In a brief introduction by the Chair, Sir Bob Scott, to this third meeting of the Forum, reference was made to the fact that with Lord Falconer’s departure in the recent Cabinet reshuffle, responsibility for the Dome has now moved to the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office. It is as yet unclear as to which Minister will take on responsibility for the Project. It is, however, unlikely to be local MP, Nick Raynsford!
There followed presentations from Cllr. Chris Roberts, Leader of Greenwich Council, two of the three main stakeholders in the future of the Peninsula, Nick Shattock of Quintain Estates and Detlev Korneff of AEG and by Dave Jessup, Transportation Manager at Greenwich Council.
The Council’s Vision, Chris Roberts
Cllr. Roberts began by asking the question “Where are we?” in the
context of the Mayor’s wider view for London outlined in his weighty
plans for the Thames Gateway. This goes some way to meeting the
Council’s own ambitions for Greenwich. In brief, it proposes that a
city the size of Leeds, some 5-600,000 people, will be housed within
the ‘Gateway’ area to the east of London. This will require ‘urban’
rather than ‘suburban’ style occupancy levels, with even the
Council’s figures in this area likely to come under pressure. It is
also likely to occur mainly in brownfield sites rather than on any
land currently defined as ‘Green Belt’.
CrossRail was essential to the development of the Peninsula in the
Council’s view. Debate on the link ends on July 28th 2002, so the
Council are keen to receive any input from community groups or from
individuals on the idea of a Charlton link ASAP. At present an
extension from Liverpool Street to Canary Wharf seems almost certain,
but the options relate to whether there is then a further extension
to Woolwich via the Royal Docks or via Charlton. Additional crossings
must be built as the existing infrastructure cannot possibly
cope. There is clearly debate over road v. rail, but both are needed,
one cannot ignore the car.
Further the Council would like to progress the idea of at the very
least, off-peak closure of Greenwich Town Centre to all but PSVs.
In answer to a question from the floor it was considered that
there was no chance that both a ‘north’ and ‘south’ route to Woolwich
could be considered.
Meridian Delta Ltd
Nick Shattock, Quintain Estates
Mr. Shattock reported that the scheme involved a £200 million
investment in the Dome itself. The Consortium recognised their
responsibility to the people of Greenwich and to London as a whole,
to consult as widely as sensible time scales permitted. They
recognised and apologised for the fact that there had only been
limited interaction to date, but this was owing to the legal issues
associated with the contractual negotiations. The Master Plan was
likely to be the largest planning application since WWII. It would
encompass a full mix of residential, commercial and entertainment
facilities along with a huge increase in public open space, some of
which was already in place (Central Park and the Dome Waterfront reed
beds). A Meridian Delta Business Centre would open on site shortly
within the existing Media Suite where this meeting was held.
Who are the players?
Quintain are now in the FTSE 250. They have multiple
property interests and bring 18.5 acres of their own land immediately
adjoining the Dome site into the frame (largely the old Delta Metals
site). They also have interests in healthcare and special needs
Lend Lease are an Australian-based multinational. They have
been responsible for a number of major UK developments including
Bluewater Retail Park and are currently rebuilding the Town Centre in
AEG (Anshutz Entertainment Group) are the owners of Madison
Square Garden and the Staples Centre in Los Angeles (recently voted
the World’s Best Entertainment Centre) as well as the owners of
several U.S. basketball, baseball and ice hockey teams. They also own
the London Knights.
The consortium offered a comprehensive redevelopment package for
the Dome and its immediate surroundings. There is a sense that there
may well be the need for a new name for the area as opposed to the
existing North Greenwich or Greenwich Peninsula. The associated areas
are as follows;
Civic and Public Open Space
The area to the east of the entrance to North Greenwich Station,
currently the old approach and entry booths to the MEX would be
developed as a new ‘London ‘square’. Roughly the size of Hanover
Square, this area would feature some iconic architecture and aim to
rival Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus. It could handle up to
20,000 people. Central Park would be enhanced with spaces for music
and other events. It would be open and accessible to all its new
This would be the smallest housing zone with 500 homes. It
comprises the area previously occupied by the ‘Red Boot’ Dome pub,
Macdonalds, Skyscape Cinema and various Dome support and corporate
entertainment buildings. Designed for the ‘active urban dweller’ i.e.
couples, this section faces the new square to the west and the river
to the east. It would include a significant proportion of ‘affordable
housing’, primarily aimed at ‘key workers’. It would be accompanied
by retail and leisure facilities to provide a community asset.
Bugsby’s Reach (three sections)
1700 homes, and ‘family’ oriented. Will incorporate a large
secondary school (a relocated and enlarged John Roan School) as well
as a commercial/industrial area.
Area round the Station will have some high-rise (around 15-storey)
buildings. Office space will probably be aimed at media and marketing
companies. Much work is planned matching the required skills of this
area with what is on offer in local Colleges and Universities.
Greenwich University got a plug.. why not Goldsmiths College?
Sheltered from the wind, and occupying the west side of the
Peninsula, this currently largely Quintain-owned land will feature
2,500 homes. It would also make a feature out of the Meridian Line
which passes through the site and be another area with a vibrant
night life. Whatever is put in place will have to compete with the
other nightlife spots of London, so will have to be better than what
there is elsewhere to entice people out to Greenwich. There would
also be a large hotel located here with Dome-related facilities.
The significant area to the north of the Dome would feature an
enhanced area of wetlands and redeemed and would be of significant
ecological interest. The space may be sufficient to create a small
(1000-1500 seat) venue as well as having the potential to be another
centre for the area’s nightlife.
