The future of Docklands and the Thames Estuary
It must be over five years since I was introduced to Reg Ward who was the first Chief Executive of the LDDC (London Docklands Development Corporation) – a man of great vision and ambition. He moved from Gloucester to live in the then barren Isle of Dogs where most signs of the once busy working docks had long been closed up. His job was to breathe new life and turn the abandoned quays into light industrial estates linked with a new ‘jolly pink road’ and a light rail system which gave direct access into the City.
After many years of tribulations and a new infra structure investors realised the potential for development and armed with generous tax breaks the new financial city was born. The cross river rail links of the Jubilee Line and the Docklands Light Railway extensions rejuvenated the extensive Development Zones.
With all this behind us and prior to his recent death, Reg Ward had further dreams – to create a new outer hub in the Gravesend Tilbury areas with a similar DLR line linking the two cross river communities and the two upstream retail developments at Lakeside and Blue Water.
The promise of the vast new container port known as Thames Gateway further down the estuary provided space and opportunity to inject new life into the vast Tilbury Docks – an area similar in size with waterways and frontages to the Thames just like the Isle of Dogs. A sparkling new city providing a proud new focus for estuarial Essex and Kent backed by new road and rail cross over connections and perhaps a new barrier with tidal power potential – this new community could change the existing frantic East West commute and provide a social and educational hub for the ever increasing urbanisation.
The summer issue of ‘Talk of the Thames’ – the magazine of Thames Estuary Partnership based at London’s UCL on 020 7679 8855 www.thamesweb.com
This issue of Talk of the Thames reveals Reg Ward and my thoughts for all to share!
Prints for sale from the SeaPortfolio on www.peterkentgreenwich.co.uk