The Silverton

East River Wharf shared ownership may cost less than renting

Legal And General Affordable Homes’ scheme offers compelling alternative with deposits starting at £4,844 for a one-bedroom property

Image shows a collection of residential tower blocks that make up the Riverscape development next to the Thames in Royal Docks. East River Wharf's buildings are orange and at the centre
East River Wharf’s buildings are located at the centre of Riverscape close to Lyle Park

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Rising rents are arguably one of the biggest pressures in the housing market right now.

According to a recent study by estate agency Stirling Ackroyd, tenants are currently paying an average of £1,966 a month for a one-bedroom property near Canary Wharf.

While wider inflation has fallen back to 2.3% and average two-year fixed mortgages have dropped back to less than 5% in May, with cheaper borrowing expected later in the year, rents are forecast to climb ever higher.

One study from Savills predicts more than 6% growth over 2024.

Increasingly, affordable housing providers are highlighting shared ownership properties as a less expensive alternative to renting.

Image shows living area with a wooden floor at East River Wharf
A show home interior at East River Wharf

case study: East River Wharf

Take Legal And General Affordable Homes’ East River Wharf scheme, for example.

Its properties form part of Riverscape – essentially an extension of Ballymore and Oxley’s Royal Wharf development on the banks of the Thames at Silvertown. 

Located roughly 15 minutes from Canary Wharf itself via the DLR and Jubilee line, these one, two and three-bedroom homes are set in a wealth of green space close to Lyle Park in a freshly regenerated part of Docklands.

Neighbouring Royal Wharf boasts a wealth of amenities including a pub, restaurants, shops and health services. 

Residents will enjoy access to a health club with a gym, pool, spa and fitness studio as well as a 16th floor sky lounge with views over the Thames to Greenwich and Canary Wharf.

The apartments at East River Wharf include private balconies, open-plan design and fully fitted kitchens with integrated Siemens appliances.

But, alongside the quality of the finish and the facilities, the key attraction lies in escaping the grind and uncertainty of the rental market.

A deposit of £4,844 could be enough to secure a one-bedroom home at the scheme – 5% of a 25% share worth £96,875.

Monthly costs are expected to be about £1,465.

By purchasing a portion of the property, a buyer can essentially secure a £387,500 apartment with no threat of eviction.

They also enjoy all the freedoms to enjoy living in the space they might expect if it was owned outright. 

In contrast to renting, purchasers of shared ownership homes are not subject to landlord inspections or controls on how they decorate their space, for example. 

Image shows a show home kitchen at the development
Properties come with fully fitted kitchens

capital appreciation

They also own an asset that, in the case of East River Wharf, is highly likely to appreciate.

The area has already undergone extensive regeneration, but there’s much more in the pipeline for Royal Docks.

Major infrastructure and housing investments are in the pipeline over the coming years with homes, businesses and facilities set to be built locally.

Already an attractive area to live in, these developments are likely to bring fresh demand as buyers look east for high quality homes to purchase in the future. 

Royal Wharf is already well served by the DLR and bus routes as well as a dedicated pier for Uber Boat By Thames Clippers services, which run all the way to Putney along the river. 

Image shows the Greenwich Peninsula and Canary Wharf skylines at sunset as seen from Riverscape's residents' lounge
The view from the communal residents’ lounge at Riverscape

secure a property

A spokesperson for Legal And General Affordable Homes said: “The amenities at East River Wharf are best in class, with a state-of-the-art residents’ gym, pool and spa. 

“Plus, concierge services and 24-hour security ensure our residents always feel at home. 

“There is also a primary school located on the development, which is perfect for growing families.

“Whatever your stage in life, East River Wharf is a modern and secure place to call home with shared ownership.”

Under the shared ownership scheme, buyers purchase part of a property.

They pay a deposit and arrange a mortgage to cover the cost.

They then pay a reduced rent on the rest of the property and the appropriate service charge.

