Hackney Council has secured a £5.3million fund to improve Hackney Central Town centre area, which is expected to create over 200 jobs.
The council has plans to develop a fashion retail village around Hackney’s popular Burberry Outlet Store in Chatham Place, which offers brand classics at reduced prices.
The expansion will produce employment for local residents and help place Hackney on the retail map.
Jules Pipe, the Mayor of Hackney, said: “Hackney Central has so much to offer in terms of culture, vibrancy and opportunity. This investment has the potential to create a unique attraction that can give the borough a significant economic boost, so I am pleased that our bid has been successful.”
Hackney MP Diane Abbott, previously declared that the borough requires a dramatic renovation change in the high street areas and town centre developments.
“It is absolutely appalling that so many town centre shops in Hackney are now empty. The Tory-led Government has completely failed to take action to support our high streets at a time when their economic policies are making the situation worse. Healthy and diverse high streets are the cornerstone of local communities, and people in Hackney must have their say,” she said.
Abbott was particularly in favour of reducing the number of betting shops in the poorest areas of the borough where there are high levels of poverty and unemployment.
Abbott added: “Hackney has around 90 bookies. Even the Old Town Hall has been turned into a betting shop. I do not have any moral objection to betting. Rather my concern is that these shops put little back into the community and can take advantage of areas with high levels of unemployment and poverty. They can also cause increased levels of crime including begging, drug crimes and burglaries.”
Londoners are seeing their pubs, banks and independent shops close and bookies opening up in their place without the need for any planning permission. At a time when people in Hackney are hard pressed, people most need independent financial advice, yet they find virtual roulette wheels instead of a bank manager.”
The new renovation wants to guarantee suitable replacements for fashion retail elements, restaurants and cafés, as well as establishing strong links with the wider town centre.
The revamp plan will also permit the council to set a team of architects and retail specialists to work with local businesses in the Mare Street, Narrow Way and Clarence Road areas, to construct design guidelines and business plans.
Sami Ahmed, Business Manager of Welfare to Work Centre said: “I think it is a fantastic idea of regenerating the borough of Hackney to a modern state. I hope that such a project will concern people from the most deprived areas of the borough who will now have more opportunities to reach employment status and have brighter future.”