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Southern Grove gains planning for major Hackney Wick scheme

A developer has secured permission to create a £75 million mixed-use student accommodation scheme that aims to complete the transformation of Hackney Wick into one of the fastest-growing 'educational and cultural centres in London'.

Southern Grove says that, most importantly, the project will house 'two organisations of huge importance' to the local community, on a peppercorn rent for 150 years. 

The scheme, named The Piano Works, is located on the site of the former Broadwood piano factory in Fish Island. Once complete, it will house 204 student beds in two six and seven-storey blocks.


In addition, the ground floor of both buildings will host incubator space for the London College of Fashion ( part of the University of the Arts London), the first time UAL has been provided with a facility like this. Southern Gove says this promises to transform the prospects of the next-generation of fashion industry leaders. 

Further to this, a third five-storey building will contain 840m2 of commercial floorspace, which will be 'entirely given over to' community organisation, the Stour Trust. The Trust aims to nurture local commercial, artistic and industrial enterprises.

The development, with these two organisations embedded in the scheme, will aim to create 'a new centre of gravity in the cultural life of Hackney Wick'. 

Students living at the scheme will be able to enjoy co-working facilities and space for pop-ups and creative workshops, with Southern Grove hoping to surpass a planning requirement that 35% of the student accommodation is affordable. To do this, it says it will provide a discount on market rents of over 50% in some cases. 

The scheme, located on Stour Road, is situated next to The Vogue - a 330-bed mixed-use student scheme from Southern Grove's joint venture sister company, the PBSA specialist Future Generation.

The site is less than five minutes' from the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Straftord, while just the other side of the park is the University of East London (UEL) campus. Additionally, Queen Mary University of London sits just to the south-west of Fish Island in Mile End.

Closer still are Loughborough University London’s postgraduate campus and UCL’s East Campus, both sited within the Olympic Park. 

The Piano Works was designed by architects Henley Halebrown, while Southern Grove was also assisted by planning consultants at Knight Frank and townscape consultants Montagu Evans. Tom Brain, development agent at Hillstone Group, represented Southern Grove in securing the site.

Tom Slingsby, CEO of Southern Grove Group, commented: “Hackney Wick will soon be one of the most vibrant and exciting places to be in the capital and we’re tremendously proud that we’ve played a huge role in making that happen. 

Southern Grove gains planning for major Hackney Wick scheme

“The Piano Works will be yet another design-led, landmark development helping to make Fish Island a magnet for young people, students, entrepreneurs and the businesses that want to reach them. 

“The presence of Stour Trust and the London School of Fashion will present no end of opportunities for local people and residents. This is the kind of scheme that suddenly puts an area on the map, creating a wave of inward investment that we’re sure will last for decades.”


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