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: (http://ltgdc.org.uk/ltgdc-news/development-news/hackney-wick-hub-proposals/) 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:
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 (http://ltgdc.org.uk/contact-us/) 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.