London Docklands Development Corporation

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  • Created by: Fiona
  • Created on: 22-05-13 20:25

Background

The London Docklands are situated on the River Thames, to the east of the city

They were globally important in the 19th and early 20th centuries, home to a lot of economic activity e.g. warehouses and shipping offices

They started to go into decline in the 1960s due to changes in the shipping industry - the larger container ships became more popular and the docks were not large enough or deep enough to accomodate them so it was replaced by Tilbury

By 1980 the docks had become largely derelict - 150,000 people had lost their jobs (shipping was a very labour intensive industry that didn't use easily transferable skills), 20% of housing was not suitable for living in and poor public transport meant the docklands were largely isolated from the rest of the city

In an attempt to combat these problems, the London Dockland Development Corporation (LDDC) was set up in 1981 to redevelop the area - it had the power to buy land and decide how it should be used to encourage businesses and people to return

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Successes

The area was made into an Enterprise Zone from 1982 - 1992 and this helped encourage businesses to invest - by 1998, there were 2,700 businesses trading in the Docklands and it had benefitted from £7.7 billion of private investment - this created jobs, with 85,000 employed there in 1998

24,000 new houses were built, including 6,250 housing association/local authority houses - this helped the resident population to increase from 39,000 to 61,500

The Docklands Light Railway opened in 1987, meaning journey time to central London was 20 minutes and new pedestrian and cycle routes made travel easier and safer

New public facilities were built e.g. a sailing and watersports centre and the Surrey Quays shopping complex, as well as 5 new health centres

New schools and colleges were built and existing schools were improved e.g. with new IT equipement

The docks were referbished to create a more pleasant environment and new outdoor spaces were created e.g. an ecology park at Bow Creek, plus 100,000 trees were planted

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Failures

Conflict between original residents and more affluent, new residents as it was felt the LDDC favoured luxury development rather than affordable housing

Many original residents were unable to find work because the jobs on offer were skilled positions in service industries such as banking but in 1981, 36% of the people working in the Docklands were either unskilled or semi-skilled

Many of the jobs weren't new but had relocated to benefit from tax breaks - possibly as many as 60 - 75% e.g. many newspaper industries from Fleet Street moved to the Docklands

If you only consider the people living in council housing in the Docklands, unemployment increased from 28% to 32%

A survey in 1996 found 28% of the people living in the Docklands felt the LDDC had made no difference to their standard of living in the last 15 years and 22% said life had got worse

Specialist shops that opened in the Tobacco Wharf shopping outlet shut because they didn't cater for the demands of the people living in the area

The DLR is generally empty, except at peak times when it is overcrowded

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Managing the Impacts

In some areas of the Docklands (e.g. Wapping) the LDDC asked for 40% of new housing to be sold at an affordable price to original residents

Centres were set up to provide training in basic literacy, numeracy and IT - £1.5 million was spent on an IT centre that opened in 1984, which trained 16 - 18 year olds in basic electronics and computer programming and provided them with work experience, then at the end of the course they received a qualification

The LDDC supported Skillnet, a job agency which worked with training providers and employers to provide people with the skills needed to find work in the area (e.g. in construction)

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