Protecting Hackney’s creative heart – rent caps for Wick studios approved

Creative businesses who have made Hackney Wick their home will have more protection and support to stay in the area after new planning rules by Hackney Council and the London Legacy Development Corporation were approved.

Under joint plans given the green light by the Mayor of London, landowners in the area will be forced to reprovide existing genuinely affordable work and studio space in any new developments – with rents set at less than half of the current market rate.

The rules are set out in the Hackney Wick Central Masterplan, which will guide how new buildings in the area should look, what facilities they should provide, and how the regeneration underway in the area can build on its industrial heritage to make the most of the legacy of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Around 8,400sqm of existing low-cost workspace will be reprovided in new developments under the new planning rules, alongside hundreds of new homes, modern retail and community facilities, and better streets and public spaces.

The masterplan marks the latest intervention to safeguard workspace and existing businesses in Hackney Wick, with the Council already in the process of refurbishing and letting two existing buildings that it owns – the Old Baths on Eastway and the Trowbridge Centre on Trowbridge Road – to local workspace providers. They will manage the buildings for existing small, independent and artistic firms at a heavily subsidised rate over the next seven years while redevelopment takes place on other sites in the area, enabling them to stay locally.

Cllr Guy Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Planning, Business and Investment
Creative and artistic businesses are at the heart of Hackney Wick, and we’re determined to protect the makers that make this corner of our borough unique and inspiring.

While new developments will bring new homes and businesses, these new rules will balance that with opportunities for existing businesses and residents to secure new premises or find ways into a career in the creative or tech sectors. Our intervention will also ensure new developments work together to benefit the whole community as much as possible, rather than in a piecemeal way.

While we can’t control all the changes happening in Hackney Wick, we’re determined to bridge the gap between an exciting new economy and residents and businesses who have told us they feel at risk of being left behind by redevelopment.
Cllr Guy Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Planning, Business and Investment

In December, the Mayor of London designated Hackney Wick and Fish Island as one of the capital’s first-ever Creative Enterprise Zones – providing funding for more genuinely affordable workspace and employment programmes to safeguard opportunities for local people in the community’s growing cultural, creative, digital and tech sectors.