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When the £1.5billion Silvertown Quays scheme was approved in 2007, the London Development Agency said it would "bring new life to this part of the old docks".

Last month, it declared the current vision dead. So where does this leave Royal Docks?

Joint developers Silvertown Quays Limited, Kajima Urban Development International and the LDA were to transform the 24 hectare site into a sprawling 4,900 home scheme with offices, retail, leisure and the Biota aquarium, creating 2,000 jobs.

By 2007, Newham Council had granted planning permission and Bank of Scotland had agreed funding of £119million, but the downturn stalled work and the LDA issued termination notices in September.

It held then talks with Bank of Scotland, and it has been speculated that British Land and Barratt were interested in the scheme. However, the notices expired on February 13, and the LDA has confirmed it "deems its agreements with Silvertown Quays Ltd to have terminated".

It said: "The Bank of Scotland proposed a new development partner and requested some revisions to the planned approach to the regeneration of the site, including a revised timetable for delivery and other changes to the existing commercial arrangements.

"Having considered the information provided, the London Development Agency concluded that it could not accept the proposals.

"The London Development Agency is now considering how best to achieve the future regeneration of the site - a key site for the overall regeneration of the Royal Docks."

While the LDA were tight-lipped on details of its new direction, Newham Council said it was "working in strong and effective partnership with the LDA to help secure the future development of the area".

Architects Journal thinks this may come in the form of a wider Royal Docks "eco town" masterplan housing up to 30,000 people. Developer Ballymore confirmed that it was involved in discussions, but that they were "at a very early stage".

However, Silvertown Quays Ltd's executive chairman David Taylor told the press he was "astonished" by the decision.

He said: "We've been working flat out for the last few months to restructure the funding, but the LDA has not lifted a finger to help and has been consistently negative in their approach.

"I'm appalled by their behaviour. We don't accept that is the end of it and we don't accept their legal position - we'll be talking to our lawyers about that - and we'll still be battling on to put together a proposal with or without them."

Challenges in Royal Docks are not restricted to Silvertown Quays. Capital and Provident is reviewing its options for the Peruvian Wharf site it bought from Tate and Lyle in 1999, after its plan for homes, offices and a hotel was refused by a public inquiry in 2007.

Director Sunny Crouch said: "A masterplan is now being drawn up by the LDA to determine what sort of schemes it will give planning permission.

"The problem right now is that it's very difficult to get construction finance and even then no one can get mortgage finance to buy it off you. While we're in a recession, getting developments to stack up financially is very hard."

However, as a former marketing director for the London Docklands Development Corporation during the first stuttering steps of Canary Wharf, she said: "I've been through this before. When I was at the LDDC, I used to get calls asking me if we were seeing the death of London Docklands, and look at it now.

"Once the recession is over, the future down there will look better than ever. I've every confidence it will be back, but it won't be back very soon."

1 Comments

Shaz said:

Hi,

I have a possible exchange in silvertown.

before I decide to move to this area, please can you tell me if this is a good area, like no fight or racism area? I realise there is no shopping in this area, and not much around, will that change?

Please let me know. Thanks!

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