A fashion hub, new cafes and restaurants and space for local designers are just some of the things Hackney council are hoping to provide with the £5.3 million regeneration fund provided in the wake of last year’s riots. Mare Street, Narrow Way and Chatham Place are the main areas that will benefit.
£2 million will come from the Greater London Authority as part of the Mayor of London’s regeneration fund granted to boroughs that suffered either the most damage throughout the London riots in August 2011 or showed the most potential for improvement.
Network Rail have provided match funding to the council in the sum of £3.3 million and will partner the council in the re- redevelopment of twelve empty railway arches in Morning Lane and improve their connection to the town centre.
The plan is to use the money to create more jobs and attract more employers to the borough.
Fashion and retail programmes to train potential employees for both entry and senior level roles will be set up to support local designers at the start of their careers.
The council also aims to provide and advertise new jobs through a council led scheme which will ensure local people have the opportunity to apply and be successful in their area.
A ‘Pringle of Scotland’ store just steps away from the Burberry outlet at Chatham Place; is already set to open in the next two weeks. Discussions are also said to be taking place with other retail companies.
Hackney Wick already has over six hundred studio spaces and is home to some of the most creative workers and artists in Europe. The London College of fashion also has a campus on Mare Street.
A team of architects and retail specialists will be appointed to work with local businesses around Mare Street, Narrow way and Clarence road to produce business plans on how to attract more shoppers.
Businesses can then bid for funding to allow them to carry out improvements. Much of these funds will be used for the reconstruction of shop fronts that were damaged during the riots.
Francesca Sarno, a waitress at ‘Brew for two’ a café on Morning Lane said: “A bit of life would be nice.” She welcomed the plans but added “Obviously it depended on what kind of life though.”
Joyce George, manager of Meade’s florist located opposite the railway arches said: “I think that the regeneration is long overdue. I am looking forward to establishing a similar relationship with them as I currently enjoy with Burberry’s.”
Mrs Simons from the Victoria park area said that she thinks that the new fashion outlets would be “Way too expensive. I’ve bought my daughter a bag from that Burberry store and a few more presents but if they’re all going to be like that then I won’t be going there.
“I like the town centre. I like Primark and Marks and Spencers. That’s good stuff and cheap too.”