Bringing biggest urban beach on stream

Star structures, linked by walkways, create first swimming pool proper on the London leg of the Thames.

The challenge

In front of a £314m regeneration plan for the Royal Docks, money designed to deliver a comprehensive physical, social and economic overhaul, and 35,000 new jobs, the GLA and London Borough of Newham wanted a bigger splash from Victoria Docks’ urban beach.

Branded Dock Beach the 7th edition had to deliver all the anticipated elements for locals together with a more significant emphasis on the water; unique, high impact elements to raise the profile, outside the borough, and deliver more than Londoners expect from an urban beach.

The solution

Working in partnership with Bliss Events, Star Events’ pool deck, based around a VerTech sub-structure, incorporated a children’s paddling area and extended existing infrastructure around the beach to cover hazards hidden by the shingle and prevent ad hoc access to the dock.

A sun deck on the water was built from a commercial grade Linkflote system rather than the lightweight plastic and ‘NATO’ type pontoons events typically turn to. As a result, all the floating sections of the structure, decked with Star’s standard aluminium, slip-free stage cover, were every bit as solid as the land-based elements.

The sun deck was accessed by two 16.6m by 2.5m floating walkways, which also served to fix the structure to the land. All were secured by fencing to keep swimmers out of uncontrolled areas and combined to envelop the lido itself.



“Star has watertight relationships with the likes of Livett’s and other agencies, vital to an event like this, along with the kit and the nous to build the lido and the pontoons. With great support from the client and from our suppliers we delivered a real feat of engineering in the shape of fantastic summer venue at the Royal Docks.”

Anne McLellan
Managing Director at Bliss Events

The results / ROI

As well as bringing the spoils of the sand and the water to Newham locals for six hot weeks last summer, visitor numbers to Dock Beach 2018 were up more than 40 per cent on 2017 and they cam from much further afield, in step with the client’s want for the project.

Robert Baffour-Awuah, Promotion and Investment Manager for the GLA’s Royal Docks team, says: “We’d seen examples of floating walkways and floating stages/screens but not this kind of decking, enclosing a managed swimming area.

“It was important to us that this year’s beach event reflected the step change in the story of the Royal Docks and it’s been great to work with Bliss/Star Events. They understand the ambition to ensure that the offer remains attractive to local people while attracting a wider audience from across the borough and the capital.”

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