This post was originally posted on the Love Wapping Facebook page but is reproduced here for people who hate Facebook. Of which there are a lot.
The long walk along Pennington Street
Walking along Pennington Street to the latest London Dock exhibition organised by St George’s I was in a fairly cynical mood although obviously I always do my best to be fair minded. Honest.
On entering I was met by the same gentleman who I talked to last time so I just asked him “What has changed since the first exhibition?” and he spent about half an hour showing me the latest proposal.
A better perspective
The London Dock plans make a lot more sense now and I think I have a better perspective of how it will fit in with the rest of Wapping.
East to west London Dock will run all the way behind the wall of Pennington Street from Tobacco Dock through the old News International site and down to the Quay 430 south. Commercial buildings will mainly be next to the Thomas More Square, which makes sense.
It is planned to open up maybe three openings in the Pennington Street wall to improve north – south access, which I think is a good idea. And that wall is so big I doubt if it will make much difference to it apart from in a positive way.
It was good to see that there are lots of open spaces in the latest plans and lots of water too.
What is the deal with those tower blocks?
The tall tower block that we heard about will be approximately 130 metres high – not half the height of the London Shard (308 metres) as we thought but around a third if not less. I personally think that being next to Thomas More Square it won’t be that noticeable. And with the sun coming from the south the only people who might be in its shade will be News International. Which is fine with me.
I spent some time chatting with various team members about the need for the buildings in London Dock development to feel as if they are part of the Wapping we know and it seems they are keen to do this.
An annoying little niggle
So, my opinion? I think the proposal is pretty good. I wasn’t expecting to be able to say that but I was pleasantly surprised. And no I was not ‘persuaded’ by anyone.
And to be honest walking back along dark and gloomy Pennington Street it will be a huge improvement. With this, 21 Wapping Lane, the new Tobacco Dock Hotel (if it ever gets built) and with some improvements to St Katherine’s Dock by its new owners Wapping really could be on the up.
But that’s just what I think. You need to go and visit the exhibitions and engage with the people there who genuinely seem to want to know what you think.
Because if you don’t tell them they won’t know, will they?
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