Mayor puts seal of approval on Hackney Wick and Fish Island ‘creative enterprise’ zone
PUBLISHED: 12:00 10 January 2019
Creative industries and start-up businesses are finally being protected from developers and rocketing rents with a new ‘creative enterprise’ zone being set up at Hackney Wick.
Tower Hamlets Mayor John Biggs visited The Yard theatre at Hackney Wick to mark the award of ‘enterprise’ status and met some of the neighbourhood businesses that helped put together the application for ‘enterprise’ status to City Hall.
“Creative communities have brought a new lease of life to former industrial areas,” he said. “They have transformed communities with energy and entrepreneurial spirit.
“But too often they end up being victims of their own success and are priced out of workspace and accommodation when developers move in.”
The City Hall funding allows Tower Hamlets and neighbouring Hackney councils to make sure they’re able to stay in “genuinely affordable” workspace while encouraging start-ups to move in.
Hackney Wick already has 250 artist studios and around 100 creative businesses, but was in danger of its own success with the threat of developers talking over the district bordering the Olympic Park which would “price out” creative industries altogether as had already happened elsewhere.
The zone bordering the Lea River gets a slice of an £11 million City Hall funding as one of six schemes within the M25 unveiled last month by the Mayor of London in the wake of the Brexit threat.
The aim is to provide investment during the Brexit economic uncertainty, City Hall stressed, making sure London “remains one of the most entrepreneurial business centres in the world”.
The successful pitch to City Hall by Tower Hamlets and Hackney councils and the Olympics Legacy Corporation pledged to work with employment services to provide training and internships in the cultural, creative, digital and tech industries. It also promised employers access to apprenticeships, internships and tailored business support.
Creative communities have demonstrated their role in revitalising run-down neighbourhoods like Hackney Wick and Fish Island—but over time often find themselves priced out of the neighbourhoods they have helped regenerate.
The new funding aims to “put a stop to this trend” and to build a sustainable future for the creative sector.