Regeneration project: Hackney Central
Hackney Central is getting £2m from the Mayor’s Regeneration Fund, matched by over £2.6m from Hackney council and private partners, to set up a major fashion and retail destination. This is creating jobs and giving locals a renewed sense of pride in their area which was damaged by the 2011 riots. The Hackney Fashion Outlet will bring around 200 much-needed jobs to the area, and boost the economy by attracting more visitors. The area will also benefit from redesigned public spaces and shop front improvements, making it a safer and more inviting place.
Twelve railway arches along Morning Lane are being refurbished to create new spaces for Hackney’s creative businesses to thrive. Currently the arches are underused, with many empty and others experiencing limited trade. They have the potential to be a unique feature of Hackney Central, highlighting its talent in art and design. The design approach for the arches ties them into the wider Fashion Hub buildings and public spaces through sensitive material choices. They will be used for manufacturing and selling as well as for eating and drinking – providing a complementary offer to the Fashion Hub opposite.
A triangular area of public space opposite the Hackney Empire and Hackney Town Hall has become in need of refurbishment with few people making use of it. The space is being repaved and de-cluttered, with new trees, seating and better access to the Fashion Hub. It is being designed by Hackney Council’s Streetscape team, advised by East Architecture Landscape Urban Design, who have drawn up the Hackney Central Public Realm Strategy. From the initial Mayoral funding, Hackney has also secured more investment via section 106 and the Mayor's Pocket Park Programme to create a new green space at the Trelawney Estate, and improve other spaces around the Fashion Hub.
A package of shop front improvements is targeting independent shops along Narrow Way, Mare Street and Clarence Road to boost the area’s visual appeal. Following the 2011 riots, many local shops have lost trade and confidence, with some reporting up to a 40% decline in trade. A High Street Design Guide by architects Adams and Sutherland describes a strategy for the improvements, and includes a catalogue of signage and frontage upgrade options. Works to 44 businesses are being carried out in two phases, and are supported by visual merchandising and marketing advice from Vision On UK.
Hackney’s Fashion Hub will provide a range of jobs and opportunities for local residents in retail, fashion design, and manufacture. All new jobs are ring-fenced for local people through a council-led job brokerage scheme, which includes a retail training programme. The council has created apprenticeships, work placements and job opportunities for the community at every stage of the procurement process and construction works. A new Fashion Hub Trust is being established to fund future apprenticeships and training. The Fashion Hub is providing incubator space for fashion start-ups, and creating mentoring opportunities for budding fashion entrepreneurs.
Hackney Central’s funding has been strategically phased to seed further development. The refurbishment of twelve arches along Morning Lane is creating conditions that should attract investment for a second phase of works to a further nine arches. Hackney has also secured investment through section 106 and the Mayor’s Pocket Park Programme for projects initially supported by the Mayor’s Regeneration Fund. The High Street Design Guide produced to support shop front and public realm improvements at Narrow Way, Mare Street and Clarence Road is acting as an important resource that can be used beyond the life of the initial investment, to inform future high street developments
Preparing for change
Chatham Works and Manhattan Loft Corporation commissioned a study by East to identify the issues and opportunities in public spaces throughout Hackney Central. The report specifically looked at the surroundings of the Fashion Hub development and how well-designed public spaces could support and improve this venture. Ten sites were highlighted, and the borough has included the recommendations in their regeneration plan.
Partners/client: LB Hackney, Network Rail, Manhattan Loft Corporation, Chatham Works
Funding: Mayor of London £2m, Manhattan Loft / Chatham Works and LB Hackney £2.6m