Groundbreaking ceremony marks start of £1.7bn ABP development in Royal Docks

The groundbreaking ceremony at the ABP site (Picture: Melissa Page)

The groundbreaking ceremony at the ABP site (Picture: Melissa Page) - Credit: Archant

East London will become a centre for international business and trade, Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales, said at a groundbreaking ceremony at Royal Albert Dock.

He spoke on Wednesday at the ceremony, which signified the start of the £1.7 billion project, headed by Chinese developer ABP, to turn the Docklands into an international business centre.

“The docks are coming back,” he said. “East London is where the land and the opportunity are. People are starting to see just how exciting it is.”

ABP worked with the Department for International Trade and the Mayors of London and Newham to create a new business district along the docks. It will include seven new public squares and a waterfront walkway.

The eight-year project is expected to bring international businesses to London as well as provide 30,000 jobs and £6 billion to the local economy.

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The first stage of the project, 600,000 square feet of development, is set to open in 2019 with the arrival of Crossrail.

The most important part for Sir Robin is ensuring that local people benefit as well. By supporting endeavours like this, people in Newham will get what they want, jobs and better homes.

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“Twenty per cent of workers on site are from Newham, and we expect more soon,” he said.

Xu Weiping, chairman and president of ABP, said that the Docklands have been disregarded, and now they are finally being regenerated, just as many people in London expected them to be.

“We’re not building a new Chinatown,” Mr Xu said. “We’re building a modern business centre. We’re here to continue the dream of our British friends. Together we will realize this dream.”

In a post-Brexit UK, many worried what the future of international business would be.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said that this new project is another vote of confidence for the UK’s future.

“All the signs are positive,” he said. This is another vote of confidence. London’s prospects are brighter than ever.”

“We are always, always open to business, investment, Europe, China and the rest of the world.”

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