Written evidence from London Thames Gateway Development Corporation (OLL 22)

 

SUMMARY

 

1. London Thames Gateway Development Corporation (LTGDC) is a Non Departmental Public Body sponsored by Communities and Local Government (CLG) with responsibility for leading the regeneration of much of east London. Established before the 2012 Olympics was awarded to London, LTGDC has worked closely with the London Development Agency (LDA), Olympic Development Agency (ODA) and now the new Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) to support the delivery of a successful games and ensure long term legacy benefits.

 

2. LTGDC is supporting the 5 Host boroughs strategy for 'convergence', that is to secure sustained regeneration across the sub-region, building on the investment in the Olympics, and force key measures of socio-economic performance up to the London average.

 

3. LTGDC is leading on a number of projects in the areas surrounding the Olympic Park to assist neighbouring communities to benefit from the huge investment in the Park. The momentum that has been created must be maintained. The Olympics has brought an added spotlight to these areas and they cannot afford to lose out pre or post 2012.

 

4. LTGDC is also working closely with the Olympic Park Legacy Company to develop a strong and clearly defined relationship. The prospect is for a major long term development programme post games in the Olympic Park led by the Olympic Legacy Company, in tandem with the wider regeneration of the Lower Lea Valley, led by the Urban Development Corporation, and supported by excellent public services led by the host boroughs and partner agencies.

 

INTRODUCTION

 

5. London Thames Gateway Development Corporation (LTGDC) is the Government's lead regeneration agency for the Lower Lea Valley and London Riverside, two areas with the greatest potential for growth in London and the Thames Gateway (Map attached).[1] LTGDC is a non-departmental public body with a board of 13 appointed by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

 

6. LTGDC was established in 2004 with an indicative lifespan of 10 years (with a review at 5 years) to tackle large dysfunctional areas in the Lower Lea Valley and London Riverside that are unlikely to realise their potential without significant intervention. Government considered an Urban Development Corporation (UDC) with its ability to determine large strategic planning applications and its powers to acquire land, using compulsory purchase powers if necessary, was the best structure for the task.

 

7. The two areas covered by the UDC suffer from disparate land ownership, major environmental challenges, large scale ground contamination, local infrastructure and access issues, significant deprivation and serious skills deficits.

 

8. LTGDC, together with partner agencies including the local London Boroughs, is meeting these challenges by developing a clear strategic policy framework. With the investment in and delivery of key projects, LTGDC is acting as a vital catalyst to realise the London Thames Gateway's economic potential.

 

9. Soon after establishment, LTGDC completed regeneration frameworks, together with fully costed delivery plans, in partnership with the Greater London Authority (GLA) family and the local councils for both the Lower Lea Valley and London Riverside. These provide the policy basis to transform these areas into vibrant high quality sustainable communities with thriving economies. 35,000 new homes and 50,000 new jobs will be created in the Lower Lea Valley with 33,000 new homes and 17,000 new jobs in London Riverside.

 

10. In 2007, an Opportunity Area Planning Framework for the Lower Lea Valley was formally adopted by the Mayor of London. LTGDC is now working with the GLA to produce a Framework for London Riverside to be adopted by the Mayor in 2010.

 

11. Masterplans have been developed by LTGDC in association with the GLA family and borough partners for Canning Town, Bromley by Bow, Sugar House Lane, Hackney Wick/Fish Island, Thameside West, Poplar Riverside, the River Roding, the A1306 corridor and Rainham Village. Most of these have been adopted as policy by local councils while work continues on the remainder to refine them.

 

12. £133.5 million of capital has been invested by LTGDC to 31st March 2009, of which 60% has been invested directly and 40% through grant funding, mostly to the local councils. LTGDC has a further allocation of £80 million of central Government funding for the period 2009-11.

 

13. Government has just completed its 5 year review of Urban Development Corporations and on 14 January 2010 the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government made the following written statement:

 

'London Thames Gateway Development Corporation (LTGDC) has performed well, working in an extremely complicated environment, handling a complex planning case load. The organisation has existed for a relatively limited period, but in this time, it has put in place innovative planning processes, and is starting to deliver real and tangible benefit for the area through its investment in new homes, jobs, open space, transport infrastructure and its education and skills programme.

