Waterside walks, food and green space: the Royal Docks consultation so far
The Royal Docks is 1,200 acres of land, 250 acres of water, 11 DLR stops, one pier, and two ferries. For 11,000 people, it’s also home: the walk to work, the view out of the back window, and the park down the road.
Around £8bn will be invested in this area over the next 20 years, heralding tremendous change. Through this period of investment, we all have an important role to play in shaping a better future for the Royal Docks.
Last year, we spent four months speaking to those who live and work locally, so we could find out what matters most to the people in the know. Over the course of 15 pop-up events, more than 60 one-to-one meetings, and an extensive online survey, our Join the Conversation programme gathered perspectives from nearly 2,000 people, and the results are in.
Around £8bn will be invested in this area over the next 20 years, heralding tremendous change.
The report, which was drawn up by urban participation experts Fluid, is now available. The comments cover many different aspects of living and working locally, from the challenge of getting a seat on the DLR, to the area’s unsung green spaces, and demand for arts grants for local filmmakers.
Safety is the top priority, with participants mentioning poorly-lit streets, underused green spaces and, particularly in North Woolwich, limited night buses. People also emphasised that regeneration should have an impact at smaller scales; while some anticipate positive changes to the area, they want to see these improvements happen on a street-by-street level as well as in the form of big new developments. For instance, existing communities need clusters of shops that stay open into the evening and can provide a social centre.
Cohesion and connections are high up the list for many. That’s physical connections like DLR capacity, waterside walking routes, and better ways to cross between north and south of the docks. It also means social connections, like bringing together new communities with existing ones, and providing spaces to meet such as local pubs.
Among cultural improvements, food stands out. Young people told us that they often travel to Stratford or Canning Town to eat.
Plenty of cultural improvements feature, but the call for better food stands out. Young people in particular told us that they often travel to Stratford or Canning Town to eat. As well as cafes and restaurants, the Royal Docks needs more supermarkets, and grocers specialising in Asian, East European, and other cuisines.
Great affection for the area’s history and heritage shines through in many responses. Silvertown’s Tate Institute is mentioned the most often as somewhere people would like to see renovated and returned to the heart of the community. Other ideas include heritage tours and routes to allow visitors to access the neighbourhoods’ history.
What improvements do you hope to see here over the next ten years? Five people from the Royal Docks share their thoughts.
A huge thank you to everyone who took part in Join the Conversation. All the feedback we’ve received will help us continue to evolve plans for the future. We have collected a significant amount of data, which we aim to publish on our website before the end of March. This includes community feedback, but also insights and evidence on issues as far-ranging as the level of cultural provision in the area through to the quality of public spaces.
We’re also developing a community engagement strategy that we will be consulting on shortly. This will enable us ensure local people continue to have a voice throughout the area’s regeneration. We aim to hold a workshop in the next few weeks bringing together representatives from communities — residents, workers and students — as well as community groups and organisations, education institutions and local businesses to help feed in ideas. In the meantime, we’re still consulting on our new tree-planting programme and Thames Barrier Park.
The Conversation is ongoing; it’s never too late to tell the Royal Docks Team what you think on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you to Shirley Coote from PromisedLand Academy, Nailah Cumberbatch from The Tony Cheeseman Foundation, Halima Hamid of the Health is Wealth Project, Gill Tan from the Newham Chinese Association and James Edmunds from Royal Docks Adventure for taking part in the video above.
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