BY NEWS REPORTER
A proposal for a new Place and Making Institute in east Thamesmead, in the London Borough of Bexley, won widespread support last Wednesday, November 1.
Leading representatives from development, education, property and construction took part in the information event to discuss the proposal at City Hall, close to Tower Bridge.
It opened with expressions of support for the proposed Institute from Lord Robert Kerslake, former head of the Civil Service and chairman of Peabody, and Jules Pipe, Deputy Mayor of London for planning, regeneration and skills. Discussion focused initially on the unprecedented skills challenge that will need to be met to deliver the new homes and good growth London needs.
Attention then turned to the proposal for the Place and Making Institute and the part that interested organisations can play in shaping and supporting it.
The idea for the Institute was developed by the London Borough of Bexley and Peabody, who have agreed to provide the land on which the Institute can be built. South East London Colleges have joined them to take the idea forward.
After the event Gill said: “I was delighted by the attendance and the enthusiastic response to the proposal from across the wide range of organisations who took part, many of which have told us they are keen to be involved.
“The skills challenge is becoming increasingly urgent, but the Institute will only become a reality if people are willing to join together and help to make it happen.
“If we can do that, we can create somewhere that will inspire our young people to be part of shaping the places of the future.”
During the discussion about the critical skills, training and recruitment shortages across the built-environment sector, Peabody Director Dr Phil Agnew, described the Institute as “an opportunity and a necessity”.
The proposed location for the Institute is in east Thamesmead, at the centre of one of Europe’s largest regeneration projects.
As well as building a possible 20,000 new homes, Peabody will be working with partners to create thousands of new high value jobs alongside a new leisure, cultural and commercial offer. Sitting close to the Institute, it would offer students the opportunity to be part of a live regeneration project through directly linked employment opportunities.
Locating the Institute in Bexley would also make it ideally placed to contribute to the London Borough of Bexley’s own ambitious growth plans, set out in its recently published draft growth strategy.
Growth is also high on the agenda for neighbouring boroughs in London and north-west Kent. The proposed site of the Institute is less than a mile away from Bexley’s new Elizabeth Line Station at Abbey Wood, which will benefit from a new fast service to Canary Wharf, the West End and Heathrow from next year.
The Mayor of London has also instructed Transport for London to take forward a new extension of the Docklands Light Railway into Thamesmead, which will further improve access to the Institute. There are a number of ways that individuals and organisations can get involved in the project.