London Docklands

London Docklands

"Evaluate the success of the economic,
social and physical regeneration of The London Docklands."

In Medieval times development occurred
on the Thames, where Romans had once settled. Growth of shipbuilding industry
led to the development of this area. The London Docks were built between

1700 and 1921. The reason was to ease congestion on the Thames between
ships, and the lock gates helped to control the water level in the river.

Security was also improved within the docks because of the high walls around
the dock basins. The Eastend of London developed around the Docks. At the
docks hay day London was at the centre of world trade.

However in 1967 the docks started to decline,
a number of reasons were to cause the downfall to one of the worlds greatest
trading ports. The docks were not designed for the size of the more modern
ships, not been wide enough or deep enough to allow the ships in. The newer
container ships could not be catered for in the docks. This meant that
competition was starting to arise form other ports around the British Isles,
mainly Tilbury and Antwerp. These newer ports offered a facility to handle
containers, with the efficiency of a roll on/roll off system. With the
competition a problem, the London Docks now had to battle through the decline
of traditional trade that was associated with Europe and the docks. Adding
to the problems, traditional industries in Britain were declining all the
time. The docks in effect were been suffocated from of trade. After years
of decline, the docks became too expensive to run, with the lack of trade
and inefficiency of loading and unloading. By 1981, all the docks along
the Thames were closed, with the exception of the new Tilbury dock. As
the area gradually started to run down, the local authorities and government
realised that some kind of redevelopment had to take place.

Regeneration of the area had begun in places
since the end of the war in 1946, due to the extensive bomb damage the
area had suffered. Other projects also went ahead before the docks totally
closed. The "Greater London Development Plan" and "Inner Urban Area Act"
were carried out in the 60ís and 70ís. However, these projects were never
deemed a success, as the majority of the docks were still run down. In
addition, those that were regenerated were not popular because of the misuse
of materials and ideas. None of them seemed to cure the problems that the

Docklands had. Derelict land in the docks was about 40%, around 6 square
km. In the last 15 years before 1981, 150,000 jobs had been lost. The local
population was living on council estates that were crumbling, and had no
basic amenities. Counter urbanisation was happening to the area, over 20%
had moved out. The communication network was poor, no rail links existed,
roads were few and narrow, and public transport was little. Local residents
were deprived of both leisure facilities and basics like schools and hospitals,
they were not even given the chance to make a go of the area they lived
in.

However, a new scheme was to be set up,
which was thought to be the answer to all the problems that the Docklands
contained. In 1979, a new Government came into power with different attitudes
and views. They set up a non-elected corporation, which had total control
over the area. They could use government grants to prepare land and release
it to mainly private developers. Using public funds, they were to attract
private funds. Enter the London Docklands Development Corporation (LDDC).

The LDDC had four aims that they wanted to achieve in the Docklands, they
were basically to improve the economic, social and physical aspects of
the area.

To improve the economic aspect of the area
they had to create jobs for the unemployed who were living in the Docklands,
to do this they had to bring in major companies. The LDDC decided to provide
a good infrastructure to the area, they provided the gas, electric, and
roads. Transport was a main problem, so £600 million was spent on
transport, and another £300 million on just the Docklands Railway.

The most expensive road in Europe was built at a cost of £220, it
is only one mile long and stretches from The Isle of Dogs to the City of

London. However, these costs have eased the congestion to the Docks. This
was enough to convince businesses to move to the area. Large newspaper
companies were also attracted to the Docklands, away from Fleet Street
because of the new Canary Wharf building. This is one