HCD Annual Report 2015


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Executive Summary Hackney Co-operative Developments CIC (HCD) enjoyed another fantastic year of growth and improvement. We saw a significant increase in our profile locally, nationally and internationally; while refining our support to meet local needs in Hackney. Hackney’s economy has grown rapidly over the past decade. The number of active businesses has increased by 40%, median salaries by 33% and average house prices by 201%. Nevertheless, many Hackney residents have not participated in this growth. The London Poverty Profile 2015 demonstrates Hackney is still performing poorly, with unemployment above the London Average and average rent accounting for 76% of lower quartile monthly earnings. HCD has increased its support to the people who need it most, through expanded business development support programmes to cooperatives and social enterprises; an increase in into-work training and mentoring programmes for those furthest from the job market; growing our provision of affordable workspace in Hackney; 2 and employing a Community Organiser to help residents shape our Gillett Square events programme. In 2015, we were accredited as a London Living Wage Employer. Unlike the compulsory national minimum wage, the London Living Wage is a voluntary commitment made by employers. It is regulated by the Living Wage Foundation, an initiative of Citizens UK, and launched in 2001 by parents in East London, frustrated that working two minimum wage jobs left no time for family life. HCD was not among the first to adopt the London Living Wage accreditation. We recognised that our commitment to providing meaningful employment had always ensured that our wages were above this standard. However, when we looked into what the Living Wage Foundation assessed, we understood that we had lacked scrutiny in assessing the wages of employees of some of the services that we contract in, particularly as a property management company, and therefore recognised the value of undertaking an audit of all of the money that we spend on workers, whether or not they are employed by HCD directly. Since our accreditation the Government announced the introduction of a compulsory minimum wage to be introduced in 2016, referring to it as the ‘national living wage’. The Low Pay Commission is instructed that the minimum wage premium for over 25s should reach 60% of median earnings by 2020. HCD obviously welcome the move to increase the mandatory minimum wage. However we note that the government rate is based on median earnings, while the Living Wage Foundation rate is calculated according to the cost of living. For that reason, we shall maintain our accreditation to make sure that everybody who works for us is able to make a decent living. The UK is widely recognised as a pioneer of social enterprise and the associated practices of social investment and social value. We have extended our support to overseas agencies, including governments and social enterprise infrastructure organisations, to help other communities learn from the successes of the UK’s co-operative and social enterprise movements and to bring back learning from around the globe.


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In particular this year we have seen a big increase in delegations from South Korea attending study visits to learn about HCD’s social enterprise development work. HCD’s CEO has been invited by the Mayor of Ansan City to present at a conference there this coming January. HCD has been contracted by the British Council to contribute to the pilot of their Global Social Enterprise programme, leading to two visits by our Social Enterprise Development Manager to provide support to a social enterprise infrastructure organisation in Vietnam. In October, HCD’s Chief Executive was invited to join the panel of experts at a Conference For City Makers entitled ‘Players of Change’ and a wider Metropolitan Field Trip to Berlin as part of ‘New Europe – Cities in Transition’, a programme co-funded by the Europe for Citizens programme of the European Union. Its aim is to foster European Citizenship and to improve conditions for democratic participation at EU level, which it does by bringing City Makers from Europe’s big cities, grass-roots initiatives like HCD, planning agencies and local authorities, together for intercultural peer-learning to form better knowledge, understanding and leadership around city transition. It was hosted by The Genossenschaft für Urbane Kreativität (Co-operative for Urban Creativity) and gave us the opportunity to learn from Holzmarkt, a 18,000 m2 co-operatively-run urban development in the centre of Berlin. HCD is proud to have been named by Hackney Council and the Hackney Fairtrade Group as Hackney’s Flagship Fairtrade Employer. Hackney is an officially recognised Fairtrade Borough. Fairtrade is a key achievement of the co-operative movement worldwide, and is about ensuring a better deal for producers in developing countries and making sure they get a good price for a good product. HCD was chosen in recognition of our local influence and relevance, and of the substantial alignment of the Fairtrade movement and HCD’s core values, ethics and practices both locally and looking further afield. HCD’s continued growth and development is based on strong co-dependent partnerships with a wide range of stakeholders and we particularly thank London Borough of Hackney, Locality, Co-operatives UK, UBS, the British Council, Gresford Architects, our tenants and clients, and an increasing number of engaged local bodies who contribute to our ongoing achievements. Dominic Ellison Chief Executive Officer, Hackney Co-operative Developments CIC 3


