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Hackney Wick Underground packs up to make way for flats

Creative community enterprise Hackney Wick Underground asked to vacate its premises and move by the end of the month to make way for new flats.

Creative hub Hackney Wick Underground is to move at the end of the month to make way for a new development of flats. 

The land upon which Hackney Wick Underground sits is owned by London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC). The developer of the site is Notting Hill Genesis, one of the country’s largest housing associations. 

It won the contract with LLDC in March 2021 to develop the land, with plans to build 190 new homes, 50% of which it says will be affordable. It also says that it will create 4,000sqm, roughly half the size of a football pitch, of commercial space, of which a quarter will be secured as low cost for businesses.

Hackney Wick Underground, a nonprofit organisation that houses 14 small enterprises and up to 18 artists, makers, and creators, is relocating to The Baths, a 1930s deco building that housed public baths, saunas, and laundry facilities at a time when domestic washing facilities were lacking. The building is half a mile north on Eastway in the London Borough of Hackney. 

The creative enterprise collection originally had a two-year lease with LLDC. It was scheduled to end on 30 September but its founder, Neil Mcdonald, said there was always the hope for it to be extended, at least until Christmas. ‘This move came sooner than expected [but] I am super proud of what we have achieved there over the last two years,’ he said.

Most of the 14 enterprises and studios are moving to The Baths.

Tom Hobbs, who runs the hairdresser Butter Cut, said: ‘It was a little bit worrying right at the start.

‘I knew we might have to go, but we were always hopeful because I thought we were gonna get an extension.’

He said that he is now ‘optimistic’ about the new location and that his customers have been ‘positive’ about the move.

Lamine Toure, the owner of plant business Repot, said he was ‘disappointed’ by the news and ‘not ready’ to leave. Like Mcdonald and Hobbs, Toure was hoping to stay until December. Toure said Repot is not moving to The Baths, instead it is re-opening next to No. 90 on Wallis Road later this year.

For those who are moving, they are dismantling their studios, partition walls, doors, and windows and reconstructing them in The Baths.

Mcdonald is to launch a crowdfundraiser to raise £40,000 to assist with the costs of the move and the setting up at the new venue. Keep a look out on our Community Forum for more details.

If you read this article, read our piece on best things to do in Hackney Wick at night.

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