Three sites in London’s Royal Docks are up for grabs in Property Week’s new Site Life competition. Today London mayor Boris Johnson and Newham mayor Sir Robin Wales launch “Meanwhile London” – an exciting and unique opportunity to regenerate parts of the Royal Docks and Canning Town

The Meanwhile London competition is now closed - many thanks for your interest. If you have any questions about the competition, please contact

Following Urban Splash and Property Week’s competition for two “meanwhile” uses for a development site in east Manchester, the mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales, and mayor
of London Boris Johnson are launching a new competition to find “meanwhile” uses for three prominent brownfield sites – and the adjacent water – in the Royal Docks and Canning Town.

The sites are owned by the London Development Agency or the London Borough of Newham and lie on or close to the route between the main Olympic site at Stratford and the ExCel Centre, which will host several events for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The Royal Docks and Canning Town are regeneration priorities for both mayors and are attracting investment from multinational corporations, such as Siemens, whose sustainability pavilion will open on the Royal Victoria Dock in spring 2012.

Design for London and the London Development Agency are working with Newham Council and other partners to ensure high-quality design is integral to all plans and regeneration projects.

The competition, which is part of the transformation of the Royal Docks, is a fabulous opportunity for developers, investors, designers, artists, thinkers, entrepreneurs, community groups – anyone can enter, including commercial groups – to devise temporary uses for these prominent sites. The winning entries will be local projects that reach a global audience.

The term of the use will be for one year at least from summer 2011, in the spotlight of preparations for the 2012 Olympics, and while the games are under way and beyond.

The period of use could be extended, so entrants should consider the possibility of a longer life for their ideas. Winning ideas could also be transferred to other sites in the Royal Docks
as they become available.

What is Meanwhile London?

We will look for ideas that:

are exciting, will entice and attract people to Canning Town and the Royal Docks, animate the three sites and transform them into great temporary “destinations”

promote entrepreneurial activities, create jobs for local people and encourage business start-up or incubator activities

provide opportunities for Newham’s young people and local residents

reflect the “green enterprise” ambitions for the Royal Docks

are deliverable relate to the site they address, so it is hoped that where there is access to water, it will be usedmight be transferred to other sites.

The Royal Docks and Canning Town lie in a stretch of land that runs from Stratford south down the River Lea to the Thames and then east to Woolwich Reach – a massive arc of opportunity that is thought to have £22bn of development potential.

They cover an area one-third the size of Manhattan Island, stretching from Harlem to Battery Park. The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games are sparking the transformation of this vast area.

The Royal Docks has resisted comprehensive regeneration but its connectivity and dynamism has now been transformed in recent years. London City airport, significant extensions of the Dockland Light Railway and the Jubilee Line, the ExCel exhibition centre, and the University of East London are the area’s big success stories.

The proposal for a cable car to span the Thames will join the area to the Greenwich peninsular and the O2 arena.

The proximity and global success of Canary Wharf as London’s second financial centre has also enhanced Newham’s prospects. Confirmation that Crossrail is going ahead and the 2012 games will continue this process.

The area’s international appeal has been affirmed by Siemens’ commitment to a £30m sustainability centre, which will bring 250 jobs to Newham.

This will open in time for the games and will encourage the “viral” creation of sustainability businesses in Newham.

The vision

Land in the Royal Docks is largely controlled by the London Development Agency or Newham Council making large-scale, planned development feasible. The next five years will be crucial.

Both mayors are committed to regeneration that will unlock the area’s economic potential for London, the south-east and the UK.

The stage is set for development to happen quickly under a clear, shared vision to which the market can respond.

Meanwhile London will bring the Royal Docks’ potential to the attention of the local community and the marketplace.

Newham Council, the Greater London Authority and the London Development Agency share common aspirations for the area.

