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21st April 2017
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An opportunity for the industry to get involved with transforming neglected London dock into 'creative hub'?
Thames Water has donated 2.5 acres of property in a bid to help a new property-focused crowdfunding website raise thousands of pounds to transform a neglected London dock into a creative hub ahead of the Olympics.
An east London charity is aiming to open the dock, located between Canary Wharf and the Olympic Park, before the games start this Summer.
So far Gasworks Dock Partnership has raised £56,000, but is calling on the business and the public to help raise the remaining £83,000 through Spacehive.com. The plan is to create an enterprise and arts hub, including an array of studio spaces, museum, gardens and moorings for 50 boats.
It will also enable people to walk for 26 miles from Hertfordshire to the Thames thanks to a new swing bridge. This will mean users of the new cable car will be able to cycle direct to the Olympic Park - rather than be left high and dry when they alight at Royal Docks, with no direct route to the park and no ability to take bikes on the DLR.
Cody Dock on the River Lea, is a former gasworks and has been sealed off for decades. Despite promises by Boris Johnson and the billions spent elsewhere around the Olympics, nothing has been done to help revive the London's second river.
Andrew Teacher, policy director at Spacehive.com, said: "Crowd-funding is an open goal for developers and other firms who want to be more in touch with their communities. At a time when council funding is pretty non-existent, this is a vital new funding stream that developers and architects can tap into to help create vibrant public spaces that ultimately up the value of everything around them."
Celebrity backers include singer and activist Billy Bragg and actor David Suchet. Vodafone last week backed Cody Dock, listing it top of their UK charities.
The land donated by Thames Water has an estimated development value of around £10m. It is currently worth over £750,000 in its current state. Full planning permission has been granted for the site and there are no contamination issues that need to be dealt with.
After three years of negotiations and thousands of hours of voluntary work, the project organisers have managed to secure the full support of their local authority Newham Council and raised over £55,000.00 of seed funding from the likes of Groundworks and the Sita Trust and London Thames Gateway Development Corporation to construct the new footpath and community gardens.
The Cody Dock project is now turning to river enthusiasts and Londoners as a whole for help in raising the last bit of funding required to build the majestic wooden bridge that will form the centre piece of this amazing new riverside path.
"The River Thames is at the heart of our operation. We are dedicated to enhancing the people's experience of the river and opening it up to the public," says Yvette De Garis, Thames Water's environment and quality strategy manager.
"We think the improvements to Cody Dock are a fantastic solution for the site and we're very happy to support this community led project."
James Lazarus, head of property at British Waterways, says:
"It is great to see Cody Dock coming back into use. It is a wonderful sign of the way that The Waterways are helping to bring the Lower Lea Valley back to life."
The Charity Gasworks Dock Partnership was originally formed to act as the community led vehicle for the regeneration of this forgotten Dock and its transformation into a creative quarter where people can explore their waterways environment and learn more about the areas industrial heritage.
The Lea River not only supplies East London with its drinking water but is also home to an string of wetland and wild life reserves that provide a stunning pedestrian corridor that also acts as a green lung passing all the way through; Waltham Abbey, Tottenham, Walthamstow and Hackney Marshes, the Olympic Park, Three Mills Island, before finally cutting through London's Docklands and entering the Thames on the opposite bank to the O2 arena.
The Cody Dock project is an ambitious community lead development that is tapping into the growing groundswell of awareness for London's second major river. The project firmly takes back an area of land that provides the missing link to people reclaiming the Lower Lea River for the first time since the industrial revolution took over its banks in the 1850's.
Located within an area of industrial wasteland on the edge of London's financial district and at the epicentre of East London's regeneration boom, Cody Dock has remained derelict and acts as a barrier to people accessing the Lower Lea or walking the entire length of its 26 miles of footpaths that run from its source in Hertfordshire, down through London and into the Thames.
A short BBC video report on Cody Dock can be downloaded at:
Spacehive.com is the first crowd funding platform for the built environment. It allows communities to collectively fund capital public space projects. The service allows anyone to put forward a project proposal and anyone to fund it - from local businesses and families to councils and corporates.
The aim is to source and inject new sources of funding and creativity into public spaces and projects range from skate parks, gardens and community centres to high street makeovers, arts spaces and playgrounds.
People who pledge money only pay if the project hits its funding goal. So it's a risk-free way for people to support great schemes.
25th May 2012