The Mayor, Boris Johnson, has unveiled ambitious plans to create the UK’s largest ‘floating village’ as part of his on-going drive to transform London’s Royal Docks bringing, jobs, commercial space and homes back to the capital’s waterways.
Launching an international competition to find developers and London partners to design and deliver the scheme, the Mayor made the announcement as he traveled to MIPIM, the world’s premier property conference, where he will be promoting this unique site and other investment opportunities in London.
His plans will see 15 acres of water at the Royal Victoria Dock site, sitting directly under the Emirates Airline, transformed into a thriving community with floating homes, hotels, restaurants and bars. When complete it will be one and half times the size of Green Park and have some of the best transport links in the capital with a new Crossrail station, DLR and the cable car linking it to central London and Canary Wharf.
Although new to the UK, floating developments are already a popular idea on the continent with successful schemes at ljburg near Amsterdam and Hafen City in Hamburg as well as many others throughout Scandinavia.
The Mayor, who inherited over 600 hectares of land as a result of the Localism Act in April 2012, is currently one of the largest owners of public land in London. He is determined to bring more public land forward for development and accelerate the number of homes being built for Londoners. As part of this, the redevelopment of the entire Royal Docks area is one of his key priorities. His investments in this area have already led to the opening of the Emirates cable car and the Siemens Crystal Centre as well as upcoming developments at Silvertown Quays and Royal Albert Docks.
Throwing down the gauntlet to international and home-grown investors at MIPIM to come up with a spectacular design that will make his vision of London first liquid postcode a reality, the Mayor Boris Johnson said: “This site is unique. It has the potential to become one of the most sought after addresses in the capital while breathing new life back into London’s waterways. But it’s not alone. Right across London there are incredible investment opportunities that I’m determined to bring to market creating more homes and jobs for Londoners. My message to the developers gathering at MIPIM is that London is the best place to invest.”
Newham Mayor Sir Robin Wales said: "London is moving eastwards and the Royal Docks offer an investment opportunity in scale unmatched anywhere in Europe. This exciting development is a pivotal part of their reanimation. The Royal Docks were designated the capital's first new Enterprise Zone, in recognition of the importance of the area to the future of London's economy. As today’s announcement shows, they have the capacity to attract modern sustainable businesses and deliver 21st century growth for the capital. It is essential that the transformation of the area translates into long-term prosperity, growth and jobs.
“The Docks are being transformed into a living, working community of high quality offices, work space retail, residential spaces, leisure and entertainment facilities. They will become a vibrant, exciting and fun visitor attraction which will draw people not just from across the capital-but across the country. This venture will provide a major boost for the local economy and further cement the area’s reputation as one of the capital’s must-visit places. Investment in the borough encompassing the Olympic Park and Stratford in the north through to Canning Town, Custom House and the Royal Docks in the south, reflects Newham's status as London's regeneration priority for the next 25 years."
Visiting MIPIM in southern France to drum up interest in the plethora of opportunities available in the capital, the Mayor will be hosting a series of meetings with potential investors and developers, as well as giving a key note conference address and opening the London Stand.
The Mayor recently launched a new Land Assets Database with details of his land holdings including information about the size and location of individual sites as well as aerial photographs. This is the first time these sites, and those of the GLA functional bodies, have been made publicly available in this way, making it far easier for anyone with an interest in this land to find out more.