In 1981 the London’s Docklands Development Corporation (LDDC) was set up to improve the economic, social and environmental problems that had developed in the area that was once one of the world’s busiest ports. The area had been in decline since the 1950’s. This is because larger ships could no longer access the port. Unemployment soared, the back to back terraced housing fell into disrepair and there was a lack of transport and leisure facilities. The area became the first Enterprise Zones in 1981. The land was made rate free for ten years.
Between 1981-1998 many changes occurred within London Docklands. For example:
Low rents attracted a number of hi-tech and financial firms. This includes The Limehouse ITV studios and The Guardian and Daily Telegraph newspapers.
Many of the former warehouses have been transformed into luxury flats. This is an example of gentrification. Low-cost housing has also been built along with the renovation of older council-owned properties.
A large shopping area was constructed close to Canary Warf. A number of parks have been created where buildings once stood. More recently the Millennium Dome was built in this area.
London’s Docklands now has its own light railway. The Dockland Light Railway (DLR) connects with Bank and Monument underground stations. This makes travel into the City of London very easy.
Although the redevelopment of London’s Docklands brought many benefits to the area there are some groups who oppose the changes. This includes some of the original inhabitants of the area who are now unable to afford to live there. The majority of the jobs in the new hi-tech industries are unsuitable for unemployed docker workers. They do not have the skills needed for jobs in these industries. Close knit-communities have been broken up. Many believe there are insufficient services for people living in the area e.g. care for the elderly.