East London’s waterways were the focus of a half-day conference this morning, with speakers including Ros Dunn, Chief Executive of the Thames Gateway London Partnership; Mark Bensted, Regeneration Director at British Waterways; John Letherland, Partner at Farrells; and Stephen Oakes, Director of Development at the London Thames Gateway Development Corporation.
Despite the downturn, East London remains the focus of the capital's greatest regeneration investment. Much early industrial development built around the waterways for the transport of goods has fallen into deprivation, and these areas are now destined to support the majority of London’s growth.
Speakers presented development plans in areas including Isle of Dogs, the Lower Lee Valley, Stratford, the Royal Docks, Deptford and the Greenwich Peninsula, each of which is using the water to drive regeneration and to create a unique selling point for development.
Mark Bensted, Regeneration Director at British Waterways, advised that water should not just be used as a backdrop to new developments, and that developers should ensure that water becomes a working part of new developments in the area. In areas such as Wood Wharf, development partners are working to ensure that buildings wrap around the water. Other case studies highlighted how water was being used for transport, leisure, festivals, and sport.