London has seen many major new high-density developments in recent years. Since the 1990s the Docklands has been transformed and this process continues to the point that the original iconic Canary Wharf Tower is almost invisible from the panoramic view offered by Greenwich Park, while Nine Elms has been a huge development over the last decade.

Both those areas have been redeveloped with a lot of skyscrapers and high-density building, both for businesses and new housing. The latter is, of course, always a big issue both in London and across the country. But until now, not many have been trumpeting the idea that Charlton might be home to a similar scale of high-density development.

Step forward Michael Gove. In a speech at King’s Place, the housing secretary lamented that Britain’s big cities included “population densities much lower than comparable competitor Western nations, we occupy more land with fewer people”.

He noted that if just five per cent of the built-up area of the capital had the same population density as Maida Vale, that alone would be enough to accommodate an extra 1.2 million people.

The upshot of this, he said was greater pressure to build more homes in the suburbs. The solution, he said, is “a Docklands 2.0 – an eastward extension along the Thames of the original Heseltine vision”.

It will be a grand vision, he declared, “Taking in the regeneration of Charlton Riverside and Thamesmead in the South and the area around Beckton and Silverton to the north,” and ultimately providing “tens of thousands of new homes”.

Moreover, said Mr Gove, “Beautiful, well-connected homes and new landscapes are integral to our vision, all sympathetic to London’s best traditions.” Those familiar with his speeches will have heard the last aspect – attractive design and the right choice of building materials – highlighted before.

All this means the KBS Charlton depot could be rather busy supplying builders constructing new homes in this very part of London. This may bring a particular advantage, as local knowledge could be critical in helping guide architects and construction firms in the selection of materials for developments that are in keeping with the character of the area.

Of course, London is a city with a lot of different styles of building, which reflects both its overall age but also historical importance and the times when it has expanded most.

For instance, while some west and central areas are characterised by Regency architecture, others are shaped by the Victorian styles that dominated when the capital grew rapidly in the 19th century.

After its long post-war population decline, London has been growing again since the end of the 80s, when the Docklands 1.0 initiative was getting into full swing. The ubiquity of steel and glass as the capital has built upwards has come to characterise the early years of the 21st century, just as it is in other inner cities building to higher densities, like Manchester.

However, in order to meet the vision of “beautiful” new housing developments, it may be that designers need to look again at the materials traditionally used in areas like Charlton and incorporate these into their visions for new, higher-density developments.