Their Royal Docks Vision document says: “Our aim is simply to redefine the Royal Docks, not as somewhere at the edge of the city, but as a place with its own centre of gravity and
a clear identity …

“We intend to revive the vitality, entrepreneurship and wealth-creation of the Royal Docks’ trading past” (

The Royal Docks are in the heart of east London’s Green Enterprise District, which seeks to attract investment in low-carbon industries. Siemens’ sustainability pavilion will attract other technology and green industry to form a cluster of green enterprise, close to the University of East London.

New businesses will be able to make use of the high-speed communications infrastructure in the Royal Docks and its enhanced transport connections.

What is needed …

… are engaging, creative ideas for “meanwhile” uses that attract and signal to locals, visitors and to the market the potential the Royal Docks offer – that things are happening and the regeneration process is under way.

Meanwhile London will set the tone and show how interim uses can be an integral part of regeneration. Meanwhile uses will help develop ideas for the Royal Docks’ future: what sort of
place it will be, economically, environmentally and culturally.

The Royal Docks’ future identity can be inspired by meanwhile explorations that engage local people, visitors and the market.

What can it be?

The ideas need to be visually attractive and easy to bring to an end after its meanwhile existence or transfer to a different location.

There are three sites on offer. Newham Council and the London Development Agency want approaches appropriate to each site’s location and character. The overarching aspirations and competition criteria are set out above, but these will not preclude a good entry that selects other parameters from winning. Don’t forget: you can use the water. This is especially true at Pontoon Dock.

The sites

Site 1: Canning Town centre

This 0.5 ha site will be cleared early in 2011 and sits immediately to the south of Canning Town’s proposed new town centre on the east side of Silvertown Way.

It forms part of a £3.7bn project to transform the area physically, socially and economically, and create a sustainable and mixed community in Canning Town and Custom House, which
will include new leisure and retail facilities, up to 10,000 new homes, 7,000 jobs and two town centres.

It is being developed in partnership with construction group Bouygues, Countryside, the London Thames Gateway Development Corporation and the Homes and Communities Agency (

The site is directly opposite Canning Town station – one of east London’s busiest bus, Tube and DLR transport interchanges – and is on the 2012 Olympic Games walking route.

The main part of the site will be available for at least two years and the southern part of the site potentially available for five years.



Site 2: Dockside at the Royals Business Park, Royal Albert Dock

A clear, grassy, dockside space of 0.9 ha between Royal Albert DLR station on the northern edge of the Royal Albert Dock, across the water from London City airport to the south and overlooked by the DLR on its northern side, so very prominent.

The site is next door to Newham Dockside – Newham’s regeneration headquarters, which means whatever goes on this site will be seen by everyone visiting Newham to discuss regeneration proposals.

It has already been successfully used as the staging area for dragon boat races in the dock.

There is obviously a strong connection with the water and this can feature in your entry.

Entries should also seek to take some account of the amenity value of the site while it awaits new development.

This site lends itself more towards shorter-term uses but again a good idea will always be considered.


Site 3: Pontoon Dock, Royal Victoria Dock

This 0.8 ha dockside site has a dramatic setting on the southern edge of the Pontoon Dock, which runs south of Royal Victoria Dock to the west of the Connaught Bridge.

Immediately to the north is the magnificent Millennium Mills building, a local landmark that frames the northern edge of the Pontoon Dock.

It might be possible to use the elevations of Millennium Mills for some kind of display.

The site lies close to a planned key pedestrian route from the Excel Olympic venue to Pontoon Dock DLR station and Thames Barrier Park. A temporary pontoon bridge across the main dock during the 2012 games is proposed, which would enable people to walk to the DLR station past the competition site.

This is an ideal setting for dockside and water-based ideas. Principle access to the site will be from the south, off North Woolwich Road, and close to Pontoon Dock DLR station and Thames Barrier Park.

The site will be available for one year with the possibility to extend to two years – during the 2012 games – if the proposal is compatible with 2012 games activity.


Meanwhile London: how to enter

Who can enter?

The competition is open to all. We would like entries from developers, investors, artists, architects, entrepreneurs, the “third sector”, community groups, thinkers, or any combination of these groups, who can make great temporary use of three highly visible, prominent sites.

How do I enter?

