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The University of East London welcomes Greater London Authority to Royal Docks

Move will turbo-charge regeneration of Docklands

The University of East London has welcomed the news that the Greater London Authority is moving to the Royal Docks, signalling another shift of the capital’s centre of gravity to the east.

The GLA will take over The Crystal building close to the University’s Docklands campus.

Professor Amanda Broderick, vice-chancellor and president of the university said, “This is a positive development and another signal that our Docklands community is becoming a major engine for enterprise, good governance and growth.

“We have always drawn inspiration and delivered impact to our local community. Working closely with our neighbours and partners are central to this. We look forward to realising opportunities provided by this high-profile relocation and to contributing further as a leader in the emerging global hub of the Royal Albert Docks.”

After consultation, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has confirmed that next year, the GLA – a combination of both of the Mayor of London’s office and the London Assembly – will move from Lord Foster’s distinctive building neighbouring Tower Bridge to the Crystal, a building which set the benchmark for sustainable building design when it opened in 2012.

The Crystal – already owned by the GLA – will be renamed City Hall and will house much of the Mayor’s operation and a new Chamber, although there will be provision for Assembly Members to remain in central London and there will be increasing working from home.

The Mayor said he believed that the move to The Crystal would act as a catalyst for the regeneration of Royal Docks which is set to lead to 25,000 new homes and the creation of 60,000 new jobs within the next 20 years, supported by the Elizabeth line, when it finally opens. 

He said, “The Royal Docks is an amazing place, and we have the opportunity to turbo-charge the regeneration of the area, just as the opening of City Hall did for its surroundings. 

“I know that City Hall is a landmark building for many – but as Mayor I will always focus my severely limited budget resources on front-line public services and supporting Londoners and our recovery from this pandemic, rather than on high City Hall building costs.”

The move is expected to save the GLA Group £61m over five years and £126m over 10 years. 

The Mayor has submitted a “change of use” planning application to Newham Council to seek approval for the necessary modifications needed at The Crystal. The application is expected to be considered in December.

Bek Seeley, managing director of development for Lendlease in Europe, said, “As one of the most exciting regeneration projects in Europe, the Royal Docks is undergoing huge change and unlocking thousands of new homes and jobs for London, which we are delighted to be a part of as we bring forward a major redevelopment of Silvertown Quays.

“The arrival of the Mayor of London, the London Assembly and the Greater London Authority will provide a huge boost to the area and further strengthen the transformation that is already underway.”

Jeremy Rees, chief executive officer for ExCeL London, said, “We are absolutely delighted that the Mayor of London and the Greater London Authority are moving to the Royal Docks. I am in no doubt that the move will provide a further springboard for the area’s regeneration and strengthen the Royal Docks’ reputation as a global hub, which attracts thousands of visitors and businesses each year.”