Enfield Council has appointed contractors to construct affordable workspace for hundreds of workers at its £6 billion Meridian Water development.
ASHE will renovate and refurbish the old VOSA workshop ready for Building BloQs – a key partner of the Council’s – to provide more than 30,000 square feet of creative manufacturing workspace.
This new BLoQs workshop will support up to 1,000 makers and creators across a range of departments – engineering, wood, metal, digital and additive technology, paint finishing, and a fashion studio for many years to come.
Workers will also have access to more than £1 million worth of light industrial equipment and there will also be new skills training facilities, a waterside café, gardens, a shop and event space all of which will be easily accessible to Enfield residents.
The construction project will also safeguard 84 jobs and create an extra 204 over the lifetime of the construction which is expected to last until the spring of next year. The costs of the project are being met by way of grant funding from the GLA plus additional grant funding from the Council, both of which are being used to fund Building BloQs’ delivery of machinery, fit out and other capital project costs.
The Council has also agreed to fund the costs of the building refurbishment and construction project to shell & core, for which it will receive a market rent. The jobs created will contribute to the target of providing 1,000 meanwhile jobs outlined in the Meridian Water Employment Strategy: Your Place to Make and Create.
Planning permission for the scheme was granted last year. Building BloQs is a key partner on Enfield Council’s Meridian Water development, which seeks to provide 10,000 homes and 6,000 jobs and to create 8.2 hectares of parkland in the Lea Valley over the coming 25 years.
Enfield Council has taken control of the vision and delivery of Meridian Water to ensure that local people are the principal beneficiaries. It aims to provide thousands of affordable homes and quality jobs in Enfield as well new schools, community and health services, nurseries, shops and youth and leisure facilities.
The Leader of Enfield Council, Cllr Nesil Caliskan, said: “I’m delighted this project is moving forward rapidly and our partnership with Building BloQs is flourishing. This new expanded workspace will give future creative industries in Enfield a huge boost and enable businesses to form: and grow.
“By investing in the empty VOSA building, we are providing an opportunity for Meridian Water to benefit from the development of a skilled creative industries cluster which has the potential to be regionally significant for makers and creative communities. The expansion of the Building BloQs workshop will provide higher levels of employment than otherwise would have been realised.
"Building BloQs will now have access to greater quantities of flexible and affordable open access workshop space to help support freelance designers, makers, and small businesses while Meridian Water grows.
“Meridian Water has always been about jobs as well as homes. This facility will play a huge role in helping us to achieve our aspiration of providing a wide range of good quality creative jobs on the site.”
The Council has set out a clear vision for the project which puts placemaking at the heart of the project. The Council has focused on three pillars of placemaking: Parklife on Your Doorstep; Your Place to Make and Create; and Mixing Uses, Animating Streets. The partnership with Building BloQs is a strategic fit with the development’s Your Place to Make and Create pillar, as set out in its vision document.
One of the Building BloQs co-founders, Al Parra, said: “This is immense news. I’m beaming. With ASHE on board it means spades in the ground by September. The whole BloQs community will be out to cheer them on. This investment, this commitment by the GLA and the Council to manufacturing will ensure increased employment and create the right environment for new making businesses to develop here at Meridian Water. We couldn’t be more pleased."