Training, education and jobs: Discover the proposed future of Albert Island
- Credit: Forbes Massie/Haworth Tompkins
For centuries, the Royal Docks were the centre of the shipping industry. Now a new development is set to ensure that returns - bringing 21st century transport with it.
The Albert Island development is set to take over a 25 acre site between Beckton and North Woolwich, with £300 million worth of investment already committed.
The project is being led by Richard Gibbs, who, as part of the team behind Here East, has experience in creating business sites in Newham.
“About three years ago I was approached by the Greater London Authority who decided to market the site,” he said.
“They said, ‘You’re going to have to build a shipyard’.”
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That shipyard will be a state-of-the-art centre designed to service and repair riverboats on the Thames, rather than for building new ones.
“For around 100 years marine traffic on the Thames has been in freefall,” Richard explained.
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“About 10 years ago it began to stop declining and start growing again.
“It can’t grow any more unless there are facilities to support it.”
But the plans for Albert Island focus on much more than just those facilities.
“It’s a big opportunity to create a transport engineering hub,” Richard said.
“It’s got what we call the four Rs - river, road, rails and runway.
“We want Albert Island to be a place where anyone in the transport industry who comes to London comes through there.”
As part of the scheme, the site will be working with Queen Mary University and Newham College to bring the next generation of transport workers through, having been shortlisted for an institute of technology.
The training scheme will have around 1,000 students a cohort, and will help to retrain those out of work for the jobs that are available, so that their skills are more likely to match vacancies.
Other plans for Albert Island include provision for small, medium and large companies, with the aim to bring different businesses together and work in partnership with each other.
The charity Thames 21 will also create an educational facility on the island, with Richard saying they will be “setting up a place for people to understand the Thames”.
He added that the aim is to get full planning permission in around 18 months and begin building in 2020.