Posts Tagged ‘LDDC’

Canary Wharf Workshop 2004

Thursday, May 9th, 2024

Canary Wharf Workshop – On Sunday May 9th 2004 I led a small workshop group of photographers on a walk which started at Canary Wharf and then went to Canning Town and the River Thames. Although photography is theoretically banned on the Canary Wharf estate we had no problems with security, probably because we kept to obviously public areas and I had asked those taking part not to use tripods.

Canary Wharf Workshop

I was never a fan of the redevelopment of London’s docklands under Michael Heseltine and the London Docklands Development Corporation set up in 1981. Of course development was needed after the docks became redundant, but we should have seen a development that was made for the interests of the population of London, not simply for the mates of the Tory Party.

Canary Wharf Workshop

The area needed some kind of overall planning authority, but one that worked with the local authorities in the area rather than against them, ignoring their priorities.

Canary Wharf Workshop

Of course there were gains from the work of the LDDC, perhaps the main ones being the Docklands Light Railway and the Jubilee Line Extension to Stratford. Certainly by the time it was wound up in 1990 it had changed the whole area significantly. But many of those changes had sacrificed local needs to business profits.

Canary Wharf Workshop

The piece that I wrote about the day reflected my political views about what had taken place. A year or so later London won the bidding for the Olympics, leading to yet more development in the area by an authority that disregarded local needs and led to inappropriate development, still proceeding, in East London. I’ll reproduce what I wrote in 2004 here, with minor corrections, particularly to capitalisation and spelling.

May 9th 2004 found me taking a group of photographers for a walk around some parts of London’s docklands. We started at the centre of this ‘crime of the century’. I still don’t quite understand why a Conservative government felt so at odds with the City of London that it decided to set up offshore competition in the Enterprise Zone.

The feeding frenzy that ensued, trousering public property and tax breaks into the private pocket at an unprecedented rate was inevitable.

The long-term consequence has been a distorted development with few real buildings of distinction but some expensively finished tat, and a lack of overall planning. I’m not sure that London would benefit from gaining the Olympics for which it is currently bidding, but if it fails, probably part of the reason will be the Docklands debacle.

We started below the obscene gesture towards the old city, at least clear about its symbolism, then took the DLR down to Crossharbour with its silly bridge, walking back to the Wharf and taking the Jubilee to Canning Town.

Then back alongside the Lee (still waiting for that riverside walkway) to East India dock basin and along by the Thames, where a galleon appeared in front of the dome.

The River Lee is here better known in its tidal section as Bow Creek, and we are still waiting for parts of that riverside walk to be opened if they ever will be. There was a competition for a new bridge across Bow Creek with a wining design named, but money disappeared and it was never built. But a few years ago we did get a different new bridge higher up by Canning Town station and the development of the industrial site of Pura Foods as London City Island.

A few more of my pictures from the walk on My London Diary


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London City Airport 30th Birthday – 2017

Thursday, October 26th, 2023

London City Airport 30th Birthday: Thursday 26th October 2017 was exactly 30 years after the first commercial flight took off from London City Airport, LCY, in London’s former Royal Docks. Local campaign group HACAN East organised a protest to mark the occasion.

London City Airport 30th Birthday - 2017

The airport is around six miles east from the City of London and three miles from Canary Wharf and these two financial centres and the many of those who travel through it are business travellers though in winter months it has many taking ski holidays in Europe.

London City Airport 30th Birthday - 2017

LCY is London’s 5th airport after Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and Luton and the 14th busiest in the UK. It is also the closest to the centre of London, and the most convenient to travel through. In one early visit to the airport I saw a traveller arriving late for his flight jumping from a taxi, running through the terminal and gate and across the tarmac to a plane to join others boarding. Though security is now rather tighter, passengers still avoid the long and boring hours of waiting at larger airports – which are largely there to support the shopping malls.

London City Airport 30th Birthday - 2017

It owes its origin to the London Docklands Development Corporation (LDDC) which took control of the area in 1981, taking the development of a huge area of London’s former Docklands out of any democratic control. Although situated within the London Borough of Newham they played no part in the planning for it and the surrounding area, although control reverted to the borough finally when the LDDC was wound up in 1998.

London City Airport 30th Birthday - 2017

Like Heathrow, LCY was founded on lies. It got permission to operate as a small business airport in a crowded part of east London on condition that the number of flights would be very limited and that these would use ultra-quiet turboprops designed for short landing and take-off.

As I wrote in 2017, “There are now many more flights, many made by extremely noisy jets, causing extreme nuisance under the flight paths.” With its single relatively short runway between the King George V and Royal Albert Docks it cannot handle the larger jets, but with the need for a relatively steep take-off and landing the planes are at their noisiest.

It was only five years before LCY lengthened the runway to allow a wider range of planes to use the airport and also considerably reduced the angle of approach so that these could fly lower on the approach, increasing the noise for residents in south-east London. In 2016 a plan for a major expansion programme was approved despite considerable opposition from residents in the area over the proposed 50% increase in the number of flights with the associated noise, air pollution and traffic congestion this would create.

