterprise Zone Programme Board on 4th March 2020. This expenditure will be subject to procurement of services via existing panels and frameworks. The expenditure will enable:

• A programme of public realm improvements across the Royal Docks and the procurement of an appropriate professional team (see paragraph 2.2-2.21 and Appendix 1);
• Fees for the next stage of the Public Realm Framework and studies to support the Enterprise Zone (see paragraph 2.21).
• Investment to match fund government grants to undertake a wide-ranging tree planting programme in the Royal Docks (see paragraph 2.18 and Annex 1).
• Funding for the detailed design for the North Woolwich Road project (see paragraph 2.12 -2.16).

Decision

The Executive Director of Housing and Land approves:

Expenditure of up to a maximum £7.565m on the projects outlined in this report.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

MD2338 approved expenditure of up to £212.5m for the Royal Docks EZ Delivery Plan to deliver an integrated and catalytic package of transport infrastructure, connectivity, economic development, placemaking, estate management and creative programming projects that will deliver the cohesive transformation of the Royal Docks and accelerate the delivery of EZ commercial space. This consists of a £155m capital and £57.5m revenue split to fund projects for the five-year delivery period from 2018/19 to 2022/23. DD2297, DD2312 and DD2273 approved investment in a series of projects including the production of a Place Strategy (“Public Realm Framework”).

The investment proposed in this decision is for the beginning of the implementation of the projects proposed in the Public Realm Framework which will be published on the Royal Docks website and has been developed by the architecture practice 5th Studio and involved consultation with stakeholders and the community. The 2018 Delivery Plan and the Public Realm Framework are underpinned by a series of key objectives to support the Enterprise Zone development. These include:

Unlocking Development: A priority for the Delivery Team is to support the successful delivery of the key development sites across the EZ. The sites at Royal Albert Dock, Albert Island and Silvertown Quays represent considerable private sector investment in the Royal Docks and will need to be supported by a co-ordinated and comprehensive package of public investment in promotion, place-making, transport infrastructure and activation to help bring them to life. The programme carried out under DD2297, DD2312 and DD2273 in 2019/20 included works to support these developments. The investment proposed in this decision are a further stage of that support.

Maximising Key Gateways: Another priority for the Delivery Team is to capitalise on the unique circumstances and assets in the Royal Docks to drive transformation. Three strategically important locations at the Custom House interchange (DLR and Elizabeth Line), London City Airport and Royal Victoria Dock have been identified as important gateways to the Royal Docks. These will be a priority for intervention within the Delivery Plan period with investment focussed on enhancing the overall environment, offer and user experience.

Connecting Corridors and Communities: Whilst the Royal Docks is well served in terms of transport infrastructure with excellent road, rail and air links, the public realm offers very poor permeability (in terms of walking and cycling) across the different sites in the Royal Docks. Significant investment is required to ensure proper linkages and safe and attractive routes between these areas as well as enabling effective integration between existing and emerging communities. This is set out in the Public Realm Framework and investment in 2019/20 began the process of improvement. The projects proposed in this decision will continue that.

Objectives and expected outcomes

The 2018 Delivery plan sets out several projects across the Place and Connectivity themes which are priorities. Progress on these projects has been made in 2019/20 and this decision seeks approval for investment for continued work in 2020/21. This DD sets out a request for a total of £7.565m in projects from the Delivery Plan as set out below and falls into the following four categories:

• Public Realm Improvement Programme (£5m Capital from the Place theme Budget);
• Design fees for the North Woolwich Road improvement project (£1m Capital from the Connectivity theme Budget);
• Greening and Water Management projects (£0.795m Revenue from the Place theme Budget); and
• Professional Fees to support the above (£0.77m Revenue from the Place theme Budget);

Public Realm Improvements:

Following investment in 2019/20, the Royal Docks Team are seeking approval for investment of a further £5million capital in 2020/21 for a package of works that address issues with the public realm in the Royal Docks and which support activation of the spaces around the main development sites and gateways. The interventions are part of implementing the Public Realm Framework. The key projects are set out below and more detail on each element is set out in Appendix One:

Royal Victoria Dock Loop – Most of the edge of Royal Victoria Dock is open to the public but a key section needs improvements (Connaught Crossing - see 2.5 below) and there is a missing link. The Silvertown Quays site is closed pending redevelopment and will see substantial change as construction starts in late 2020. The full site (and therefore complete public access to it) is unlikely to be completed until the 2030s. In the meantime, to fill the missing link, it is proposed that a temporary walking and cycling route is created.

