Council backs rent cap to protect creative industries in Hackney Wick


Save the Wick. Pic: Sarah Antoun

Rent controls are to be imposed on properties in the Hackney Wick area to  protect creative businesses.

The area which is currently experiencing a massive regeneration has long been a home to artists and other creative enterprises, but has seen its rents increasing by more than 50% in just one year.

The initiative has the support from the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. It will force landowners in the area to set rents at less than half of the current market rate.

Creative businesses will benefit from more support and protection to stay in the area thanks to new planning rules approved by the council and the London Legacy Development Corporation. The LLDC, which manage a substantial part of the area has agreed to a planning arrangement intended to provide new work and studio spaces at affordable rents for established businesses.

More than 8,400 square metres of existing low-cost work will be re-provided under the new planning rules, alongside hundreds of new homes, modern retail, and community facilities. The rent controls follow the creation of the  masterplan for the regeneration of the area.

The council is already in the process of refurbishing two existing buildings in the Trowbridge area. Local workspace providers will be in charge to manage the building for the small, independent and artistic firms that have already made Hackney Wick their home.

A spokesperson for Hackney Council told ELL: “There is a significant cluster of creative industries occupying managed workspace and studios in the older industrial buildings which contribute to the character of the area. This new rule will benefit the local creative industries as well as residents to secure new premises or find work opportunities in the creative or tech sector.”

Creatives industries are at the heart of Hackney Wick. Pic: Sarah Antoun

Tony Leak, 28, an artist from the area told ELL: “I didn’t know about the renting caps, but as long as it’s not extortionate, I think it’s a good idea. As an artist working and living in the area, the rents have been constantly increasing and people I know were forced to move out. It is important for Hackney Council to set the cap at a reasonable price.”

Councillor Guy Nicholson, Hackney’s cabinet member for planning said: “While we can’t control all the changes happening in Hackney Wick, we’re determined to bridge the gap between an exciting new economy and residents and businesses who have told us they feel at risk of being left behind by redevelopment. It is important for us to preserve this inspiring and unique corner of the borough.”

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