Like it or not it looks like Hackney will be dragged screaming (or not) into one of Londons most ambitious and out of left field projects, and so far the usual suspect neighbourhood warriors and NIMBY’s haven’t put up much of a fight. The borough has long shed its loony left image, (although some locals might consider it a bit of a political nut house) and it’s perceived “edginess” may be taking a southerly flight to a new edgier mecca. Word is New Cross and Deptford are the new “edgy”. Hackney however, may just be on the way to being a trendy and prestigious fashion destination, who would have thought that?
Things are progressing swimmingly for London’s latest fashion hub, with two consultations scheduled for next week. The two principles involved in the project, have brought forward what they describe as “unique proposals to create a world-class fashion development”. The plan is that it will result in hundreds of new jobs and new customers for local businesses.
The proposals comprise two new buildings, designed by internationally acclaimed architects, Adjaye Associates. The development will be a landmark for the Hackney Central area and will deliver an innovative and inspiring retail-led fashion development at Morning Lane and Chatham Place. Led by one of the worlds leading and in demand Architects, David Adjaye, who ironically announced last year he would no longer be actively pursuing projects in the UK. He has been brought into the project by the Chief Executive of Manhattan Loft Corporation, Harry Hendlesman. Adjaye has said of the development; “Our proposals offer a beacon for Hackney Central. The buildings will create a light-filled, compelling environment that captures Hackney’s creative energy, gives local residents a sense of pride in their built environment and provides an exciting new draw for visitors”.
The proposal will be linked with Railway Arches on Morning Lane, which are currently being refurbished. The combination of these two developments will include a café and restaurant, new retail space set over five and seven floors, plus basement and design studios where up-and-coming local designers can showcase and sell their products.
There is a gripe merchants in the surrounding area and Hackney as a whole have, and that is shoppers to the three existing outlets – Pringle, Burberry and Aquascutum don’t venture any further than the stores, with some leaving their chauffeur driven cars running while they shop. The developers and Hackney Council are hoping to rectify this by developing new open space, pedestrianised areas and signage to surrounding shopping streets, encouraging people to explore Hackney Central.
Jack Basrawy of Chatham Works Limited, the other principle involved in developing the new fashion hub said: “We’ve been working closely with Hackney Council’s Ways into Work scheme, so that Hackney residents are at the front of the queue for the new jobs. Pringle and Aquascutum are already employing Hackney residents. Our proposals will create even more job opportunities for local people”.
Hackney council is bank rolling the Fashion Hub development with £2 million it received from the Mayor of London’s regeneration fund, which was earmarked for areas that suffered most from the summer riots of 2011. The redevelopment of the railway arches is in partnership with the owners, Network Rail who are spending £3.3m on the development of the railway arches element of the development.
Manhattan Loft Corporation and Chatham Works are holding two public drop-in sessions for local residents and businesses to view and give feedback on the proposals. The first is on Wednesday 13 March between 2pm and 7:30pm at the Trelawney Estate Community Hall, Belsham Street, E9 6PQ. The second is on Thursday 14 March, 2pm-7pm in St Luke’s Church, Woodbine Terrace, E9 6RT.
Correction: Earlier the above story mentioned Hackney council was spending £5 million on the development. The actual amount has been included.