Detlev Korneff, Anschultz Entertainment Group
Detlev began by stating that, as a major city, what London lacked
most was a prestige entertainment venue. As operators of
Madison Square Garden, the Staples Centre and the recently opened
Kodak Centre in L.A. among others, AEG are ideally equipped to create
such a venue for London. AEG’s plans for the Dome involved the
construction, entirely within the canopy of the existing Dome
structure with the associated engineering issues of such work, of a
40m high, 650,000 sq.m arena that would be self-contained, sound and
weatherproof. It would facilitate a ‘guest experience’ with
unparalleled facilities and totally unobstructed sight-lines. The
construction phase would last 24 months. It would be capable of
housing music events, shows and sports. The Arena would seat
20,000 in concert and sport event mode, but could be made more
informal and house smaller events as well. The arena would be up to
Olympic standard for certain sporting events. It would host
the London Knights Ice Hockey Team (who would move from their
current venue at the London Arena). There would hopefully be around
150 events/year at the venue. There would also be a wide range
of ancillary usage of the Dome Waterfront area to the north of
the main Dome complex. The whole development of the Dome itself was
aimed to bring benefits to local businesses and provide many jobs for
local workers. Investment is planned at £135 million for the
Dome itself with a further £200 million on the table to the
concept as a whole.
Q & A
There would be moves to try and plan some events at the Dome
between now and ‘groundbreaking’ for the construction phase. Even
while building work is under way, Health & Safety issues
permitting, it may still be possible to hold certain events at the
Dome, or in the surrounding Dome Waterfront area. It is hoped to open
the new venue in early 2005.
There was a question about whether the Dome would be retained
indefinitely, or might it be removed once its life ‘ran out’. The
proposal is to retain the Dome at least for its planned 20 year
lifetime. The author’s perception was that the unspoken hope was that
if the concept had proved itself in that time, that the Dome would,
by that time, hopefully be an ‘icon’ that would have to be
Bert Martin for MDL answered several questions about
numbers, time scale and ‘percentage’ figures for ‘affordable
housing’. A total of 7000 homes is the target and the whole project
is likely to span a phased 15 year period. A Job and ‘Skilling’
Centre will be created on site with the same purpose as that at
Bluewater, one of Lend Lease’s earlier developments. A ‘Business
Register’ will also be created for local businesses and tradespeople
to post their skills. This had been set up during the Dome
construction phase, but few local businesses apparently considered
they had benefited. There is currently an overall architect
appointed, but ‘quality design and build on sustainable principles’
is key. However, this is not another GMV (Greenwich Millennium
Village being built adjoining the Dome site, so things will be
different. Since GMV is not, as it turns out, over endowed on that
front, this statement was a little disappointing.
The question arose as to what would happen if one of the partners
started to get cold feet. Ralph Luck for English Partnerships
replied that he had been involved in 5 months of hard negotiations
over the deal. It would be delivered. There was to be an
extensive consultation process and two exhibitions over the next four
months. The first exhibition is likely to be at the end of July/early
August, and the second in the autumn around the time of the
publication of the Master Plan.
Transport options for the Peninsula
Dave Jessup provided an update in the absence of TfL
DLR Extension to Woolwich
These seems quite likely to be approved. Work could begin in
2003-4 and should be open by 2007. This would offer a major boost to
Woolwich with 20 minute journey times to Canary Wharf, and direct
access to any CrossRail link, no matter what extensions might be
There are now two possible extensions likely to the planned
CrossRail link direct to Heathrow via Tottenham Court Road. One
proposal is a line via the ‘Royals’ and LCA to Woolwich. The other
is a link to the existing Charlton station and then on to Woolwich.
Either way, Woolwich would be served, and development opportunities opened up in both Charlton and Kidbrooke.
The Charlton route would be cheaper, and although ‘the North’ have
the initiative currently in lobbying, this factor and others (such as
the proximity of the Peninsula and the need to increase capacity to
any new future development there to relieve the already
up-to-capacity Jubilee Line) make the Charlton direction supposedly
more likely. There would be an almost immediate public consultation
on this proposal with an opening date of 2010 being indicated.
Greenwich Waterfront Transit
The Mayor has made a decision to support a bus-based Transit
running initially from North Greenwich to Thamesmead/Abbey
Wood. Later extension to Greenwich Town Centre was possible, but
clearly more difficult to achieve with dedicated bus lanes. Greenwich
Council are not dismayed by this decision as there is the option to
convert to a tram at a later date if usage dictates. The service
would be on dedicated roadway for the most part. Features would be
‘soft-ticketing’ from newsagents, etc., state-of-the-art ‘bendy’
buses and electronic ‘next arrival’ indicators at all stops. The
Mayor has indicated a 2008 completion for this rather than the
Council’s plan of 2005, but it is hoped that completion can be
Silvertown Crossing (Third Blackwall Crossing)
Not much was said about this apart from a completion date of 2009,
but questions were asked about the nature of the crossing and how it
integrated with the outline plans for the development of the Dome and
associated land. A ‘reserved desire line’ was in place across the
Peninsula, along with the necessary interchange (and toll booths?)
with the A102, although this had not been clear from the plans.
Almost certainly to be a tunnel as the Mayor has previously rejected
the idea of a bridge.
Thames Gateway Bridge (East London River Crossing)
No details. 2011 completion date if it goes ahead.
Sir Bob Scott then drew the meeting to a close by thanking
everyone for attending and announced that the next Forum is likely to
concentrate on transport issues.
Last updated, July 9th, 2002
Web’d by David Riddle