£7m Ilford cultural quarter on target to open within ‘12 months’

Vision for the cultural quarter in Ilford town centre. Picture: Redbridge Council

Vision for the cultural quarter in Ilford town centre. Picture: Redbridge Council - Credit: Archant

A £7million cultural quarter will be built in Ilford after Redbridge Council voted it through at a cabinet meeting.

Money for the venture, which will house an outdoor food market, artist studios and business hub will come from the Mayor of London and will be match funded by Redbridge Council with money that can only be spent on town regeneration.

Council leader, Councillor Jas Athwal said the project on Clements Road, will transform underused spaces into a vibrant cultural centre focussing on arts, enterprise, food and culture.

Redbridge Town Hall car park will be turned into an outdoor market and flexible workspaces will be erected nearby.

“We are kick-starting the town centre transformation and this will get the show on the road,” he said

“Phase one of the project - the covered food and drink market and business hub will be getting underway within 12 months. “Phase two where we look at a new theatre, a library and a swimming pool and leisure centre will come off the back of investment from phase one.”

The project, named The Spark, hopes to not only ignite Ilford in the day but boost its night time economy as well.

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Food and drink from around the world will be available seven days a week and a 5,000 m² commercial space will improve business rate collections with commercial turn over increased by an estimated 25per cent.

“We are creating a step by step change for Redbridge and creating the conditions for the local economy to thrive, including new jobs and business start-ups all underpinned with a business support offer,” he added.

“We will directly create over 150 new jobs within four years, with a minimum 44 work placement opportunities for the borough’s young people.

“We are reclaiming the town centre for resident”

Work on the project is progressing at pace and the local authority has already liaised with Mercato Metroplitano – the company behind a cultural quarter in Elephant and Castle, London.

It has appointed architects to draw designs and the planning application for both the covered market and the town hall are anticipated in October 2018.

All thing going to plan the market will be constructed next year with a provisional launch date of summer 2019.