New Town Planned on Wapping Docks Site. Sound Familiar?

From The Times, July 15, 1970. Former dock to be built on to create thousnads of new homes with a seconday school. Deja vu all over again?

Plans to create a small new town in the Wapping area of London’s dockland were outlined yesterday by the Greater London Council and Tower Hamlets Borough Council.

The plan for the area, which includes 103 acres of Port of London Authority land released by closure of the London Docks 18 months ago, envisages new homes to house some 12,000 extra people, and the filling in of most of the 35 acres of dock basins.

The outline plan to be put on show to the public next Monday, shows only the framework of future development. Thus although the proposed new housing is stated to be 75 per cent a borough and 25 per cent, G.LC. responsibility. Mr. John Hume, the Tower Hamlets chief architect and plainer, emphasized that choice of building agencies was still open, and building for sale was by no means ruled out.

The study covers an area from the edge of the St. Katharine’s Dock development near the Tower (where redevelopment starts later this year) to King Edward VII Park, Shadwell in the east; and from the river to The Highway, the widened east-west road. It envisages a mile-and-a-half continuous riverside walk linking open spaces: loop-roads off The Highway for local traffic; and footpaths linking the riverside with shopping centres and with Watney Street market.

New schools are provided for, as well as a polytechnic building and a further education centre. One wedge of open space is sited so that work on the proposed Pool of Londorn road tunnel and its approaches need not involve fresh demolition.

London Transport’s proposed Fleet Line is seen as crucial to the vitality of the area. Introducing the plan. Dr. Gerard Vaughan, chairman of the G.L.C.’s strategic planning committee, said it was determined to see the whole of the available 1,000 acres of dockland as one exciting opportunity, not as a series of unrelated packages.

Dr. Vaughan talked of  “1,000 acres” of docks as the port’s trade moved down river. This suggests that, in addition to London and Surrey docks he expects other parts of the system to become redundant in the next few years.

The public exhibition of the plan is at Oliver’s Wharf, Wapping High Street (near the junction with Scandrett Street), July 20-25, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. daily: St. George’s in. the East, Shadwell, July 29-August 2: and the East End Mission, 583 Commercial Road, August 5-12. Wapping underground station, 1970, and (right) an artist’s idea for the future station when Wapping is revitalized as an attractive environment.

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