Purchasers need not be first-time buyers but cannot own another property.

Owners can choose to increase the portion of the apartment that’s theirs until they own the whole property, in a process commonly known as “staircasing”.

Equally, buyers are free to sell their share either through the affordable housing provider or independently, if they decide to move home.

Image shows a show home bedroom at East River Wharf
Properties at East River Wharf start at £96,875 for a 25% share

key details: East River Wharf

East River Wharf is located at the Riverscape development beside Royal Wharf.

The closest transport link is West Silvertown DLR station on nearby North Woolwich Road.

Prices for a one-bed start at £96,875 for a 25% share.

Call 020 587 2474 for more details.

Find out more about the scheme here

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- Jon Massey is co-founder and editorial director of Wharf Life and writes about a wide range of subjects in Canary Wharf, Docklands and east London - contact via jon.massey@wharf-life.com
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Royal Docks: How The Greenhouse Theatre is set for a run at Thames Barrier Park

Zero waste venue will be a creative hub to house three of the four artistic commissions for Sea Change

The Greenhouse Theatre is set to come to Royal Docks

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There’s about to be a lot going on to the east of Canary Wharf.

The Royal Docks Team (RDT) has officially unveiled its At The Docks programme – an umbrella for numerous events and attractions set to come to fruition in E16 between May and September.

These include the likes of the Greenwich + Docklands International Festival, the London E-Prix, the Dockyards Summer Series and Newham Heritage Month.

It also includes Sea Change – an RDT collaboration with University College London (UCL) that has seen four new artworks commissioned.

These have been curated by Invisible Dust, which has brought together a quartet of artists with scientists at UCL to respond to the climate crisis.

Finally, after what feels like a blizzard of stakeholders and acronyms, that leads us to May 11-June 4, 2023, when these installations will be available to view for free.

The Greenhouse’s co-founder and artistic director, Oli Savage

Rather than a gallery, however, three of the works will be on show at The Greenhouse Theatre – a zero-waste travelling venue that, even as you read this, is being built at Thames Barrier Park.

Having spent time in Canary Wharf in 2021, it’s a structure typically used as a space for live performances, which has meant a few changes for its latest incarnation.

“We’ll be this really exciting creative hub for those weeks down in Thames Barrier Park – a space where people can engage with the amazing artworks that Invisible Dust has programmed,” said Oli Savage, co-founder and artistic director of The Greenhouse Theatre.

“Physically, this is the same venue – built from recycled materials – but there will also be some new spaces for 2023.

“One of the pieces – Flotilla by Melanie Manchot – will be shown in our new screening space, a very lovely repurposed shed.

“We’re also introducing our first zero waste bar on site where people can come and hang out and stay sustainable while they’re having a drink.

“Our message is that the site is open – we’re encouraging people to come down and enjoy all the things that are on offer.

“We want to make it a space that people really want to come and spend time in.”

Biotopes by Simon Faithful

The core of Sea Change will be four artworks, with three housed at The Greenhouse. 

Biotopes by Simon Faithfull explores habitats with the artist using 3D printed sculptures of his body adapted for other species to reside in.

Power In by Dana Olărescu promises an exploration of energy equity with input from local people. 

Manchot’s Flotilla comprises a film of local women afloat on boats on the night time waters of the Royal Docks, inspired by the history of protests for equality in the area.

The fourth artwork – The Waves Are Rising by Raqs Media Collective – will be viewable at Royal Victoria Dock and sees an augmented reality wave superimposed over live video footage of the still waters in front of City Hall. All are free to access. 

Sea Change will also include Forecast 2023 on May 19, 2023 – a symposium during which writers, artists, scientists and cultural commentators can explore the nature of stories and how they might shape the planet’s future.

Flotilla by Melanie Manchot

A full schedule of events is set to be announced soon. As part of the overall programme, The Greenhouse will be hosting a free youth festival on May 14, 2023, aimed at people aged 14-30.

