ABP to start "business revolution" in the Royal Docks

By Rob Virtue on June 4, 2014 11:06 AM |

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The great and good in the world of regeneration gathered in a tent on a windswept piece of industrial wasteland this week.

It's a site that in a year's time work will have seen the start of construction for an international business hub worth billions of pounds to the UK economy.

Chinese developer ABP is behind the scheme and hosted a forum of key players in Newham's Royal Albert Dock on Tuesday.

Chairman of ABP Xu Weiping said: "East London is fast becoming one of capital's most exciting places to do business.

"We believe the new business district model we are creating at Royal Albert Dock will start a business revolution."

Visitors included Newham Mayor Sir Robin Wales, architect of the masterplan Sir Terry Farrell and Communities Secretary Eric Pickles. The latter described the Government's role in assisting the scheme through enterprise zones.

Mr Pickles said: "It gives business rates relief for five years, promises fast broadband to companies, and offers fast planning permission."

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Sir Terry Farrell, Eric Pickles and Xu Weiping - Credit Jesper Mattias

He added the Government was working to create stronger links between British and Asian firms as shown by Prime Minister David Cameron's visit to China last year.

"The Prime Minister was wowed by the opportunities he saw," he said.

ABP's plans for the 35-acre site are currently going through planning at Newham Council. Meanwhile, ABP is working on securing partners from Asia as well as other countries across the globe.

When questioned on a lack of art and culture in the scheme, Mr Xu said he believed visitors would be pleasantly surprised when they returned for the opening of the first phase in 2018.

"The eastern culture is really fashionable, really state of the art," he said. "And in the future east London will have the exhibition hall of the Far East, with art as well as cultural performances.

"British people can learn the mysteries of the east here. ABP will bring the Far East culture to you."