If you go down to the Royal Docks today this is one of the sites you're going to see:
That's the entrance, this is what it looks like inside:
This is Ballymore's Minoco Wharf formerly Manhattan Wharf and big plans are afoot. (Don't worry that the pictures are around a year old, it still looks the same)
Remember those new fangled Enterprise Zones that George Osborne introduced in the Budget. There was only one in London, but crucially for Ballymore it was here.
I said the plans were big, here's how big. The developer plans to build a small town on the site totalling 3,500 residential units together with shops, doctors, dentist, cafes, restaurants, nursery school, primary school and a community hall. In total there will be around 20,000 people living and working in the area when this development is complete.
There are two types of regeneration, the easy (relatively) and the hard. Easy is where the boundaries of an already established area expand to gentrify the neighbouring ones, take a walk down Bermondsey Street to see what I mean. Hard, and the Royal Docks are, is to attempt to regenerate a site which stands in isolation. This is not something you want to do piecemeal fashion, this is something you want to do on a heroic scale. Looking at the proposal on it's own I'd be sceptical, looking at what's in the pipeline for the area as a whole and you think... this could just happen. So let's quickly look at that pipeline:
Silvertown Quays - 5,000 units
Thames Road Industrial Estate - 2,000 units
Leamouth Peninsula (North and South) - 3,000 units
Waterside Park - 800 units
Beckton Waterfront - 2,000 units
There may be some I've missed and the numbers are approximate and yes some of these schemes have been withdrawn but you can see the potential, nearly 13,000 units and that's before you factor in Minoco Wharf, add that and the total is close to 17,000 units. Now let's say the majority of those units are 2 beds (they would be), that would potentially put the number of people living on this mega-site at around 34,000. That's about the population of Grantham according to the ONS, and if we're serious about tackling the housing crisis this is the kind of grand scale development London needs.