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.

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.