New cultural quarter in Ilford approved

Elephant and Castle MM. Picture: Mercato Metropolitano

Elephant and Castle MM. Picture: Mercato Metropolitano - Credit: Archant

Plans to create a buzzing arts hub in the heart of Ilford has been given the green light by Redbridge Council.

Last Friday (January 11), planners gave the thumbs up for a new exhibition space and 38 studio workspaces as part of Spark Ilford – the council ’s project to ignite the town centre into a vibrant cultural quarter.

SPACE, a leading contemporary visual arts organisation, will be running the public art gallery and creative studio spaces at Redbridge Town Hall, High Road.

The project is set to launch by summer 2019 and will provide affordable space for local artists and host events and exhibitions for the local community.

A new accessible entrance into the town hall will be built as part of the scheme.

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Spark will also see the council partner up with Mercato Metropolitano (MM) and Things Made Public.

MM are planning to open a purpose-built covered market blending fresh local produce, events and delicious food, while flexible spaces for start-up companies and budding entrepreneurs will be brought to Ilford by Things Made Public.

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Council leader, Councillor Jas Athwal said: “We are delighted to be working with SPACE on the first of our Spark Ilford projects which will kick-start the transformation of the town centre into a vibrant cultural quarter.

“These workspaces will open up our borough to the creative community and benefit our residents who will have access to exhibitions, training and employment opportunities.

“I’m very much looking forward to Spark Ilford bringing our borough together through art, enterprise, events and food.”

Established in 1968, SPACE runs 20 artist studio buildings for 800 artists across London and Colchester to provide affordable creative workspaces as well as training opportunities and support programmes.

SPACE’s CEO, Anna Harding, said: “SPACE is excited to be working with the London Borough of Redbridge to provide affordable workspace and creative programmes in Ilford town centre.

“We hope this will create new employment and training opportunities for Redbridge residents, as well as contribute to transforming the town centre as a destination.”

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