Entries should comprise up to three pdf files, capable of being reproduced and understood at A3. A moving image file of up to three minutes’ duration can also be submitted to help explain the proposal.

Who are the judges?

Amanda Baillieu Building Design editorial director

Giles Barrie Property Week editor

Peter Bishop London Development Agency group director of design, development and environment and deputy chief executive

Tom Bloxham Urban Splash chairman

Clive Dutton London Borough of Newham executive director for regeneration planning and property

Sarah Ichioka Architecture Foundation director

Roger Madelin Argent Group joint chief executive and London Mayor’s Design Advisory

Panel member

Peter Murray New London Architecture chairman

Mark Brearley Design for London head

Who delivers the idea

How your idea becomes reality is up to you. Part of the challenge is how to implement and deliver your idea. You are welcome to deliver it yourself, or if appropriate resources are available, employ others to deliver it for you. We need to satisfy ourselves resources are available and appropriate.

There is no specific budget for developing entrants’ ideas, so you will need to be prepared to do this yourselves, but Newham Council, the London Development Agency (LDA) and the Greater London Authority (GLA) will work with winning teams to help make their ideas a reality.

The sites can be made available without charge for a year from summer 2011, but all other costs need to be met. If you submit a commercial proposition, some kind of profit share or rental income could be required.

Your submission will need to include a cost breakdown, details of anticipated income and an explanation of how your idea will be funded, with details of installation, staffing, operation
and removal at the end of the temporary period.

We want to see the winning ideas implemented. That is the object of the competition, so we will be asking our judges to consider carefully how realistic your ideas are.

How the judging and publicity works

The competition will feature three stages and a precise timetable is to be confirmed.

The first will involve Newham Council and LDA officers sifting through entries to select a long list of schemes.

Our eminent judges will then select a shortlist of entries on the main judging day in February 2011. There will be an announcement in Property Week of the shortlisted entries in an illustrated feature.

The final stage will involve a more detailed technical analysis of the shortlisted entries, possibly including an interview with Newham Council and LDA staff and some of the judges to further investigate the potential winning ideas before a final selection will be made.

The winning entries will be featured again in Property Week’s issue of 11 March 2011 and at the MIPIM property show in Cannes.

All shortlisted entries will also be available to view on Property Week, Newham Council and LDA websites.

What are the deadlines?

24 January 2011 All entries must be submitted electronically to

11 February 2011 The judges will meet during this week to choose a shortlist

11 March 2011 The winning entries will be announced in Property Week in time for MIPIM

8-11 March Winners will be showcased at MIPIM by the LDA, GLA and Newham Council. All entries will be available to view on and the LDA, GLA and Newham Council websites.

Summer 2011 Period for temporary use starts.

Terms and conditions

If you enter, we expect you to take forward the approved concept if you are selected as a winner. This will involve attending a series of meetings to allow arrangements to be made. By submitting an entry you agree to be available to attend meetings as necessary.

The competition is open to anyone aged 18 and over, although individuals or groups of younger people are welcome to form part of a team lead by someone 18 or over.

The ownership of copyright in the work of all submissions will be in accordance with the Copyright and Patent Act 1988 – that is copyright rests with the author.

We reserve the right, however, to publish such material in whole or in part, or use them in any way we think fit in connection with the sites or this competition without permission of the entrant or payment for such use, subject to the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998.

There is no registration fee for this competition. All costs and disbursements incurred by entrants in preparing a submission are the sole responsibility of the entrant.
Once the period of temporary use ends, any items still on site will become the property of the landowner, and will either be removed or destroyed, so please don’t leave anything behind.

Any questions should be initially directed to Lee Mallett via – and we’ll get back to you with an answer as quickly as possible.

This is an amazing opportunity to demonstrate how creative and canny you are in front of the world’s media during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and help kickstart one of the world’s most significant regeneration opportunities. Welcome to the race for “meanwhile” uses. On your marks … GO!

Download this brief and all the sites ’technical information at Please check the link often for updates and news about the compeition, including registration and a site visit day