Disused spaces to be transformed as Mayor announces Enterprising Whitechapel project

08 September 2016

Tower Hamlets Council today announced a new initiative to open up and refurbish empty or underused spaces.

Tower Hamlets Council today announced a new initiative, joint funded by the council and the Mayor of London’s High Street Fund, to open up and refurbish empty or underused spaces within the Whitechapel Vision Masterplan boundary.

The £725,000 project, ‘Call for Spaces,’ runs from 8 to 29 September. It aims to identify currently empty or underused buildings in Whitechapel and bring them back to productive use by providing workspace for small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

Whitechapel landowners are invited to submit their available vacant spaces via the Enterprising Whitechapel website so that the council can create a Vacant Buildings Register. Applications should be received by 29 September 2016.

Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs, said: “We want Whitechapel to be a centre of entrepreneurial innovation with real support for all our small and medium size businesses.

Whitechapel is already a great place to do business, our aim is to make it even better by helping new businesses set up shop. I’d encourage any landowners with vacant properties in the area to get involved and help us realise our vision for an even more Enterprising Whitechapel.”

Councillor Joshua Peck, cabinet member for Economic Growth added: “Affordable workspace is one of the biggest issues local businesses raise with me and bringing back into use some empty space in Whitechapel could make a positive difference here.”

SMEs that can bid for use and refurbishment of the properties include workspace providers; cultural/creative industries; tech start-ups; and community and not-for-profit uses.

Applying to the Vacant Buildings Register and leasing spaces to SMEs offers benefits for landowners, including:

  • security and building protection
  • maintenance – spaces may be refurbished to an appropriate standard for temporary occupation
  • health and safety, security, and access upgrades
  • flexible lease terms.

Eligible spaces must be made available for a minimum of two years, but longer terms are welcomed. They must also be connected to standard services (for instance electricity and plumbing).

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