New genuinely affordable workspace has been safeguarded in the heart of Shoreditch for the next 25 years after Hackney Council negotiated a deal that will support entrepreneurs, freelancers and small businesses.
A recently completed building in Plough Yard, part of the wider Principal Place development home to Amazon’s UK headquarters, will be leased to the Council at a peppercorn rent until 2045 – with an additional £100,000 developer contribution towards fitting it out.
The space will be available to provide a range of services that could include discounted affordable workspace or business support activities such as access to one-to-one advice sessions for local entrepreneurs, freelancers, and SMEs. The space could be an important resource for business recovery in sectors that have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, such as the creative & cultural and hospitality & retail sectors.
The agreement is part of the Council’s mission to make Hackney’s economy open, accessible and inclusive – using the Council to intervene to ensure that new developments benefit the borough’s existing residents and businesses and keep Hackney the creative heart of London enabling businesses to start up and set up alongside larger businesses. It is planned that the building will also host monthly Council-run Hackney Business Network events.
The Council has started inviting proposals from organisations that deliver business support or affordable workspace to manage and operate the building and applications are open until Friday 18 September 2020 at 5pm.
Shoreditch has seen huge change over the last 15 years, with low-cost business space attracting a wave of tech, cultural and creative firms to move to the area. However, this popularity has driven up rents over the last few years and attracted larger developments and bigger businesses, putting pressure on smaller businesses as demand for space rises.
Last year, the Council published a draft area action plan for Shoreditch, called Future Shoreditch, shaped by consultation with local residents and stakeholders, which aims to manage further development, safeguard the community’s unique character and ensure growth brings better public spaces, air quality and high-quality jobs that local people can access. A final consultation will be held in the coming months.
The Council has also launched a project to convert its own underused garages and disused buildings into affordable workspace, as well as putting rent caps in place for workspace being re-provided in new developments in Hackney Wick.