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£1.1million for the home of people who make and create

Waltham Forest Council is celebrating a sizeable windfall with the announcement of a £1.1million injection of funding from the Mayor of London for the Blackhorse Lane area of Walthamstow.

The Chris Bracey artwork at the Blackhorse Road/Lane junction proudly announces to visitors that they are ‘Welcome to the home of people who make and create’. Well that well-earned reputation is set to go from strength to strength thanks to the Council’s plans for the area.

In October Waltham Forest Council bid to receive funding from the Greater London Authority’s (GLA) London Regeneration Fund. The bid proposed to develop a Creative Industries Zone in Blackhorse Lane.  

Councillor Clare Coghill, Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and High Streets, said, “This project will transform underused space in the Blackhorse Lane area to provide workshop capacity and creative co-working space.

“Our business mapping exercises have demonstrated the rising demand for tech and creative start-up and move-on space. We need accommodation to meet the needs of newly established businesses, some of which have outgrown the incubator units in the Blackhorse Lane Workshops.”

The Blackhorse Lane Workshops are a community-led space dedicated to making and creating that opened two years ago. Hundreds of local people make use of its facilities every week, which include a fully-equipped wood and metal workshop.  

Assemble – the London-based architecture collective who won the 2015 Turner Prize for The Granby Workshop project in Liverpool – helped to plan, design and fit out the workshops, which also offer a variety of courses. Last month it was shortlisted in the London Planning Awards for Best Community-Led Project.

The new facilities that the GLA grant will help make possible will create even greater opportunities for creative industry workers in the borough, providing diverse employment opportunities. By investing in this area, the Council is determined to create an increasingly vibrant economy in Walthamstow, and the Blackhorse Lane area in particular.

The development goes hand in hand with other ambitions the Council has for the area. The Council is spearheading an extensive homebuilding programme that aims to see 12,000 new homes built in the borough before 2020, with 2,500 already earmarked for Blackhorse Lane.

Last year the Mayor of London designating Blackhorse Lane as a Housing Zone after the Council successfully pitched to have the status deferred upon it. It means that this part of the borough, which has already secured more than £200million of investment from developers, can now shape and grow even faster.

PHOTO: The Chris Bracey artwork at the Blackhorse Road/Lane junction that provides a ‘Welcome to the home of people who make and create’

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