ExCeL London is expanding – and the team want to hear your views on the plans
Since they were built in the 1800s, the Royal Docks have always had an eye to the rest of the world. In the past, it was the docks themselves that linked Britain to the globe, today the biggest international draws are London City Airport and the capital’s events venue: ExCeL London.
It might be hard to imagine right now, but event organisers are already looking ahead to the post-lockdown, vaccinated world. And as vast as the ExCeL already is, to remain a world-class events space equal to others in Paris, Lisbon and Barcelona, organisers have said it needs more continuous event space. So, plans are afoot to expand the centre by 12,000 sq m, and ExCeL London wants to know what you think.
The proposal is to build out an extension over the existing car park to the east, joining up with the International Convention Centre, skimming by Aloft Hotel, and running up towards the DoubleTree Hilton Hotel. With two DLR stations soon to be joined by the Elizabeth Line, and plentiful parking underneath the existing centre, building here will make better, more environmentally-sustainable use of the space.
Our plans would support even more investment and growth locally.
Jeremy Rees, CEO of ExCeL London
For the Royal Docks – and for London as a whole – the centre plays a central role. Four million people visit the Royal Docks to attend an event here every year in ordinary times, and a quarter of all London’s international business tourists pass through. Over the last twelve months, the centre demonstrated its importance in a new way, playing a critical part in the capital’s response to Covid-19: first as an NHS Nightingale Hospital and now as a vaccination hub.
This expansion means significant investment in the local area. During construction, 130 full-time equivalent jobs will be available, as well as apprenticeships and training opportunities. Once complete and open, there will be another 170 new jobs at the centre and the ambition is for at least 50% of these to go to local people. “I see the Royal Docks being a much more vibrant destination,” ExCeL London’s CEO Jeremy Rees explained in our interview in 2019. “The rich, lively nature of the location will be a catalyst for growth, with more jobs, wealth creation, education and greater opportunity for local communities.”
Building work aside, this is also an opportunity to remake the space around the centre. The proposals include an improved walkway from Prince Regent DLR station and there is a focus on creating a more welcoming environment around the centre itself and Royal Victoria Dock. The intention is to make the south-facing 1.4km of dockside much more vibrant, better for cyclists, walkers and joggers, with new landscaped spaces for people to relax and socialise together.
The proposals are in their early stages, and open for comments, questions and ideas. “We are delighted to be launching the consultation phases,” says Jeremy Rees. “A project to expand the footprint of the venue further to the east of our site has always been in our thinking. We are committed to the long-term future of ExCeL, supporting the economic recovery and the continued growth of the Royal Docks and London. Our plans would support even more investment and growth locally.”
To hear how the scheme has been progressing as a result of community feedback and to share your thoughts, ExCeL are organising a community webinar on 24th February, 6-7PM. You can register directly here.
View the updated plans for the expansion and share your comments and views at ExCeL London’s digital exhibition.
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