diamond geezer

 Saturday, December 04, 2021

There's a thin line between sharp marketing and warping the truth.

Take Royal Albert Wharf, for example, the part-completed housing development at Gallions Reach.

truly unique - technically everywhere is unique in some respect
modern - of course it is, you're still building it
waterfront neighbourhood - yes, but most of the flats have no river view

prime position - hardly, this is the arse end of Newham near a sewage works
exciting new architecture - nah, it's all the usual stacky brick vernacular
historic setting - it used to be warehouses and a coal wharf
vibrant - there may be a Co-Op but the coffee shop has folded
destination - nobody's coming here specially, trust me

tree-lined squares - a patch of grass with the odd sapling
intimate green spaces - by which of course they mean 'small'
play areas - a few logs, boulders and ropes
waterside views - mmm, West Thamesmead, if you're lucky
on the edge of the centre of London - it's 9 miles from Charing Cross, ffs
exciting new neighbourhood - a fish and chip van visits on Saturdays
brand new community - ...apart from the flats that opened alongside in 2007
setting the scene for a way of life - every housing development ever

Here's the reality.

Much the usual 2020s-style estate, relatively densely packed, with snippets of green.

Play areas prioritising safe and cheap over recreational amenity.

Only a few blocks face the Thames, looking out across the grey estuary towards Woolwich and Thamesmead.

The 2010s section facing the dock basin has a bit more character, as well as 40 artists' studios, but that phase sold out a while back.

You could be anywhere, except you're not, you're in the remotest corner of Newham. But this hasn't stopped the marketing team from further brand massaging, locationwise.
At Royal Albert Wharf, everything you need is close by
Canary Wharf and Westfield Stratford City are just 20 and 23 minutes away respectively by DLR from Gallions Reach, so you’ve got shopping, leisure and business covered when you live at Royal Albert Wharf. It’s a good feeling having everything so close.
Translated into miles, Canary Wharf and Westfield Stratford City are four miles away. This is not close. A resident of the Barbican lives closer to Canary Wharf and Westfield Stratford City than the far flung residents of Royal Albert Wharf. If you want to live close to things you do not live here.

Then there's this.
Open air living
Royal Albert Wharf’s docklands location, away from the congested noisy city, gives you open skies, cool air, a sense of peace and freedom. Stroll the waterside walkway or reconnect with nature in local green spaces. This location is relaxed, uninterrupted, tranquil and vibrant all at the same time.
What nobody's mentioned is the close proximity of London City Airport, nor that the development lies only 100m from the flight path. With the end of the runway less than half a mile away this means planes approaching from the east screech past the development at minimal elevation. I wasn't quite standing in the right place to get the money shot, but even I was startled by how near the plane got. No other residential site is closer to the City Airport flight path than Royal Albert Wharf.

It's not all negative. The artists' studios round the central basin add character, the Capital Ring path passes through and any waterfront setting can be attractive. Then there's the the Gallions Hotel - a genuine Victorian hostelry - plus a DLR station within five minutes' walk. What's more if you have a car you'd be living in that rare slice of Newham just beyond the North Circular where the ULEZ does not apply, which could save you a fortune.

But there are better-connected, less generic and much quieter places to live, especially if you're planning on spending half a million on a two-bedroomed hutch.

The louder the marketing shouts "unique vibrant destination", the more likely they're not telling you everything you need to know.

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