The Mayor of London is seeking a development partner with the necessary expertise, ability and financial strength to comprehensively re-develop the Albert Island in the Royal Docks. They will need to demonstrate commitment to high quality development, job creation and the economic regeneration of this part of the Royal Docks. In turn the partner will be awarded a unique opportunity to develop a significant site within the Royal Docks Enterprise Zone for new employment generating uses, potentially including industrial and a commercial boatyard, within easy reach of the DLR transport network, the A117 North Circular and A13 alongside substantial riverside and dock access.
Under the direction of the Mayor of London, GLA Land and Property Limited (GLAP - a subsidiary of the Greater London Authority), acting as the contracting authority and with the support of the Royal Docks Management Authority (RoDMA) is seeking a partner to enable the delivery of the Albert Island, a 10ha site in the Royal Docks, London Borough of Newham.
As the principal landowner the GLAP has undertaken stakeholder consultation with delivery partners in the area including London Borough of Newham, RoDMA, Notting Hill Housing, The Port of London Authority (PLA), and Transport for London (TfL) to establish the primary objectives for the redevelopment of the site as follows:
1. Create new quality commercial space which will attract new employers to the island and increase the range and availability of local employment and training opportunities;
2. Improve connectivity to the surrounding area and existing public transport at Gallions Reach and King George V DLR stations through better cycling and walking links, enhancing the river frontage and improving the public realm to create an attractive working environment which supports wider regeneration in the Royal Docks.
GLAP has appointed DTZ to advise on the marketing and development partner procurement process. Prior to formally starting this procurement process, GLAP is keen to undertake a market consultation exercise, further details of which are provided in the sections below.
The Mayor of London announced the launch of the Albert Island development opportunity on behalf of the Greater London Authority on 21 May 2015 at City Hall, London.
Interested parties should now register interest with the contact email address AlbertIslandInfo@tfl.gov.uk, and access details on the Tenders Electronic Daily, a Supplement to the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU), here.
i. Albert Island
The 10ha Albert Island site presents a significant development opportunity in the Royal Docks Enterprise Zone with the potential to accommodate a commercial boatyard in addition to light industrial and other business premises. It presents the opportunity to establish a centre for marine excellence and achieve the Mayor of London's objectives for supporting the growth in passenger and freight traffic on the River Thames, supporting economic regeneration and the ongoing transformation of the Royal Docks, of which Mayor of London is a major landowner. The site represents one of the last remaining opportunities to develop in the Royal Docks, an area that has attracted substantial inward investment and includes existing Mayoral development sites, the Royal Albert Dock, Royal Albert Basin and Silvertown Quays, which are planned for new mixed office, residential and leisure uses.
ii. Development Area
The majority of the site within the proposed Development Area is in the ownership of the Mayor of London. The Mayor has directed the contracting authority, GLAP to explore the procurement of a development partner for the Albert Island. The Mayor's land is cleared and divided into 7 individual plots let on short-term leases with rolling break clauses. The existing road network within the site is accessed from Woolwich Manor Road (A117) and is included in GLAP's ownership, providing the opportunity for a complete reconfiguration to maximise the development potential of the site. Development will need to have regard to aviation regulations in place linked to the operation of London City Airport (LCA). This imposes some limitations on the location, height, materials, construction approaches and type of development and in particular with the northern half of the island through the LCA safeguarding and Public Safety Zone (PSZ).
iii. Land Ownership
The freehold of the site is held by Mayor of London with RoDMA holding a lease to dockside and water areas including developable land south of the island. Adjacent to the site is the King George V Lock which has the capacity to take 30,000 tonne vessels and provides the only significant boat access into the Royal Docks. RoDMA also maintain and manage the operation of the King George V Lock. The Mayor is seeking the transfer (extent to be clarified) of the freehold or leasehold of the site, including liabilities to the appointed developer and will consider land payments on a deferred basis.
The appointed developer will be expected to work closely with adjoining landowners, RoDMA, Notting Hill Housing, and the PLA whilst working up and delivering their proposals for the site (see plan below for further details).
i. Economic Regeneration
London's vast Royal Docks once attracted trade and visitors from across the world. Today, they are alive with activity once again and offer one of the most exciting investment and development opportunities in London, as the city shifts eastwards.
The Royal Docks is a top priority for both the Mayor of London and the Mayor of Newham, who are working together with private sector partners to accelerate development of the area to deliver jobs, business growth and infrastructure investment. This commitment is outlined in the Royal Docks Vision document.
The Royal Docks sits within an 'arc of opportunity', an area running from Stratford down the River Lea to the Thames that has £22 billion of development potential. Investment in the Royal Docks is a real chance to change the lives of some of London's most deprived communities. The Enterprise Zone within the wider Royal Docks opportunity area will support economic growth and create new businesses and jobs.
You can find out more at
ii. Enterprise Zone
Significant parts of the Albert Island site are located within the Royal Docks Enterprise Zone which encourages and incentivises end occupiers to locate here.
Enterprise Zone support will be available until 31 March 2020 as Enhanced Capital Allowances or until 31 March 2018 as reduced business rates, or a combination of the two. This will be determined following the outcome of the PIN process.
The Mayor is seeking to maximise business rates income to generate income to reinvest in infrastructure to support the regeneration of the Royal Docks and is keen to support proposals that accelerate and maximise the delivery of properties with rateable value.
