Our interests comprise a series of low-rise, post-war buildings that are in a poor state of repair. While some of the properties are occupied by the creative industries on short-term studio leases, the buildings are reaching economic obsolesce. Although robust, the existing floorplates are not flexible and the lack variety required to meet changing occupational and business demands of the area, nor can they deliver a compatible mixed-use community. The site coverage and layout of the buildings also creates an impermeable site.
These site specific issues are symptomatic of the wider neighbourhood. This has led to more mature business leakage, an inability to blend residential accommodation with creative workspace and poor pedestrian and vehicular permeability.
The site and adjacent streets benefit from strong connectivity in terms of their proximity to Hackney Wick Overground Station, Westfield, Here East and the Queen Elizabeth Park. However, existing station access and egress points create legibility and navigation issues.
The combination of these problems has resulted in a neighbourhood that has failed to capitalise on and optimise its potential as a destination of choice for work, rest and play.
Although the 2012 Olympic planning and following legacy initiatives were a major catalyst for change, the neighbourhood has suffered from consultation fatigue and there is now a need to deliver tangible solutions rather than concepts, albeit ones that can unlock value for all stakeholder groups and are compatible with other public and private sector landowner visions.
Since acquiring its first interest in 2007 Groveworld has remained an influential private sector stakeholder and successfully navigated through informed a myriad of emerging concept, vision and formal planning documents produced by the following administrative bodies:
Hackney’s Area Action Plan, LLDC’s Local Plan and its emerging Neighbourhood Masterplan have set the overarching vision for the area. Working with Hackney and more latterly, LLDC’s planning and regeneration departments, local community groups and other key landowners, Groveworld has and continues to play a significant part in the planned regeneration and vision setting for the area. This is evidenced by the fact that its own proposals have been enshrined in adopted and emerging planning policy.
Land assembly and partnership working–
Through understanding the drivers of local landowners, we have been able to adopt a flexible site assembly and partnership approach to meet their specific requirements. To date this has involved a combination of unconditional, conditional and deferred capital structures as well as design collaboration.
In collaboration with the local authority regeneration team, Groveworld also obtained planning permission to deliver a new pedestrian link and associated new public realm that will connect the upgraded Overground station to the new neighbourhood centre, Queen Elizabeth Park, Here East and Westfield.
Apart from local authority collaboration, we have worked with local landowners, landlord, tenants and community interest groups. In particular we embarked on an innovative local partnership approach with a charitable workspace provider to design the affordable workspace and S106 package from the ground up.
The carefully blended residential and workspace offer will meet existing and future community demand whilst balancing viability and planning policy. The rent control and flexible accommodation will also protect and nurture the existing artistic and creative talents that Hackney Wick is renowned for.
During and prior to the planning process for its existing permission, Groveworld embarked on an extensive community engagement programme which yielded significant support for its vision which in turn formulated the final submission and detailed design.
Together with the external design team and utilising its in-house planning, design and commercial expertise, Groveworld has helped inform a transformational masterplanning process. In particular, Its own schemes will deliver much needed new homes, connectivity and innovative workspace that will complement the vision of the area. Moreover, though near term delivery its exiting permission will actually kick-start tangible change in the area and act as a benchmark for future design quality, all of which will be key to delivering an innovative, commercially viable and vibrant new mixed-use community of choice.
Construction is expected to start late in 2017. We will continue to involve local community groups throughout the construction programme via various design, employment and art based initiatives.
Local authority collaboration – since 2007 Groveworld has fostered a strong partnership approach with the succession of local authority bodies. This collaboration and shared vision for transformational change will continue into the construction process, through the delivery of a new pedestrian link that will increase permeability into the neighbourhood centre and via a second phase of mixed-use development.
Funding & delivery – Groveworld financed its acquisitions through a JV partnership, utilising both internal capital and external debt. Construction will similarly be financed through a combination of internal capital and senior debt.