Locals step slowly into alien territory
Sunday 19 September 1999
Not that Canary Wharf as a company, or the London Docklands Development Corporation (the government quango that lured the developers in with tax incentives) was ever under any obligation to help the local population.
Unlike the current regeneration project in nearby Spitalfields, the LDDC was a national rather than a local scheme. "The whole LDDC project has been a set of mistakes the present Government doesn't want to repeat," said Ben Kochan, editor of Urban Environment Today magazine. "Regeneration schemes since then have sought to make connections between physical developments and communities."
Belatedly, the recently floated Canary Wharf property group is trying to make up lost ground with the local population. Its managing director, Robert John, said: "One of the big complaints people give is that Canary Wharf just isn't relevant to them. They say it is for businessmen, not the little man in east London."
To encourage local businesses to tender for work, the company publishes a register of upcoming construction tenders on the development. This has met with some success: pounds 111m of contracts have gone to local businesses so far, most of them less than pounds 10,000. Canary Wharf has also set up an apprenticeship scheme for the construction industry and is due to announce that 20 young people have been signed up for this year.
The company realises that if it wants to see the future local population working in its banks, it has to get them early. Canary Wharf has been sponsoring projects in local schools to improve basic reading and writing skills. According to Mr John, whose wife used to teach in George Green school on the Isle of Dogs, around 40 per cent of the pupils have difficulties with reading or arithmetic.
It could be a long slog. Even unskilled jobs are going to outsiders - few of the 2,400 construction workers currently on the site come from the East End. "Canary Wharf has not borne the fruit the local community hoped for," Mr John acknowledges, "but we still have high hopes for the future in that area. As more come into Canary Wharf they look locally for the second generation of workers who will be there in five years' time."
But a lot more needs to be done, and the development itself has been criticised for not allowing space for smaller businesses. A recent document produced by Tower Hamlets' planning department states that "one of the major criticisms of the existing Docklands environment is that it lacks vitality - when the offices close the streets are empty". The same criticism could made of the City of London, but the difference is that the East End of London is a residential area.
There are promises of more jobs. Last year, the Canary Wharf Group commissioned Doug McWilliams, an economist with the Centre for Economic and Business Research, to predict how many local jobs might be available as a result of the development of the Docklands area in the future.
He predicts that by 2010 there could be 160,000 new jobs in east London. Most of them would be in the six London boroughs that surround Canary Wharf: Newham, Hackney, Greenwich, Lewisham, Southwark and Tower Hamlets.
- 1 'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
- 2 Canadian actor punched in face after 'Islamophobia' experiment goes wrong in wake of Ottawa shooting
- 3 Topshop at centre of row over body image as 'shocking' skinny mannequin photo goes viral
- 4 If you think Russell Brand’s new book is confused, you should read what his critics have to say about it
- 5 Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
Canadian actor punched in face after 'Islamophobia' experiment goes wrong in wake of Ottawa shooting
Topshop at centre of row over body image as 'shocking' skinny mannequin photo goes viral
Halloween 2014: From the Screaming Man of Pluckley to the 'White Lady' of the Tower of London - Britain's 20 most haunted places
Russian politician says Apple CEO Tim Cook 'should be banned' from country after coming out as gay
Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not 'a magician with a magic wand'
Huge surge in Ukip support after EU funding row, according to new poll
Ukip ‘exploiting grooming scandal’ to secure party’s first police chief
Nigel Farage: 'There’s nothing wrong with white people blacking up'
Maureen Lipman says 'she can't vote Labour while Ed Miliband is leader'
Muslims, immigration and teenage pregnancy: British people are ignorant about almost everything
iJobs Money & Business
£20000 - £23250 Per Annum pro rata: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pro rata ...
£40 - 48k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Manager to join...
£45,000 - £65,000: Saxton Leigh: Our client is a well-known APAC Corporate and...
£60000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Compensation and Benefits Manager - Compensat...