This will support increased active use of the Royal Docks, improve public access and support meanwhile uses on the Silvertown Quays site. There are various engineering challenges involved and some options on scale and the route of the link. However, it could be in place for a number of years and be an important new route for the local community. The exact form and nature of the loop are subject to detailed design and engineering assessment as well as discussions with The Silvertown Partnership, the developer contracted to deliver development on the site and RODMA who have a lease of the water and some of the dock edge area, with any final decision being based on value for money. This decision includes approval for GLAP to enter into any necessary documentation with RODMA, The Silvertown Partnership and contractors relating to this project including licences over the water, maintenance agreements and connections to phase one of Silvertown Quays.

Connaught Crossing – this north-south crossing is in the middle of the docks and links key communities with Excel and London City Airport. The crossing is at two levels – the upper is a dual carriageway swing bridge that connects key road links; the lower level is a pedestrian and cycling route that is dark, confusing and lacking in legibility.

It is proposed that funding is allocated to undertake an upgrade to the lower level crossing including replacing surfacing, improved lighting and signage and better connections at either end. The exact scope is subject to detailed design and consultation with The Silvertown Partnership, RODMA, London City Airport and Excel. Consultation with those stakeholders has already started and some proposals are in development. Final designs will be subject to procurement. This decision includes approval for GLAP to enter into any necessary documentation with relevant landowners (RODMA, The Silvertown Partnership, London City Airport, Excel and Royal Albert Dock Trust) and contractors relating to these works.

Royal Victoria Footbridge Lifts – the current Royal Victoria Dock bridge is a key link between Custom House station north of Royal Victoria Dock and the Silvertown community to the south of the dock. It also links the Custom House community and Thames Barrier Park. The bridge is at a high level and is accessed by lifts and stairs. It was built in 1998 when the development in the area was minimal. Recent increases in residential development and the forthcoming opening of Elizabeth Line services at Custom House station will increase demand for the use of the lifts.

As part of the Silvertown Quays redevelopment, a new bridge will be built, expected to open in 2023. Once the Elizabeth Line opens at Custom House in 2021 the demand for the lifts is expected to increase and therefore it is proposed to invest in replacing the lifts now. The Royal Docks Team are working with RODMA who in 2001 were given stewardship of the bridge when the London Development Agency, GLAP’s predecessor, built the bridge and included it in the demise of RoDMA’s lease, under which GLAP as landlord, must indemnify RoDMA for the costs of these works. The concept design, procurement and works will be undertaken by RODMA but working closely with the Royal Docks Team. The design will reflect Equality Act requirements to ensure accessibility. This decision includes approval for GLA and/or GLAP to enter into any necessary agreements with RODMA relating to the delivery of these improvements.

North Woolwich – the public realm in North Woolwich is often of poor quality and there are opportunities for improvements. There is potential to work with community groups to deliver an upgrade in green spaces in the area and link the area better to Silvertown and Beckton. The exact scope of the work is subject to consultation with the community, LBN and local stakeholders including Tate & Lyle and London City Airport. This decision includes approval to enter into any necessary documentation with LB Newham, relevant landowners and contractors relating to this project.

Royal Albert Dock development supporting works – in addition to the investments made in 2019/20 around the ABP development, we will continue to invest in temporary uses and events to increase the activation of the area. This will principally include servicing meanwhile plots and investing in better links between the development and the Beckton community. Improving the key overpass and connections north will make it easier and safer for local communities to access the Royal Docks. This decision includes approval for GLAP to enter into any necessary documentation with ABP and contractors for these works.

