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Work starts ‘shortly’ on Ilford cultural quarter after Redbridge Council wins £1.8million bid

PUBLISHED: 16:32 07 March 2018 | UPDATED: 16:49 07 March 2018

Council leader Jas Athwal is excited about the cultural quarter. Picture: Ken Mears

Council leader Jas Athwal is excited about the cultural quarter. Picture: Ken Mears

Archant

Artist studios and a purpose-built market in Ilford are a step closer to becoming a reality thanks to £1.8million investment from the Greater London Authority (GLA).

Redbridge Council bid for the funding to put towards their £5.3m regeneration project, Spark, which will see the town hall and surrounding area transformed into a vibrant cultural quarter.

As well as studio space and affordable workspace for artists and creative enterprises, buildings next to Kenneth More Theatre, Oakfield Road, will be utilised as a place for start-up businesses.

A purpose built, covered market for food entrepreneurs will be erected and there will be opportunities for residents to benefit from a wide range of training and skills development schemes housed in the area.

Under the plans, the region will also be spruced up to look more attractive.

Councillors voted in favour of the project at a cabinet meeting yesterday (Tuesday, March 7) and Leader of the council Jas Athwal said he welcomed the funding.

“We are ambitious for Ilford and want to reclaim the town’s place as the heart of a modern east London,” he told the Recorder.

“This funding from the mayor is a huge boost for our plans to put our community at the centre of regeneration by creating a vibrant cultural hub in our borough.

“Add to that Crossrail enhancing Ilford’s fast-improving status as an emerging and well-connected place to live and our exciting wider regeneration plans, we have a real opportunity to attract further investment and secure the economic future of the town.”

Spark is one of the first to be awarded money from the Mayor of London’s £70m Good Growth Fund, which acknowledges the role that local communities are playing in shaping the regeneration of their town centre.

Work by the council’s delivery partners is due to begin shortly, with new workspaces available in Redbridge Town Hall in the autumn.

Deputy mayor for planning, regeneration and skills, Jules Pipe, said: “ This project is a great example of how we can work with local communities on projects in a way that will help ensure the benefits are felt by all.”

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