It's all go in the Royal Docks. Just days after the Mayor announced a £1 billion deal to build a Chinese business park north of City Airport, an even bigger proposal to transform Silvertown Quays has finally been unveiled.
The area is perhaps best known for the derelict Millennium Mills building, beloved of film crews, urban explorers and street artists. The 50 acre site was also home to the stillborn London Pleasure Gardens, an outdoor fairground and performance space that failed to attract the Olympic crowds gathered over the water at ExCel in 2012.
The mayor's proposals aim to transform this region into an 'innovation quarter'.
What does that mean?
- RETAIL: Exhibition spaces, dubbed 'brand pavilions', where big companies can show off their new products. Think Apple Store, but with lots of other brands.
- COMMERCIAL: Office space for technology companies. Silicon Wharf, anyone?
- RESIDENTIAL: 1,500 new homes. (Including Millennium Mills?)
- LEISURE: The usual mix of restaurants, bars and leisure facilities.
- INFRASTRUCTURE: A new bridge connecting to the ExCel centre and the forthcoming Crossrail station at Custom House.
The land will be developed by The Silvertown Partnership, a consortium of Chelsfield Properties and First Base, from 2014, with the first businesses potentially moving in in 2017. Projections suggest £6.5bn of economic benefit for the UK, and the creation of 9,000 jobs, over the next quarter-century. The scheme is now being worked up into an outline planning permission.
Now, how long before someone suggest extending the cable car east along the docks?