I have just been speaking to Peter Andrews, the London Thames Gateway Development Corporation’s redoubtable chief executive, about the body’s just-published indicative plans for regeneration around Hackney Wick station
Andrews explained the key thinking behind the plans. The most important element he said was the 60,000 sq ft of “affordable workspace” which will set the tone appealing to the “hi-tech” crowd that are he says already being priced out of nearby Shoreditch and the Silicon Roundabout as this stretch becomes increasingly popular.
Andrews says that many of these hi-tech workers live in Hackney Wick already and are finding Shoreditch rentals increasingly unpalatable. He sees the Hackney Wick station hub as providing a complementary “low-cost” alternative to the technology sectors moving to both Shoreditch and eventually the Olympics media centre.
LTGDC will go to market seeking a development partner once its outline plan has been lodged.
Andrews told me the selected partner will have to be prepared to do something a “little bit different” in terms of the residential and the leisure offer. Residential wise that means a move away from the high-density, high-rise approach seen in many recent east end schemes. Leisure-wise, Andrews pointed to an opera currently showing in a Hackney shed as evidence of the fringe “creative community led” projects that the area was increasingly attracting.
Andrews is also in talks with surrounding landowners about how they can also bring forward complementary schemes with a “tech city thrust”.
The other important element is improving access into and out of Hackney Wick Station in order to accommodate “the mushrooming” effect in terms of new visitors that the nearby media centre will lead to post Games.
He is talking to Network Rail and Transport for London about the best ways to support the expanding economy.
Andrews is already talking to the Olympic Park Legacy Company about how the land best transfers over to the new Mayoral Development Corporation next April.