It’s Sil­ver­town’s time to shine

A ne­glected slice of in­dus­trial east Lon­don is on the brink of trans­for­ma­tion into the cap­i­tal’s first fac­tory-built town. re­ports on an am­bi­tious £3.5 bil­lion mas­ter­plan

London Evening Standard (West End Final B) - ES Homes and Property - - Regeneration -

ONCE a for­lorn lit­tle east Lon­don cor­ner, Sil­ver­town is poised for star­dom thanks to a re­gen­er­a­tion pro­gramme that will cre­ate the cap­i­tal’s first fac­tory-built town.

A fac­tory will be built on-site to con­struct the com­po­nents for 850 new homes as part of a £3.5 bil­lion mas­ter­plan. Res­i­dents should be mov­ing in by 2020. Their new homes will be part of an ar­chi­tec­tural and re­tail scheme that is promised strictly to be free of sky­scrapers and chain stores.

Right now there are few clues that Sil­ver­town, stranded on a sliver of land be­tween the Thames Bar­rier, Lon­don City air­port and Pon­toon Dock, is be­ing put on the map. A few small de­vel­op­ments were thrown up on dis­used in­dus­trial sites in the Eight­ies and Nineties but work fiz­zled out, leav­ing the new lo­cals stranded.

Buy­ing a pint of milk is still a chal­lenge in Sil­ver­town, and if you plan on go­ing out lo­cally to eat or drink, you can for­get it: there is noth­ing here but old, aban­doned mills.

Olaide Oboh is spokes­woman for the Sil­ver­town Part­ner­ship, a con­sor­tium of three de­vel­op­ers — Chels­field Prop­er­ties, First Base and Mac­quarie Cap­i­tal — lead­ing the re­gen­er­a­tion. “We see it as a vi­brant, 24-hour area,” she says. “And we are ob­sessed with de­sign. We won’t build homes that are just boxes with no char­ac­ter or iden­tity. They will work well and be beau­ti­ful to look at.”

The re­gen­er­a­tion of Sil­ver­town has been con­sid­ered for years. There has been a lengthy prepa­ra­tion pe­riod, part of which was taken up with ob­tain­ing plan­ning per­mis­sion for the project from Ne­wham coun­cil.

Strip­ping out a ton of dan­ger­ous as­bestos from the Mil­len­nium Mills, a hulk­ing Art Deco for­mer flour mill which will sport and leisure will be in the mix at the docks’ new town, with bars, shops, eater­ies and workspace at Mil­len­nium Mills com­plex, right even­tu­ally be­come the cen­tre­piece of the 62-acre site, was a mam­moth task. But over the next few months the pace will pick up. Later this year a “con­tainer city” of up to 250 ship­ping con­tain­ers will be in­stalled, pro­vid­ing af­ford­able tem­po­rary workspace for small busi­nesses. By the new year the am­bi­tious first phase of this gi­ant project will get un­der way.


The restora­tion of the po­ten­tially spec­tac­u­lar Mil­len­nium Mills, which will fea­ture shops, bars, and restau­rants plus workspace for start-up firms, will be com­pleted by about 2019, and si­mul­ta­ne­ously a new bridge will be in­stalled over Royal Vic­to­ria Dock, giv­ing pedes­trian ac­cess to the new su­per-fast Cross­rail links to the City and West End when they be­gin next year from nearby Cus­tom House sta­tion.

Trans­port for Lon­don, mean­while, is pur­su­ing plans to dig a new road tun­nel be­neath the Thames from Sil­ver­town to the Green­wich Penin­sula. A govern­ment de­ci­sion on whether to al­low the £1 bil­lion project is ex­pected within days. An open­ing date of 2022 or 2023 has been pen­cilled in.

Even­tu­ally there will be about 3,000, new homes, rang­ing from one to five bed­rooms — a mix­ture of pri­vate, af­ford­able, shared own­er­ship and built to rent. What­ever their ten­ure, all of Sil­ver­town’s new homes will be pre­fab­ri­cated, their com­po­nents cre­ated on-site in the pur­pose-built new fac­tory. This process will be faster than reg­u­lar house­build­ing, and roughly 20 per cent cheaper.

This sav­ing will not be passed on to buy­ers, as pric­ing will be based on lo­cal val­ues. How­ever, Olaide Oboh prom­ises other ben­e­fits. “We want to de­liver 100 per cent snag-free homes. Don’t think about the old idea of a pre­fab­ri­cated home, built like cross be­tween a shed and a bun­ga­low. Pre­fab­ri­cated homes are now a so­phis­ti­cated and uni­ver­sally used way of pro­vid­ing beau­ti­ful and well-de­signed, long-last­ing homes. We


Poised for a de­ci­sion: TfL plans a new Sil­ver­town to Green­wich road tun­nel

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