Vision Two: Connections to Opportunities
Newham is located at the heart of Britain's fastest growing economic region. The Olympic legacy at Stratford and London’s only Enterprise Zone at the Royal Docks are bringing thousands of new knowledge-based jobs in cutting edge industries to the area.
However, these world-leading developments lie immediately adjacent to some of the most deprived communities in the whole country, with a staggering half of residents living in poverty. The pandemic has had a devastating impact on communities already suffering from high levels of ill health and particularly respiratory disease, resulting in the highest Covid-19 death rate in England and Wales.
These communities are being left behind by the internationally significant growth and innovation on their doorstep. They are disconnected from the growth areas both physically (poor walking and cycling access), economically (few local residents getting high value jobs) and culturally (low engagement in cultural activities and civic life). Neither are they connected to the support or spaces needed to use the presence of the Royal Docks Enterprise Zone and Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Innovation District to develop their own enterprises
The Connection to Opportunities bid therefore focuses on connecting communities to opportunities across five areas:
- Connections to Employment – space for training, education and job brokerage delivered in local communities but linked to world leading institutions in Stratford and the Royal Docks.
- Connections to Enterprise – flexible workspace and ‘engine rooms’ for enterprise and innovation.
- Connections to Community and Culture – increasing civic and cultural participation and pride particularly among young people.
- Physical Connections – safe, accessible walking and cycling routes.
- Digital Connections – tackling digital exclusion and using digital technology to engage young people and connect them to cultural, learning and employment opportunities.
The Bid is divided into three projects, namely:
Project 1 - East Docks Eco will deliver:
- Improved walking and cycling routes, connecting isolated communities to the Royal Docks Green Enterprise Testbed
- New community space providing a network of ‘Engine Rooms’ targeting access to green jobs, enterprise and innovation,
Project 2 - Canning Town Custom House Heritage and Creative Enterprise will deliver:
- Refurbished culture, heritage and learning space, bringing a Grade II listed building on the high street back into use.
- Refurbished shop units, supporting the local town centre economy and building community resilience
Project 3 – Leaway Link will deliver:
- A new bridge over the River Lea that will connect Newham communities to major employment hubs and support development of over 40,000 new homes and more than 280,000 sqm of commercial space.
- Improved walking and cycling route leading to the bridge.
The proposals will deliver total monetised benefits of £117m, a Benefit Cost Ratio of 3.47.
The proposed investment will bring opportunities closer to Newham communities, developing a new data corridor linking Stratford and the Royal Docks via new digital clusters. . It will provide new venues and programmes for young people to access apprenticeships, training and employment and create a network of spaces for creative enterprise and innovation, linking entrepreneurs into innovation districts.