Business blossoming despite Canning Town construction

A small business in Canning Town is flourishing despite the huge upheavals in the area. Caramel Rock make high-end fashion garments as well as being a community outreach programme.

The not-for-profit organisation is four years old. They’ve expanded each year and they now have four permanent employees. They run programmes for schools as well as adults and regularly showcase work at shows including London Fashion Week.

Image from Newham Council’s regeneration masterplan

Despite huge change in the local area they have managed to continue as normal. Newham Council planning documents show that in the future a “residential street” will cut through this area, connecting Canning Town with Custom House.

It’s thought that the building Caramel Rock currently occupies will be demolished although the church next door will remain part of any future redevelopment.

The company has lined up a move into a new home on Barking Road, a five minute journey away.

Below is a short interview with the director of Caramel Rock, Faith Johnson. She speaks about her company, how it’s run, who it’s for and how it’s been affected by the regeneration.


Donations needed to develop Cody Dock

A charity is trying to raise enough money to turn a derelict dock into a vibrant creative quarter.

The Gasworks Dock Partnership have started to welcome donations from today to help turn Cody Dock into community gardens along with a wooden swing bridge.

Initially built in 1870 on the Lower River Lea, it is currently cut off by industrial estates and has been neglected.

The charity has part-funded the project with backing from the council. However they still need £140,000 to complete their plans.

If you’re able to donate then you can do so here. In the long term they wish to create affordable studio space and even a visitor centre and a cafe.

When I visited the site the riverside path was blocked off by fencing. If this project is completed then the fences will come down and open up a continuous 26-mile pathway that stretches all the way from Hertfordshire.

Developer chosen for Silvertown Quays regeneration

Derelict factory Millennium Mills on current site

The London Development Agency this week announced Chelsfield are the preferred bidder to redevelop Silvertown Quays.

The 50-acre site, which is part of the enterprise zone, is currently home to the derelict former flour factory Millennium Mills, which closed in 1984.

It’s thought it will cost £1.2bn to redevelop the site and the proposal includes 228,570 square meters of commercial and retail space, and 126,440 square metres of housing.

Design by Arup/AHHM – submitted to Newham Council

There’s also plans to include education, research and innovation centres. Work is due to start in the next two years and a completion date of 2018 has been given.

More on this story can be found here.

Newham leads the way for business start-ups

New figures reveal that in the last two years more businesses have started in Newham than any other London borough. The data also shows they rank second out of all authorities in England and Wales.

The findings were carried out by Experian and revealed by the BBC. They show that the number of businesses in Newham rose from 10,238 in early 2010 to 14,672 at the start of this year – an increase of 43.3%.

The main reason for this is the new Westfield Shopping Centre and the regeneration around the Olympic site. As well as the establishing of an Enterprise Zone in the Royal Docks.

There was also good news for neighbouring Barking and Dagenham which saw 7,685 new companies find their feet in the same time period.

This good news for the borough appears against a backdrop of gloom for London in general. The number of businesses in the capital dropped by 1.5%. Hounslow saw the biggest number of insolvencies, relocations and closures with a decrease of 3,169 businesses.

Council approve plans for “urban district” at Minoco Wharf

Design by Ballymore – submitted to Newham Council

Bloomberg are reporting today that Newham Council have given “preliminary permission” to developer Ballymore to build over 3,000 homes in the Royal Docks.

The project still needs approval by the Mayor of London but Minoco Wharf looks set on having a residential district along with bars, restaurants and shops. There’s also plans for 5,000 square metres of office space.

A variety of factories currently occupy the site and it’s next to the fairly unknown Lyle Park. The developer hopes that this will be the catalyst for regeneration of adjoining sites.

Disused warehouse on current site

Is Crossrail selling North Woolwich short?

The Royal Docks Learning & Activity Centre located on Factory Road, North Woolwich.Council funding was cut last year and they’ve had to rely on private donations and grants. The youth club has since folded and their range of services and workshops are no longer free to the public.

Despite this they’ve battled on, only to be confronted with another hurdle:

The construction of Crossrail has had a serious affect. It’s less attractive to potential donors and people wishing to hire the hall. The drilling fills the air with dust and causes vibrations to the foundations of the building. Hidden behind the railings passing trade is non-existent.

I asked an employee at the centre whether their problems will be solved when Crossrail opens in 2018. The response: “Crossrail is just trains passing by, none will stop around here.”

Diagram created using Microsoft’s Bing maps

Silverlink’s North London Line finished in 2006 and that disused track is set to take trains from Custom House all the way to Woolwich (on the other side of the Thames) without stopping. Crossrail’s planning assessment states:

“Silvertown station will be demolished and passive provision for a new station in the future. The Hybrid Bill proposals do not make provision for a station at Silvertown.”

When the North London Line was removed the DLR between Canning Town and King George V stations was thought be a sufficient alternative. Is this enough? Crossrail stopping in Silvertown would relieve some of the anguish of years of construction for North Woolwich – there should a light at the end of the tunnel.