Hackney Central

The heart of Hackney

Hackney Central is the civic and cultural heart of Hackney. It’s the borough’s centre, home to the stunning Town Hall, the Grade II* listed Hackney Empire, and the historic high street along Mare Street and the Narrow Way.

It’s where London Overground lines, bus routes and walking and cycling routes come together, and it’s a growing town centre with more shoppers, opportunities and places to go.

Hackney Central is home to a significant number of cultural venues including Hackney Library and Museum, Oslo music venue and Picturehouse cinema, and also hosts a significant community of creative businesses, bringing excitement and buzz to the Town Centre.


Over recent years, Hackney Central has welcomed more new homes and employment opportunities, shoppers, businesses and places to visit, workspaces, and a bustling evening economy. Pedestrianisation of the Narrow Way has supported a new market, local traders and shoppers, and new cultural offers and opportunities.

More change is on the way as the Council works to tackle the acute housing crisis, deliver needed transport infrastructure for a growing population, and support people and businesses to thrive in Hackney Central.

Our aims

The Council aims to create 3,000 new jobs and 1,000 new homes in Hackney Central, centred around investment in transport infrastructure, key sites and improving public spaces.

This transformation must happen in a way that is shaped by the priorities of local people, businesses and groups, collaboratively building on what’s important and unique about Hackney Central, whilst addressing some of the area’s challenges.

We’re committed to ensuring a fair recovery from the pandemic and rebuilding a cleaner, greener and more accessible Hackney Central.

As the town centre grows, we will work with partners to safeguard what local people value most, support local businesses to continue thriving in a changing economy, and ensure local people are the first to benefit from the changes taking place.

Hackney Central Conversation

In 2019, more than 2,000 people took part in the Hackney Central Conversation – a widespread engagement exercise to let local people tell us what they love about Hackney Central, the challenges they experience, and what changes they would like to see the Council make in the area.

We wanted to have early, ongoing and honest dialogue with those who live in, work in and visit the area so that they can influence change in their community.

The Hackney Central Conversation report sets out what we found out from Hackney Central Conversation, which is shaping the changes taking place.

Shaping long term change in Hackney Central

Based on the priorities of the local community and the Council’s ambitions to ensure a fair recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve set out clear commitments to help shape change in Hackney Central, both now and in the long-term.

What’s happening now

Page updated on: 18 June 2021