“This will be a full day with workshops, events and refreshments available,” said Oli.

“There will be live music too and this is very much by and for people aged 14-30 – we’d love a great crowd of young people along to come and hang out with us. 

“In fact we want as many people to come down and see us as possible throughout our time here. It is a lovely, lovely park on the river and right beside the Thames Barrier itself – an iconic piece of architecture, so we’re really lucky to be there.

“There’s also a fantastic community locally, which we’re really excited to engage with and serve.”

The Greenhouse Theatre is also expecting to return to Canary Wharf in June before heading to Battersea in August.

“We’re expecting the Wharf run to go ahead, which will be a return to theatrical programming with a festival feel,” said Oli.

Power in by Dana Olărescu

“We’ll have two or three shows each day – a range of different fringe artists – alongside headline show To The Ocean, which will be on at 7pm.

“It’s a modern retelling of the Selkie myth – a musical about how we connect with each other, with family and with the natural world. 

“It will feature original music and it’s all about a young girl’s journey to find herself who on her 16th birthday discovers her dad hasn’t been entirely truthful about where she’s from.

“She sets out on a mythical, magical journey to the ocean to meet her mother and discover her roots. 

“One of the really exciting things is we’ll be holding open rehearsals people can come to for free while we’re in Royal Docks as well as preview performances at a reduced rate from June 2-4, 2023.”

The Waves Are Rising by Raqs Media Collective

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- Jon Massey is co-founder and editorial director of Wharf Life and writes about a wide range of subjects in Canary Wharf, Docklands and east London - contact via jon.massey@wharf-life.com
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Royal Docks: How Little Hudson cafe at Royal Wharf was inspired by New York

Owner Nicola Micah talks banking, motherhood and serving up all sorts of dishes to east Londoners

Nicola Micah outside her cafe - Little Hudson
Nicola Micah outside her cafe – Little Hudson – image Matt Grayson

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BY LAURA ENFIELD

The concrete jungle is “where dreams are made of” according to Alicia Keys’ song New York.

But for Nicola Micah the Big Apple simply provided the inspiration for her Royal Docks reality.

The Londoner was living it up in Manhattan with her husband – banking by day and soaking up all the city had to offer by night

“We moved to New York in our late 20s and loved it,” she said.

“For me, the whole point of being there was to be in the centre of everything. 

“But we knew we wanted to start a family and I didn’t want to do it there. We knew we wanted to move back home.”

By 2019 she was back – running fledgling café Little Hudson around the corner from Thames Barrier Park and raising her newborn son.

It was a huge transition, but one Nicola makes seem as natural as breathing.

“In New York, brunch is such a big part of the lifestyle and I’ve always loved food – working in a bank wasn’t really me,” she said. 

“So I decided I was going to have a look into it and see if there were any units around.

“When I did, I quickly realised we needed to go for it because there were some available. 

“I knew if we waited we might miss out or other places might move in and then there would already be competition.

“Then I got pregnant, unexpectedly, and that really pushed us to do it. I could have moved back to the UK and got a job in banking, but I wanted to do something I really loved.”

Little Hudson is located in Starboard Way, Royal Wharf
Little Hudson is located in Starboard Way, Royal Wharf – image Matt Grayson

Nicola named Little Hudson to “bring a little slice of New York to Royal Docks” and juggles running it with raising her three-year-old son Rafi.

The café, in Starboard Way, is open seven days a week until 4pm with a staff of 10 and the menu is very much inspired by the brunch scene in Manhattan while also including some English classics.

Dishes include banana and caramel pancakes (£11), a brekkie bagel (£8) with scrambled egg, cheese, chives, turkey bacon or smoked salmon, and the popular ​​Hudson brekky plate (£12) with turkey bacon, two eggs, hash brown, Hudson beans, sautéed mushrooms and sourdough toast. 

