Multi-million pound Watney Market Idea Store opens doors to public

The Mayor of Tower Hamlets Lutfur Rahman with children at the new Idea Store Watney Market in Commer

The Mayor of Tower Hamlets Lutfur Rahman with children at the new Idea Store Watney Market in Commercial Road. - Credit: Archant

The multi-million pound Idea Store in Watney Market opened its doors to the public for the first time this week.

Members of the public gather at the new Idea Store Watney Market in Commercial Road.

Members of the public gather at the new Idea Store Watney Market in Commercial Road. - Credit: Archant

Hundreds of people turned out for the opening of the futuristic centre, which takes the place of the former library in Commercial Road, Shadwell.

The new Idea Store Watney Market in Commercial Road.

The new Idea Store Watney Market in Commercial Road. - Credit: Archant

Around £4.5million was spent on creating the library, which has a “living green roof” planted with vegetation in a design aimed at absorbing rainwater and providing insulation.

Speaking at Wednesday’s opening, Tower Hamlets Council’s cabinet member for culture Cllr Rania Khan said: “I am very proud of our Idea Store and they continue to evolve to suit our specific community needs.

“We have managed to bring library, learning and information all under one roof which make a difference to people’s lives.”


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The project was jointly funded by the council and the Big Lottery Fund, with the eco-friendly design including concrete plates, allowing the three floor building to heat up and cool down without air conditioning.

Big Lottery Fund committee member Danny Silverstone described the opening as “a great day for east London”.

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“It just shows how good things come to those who wait and Idea Store Watney Market is an example of being patient since 2007 when it was first talked about”, he added.

As well as providing youngsters and adults with learning facilities, the Idea Store includes a One Stop Shop where residents can access council services.

For information on opening times and facilities, visit www.ideastore.co.uk.

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