Saturday, 18 June 2011

Last chance to comment on 'Hackney Wick Hub'

Many thanks to Ruth for this posting - please read it and act on it - it affects every single one of us:

The consultation on a major development around Hackney Wick station is to close this weekend and residents have just a couple more days to have their opinions heard.

Plans for more than 150 flats, several shops and retail units around a pedestrian area off Wallis Road, and a "hi-tech" hub of affordable workspaces has been proposed by landowners London Thames Gateway Development Corporation (LTGDC).

At the end of May, the designers and architects behind the project came to the Wick for a couple of days to display and discuss the plans, and now the consultation is drawing to a close.

Any opinions and ideas need to be with them before the end of this weekend (Sunday June 19) because they intend to submit their planning application to Hackney Council on the June 24th, next Friday. Once they have planning application they will find a developer to buy the land.

Outline drawings and descriptions of the proposal are available on the corporation's website, here: (
) There is not lots of detail but it gives you an idea of where it will be and says there will retail units, including bars, restaurants, perhaps a bank, shops, and takeaways, 6000sqm of affordable workspaces, and more than 130 studio, one-bed, two-bed and three-bed flats.

Based on chats with the designers it also seems the idea is to have:

Affordable workspaces
The chief executive of the corporation which owns the land has said, in this interview with journalist Paul Norman, that they want to create a "hi-tech" hub for the business and people being priced out of Silicon Roundabout [Old Street] and Shoreditch.

"Something a little bit different"
The chief executive also said they wanted a developer who would do something a "little bit different" with the homes and leisure parts of the development and spoke praisingly of home-grown Wick projects like a recent opera in a warehouse. During the consultation visits, the architects/designers etc were very keen to emphasise their intention to do something a little bit different and make sure it was in keeping with Hackney Wick.
How can the development encourage something a little bit different? What does Hackney Wick want or need in terms of leisure?

No social housing
At the consultation it appeared that there would be no affordable rented accommodation (eg. social housing). This is because of concerns that there is no nearby space for kids/families to play - perhaps they see Vic Park, Hackney Marshes & the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park as too far away?
There "may be" shared ownership housing for sale, but it was not definite.
Should there be affordable housing? Or is there enough in Hackney Wick already?

New shopping street
Some of the units for shops, cafes, restaurants and pubs are large - big enough for a chain shops like Tesco. If Hackney Wick didn’t want big chains, one option is to make the units relatively small in order to deter chains and make it affordable for independent traders or provide space for local creatives to sell their goods. However, the landowners point out that bigger units make the project more commercially viable for the developer.
At the moment the planning application does not specify any unit size in order to allow flexibility for the developer. Is that right?

What do you think...?

Email Thames Gateway Corporation (
) to give your views on the Hackney Wick Hub before the consultation closes on Sunday June 19th.

And keep on eye on this blog to see what their final plans are and find out when Hackney Council will make a decision on the planning application.


Anonymous said...

There will be a recommendation from Hackney Council (and Tower Hamlets, as it straddles the railway line) but the final decision rests with LTGDC's planning committee - that's why they're a 'Development Corporation'

Pamela Fletcher said...

I'm broadly in favour of making the station a whole lot more welcoming to anyone who visits us. But would hate it if they simply errected horrible 'Biggs Square' type boxes all around the station.

Even the low derelict warehouses at present are preferable to that kind of architecture.

I really hope that 'something a bit different' accounts for some of our history - both industrial & residential.

Here's hoping.

Pamela Fletcher

Richard Smith said...

I don't think they are forgoing social housing because of the lack of green spaces for kids to play in (blatantly untrue anyway). It's that they seem to want to do a bit of social engineering. They want a new middle class of creatives to move into the Wick in order to keep an eye on us working classes - innit?!

But - humans are humans - and even creatives pro-create. Soon the flats that they're planning will knock the 'no families' argument into Hackney Marshes, Viccie Park & Mabley Green anyway.

Richard Smith

spike said...

This is all happening cos the lympics are here. Its a rich mans world, and only rich can get homes in the lympic park, and also hackney hub now.

Why you think they making the hub right next the lympic park? So only richies can come live here.

Us being here many years, we never get to live anywere decent.

Wonder?woman said...


I think the architecture here is the key. It has to be sufficiently 'Wick', yet at the same time affordable.

It cannot look anything like all the latest ghastly developments in Biggs as well as the Wick part of the Olympic Park.

We now have far too many blocks. How about some curves? Let some female architects get in on the Hackney Wick action.


Anonymous said...

Yes get some architects who rock like the geezers in the photo