Redbridge receives £500k grant to create 'cultural quarter' in Ilford town centre

Redbridge Council received an extra £500,000 grant from the Greater London Authority to help turn the town centre into a cultural quarter, with public art and improved lighting and accessibility. 

Redbridge Council received an extra £500,000 grant from the Greater London Authority to help turn the town centre into a cultural quarter, with public art and improved lighting and accessibility. - Credit: Tim Bowditch

Redbridge Council wants to create a cultural quarter in Ilford, after receiving a £500,000 grant from the Greater London Authority (GLA) to create public art and find creatives uses of empty shops.

The money follows an earlier grant of £1.8million from the GLA and will support the council's plans to revitalise the town centre by bringing art and industry together to generate economic activity and creativity.

It will go towards improving public spaces, with new paving, lighting and greenery.

There are also plans to enhance accessibility into and around Ilford through new lighting and art.

In addition, the council said it would like to creatively make use of empty retail spaces for pop-ups, such as new shops, children's play areas or turning them into spaces for community groups to use.


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Council leader Jas Athwal said: "This additional funding will support our plans to transform Ilford town centre into a thriving shopping and socialising hub for local people to visit and enjoy."

He said he was keen to work with residents and businesses to help make it "greener, cleaner and more sustainable, with beautiful town squares, public art and exciting local shops".

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Although some of the planned regeneration work was halted by the coronavirus pandemic, progress has been made, including: 

  • Space Studios, a hub for artists to create and display their artwork, celebrated their first year in residence at Ilford Town Hall.
  • Completion of the new Ilford Station southern entrance in preparedness for Elizabeth Line (Crossrail) arriving in 2022.
  • Work has commenced on the installation of the timber frame for the Mercato Metropolitano outdoor food and drinks market.
  • The ongoing transformation of Ilford High Road, including new paving and lighting.

The new station entrance will be opened once lockdown restrictions are eased, it is anticipated that the new market will open late summer 2021, and the new High Road paving will be completed by the autumn.

Deputy leader Kam Rai said he was looking forward to the introduction of new public art around the town hall, which will brighten up the area and hopefully inspire new generations of artists from the borough.

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