Improvements to Thames Barrier Park – Thames Barrier Park is an award winning example of green landscaping and celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2020. Since it was opened the area has been transformed and continues to change and grow. With new residential communities now in place around the park and with investment in 2019/20 underway to improve the café, now is the time to ask the local community how they want to see the park improved. Consultation undertaken in February/March 2020 will be analysed and considered alongside existing ideas from the team and the community including new lighting, CCTV, longer opening hours, improved facilities and improved pathways. The final design will be consulted on in summer 2020 and works undertaken thereafter. This decision includes approval for GLAP to enter into appropriate documentation with contractors to complete the works.

Design Fees for the North Woolwich Road improvement project

As set out in the Public Realm Framework, North Woolwich Road is a key link through the Royal Docks and needs significant enhancement. The road connects Canning Town to North Woolwich and London City Airport and serves major development sites in between. The design of the road reflects 1990’s design principles and an assumption of industrial land use along the route. More recent planning policy has seen industrial land designated for residential use and at the same time transport design policies have changed.

Therefore, the current road fails to provide the right environment for the future of the area. Major change is needed and there is an opportunity to make significant improvements. The design approach needs to ensure the road provides a better environment for pedestrians and cyclists whilst also protecting the safe operation of the important industrial sites.

In partnership with LBN Highways progress has been made on the concept designs for transforming this vital corridor through the Royal Docks. Technical surveys have been undertaken, interim measures completed, and a consultation undertaken with residents, landowners and businesses along the route. This collaboration has shown a strong desire and consensus to see improvements made that enable the range of developments to occur along the corridor in the coming years.

Given the progress to date, further work on traffic modelling, further surveys, additional interim measures and detailed design are proposed in 2020/21. To date the costs of the project have been shared between the London Borough of Newham (LB Newham) Highways and the Royal Docks Team.

This decision seeks approval for £1m of additional revenue fees on top of the £0.46m approved in DD2297 approved in December 2018. The funding will be transferred to LB Newham and the project is jointly managed between the Royal Docks Team and LB Newham. The decision also includes approval for GLA and/or GLAP to enter into the relevant funding agreement with LB Newham to transfer the monies and secure appropriate conditions.

Greening and Water Management Projects

In addition to the capital works set out above, we are seeking approval for a total of £0.795m revenue for projects that contribute to improving the public realm and air quality, improving access to green open space and strategic water management. Addressing the low levels of green landscaping in the area and to help address Newham’s air quality challenges and therefore quality of life, is a key priority. There are three key projects:

Tree Planting Programme: the Royal Docks Team has successfully applied to the Urban Tree Challenge Fund (UTCF) and secured an indicative allocation of £0.285m from the Forestry Commission subject to match funding and confirmed planting locations to 712 new trees in the wider Royal Docks area. This decision seeks approval to enter into a funding agreement with the Forestry Commission/DEFRA for the £0.285m grant funding, the investment of £0.3m of GLA funding and appropriate delivery contracts. This project will improve the air quality and biodiversity of the Royal Docks.

Floating Gardens: the Royal Docks Team is working with RODMA to install an area of floating gardens in Royal Victoria Dock partly to increase the level of green landscaping in the area, partly to address air quality issues and also as a tool to explore air quality and biodiversity issues with the local community. The project will involve the construction of the light-weight gardens, which float on the water, and a community event to allow local people to help plant the gardens and learn more about water quality and biodiversity. This decision includes approval for GLAP to enter into all necessary documentation with RODMA and contractors relating to this project.