 

The proximity of the Olympic Park to LTGDC's area means that the Corporation has an important role to play in securing a long term legacy in East London from the 2012 Olympic Games. It is important that LTGDC is focussed on this in the run up to the Games, and the Government has therefore decided not to make any changes to the structure or responsibilities of the Corporation prior to the Olympics.'

 

14. Therefore LTGDC has a reaffirmed mandate from government and a strengthened focus on the Lower Lea Valley. The Corporation has always regarded the Olympics as an enormous boost to its regeneration task in east London; LTGDC and the Olympic Park Legacy Company can between them provide the organisational strength, statutory powers, land and resources to deliver a reconfigured Lower lea Valley that provides opportunities for London's communities and benefits to the economy of London and the south-east.

 

15. In the run up to the Games, LTGDC will continue to invest in programmes of development and environmental enhancements around the fringes of the Olympic Park, the Olympic 'Arc', whilst preparing for future schemes that commence as the Park becomes fully integrated with the surrounding areas post Games.

 

LTGDC WORK IN THE OLYMPIC 'ARC'

 

16. LTGDC is working with the LDA, ODA, the Olympic Park Legacy Company, the host boroughs and other stakeholders to maximise the physical legacy of the London 2012 Games for the local communities. Masterplans are completed or nearing completion to ensure the Olympic Park is fully integrated into the surrounding communities and that they benefit from the investment in the Games.

 

17. LTGDC is working with the local councils and the ODA to ensure key routes into the Olympic Park are created and the public realm in Stratford, the Three Mills area including Three Mills Lock, and Hackney Wick and Fish Island is improved in order to position these areas for private sector investment.

 

18. In terms of projects, the National Skills Academy for Financial Services opened in January 2008, with LTGDC providing a £1 million grant, and significant advice and guidance with the business planning of this new facility.

19. In October 2009 LTGDC completed an inward investment & marketing suite, 'The View', high up overlooking the Park. This spectacular space will be used by Think London, Gateway to London, Invest Thames Gateway, UK Trade & Investment, LOCOG, OPLC, CLG and the local councils to attract inward investment.

 

20. The 'View Tube', a partnership project between LTGDC the Olympic Delivery Agency, Leaside Regeneration and Thames Water has been opened on The Greenway adjacent to Olympic Park, offering a visitor and community centre with a programme of activities, a café, and a viewing platform overlooking the Olympic Park and Stratford City.

 

21. In Stratford High Street LTGDC has committed £10 million to funding the design and procurement of public realm enhancement works.

 

22. LTGDC has agreed with LDA funding to extend the Olympic Combined Cooling Heat and Power infrastructure beyond the Olympic Park to optimise renewable energy opportunities. This will be the first stage in a utilities infrastructure network to cover the entire Lower Lea Valley.

 

23. Improvement works funded by LTGDC around Hackney Wick to the canal tow paths and existing bridges and underpasses across the A12 will start during 2010.

 

24. In addition to preparing delivery strategies and investing in land and buildings, LTGDC has been working with those schools (or other providers) which are closest to its priority areas and have the greatest potential to transform. That transformation is centred on developing strong leadership, meeting economic growth needs, building upon community / business networks and utilising local drivers such as the Build Schools for the Future programme. The transformation is largely measured by increased GCSE pass rates and progression rates (of pupils to further/higher education or employment).

 

25. LTGDC is working with Birkbeck College and University of East London to secure the site acquisition for the new campus with the London Borough of Newham and to HEFCE funding. It will invest alongside HEFCE and UEL in the campus with development work scheduled to commence in 2012.

 

DELIVERING AND MEASURING LASTING LEGACY

 

26. The opportunity to harness the momentum and investment created by hosting the 2012 Olympics in east London and securing permanent socio-economic benefits has been recognised at all levels of government; the boost that such a major event brings to the established regeneration agenda for the area needs to be captured and maintained.

