Some thoughts on London Dock

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.

It was also good to hear that the St George’s people are meeting on a monthly basis with community leaders (church, police, the legendary Ray Newton of course, Glamis Estate, Bangladeshi Association, Turks Head, Wiltons, Friends of St Katherine’s Dock, etc.) to get their feedback.

An annoying little niggle

One negative point: I was a little disturbed to find that Network Wapping are positioning themselves as a community group and as such are being consulted on the basis that they represent the people of Wapping. They do not. And we still do not know who most of them are despite repeated requests. This is not right. I will be emailing the people at St George’s to point this out.

My opinion

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?

For more information:

London Dock Consultation website

What’s in Wapping

4 thoughts on “Some thoughts on London Dock

  1. For people living on a border to the project such as residents of Telfords Yard (of which I am one), the new development towers above them and it will significantly impact light for those people. The developers claim to reference local buildings for the development but not sure where else in Wapping there’s a 38 storey building. Aside of that, they have referenced a residential housing block to the European HQ of a Global Corporate, hardly like for like. The reference point is always the tallest building with developers, not the average or the smallest, just the one that suits their need best.

    And with the development set to take at least 10 years, local residents will effectively be living on a building site for all that time. Noise and dirt for a decade; opening windows in summer simply wont be possible unless you like the sound of construction. It’s goodbye to peace and quiet.

    While properties nearby might go up in value at the end of it, right now, no buyer in his/her right mind is going to pay (the historical) market price to move into a property with 10 years of building work ahead. On a 5 year view, most people’s reasonable time horizon, it’s a disaster for anyone who wants to sell. Your only choice is to wait it out.

    St George will have paid handsomely to acquire the site and now have to turn a profit for shareholders. For current local residents however, it will cost them dear for some time to come.

    The outcome for me is that my flat is now unsellable, the view from my window will be replaced by a tower block metres away and my peace will be shattered for a decade. Personally, I believe this is a terrible outcome.

    1. Thanks very much for this comment David. This is the sort of personal detail on how existing residents will be affected by the development that we need to publicise and make sure the developers hear.

      cheers, Mark

  2. 130 metres is still closer to half the height of the shard than to a third. So either you are deliberately misleading people or you are bad at maths. In either case you should correct this.

    1. Dear John Wolf

      Thanks very much for your constructive comment. You are quite right I am both bad at maths and on a mission to mislead everyone in Wapping over the height of things! Well spotted. I for instance am 8′ 6″ tall. Spot the mistake there?

      Anyway to the whole arithmetic thing. London Shard is 309.6m high, the proposed tower thing at London Dock will be ‘approximately 130m high’. That’s a quote from the guy at London Dock I talked to. Notice the use of the word approximately there? So the London Dock tower might be 130m high, 180m high or even 70m high! But let’s not be picky, it’s only arithmetic. Let’s say the London Dock tower will be exactly 130m high. Not an inch more or less.

      So by my poor arithmetic half the height of the Shard is 155m, one third the height is 103m. The difference between the two heights is 52m so the mid point between half height and third height will be 52 divided by 2 which is 26 plus the third of the London Shard height which would give 103 plus 26 which equals 129 meters. So if the London Dock tower is EXACTLY 130m heigh then it will be EXACTLY one metre above the third height of the London Shard.

      So you are right. By a whole metre.

      Of course if the final height of the London Dock tower is 125m then you are wrong. By several feet.

      I should point out that it was me who originally claimed via FB and a tweet that the London Dock tower would be one third the height of the Shard. And I think your point is that I am claiming that the London Dock tower will not be as high as originally claimed. By me.

      This is because i was doing the whole height thing based on storeys, the mistake i made was that the Shard is office storeys which are higher than residential storeys which is what the London Dock tower is made up of.

      So i am not only bad at arithmetic and guilty of misleading the whole of Wapping in all things relating to height but I am also guilty of correcting my own mistakes!

      BTW is your name really John Wolf? Unlike other websites I am going to be completely ruthless regarding commenting, especially people who attack other people online while hiding their real identity. But as you have identified yourself that’s fine.

      And as you have already discovered I have both opinions and attitudes and have no hesitation in expressing either.

      Yours from the heart of Wapping,

      Mark Baynes

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