Hackney Wick is a vibrant and distinctive part of London with a long and rich history of industry, enterprise, manufacture and trade. It’s home to a world class creative quarter with long standing residential neighbourhoods and a high proportion of social housing.
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The new Hackney Wick Neighbourhood Centre is at the centre of one of London’s first Creative Enterprise Zones and is a flourishing London quarter, typified by an exciting employment offer of local independent industry, makers, artists and creative businesses. It sits to the west of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the new communities of Eastwick and Sweetwater to the east, and is one of three new neighbourhood centres in the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) area.
Prior to the Olympics, we wanted to create a vibrant new sustainable town centre with a mix of uses and improved connectivity, but there was little funding available to do this. Then came the Olympics. This brought a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Hackney’s residents to benefit from huge investment in the area.
Once the Olympics were over, the LLDC were set up to oversee the development of the Olympic Park. This presented an exciting opportunity to deliver new neighbourhoods, transport improvements, bridges and a new town centre around Hackney Wick Station.
The LLDC established a planning framework to plan the development of the park and are currently leading on a 18 year regeneration programme to deliver over 6,800 homes across the Olympic Park with associated social infrastructure, including:
- play space
- community led housing building
- library or community Facility
- health centre
Hackney Wick has transformed as a place since the London 2012 Olympics. In the last decade its popularity has soared, making it a highly desirable location for young professionals and creative businesses.
With this growth comes challenges. While more homes, new jobs, commercial space and an increase in prominent education and cultural institutions are to be welcomed, recent years have also seen existing businesses put at risk, housing becoming increasingly unaffordable, wealth disparity, an increase in rents and friction between new and old communities.
While different landowners and organisations involved mean we can’t control all this change, we have intervened wherever possible to build a fairer, greener and more inclusive economy for Hackney Wick that everyone can feel part of.
Our long term aspiration for the area is to:
- build a new accessible and vibrant town centre with a mix of uses, from convenience stores to low-cost workspace
- protect and sustain Hackney’s most important creative cluster by promoting an inclusive environment that brings jobs and opportunities to local communities and ensures affordable space for future generations
- address climate change by promoting sustainable transport, co-designing solutions and delivering new green infrastructure
As we move from a period of Olympic Legacy to Community Legacy, we want to continue to champion the needs of local residents and businesses with a focus on deeper engagement, collaboration and co-design. We recognise that there is consultation fatigue in the area, so we have worked hard to build relationships, engage on a deep and meaningful level through targeted co-designed projects, listened to our partners and facilitated the delivery of community-led projects.
We will continue to do this over the coming years as we:
- transform public-owned sites to address local needs
- invest in the public realm, circular high street initiatives and green infrastructure
- maximise the benefits of the Olympics through our strategic and local links and partners
- ensure Hackney Wick remains a place where people can develop skills and opportunities
- ensure a cross-council approach to help people access:
- green/blue space
- help facilitate the delivery of affordable workspace and community space
- work with Strategic Partners to tackle the challenges we face, SHIFT, LLDC, Here East, East Bank
- empower our communities and grass roots organsations so that they can take action to address local issues, such as the Wick Award, Community Development Trust, BADU Community
Together we will invest in the place, people and policy to make a neighbourhood that supports and benefits everyone.