 

27. Central, regional and local government have joined with development agencies to assess the current challenges facing the 5 Olympic host boroughs, the planned investment coming into the area, the opportunities presented by those investments, and the potential barriers to local communities benefiting fully. This work has led to an approach which identifies how the host boroughs will use the physical changes in the area to deliver a social and economic legacy through co-ordinated effort on improved services across agencies, particularly in education and skills, reducing worklessness, increasing health and wellbeing, reducing crime, and increasing participation in sport. This will be coupled with ensuring that physical developments, including housing, support social objectives and are of excellent quality. LTGDC is committed to supporting the local service delivery agencies in this shared ambition.

 

28. The principle that underpins this approach is one of convergence. For the 5 host boroughs the measure of success will be that, in the next 20 years, residents in the host boroughs will equal the London average in a range of indicators, including employment, educational attainment, life expectancy and crime. Given the serious levels of deprivation in parts of the host boroughs at the moment, these are very challenging targets. However, it is now that we have the best possible opportunity to move in that direction and for east London to fulfil its potential contribution to the UK economy.

 

29. LTGDC will continue its programme of bringing forward land assembly and development, utilising its CPO powers and planning powers to secure comprehensive treatment to derelict and underutilised land. It will also continue its programme of support and investment in education and skills, public realm and marketing and inward investment.

 

LTGDC AND THE OLYMPIC PARK LEGACY COMPANY

 

30. The redevelopment and regeneration of the Olympic Park is one of the largest, most ambitious and longest-term regeneration tasks this country has ever embarked upon. At the heart of this project is the creation of new communities centred on the Olympic parkland and venues.

 

31. LTGDC has welcomed the establishment of the Olympic Park Legacy Company and initial meetings have indicated a strong shared ambition for the area, an understanding of the complimentary roles of the two organisations, and a commitment to effective joint working.

 

32. The Olympic Park Legacy Company will take responsibility for the business planning and marketing of the Olympic Park, venues and commercial opportunities leading up to 2012; the management of the Olympic Park and venues after 2012; the redevelopment of sites in the Olympic Park used for temporary facilities during the Games, and their integration with retained venues; and working with partners to secure economic and social benefits and improvements in the areas of deprivation surrounding the Olympic Park.

 

33. The priority for the Company is to deliver the development of the former Olympic site as a high quality, sustainable mixed community as well as securing long term development of the venues and parklands in ways which provide national and local sporting and cultural value commensurate with their Olympic heritage.

 

34. LTGDC is leading on a number of projects in the areas surrounding the Olympic Park to ensure that the surrounding communities maximise the opportunities that will arise from the huge investment in the Park. It is imperative that the momentum that has been created is maintained. The period to 2012 is the time when the Olympic spotlight will be on these areas and they cannot afford to lose out on the opportunity.

 

35. LTGDC already has a good working relationship with the ODA and the LDA on Olympic fringe projects. Indeed, it has agreed responsibilities for delivery of projects in the Olympic fringe with the LDA, delivered the Three Mills Lock and the View Tube project with the ODA and been closely involved in negotiations around the nature of Olympic investment (e.g. the IBC/MPC) on the surrounding area.

 

36. LTGDC is also working closely with the Olympic Park Legacy Company to develop a strong and clearly defined relationship. Both parties are agreed that the Olympic Park Legacy Company must focus its efforts on the Park while LTGDC focuses its efforts with the boroughs on rest of the Lower Lea Valley.

 

37. Of key importance will be the Company's ability to take the long view and not be forced into less than optimum solutions to secure early financial returns. Encouragingly the Company is taking a close look at the draft Legacy Masterplan Framework to ensure that the key principles of place making and connectivity are embedded in the framework; subsequent detailed plans can then be assessed against the key criteria of that overarching strategy.

 

38. LTGDC will continue to work with the boroughs and the Company to secure physical and social benefits for the surrounding communities, to attract inward investment and employment opportunities, and ultimately to deliver the jointly agreed government/mayor/LTGDC 2006 'vision' for the Lower Lea Valley.

 

January 2010



[1] Not published here.