Home to the Wembley Stadium and Neasden Temple, once the largest Hindu Mandir outside India is the Borough of Brent in the north-west of London.
Honey Nounou is the Principal Regeneration officer at Brent Council and her focus is specifically on affordable workspace in the Borough.
In September 2020 the cabinet adopted a vision to facilitate affordable workspace throughout the Borough, and since then Honey and her team have been at work on creating an investment fund for operators, business rates relief and a guideline for developers who need to provide affordable workspace as part of their project – taking a 360 degree approach to the subject.
Brent is a diverse and cultural town, with many languages spoken, and a large Reggae and Afro-Caribbean dynamic. It was voted the London Borough of Culture in 2020, but unfortunately due to Covid many of the planned showcases throughout the town had to be cancelled.
What the regeneration projects consist of
Areas that need upgrading and repurposing are pointed out by the GLA, where a master plan is drawn up by urban and city planners. These plans are carefully designed with a view on infrastructure, green initiatives, healthcare and education – ensuring an inclusive and diverse ecosystem for all who will be reaping the value of the new project.
A project such as this takes time because of the sheer magnitude of the job, it’s something that will have a lasting impact on people, and so all decisions are well thought out and carefully calculated. The Brent planning department have actually won awards for their outstanding work.
Operators interested in collaborating with local authorities
Brent is open to collaboration and keen to set up connections with operators to further drive their vision of affordable workspace. At the moment they accept only not-for-profit and community interest company’s (CICs), and have a detailed list of affordable workspace operators in the community — see it here.
While no two councils are the same, it is important to thoroughly research opportunities available through the various authorities. Honey points out that Lambeth, Islington, Camden and Haringey are all surrounding councils that are open to collaborate in an effort to encourage the affordable workspace scene.
More on the Brent Regeneration Projects
As Brent is an outer London Borough it is ideal to set up good affordable workspace along with infrastructure close to home for the working class.
2020 shone the light on the need for affordable workspace, and while the sector continued to thrive amid Covid, these workspaces are also a key opportunity for economic recovery.
Brent Council has put together an affordable workspace strategy and action plan. This document defines what affordable workspace is, details the eight point plan and provides a benchmark to demonstrate what is available in other parts of London and illustrates the range of approaches to affordable workspace delivery and provision.
Read more here and watch this space!