Expert team appointed to support Council’s fair recovery pledge for Hackney Central

An expert team of design, architecture and regeneration specialists has been appointed by Hackney Council to work with residents and businesses in Hackney Central to ensure the local community are the first to benefit from physical, social and cultural changes during the next decade and that economic growth builds on the town centre’s qualities and strengths. 

Architecture and urbanism practice We Made That will lead a commission with its long-term collaborator and regeneration specialist PRD, working with the Council to develop and implement a Town Centre Strategy for Hackney Central. This will recognise and build on Hackney Central’s unique culture, heritage and distinct neighbourhoods. It will also consider potential physical changes in the town centre to support the town centre’s diverse communities and stakeholders and ensure a fair recovery after the Covid-19 pandemic.

The team is supported by organisations and professionals with expertise in heritage, green infrastructure, sustainability, finance and engagement. The role of local people and businesses is crucial in developing this strategy, and engagement specialist Maayan Ashkenazi will work with the Council to ensure Hackney Central communities are at the heart of building on the findings of the Hackney Central Conversation listening exercise and the newly established Hackney Central Community Panel.

In developing the strategy, the commission will also utilise newly developed Greater London Authority data relating to Hackney Central to inform the understanding of the town centre and the uncertain economic context around the Covid-19 pandemic and how to make the best use of Council-owned land and build on the Council’s ambitious regeneration programme.

Plans for recovery will be boosted by the opportunity to rethink ways to design, develop and build resilience, as well as continuing to support local businesses to recover quickly and continue to grow after Covid-19. The Town Centre Strategy will help the Council deliver on ambitions for thousands of workspaces, new jobs and homes in Hackney Central, responding to the needs and concerns of its diverse communities and ensuring a fair recovery from the pandemic.

Cllr Guy Nicholson, Hackney’s Deputy Mayor for Housing Supply, Planning, Culture and Inclusive Economy
The Council is committed to ensuring that as our local economy reopens after the Covid-19 pandemic, it delivers a fair recovery, striving to make the benefits that our local economy creates accessible to everyone; all the while keeping what makes Hackney Central unique. Appointing an experienced team with a proven track record of inclusive development is a key milestone in shaping an inclusive and positive future that everyone wants to see in Hackney Central. 

While the Council can’t control every new development in the town centre, it is only by hearing from as many people as possible, from local residents to local businesses and visitors, that we can all deliver a Hackney Central that meets the needs and ambitions of our local community.

Cllr Guy Nicholson, Hackney’s Deputy Mayor for Housing Supply, Planning, Culture and Inclusive Economy
We’re looking forward to bringing positive impacts to Hackney Central. It’s a critical time to be setting new trajectories for how high streets and town centres adapt to the challenges we’ve experienced and the challenges ahead. Our work with the Council and the wider public will blaze a progressive trail for shaping inclusive change.

The newly established commission will work to review the strengths and challenges of the town centre today, before developing a vision, planning for transformational change to benefit residents and businesses, and finally focusing on implementation and delivery of the plan.

Oliver Goodhall, Co-founding partner at We Made That