The Royal Docks was granted Enterprise Zone status from April 2012 in recognition of its strategic importance and benefits to occupiers include:
- Business Rate relief (if occupying premises in the area by 31st March 2018) for five years from the date of arrival
- Enhanced Capital Allowances (up to 31st March 2020) - good for capital intense industry
- Simplified planning - combined authority (Local Planning Authority / Greater London Authority / Transport for London / Developer) Project Planning Performance Agreement
- Business rate uplift and retention to the London Enterprise Panel (LEP) for a 25 year period
You can explore a map of the Royal Docks Enterprise Zone here
iii. Development Opportunity
The Mayor wants to enable the comprehensive redevelopment of the site to create a mix of uses which will generate employment, improve the site's connectivity and enhance the attractiveness of the area. This could include:
- Good quality, well designed, industrial and commercial development supporting a mix of skilled jobs and deliver economic development;
- A commercial boatyard and ancillary marine related services to support the achievement of the Mayor's strategic objective to increase river transport on the Thames through increasing the availability and suitability of boat maintenance and repair facilities in London. In particular to provide boatyard facilities and support services designed to accommodate and service the growing fleet of passenger boats and other commercial vessels (tugs, pilot boats, barges, wind farm support vessels etc) on the Thames;
- The redevelopment of the existing marina in the northern part of the site to provide a facility which supports the transformation of the area through increased leisure traffic, opens up dockside access, provides boat storage facilities and integrates the marina with other complementary surrounding development uses permissible under the PSZ;
- The refurbishment of Thames House, an existing building within the PSZ which can be retained and is available for other uses, such as training or offices;
- A small quantum of housing in the southern part of the island and to the south of the King George V Lock and providing it can integrate existing residential development and overcome concerns that low unit numbers could lead to homes being isolated and unable to create a satisfactory place-making outcome;
- Infrastructure as required to serve the proposed development.
The selected partner will be required to work closely with the local borough, local stakeholders and within the context of the GLA development framework documents (see data room) and existing planning policy.
i. River Transport
River transport is growing fast. In 2014, 9.8 passenger journeys were made on the river, up from 8 million in 2013, a result of investment to make the river a more attractive and convenient transport route. In the vicinity of Albert Island, a fast and frequent river bus service now operates from Woolwich Arsenal and North Greenwich to and from central London. There is also a free ferry which provides a crossing for vehicles and passengers between the Royal Docks and Woolwich. Freight traffic on the river is also increasing. 3.66 million tonnes were moved in 2013, an increase of 81% on the previous year, and this is expected to continue to grow.
The Mayor is committed to further increasing the number of passengers using the Thames and maximising the potential for river travel. That is why he published the River Action Plan in 2013, with TfL, identifying specific measures to boost the number of river trips to 12m by 2020. Investment in new and existing pier infrastructure, promotion and integration with the wider transport network are all helping drive this growth.
Maintaining and repairing the current number of boats to deliver this number of journeys is already a challenge for the boat operators who need quick and easy access to facilities that can service and repair their boats to keep them operational. TfL acknowledge that existing boatyard facilities are aging, and do not have the capacity/capability to meet current needs, which builds on The London Plan (Policy 7.27) which states that there is a shortage of boatyard facilities that are capable of inspecting, maintaining and repairing the passenger craft on the Thames.
ii. Market Overview
A continued growth in demand in London for repair and maintenance facilities is anticipated for both passenger craft and freight transportation that will make use of the River Thames as we see unprecedented and extensive investment being made in London's river pier network alongside significant infrastructure projects which are planned and commenced, including the Thames Tideway Tunnel and a number of subterranean transport projects.
In 2013 Adams Hendry Consulting Ltd. refreshed data originally produced in an "Assessment of Boatyard Facilities on the River Thames for the GLA" and full copies of the most recent available reports are included in the data room on this website. The 2013 survey of vessel numbers indicated an overall increase of 30% since the publication of an earlier report in 1999. The most significant change identified was the 43% increase in the number of Class 5 passenger vessels 1999 - 2013. The table below shows vessel numbers updated to include the figures for 2013.
iii. Business Case
Should proposals for a boatyard be included within the bidder proposals, a financially robust and deliverable business case will be required to demonstrate that a commercial boatyard and ancillary marine related services is deliverable. In particular to provide boatyard facilities and support services designed to accommodate the growing fleet of passenger boats and other commercial vessels (tugs, pilot boats, barges, wind farm support vessels etc.) on the Thames.
During the negotiation process there will be an opportunity for bidders to develop proposal with regards to the constraints and opportunities of the site including the planning context and any requirements of the Port of London Authority. Bidders will be encouraged to engage with key boat operators in the consideration of their proposals to determine the specific requirements for the boatyard and marine services in order to provide an adaptable, purpose-built facility to serve the optimum market growth and needs of end users and customers to ensure the future use of the facility is supported by a robust commercial business plan.
Commercial vessels registered for use on the tidal
River Thames 1999 -2013, source: PLA
Ahead of the formal procurement exercise, a prior information notice (PIN) has now been published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU). As part of the Market Consultation, GLAP, the contracting authority under the direction of the Mayor of London, will be providing further details of the opportunity, its objectives for the site and wishes to actively encourage experienced developers to partner with specialists in the industry, including commercial boatyard and marina operators to deliver comprehensive redevelopment.
Following the PIN process, GLAP is proposing to follow the Competitive Procedure with Negotiation process as defined by the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 and will reserve the right to provide for negotiation to take place in successive stages in order to reduce the number of solutions to be discussed during the tender stage. It is envisaged that the first stage of negotiation will focus on outline proposals.
Please note that GLAP envisages that negotiation sessions will focus on certain elements of the development agreement and proposals only to allow for an expedited negotiation phase prior to the call for final tenders. Certain other elements (including contract terms) are expected to be fixed or outside the scope of negotiation. Further details on the negotiation process will be provided in the Invitation to Participate in Negotiation ("ITPN").
We set out below the anticipated procurement timetable. GLAP reserves the right to amend as necessary at any stage during the procurement process.