Nicola said: “When we were planning I was thinking about what kind of place people would go to regularly, not just once every two weeks.

“I wanted to choose the best thing to do in terms of being able to survive.

“Our food is the kind people want to eat every day, because it’s not really greasy. I like to keep the menu fresh and change it every few months for people who come quite regularly.”

Royal Docks is no Manhattan – the population is still small – but Nicola said that was the draw for her.

“Before we went to New York we were living in the area, so we knew it really well but there was literally nothing there,” said the 32-year-old.

“Then they started developing it and all the flats were put up and I thought it was a great opportunity to open something related to food, because there’s nothing else around there.”

Nicola's food is inspired by her life in New York
Nicola’s food is inspired by her life in New York – image Matt Grayson

She and her husband left the area to move Stateside after he landed a role with financial services company Moody’s.

Data analyst Nicola had previously worked for Santander and HSBC and then found work with Citibank.

When they decided to return, Nicola used her financial skills to create a business plan, carried out market research to build her brand and organised the lease, all from across the pond.

She said of husband Salem: “I’m pretty sure he was freaking out inside, but he was really supportive of it and he always has been.

“When we opened, he was in between two jobs, so was able to help out a bit, which was great because our son had just been born.”

Nicola launched the café in September 2019 with her six-month-old strapped to her chest.

“My son has grown up in the café,” said the Beckton resident. “When everything was being put together, we set up a play area for him in the back and, when we first opened, I had just started weaning him, so he had avocado and bits from the menu, which was fun.”

Nicola is now pregnant again but setting up the business is not an experience she is keen to repeat.

“It was probably good that I was quite naive about the café beforehand,” she said. “I can’t even imagine being able to do it now while raising two children. 

“The beginning was so intense, getting everything right, getting the processes right.

“When you’re new, you really want to make sure that every customer is happy so that they come back.

“I didn’t realise how intensive it would be, but in hospitality if your main driver is to make lots of lots of money, then it’s not the best sort of industry for you.

Little Hudson serves up a range of dishes at Royal Wharf
Little Hudson serves up a range of dishes at Royal Wharf – image Matt Grayson

“Even though it’s stressful with ups and downs and a pandemic and everything, I actually genuinely do love it, especially now we’ve got a really supportive team and people who actually care about the business.

“That makes such a difference and we have a lot less stress now.”

Six months after opening, the UK went into lockdown and the café was forced to shut. It was a strange time for Nicola.

“Looking back it was actually quite nice, because I had my son so we were able to kind of spend that quality time together,” she said.

“But it was really upsetting shutting the café. 

“We kept the community involved by doing supply boxes with fruit and veg, milk, eggs, flour, yeast, bread and coffee.

“We delivered them to people’s doors using a little trolley.

“No-one in our area could get anything because we only have a small Sainsbury’s, so the queue would literally wrap around the whole development. 

“When we reopened, we actually had a lot of support then from people who bought from us. All those same customers came in, which was really nice.”

Nicola said lockdown also forced Little Hudson to launch on Deliveroo, which has prompted her to consider opening a dark kitchen.

“Delivery has just blown up since the pandemic, it is about 15% of the business.

“Sometimes, on weekends, we have to switch it off because it’s so busy already in the café.

“I didn’t think people would order brunch for delivery, but they do, especially at weekends.

“I’ve been thinking about doing some sort of delivery kitchen and maybe expanding other parts of the business as well to do more cakes for events and celebrations and expand the catering side.”

The café is open seven days a week until 4pm and has just launched a burger night on Fridays from 6pm-9pm. Nicola is also looking into holding live music events in the future.

So does she want to expand to another location now she is expanding her family?

“Maybe,” she said. “But I’ll wait a little bit until my next child is a bit older.”

Little Hudson’s interior – image Matt Grayson

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- Laura Enfield is a regular contributor to Wharf Life, writing about a wide range of subjects across Docklands and east London 
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