This is an important step closer to delivering over 100 new jobs and 10,000sqft of affordable workspaces for businesses to start and grow in the heart of the town centre.
Lambeth-based building contractor HA Marks have been appointed to build LJ Works. The project represents a £2.5 million investment in the local area, with the Mayor of London’s London Regeneration Fund contributing £1.6 million and Lambeth Council around £900,000.
LJ Works is being built on Council-owned land next to the railway viaduct on Loughborough Road, part of which has been the home of Loughborough Farm food growing project.
The new space will initially be managed by Meanwhile Space. The site will include low-cost co-working kitchen facilities, operated by Mission Kitchen, along with studios, workshops and shared textile workspaces. It will also continue to be home to the Loughborough Farm and there will be on-site business support and training delivered by local organisation Tree Shepherd.
Working with a community-led steering group, the project has funding to build a second phase as a community build project and open up a new pedestrian route between Styles Gardens and Rathgar Road. Repowering London are also involved, as an agreement and planning permission is sought for an Anaerobic Digester to help power the site.
Once the project is up and running Meanwhile Space will work with the community steering group to build their capacity with the aim that the space is community run in the future.
Word from the Cabinet
Cllr Matthew Bennett, Cabinet Member for Planning, Investment & New Homes, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for Loughborough Junction, creating an environment where small businesses can grow and young people can develop skills that can launch careers. LJ Works also protects the ever-popular Loughborough Farm and provides a beautiful new public space and walking routes for local residents. I’m delighted that work is beginning and excited to see this site open soon.”
Word from the steering group
Anthea Masey, Chair of the Loughborough Junction Action Group, which runs Loughborough Farm, said: “We are so excited that building at LJ Works is about to begin and we can’t wait to start building the new Farm. It will provide a new green space for Loughborough Junction which will be open during working hours and for our regular gardening sessions on Tuesdays and Saturdays.”
Peter Shorinwa, Chairman of the Loughborough Estate Management Board and LJ Works Steering Group member said: “This project is about the community itself and its entire focus should remain ‘The Community.’ In essence, it should promote diversity, unity, well-being and prosperity among Loughborough residents especially future generations.”
How to get involved
The project is intended to directly benefit the Loughborough Junction community and therefore local residents and businesses will be given priority when applying for space. However, applications are welcome from all. Please visit the Meanwhile Space or Mission Kitchen websites to register your interest.
If you would like to get involved with the project construction or workshops please email Tom Dobson at email@example.com.