Mark Fairhurst Architects is working with landowners, Norwood Planning Assembly, Norwood Works and other stakeholders in West Norwood at transforming the former industrial area in the town centre into a new creative business hub. This followed engaging with Lambeth Council with their Manual for Delivery in 2017 which looked at future development with an evidenced based study and public consultation. This work has been complimentary to developing of the Neighbourhood Plan with Norwood Planning Assembly and supported by the recent London Festival of Architecture consultation programme carried out by A Small Studio and Norwood Works. It is hoped the work and engagement will allow a community based urban regeneration of an area which has underperformed for many years.
Two sites explored by MFA include Knight’s Hill Square (see http://www.mark-fairhurst.co.uk/knights-hill-square-regeneration-west-norwood/) and 42 High Street North. Both sites are currently underutilised with mainly warehousing or trade counter uses, it is hoped these along with another five sites are developed incorporating a mixture of uses: Affordable workspace, incubators for local businesses, student accommodation, co-living and co-working spaces, self-build housing and industrial.
This potential currently remains untapped however during the recent consultation William Chamberlain founder and director of Creative Wick presented how Hackney Wick has been transformed into a ‘permanent sustainable creative environment’ supporting local business and artists with affordable workspace and integrating this within the fabric of a new development area. Parallels with West Norwood’s creative businesses, industries and artists are very close and Hackney Wick sets a potential blue print on how West Norwood’s commercial area could develop promoting affordable workspace encouraging new creative businesses in the area if a progressive planning strategy is adopted.
We contributed to the debate with a Pecha Kutch presentation on Knights Hill Square http://www.mark-fairhurst.co.uk/london-festival-of-architecture-pecha-kucha/ and a land owner’s round table discussion. The consultation led to a collaboration between locally based designers: A Small Studio, R2 Studio Architects, Untitled Practice, Norwood Planning Assembly and Mark Fairhurst Architects. A proposal draws together a number of both current and potential interventions including: A green infrastructure strategy; visual identity, creative business area with affordable works space; meanwhile strategies; strong public realm and new development opportunity sites for the creative economy.