Construction on a new enterprise hub to link Goldsmiths, University of London with the wider community of New Cross and Deptford will start early in the New Year.,
The hub is a joint venture with Lewisham Council, the Mayor of London, and architecture firm Morris+Company
The hub, which has yet to be named, will be developed across an area of disused shops at 302-304 New Cross Road, next to Deptford Town Hall, which is the main administrative offices of Goldsmiths. Once complete, it will contain meeting rooms, event space, a pavilion, offices, a café, and a garden.
Anthony Crowther, the manager of the enterprise hub, told Eastlondonlines: “The purpose of the enterprise hub is to create great ideas – from our students, from our staff, but crucially also from the local community.”
“We see this project as a gateway between Goldsmiths’ expertise and research and the wider New Cross and Deptford area.”
Crowther described the hub as an opportunity to build a community of entrepreneurs from all types of businesses, recognising that the local area has particular strengths across the creative industries.
In terms of membership and revenue, the hub is currently asking for input from the community. Plans for co-working and office rental spaces are being considered, alongside subsidized tenancy opportunities for those who need it.
While the development presents an exciting opportunity for local entrepreneurs, it also poses an architectural challenge, as it requires significant conservation efforts within the existing buildings.
Speaking to Eastlondonlines, project architect Jane Chu of Morris+Company, described the state of the shops for redevelopment: “This is a derelict row of terraces that hasn’t seen people living in it for around 10 years. It’s suffered from dry rot, damp, and rotting timbers within the building itself.”
She continued: “As part of the project we also have to make all the terraces accessible. This is quite a challenge as the Victorian terraces are all higgledy piggledy.”
Accessibility is at the heart of the project. Part of the hub is a new building that will be built between Deptford Town Hall and the shopfronts, containing an accessible entrance and a lift, making the public areas of the town hall fully accessible.
Crowther was particularly excited about this element of the development, saying that the council chamber was a brilliant space, but terrible for accessibility and inclusivity. “This would really open up Deptford Town Hall,” he said.
Phase one of the hub is set to be complete by spring 2021. Public consultations will continue through December, providing an opportunity to learn more about the hub, give feedback, and vote for a proposed name. Feedback can also be provided through the hub’s website.