The birthday protest in 2017 was organised by HACAN East (formerly Fight the Flights) and campaigners dressed as bakers delivered a birthday cake to London City Airport demanding they retain the cap on flights, have no further expansion and end the use of concentrated flight paths.

The demonstration was met by London City Airport’s Director of Public Affairs Liam McKay who took the cake and invited the protesters in for tea or coffee and to eat a slice of the cake. He said that he welcomed the dialogue with local residents.

Covid provided some respite for local residents, with a great reduction in the number of flights, but since then things have picked up, though in 2022 they were only back to the 2012 levels.

In 2022 LCY proposed to increase the number of passengers by almost 50%, continue flights on Saturdays until 10pm (currently none are allowed between 1pm Saturday and 12.30pm Sunday) and double the number allowed between 6.30 and 7pm every day. As the Green Party pointed out “this would mean more pollution, more noise for residents and a staggering increase in CO2 emissions” which is not consistent with the UK’s 2050 net zero target. They call for LCY to be closed and the site used for much-needed homes with workers there being re-trained for green jobs. The application, slightly reduced from the original plan, was rejected by Newham Council in July 2023.

More at 30th Birthday cake for London City Airport.


Isle of Dogs and Class War

Saturday, September 3rd, 2022

Isle of Dogs and Class War: The weather was fine on Wednesday September 3rd 2014, with some nice clouds which made it a good day for some more panoramic photographs, and I went up earlier in the day to continue my pictures around the Isle of Dogs before covering an evening protest by Class War in Aldgate.

Isle of Dogs – Island Gardens to South Quay

Back in the 1980s I set out to photographed extensively in London’s docklands, part of a wider project on the de-industrialisation of the city, partly a response to changes in technology and globalisation, but greatly accelerated by the Thatcher government which saw great opportunities for their supporters profiting by a switch from manufacturing to service industries.

The government policies perhaps made some sense at the time – and certainly made some large profits for the friends and supporters of the Tories, but in many ways we are paying for them now, particularly for their ‘selling off the family silver’ by privatising utilities and other publicly owned activities.

In the docks the main changes were due to containerisation and other efficient ways of handling cargo. Much larger vessels came into service and the long journey up the River Thames to London’s Docks was difficult or impossible, as well as adding significantly to turn-around times. Only Tilbury, miles closer to the sea remained viable.

The changes to Docklands could have been managed for the benefit of the existing populations to the area, with development being carefully planned and managed locally. Instead we got the London Docklands Development Corporation which overrode local interests to benefit those of corporations but did produced a more rapid development than would otherwise have taken place. But it was a huge give-away to private developers, resulting in dramatic changes, and one that the area will continue to suffer from for generations.

Many of my pictures from the 1980s in colour as well as black and white are now available on Flickr in a https://www.flickr.com/photos/petermarshall/albums number of albums and there are also a number of books available on Blurb (in print and as PDF) with the Isle of Dogs being included in City to Blackwall ISBN: 978-1-909363-09-0 which has a working preview.

My walk in 2014 began at Island Gardens DLR station, where I had finished a previous walk, and I continued along the riverside path to the Blackwall Entrance, across to Poplar Dock and Blackwall Basin, down Prestons Rd and Manchester Road to East Ferry Road, and then up and around a little on my way to South Quay Station.

In 2014 I was mainly making digital panoramic photographs, with a horizontal angle of view of around 145 degrees – much greater than can be achieved with a normal rectilinear perspective. These pictures use a projection which keeps vertical edges straight and also gives a straight horizon line (so long as the camera is kept level) but other lines and objects away from the centre of the image curve. Similar projections were used by artists such as Canaletto. These images here have a aspect ratio of 1.9 to 1.

There are two posts on My London Diary with many more panoramas and a few ‘normal’ views from this walk:
Isle of Dogs
Isle of Dogs Panoramas


Class War ‘Poor Doors’ picket Week 6 – Aldgate

I got back a few minutes early to where Class War were to stage their sixth weekly protest against the separate doors for the wealthy residents and social housing tenants in the block ‘One Commerical St’. The entrance for the rich is on Whitechapel High St next to Aldgate East station while the poor door is down an alley on the west side of the building.

Unlike in previous weeks there were police already there and waiting for the protesters, a sign that the police were taking a firmer stance against the protests here. Almost certainly they were responding to pressure from the owners of the building, and their activities against the protesters were to heighten further in later weeks.

When the protesters arrived, officers immediately came and talked to them, making it clear that they were not to block the doorway for people entering or leaving the building.

More police arrived, outnumbering the small group of little more than a dozen protesters who had come to hand out leaflets to people on the street outside. Many passing expressed surprise that this kind of segregation of rich and poor was allowed to happen in London and showed support for the protest.

It was perhaps the smallest of the series of thirty or so ‘Poor Doors’ protests outside this building. There were quite a few arguments with police officers but no arrests on this occasion.

More pictures at Class War ‘Poor Doors’ picket Week 6.