A planning application for a striking new pedestrian and cycle bridge at Royal Victoria Dock has been submitted, which will vastly improve public access across the docks, while also linking the new Silvertown development with Custom House Elizabeth Line station.
The plans, submitted by The Silvertown Partnership, are part of a longstanding ambition associated with the wider £5bn development of the Silvertown site, which when complete will feature around 6,500 new homes with 50 per cent affordable housing, alongside a vibrant new centre for the Royal Docks. The iconic Millennium Mills building, left derelict and largely disused for around 40 years, will be fully restored and form the centrepiece of the new community.
The anticipated growth in the local population over the next decade, in Silvertown as well as surrounding developments, means a new step free pedestrian and cyclist crossing over the dock has been deemed essential. It is one of the first major public benefits that the Silvertown regeneration will bring to the area, and will give visitors, local residents and workers the ability to freely cross the dock and put London’s West End within reach in just 20 minutes.
An existing Royal Victoria Dock Footbridge already provides a connection over the dock, however its elevated design to allow for marine traffic creates a 14m level difference between the dock side and the bridge deck, making it only accessible by several flights of stairs and lifts.
The new designs reveal an elegant, step-free bridge which skims the water in a ‘Double S-curve’ shape, with ample space for both cyclists and pedestrians. The zig-zag design creates a striking crossing experience while allowing for seating areas where people can rest and take in views across the dock. The design allows the bridge to rise at a gentle incline across the water, making it fully accessible for all, and letting small boats pass underneath. The bridge will also open at its mid-point with a double bascule mechanism, allowing full use of the dock by large vessels.
The bridge will link the ExCel centre and Custom House station on the north side of the dock with Silvertown at the foot of the newly restored Millennium Mills. Adjacent to the bridge landing, the Silvertown Jetty will be a new key destination within The Royal Docks and Silvertown. Retaining much of the existing industrial heritage of the jetty, the space will become a new gateway into Silvertown with the potential for cultural events as well as space to relax and unwind.
The bridge will be funded from a £233m loan from Homes England which has been provided to support the delivery of homes on the site. This public sector involvement has enabled The Silvertown Partnership to progress with plans on the site further than any other development consortium in the last 40 years. Infrastructure works are now well underway on site.
Situated within London’s only Enterprise Zone, the London Plan identifies the Silvertown site as one of the largest regeneration opportunities in the capital and the development is predicted to contribute between £76m-£90m per year to London’s economy, with the vast majority of this expected to be in the Newham area.
The Silvertown Partnership, which includes Lendlease, an international real estate and investment group, is working in conjunction with the Greater London Authority (GLA), Homes England and The Guinness Partnership (TGP).
Quote attributable to Ed Mayes, Project director for Silvertown, Lendlease:
“Silvertown will be a vibrant new centre for the Royal Docks, a place where people can live and work well, better connected to the water and each other. This new bridge is key to unlocking the potential of the site, transforming the connectivity across the Royal Docks and putting London’s West End in reach in just 20 minutes.
“The stunning design of the new bridge will elevate it as a gateway to Silvertown’s exciting new piece of the city, and provide car-free access for all, establishing the Royal Docks as a pleasurable place to live, work and play.”