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Social Enterprise Development The government has identified around 70,000 social enterprises in the UK, contributing £24 billion to the economy and employing nearly a million people. In the 10 years since the creation of the Community Interest Company legal form, over 11,000 CICs have been formed. The last five years have seen significant development of social investment to support the growth of our movement. There are now nearly 7,000 independent co-operative businesses in the UK, contributing £37bn a year to our economy – up 15% since 2010. Co-operatives have double the survival rate of other businesses in their first five years. Social Enterprises have been growing in number and importance to the economy; their objectives and ways of operating offer a good fit with the ethos of current government policy and consumer trends – providing they can survive and flourish. HCD is committed to inspiring the next generation of Hackney’s Social Enterprise pioneers, arming them with the necessary skills and knowledge to grow their enterprises. This in turn grows the local economy, and the socially-owned share of that economy. We believe Social Enterprise in its many forms offers communities the opportunity to create businesses that are better for them and society. We are here to support those with the talent, ambition and commitment to succeed. HCD is a widely-recognised market leader in expert Social Enterprise Development advice and support. We have over 30 years experience of delivering Social Enterprises in Hackney the very best free advice, training and consultancy on how to set up, run and grow a sustainable, social business and achieve great things. PIONEERING SOCIAL ENTERPRISE IN HACKNEY HCD’s flagship social enterprise development support programme was established in December 2013 with the support of UBS, to grow the social enterprise sector in Hackney. Hackney is an area of economic opportunity, as a result of the increased focus on East London as an area of growth and development. But many Hackney residents have not participated in this growth, and the borough still performs poorly in areas such as unemployment, average monthly earnings and out-of-work benefits. By supporting the growth of Social Enterprises, we are specifically targeting support on the sector that provides greatest proportional job creation to the local economy. With 38% operating in the top 20% most deprived areas, Social Enterprises are heavily concentrated in areas of multiple 4


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deprivation like Hackney. They create three times as many jobs as SMEs generally, where those jobs are needed most. Statistically, Social Enterprises recruit far more employees from the local area. In the most deprived communities, they are more likely to focus on addressing social and financial exclusion. 52% of Social Enterprises also actively employ people who are disadvantaged in the labour market. Our ability to support this growth has expanded exponentially through UBS’s funding, which has developed our Social Enterprise support capacity. In turn, this enables us to deliver further contracts in this field, including engaging more development experts and skilling up our existing workforce – for example, by gaining qualifications in assessing Community Share Offers. Our support has targeted the key areas of need for the local social enterprise market, particularly business planning; employment and staffing; financial planning and management; legal and governance; and growth. Through this one programme, we have supported over 40 social enterprises in the pilot 2 years. This has included establishing 30 new social enterprises over many different forms (Community Interest Companies, Worker Co-operatives, Community Benefit Societies and more). Our support has additionally produced 25 business planning strategies that have enabled social enterprises to successfully start trading, grow, access finance or funding, or move to improved premises. TRAINING COURSES, EVENTS AND WORKSHOPS Gaining Contracts through Good Contacts Gaining Contracts Through Good Contacts is a series of business networking events for co-operatives and social enterprises. HCD’s Pioneering Social Enterprise in Hackney partnered with Co-operatives London and Principle Six to create events which use a co-operative methodology applied to business networking that help businesses get the best out of their network and to grow it in order to make the links they need to gain new business, develop new opportunities or effectively reach their targets. Through these events, Hackney’s co-operatives and social enterprises have been able to work together and develop our networks to grow as a movement and individually. Employment through Small Business and Enterprise HCD worked with our partners, Hackney CVS and Hackney Refugee Forum, to produce an event to inform refugees, migrants and BAMEinterest organisations of the opportunities and practicalities of setting up their own social enterprise or business. Workshops on setting up a small business, creating a social enterprise and getting your business online were delivered by HCD’s Business Development Team. There were presentations on real-life experience of the early stages of running a social enterprise from Pioneering Social Enterprise in Hackney clients, as well as workshops on finding employment, business finance and impacts on your benefits when starting a new enterprise. CONSULTANCY HCD offers support in all areas of co-operative, social and community enterprise including business planning, governance, finance, environmental sustainability, fundraising, legal advice, marketing, property management, investment readiness, decision-making and social return on investment. We advise from over 30 years of experience of working with local authorities, government agencies and community sector organisations to deliver development and regeneration projects. This has led to a positive change in the economic development and urban landscape of Dalston. We can share the expertise we have developed in our property development and management of new public spaces. We help clients develop effective partnership work to tackle social problems, realise market opportunities and build support from the local community through outreach and engagement. Our highly experienced trainers and facilitators have this year delivered a high volume of specialised social enterprise development support 6


