Construction set to start on new genuinely affordable workspace for Dalston
Small businesses in Dalston will benefit from more genuinely affordable workspace as construction of new buildings in Gillett Square backed by Hackney Council gets underway.
The Dalston Works project by Hackney Cooperative Developments CIC – a not-for-profit community interest company that supports local traders and social enterprises – will create new low-cost spaces to help existing businesses stay in the area as part of the redevelopment of its current Council-owned site in Bradbury Street.
The Council agreed to loan HCD £200,000 towards the scheme and grant a 125-year lease on the land earlier this year. Work will start later this month.
Existing traders using the retail ‘pod’ structures in Gillett Square are being supported by Hackney Cooperative Developments and the Council to move at a discounted rent to the neighbouring car park while construction takes place, before being offered new, permanent spaces in the completed development.
Hackney Cooperative Developments has also invested £850,000 to fit out modern new workspace as part of the Council’s Woodberry Down regeneration programme, which some tenants have already moved to.
Whether it’s upskilling our residents for a changing economy, protecting what local people value on our high streets or backing small businesses by delivering genuinely affordable workspace like this, we’re determined to make Hackney fairer.
We know that a perfect storm of Government business rate hikes and rising rents are putting Hackney’s tradition of independent entrepreneurialism at risk, so social enterprises and cooperatively-owned developments like this are vital to ensure a diverse economy.
The Greater London Authority awarded the project – which will also deliver new offices, meeting rooms, improved disability access, kitchen and shower facilities for new and existing businesses – £1m through its Mayor’s Regeneration Fund in 2016.
This is a critical project for HCD, and for Dalston. There are few, if any, providers of genuinely affordable workspace adding to the offer in Hackney, and I am proud that HCD is able to meet this need.
I’d like to congratulate staff, volunteers and our General Council for pulling together to deliver this project and the scheme can be used as a case study for redevelopment that prioritises small, vulnerable businesses.
The project is one of many Hackney Council interventions to provide more affordable workspace in the borough – including through converting underused estate garages, refurbishing old Council buildings or putting in place strict planning rules about new developments in Hackney Wick.