Integrated Water Management Strategy: the Royal Docks Team contributed funding for the production of the Royal Docks and Beckton Opportunity Area Planning Framework (OAPF). This is now under development by GLA and LBN planning teams. One element of specific importance to the Royal Docks is an Integrated Water Management Strategy. This will help the team to work with the Environment Agency, LBN, Thames Water, RODMA and others to ensure that there is an integrated approach to water use and management in the area which reflects the scale of development and climate change adaptation. It is therefore proposed to make a financial contribution of £60,000 towards this. This decision includes approval for GLA and/or GLAP to enter into funding arrangements with the Environment Agency and others relating to this project.

Professional Fees

This decision is seeking approval for £770,000 revenue for professional fees to support the above outlined projects to supplement the project management and design capacity of the Royal Docks Team. The bulk of the investment will be spent on a professional team which will be procured using the TfL Framework Panel and provide technical advice on detailed design, town planning, engineering, health and safety and cost consultancy. Other packages of specialist advice will also be procured as required. This requirement includes the cost of a Public Practice Associate for 2020/21 as part of the on-going Public Practice programme and the funding of additional professional services as part of the next phase of the Public Realm Framework.

Equality comments

Under section 149 of the Equality Act 2010 (the “Equality Act”), as a public authority, the GLA must have ‘due regard’ to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation, and to advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not. Protected characteristics under the Equality Act comprise age, disability, gender re-assignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation and marriage or civil partnership status.

When considering the needs of the existing community and those that will be affected by the proposed projects outlined in this paper, any activity will look to minimise disadvantages to all protected characteristic groups within society. This decision is therefore not expected to have any negative impact on persons with a protected characteristic under the Equality Act.

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 protected characteristics will be unduly impacted by the activities anticipated by this Directors Decision and the course of action to mitigate any impacts.

Other considerations

Risk and issues

The primary risks for the project relate to expenditure and programme. Considerable work has been done to ensure that the cost estimates are realistic and appropriate contingencies have been applied.

It is anticipated that the programme of works d will complete by March 2021. This is based on experience of the 2019/20 programme and advice of the professional team that have been working in the Royal Docks since early 2019 on public realm projects.

The works have been scoped and progressed following discussions with local stakeholders including LB Newham, London City Airport, Excel, RODMA and our development partners.

Declaration of interest

The author of the report and the Assistant Director who cleared it are also Directors of the Royal Docks Management Authority (RoDMA). As the Decision includes proposed investment which includes some intervention on RoDMA land there is a potential for a conflict of interest. The Director who has approved the Decision and those who have reviewed if from a financial and legal perspective are not Directors of RoDMA.

In relation to the proposed investment relevant to RoDMA, the interventions are to improve publicly accessible areas of public realm. The investments do not remove obligations from RoDMA.

There are not expected to be any financial or fiduciary conflicts which could arise but this will be kept under review and in the event that they do arise the relevant officers who are also Directors of RoDMA will not be involved in the detailed implementation of the Decision.

Financial comments

​​​​​​​This decision requests approval for up to £7.565m of expenditure from the Royal Docks EZ approved budget for 2020-21 Place and Connectivity Activation programmes as summarised below:

Capital

Revenue

Budget

 

£'m

£'m

theme

Description

5.000

 

Place theme

Public Realm Improvement Programme

1.000

 

Connectivity

Design fees for the North Woolwich Road improvement project

 

0.795

Place theme

Greening and Water Management projects

 

0.770

Place theme

Professional Fees to support the above

6.000

1.565

Total

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This expenditure will be funded from the £212.5 million approved delivery plan budget confirmed in MD2338. The projects outlined in this decision were endorsed by the Royal Docks EZ Programme Board on 4th March 2020.

Activity table

​​​​​​​The projects proposed in this package have largely independent programmes but the below is a overall guide to activities in the coming months:

 

Activity

Timeline

Projects endorsed by Royal Docks Enterprise Zone Programme Board

4 March 2020

Director’s Decision considered at Corporate Investment Board

16 March 2020

Detailed project scoping

March/April 2020

Procurement

May/June 2020

Further consultation

May - July 2020

Works commence

July 2020 onwards

Works complete

Spring 2021


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