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to a wide range of clients through directlypurchased consultancy, on behalf of Locality (the national network of enterprising communityled organisations), as consultants within their Pool of Technical Associates, through contracts delivered on behalf of Hackney CVS, and through support delivered to overseas social enterprise infrastructure organisations – including delivery funded by the British Council. COMMUNITY SHARES COMPLIANCE MARK & LICENSING Community Shares are a great new way for people to support community enterprises they believe in. They have been used to finance community based ventures such as shops, pubs, community buildings, renewable energy initiatives and local food schemes. They use a form of withdrawable share capital unique to co-operative and community benefit society legislation. Societies serve a social purpose, but also are constructed to succeed as profitable businesses. When the society is profitable, you stand to make a modest return, in the form of interest on your share capital. In 2015 the Community Shares Unit (CSU) launched the Community Shares Mark, a national quality assurance scheme for community share offers. It is awarded by the CSU to share offers that meet current standards of good practice. It provides the public with an independent way of checking the authenticity of a share offer, and gives reassurance to investors. The CSU also began to licence Community Shares Practitioners to advise, support, review and accredit Community Shares offer documents. HCD’s Social Enterprise Development Team is undertaking accreditation from the CSU to become licensed practitioners, able to award the compliance mark on the CSU’s behalf. The Community Shares Unit is delivered in partnership by Co-operatives UK and Locality. It is supported by the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG). Societies promoting the public sale of withdrawable share capital are exempt from financial promotions regulations, but are still subject to general law. In the absence of statutory regulation, it is difficult for societies to know precisely what is expected of them, or to demonstrate that they are engaged in good practice. The compliance mark fills this gap. It is a voluntary form of self-regulation, based on an independent peer review by a licensed practitioner. This review acts as a final check on the quality of a community share offer before its public launch. The compliance mark is designed to promote public confidence in community shares. It also provides confidence to societies and their management committees, to commercial lenders, social investment financial intermediaries and public funding agencies. If you are interested in launching a Community Share Offer, please contact HCD’s Social Enterprise Development Team for a consultation. 7


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VIET SOCIAL BY GLENN MOTTERSHEAD As the days get shorter, we cannot help but think of warmer climes. Brian Millington, HCD’s Social Enterprise Development Manager, tells of his trip to Vietnam to support social enterprise development. Brian enters the HCD Co-operative Workspace courtyard after launching from his bicycle seat and takes his first priority on entering the office, making green tea, very seriously. An energetic promoter of co-operative causes around the world, it is easy to recognize his affinity with the East. ‘Ho Chi Minh City is a powerhouse of trade’, Brian tells me. Everywhere there are people selling things, little shops, little stalls – a city where everything is for sale and with faster internet than we have in London’. Vietnam is in the high-tech hub of South East Asia. To the north is China, to the west India. Brian is delivering HCD’s consultancy on behalf of the British Council’s Business and Investment Readiness programme. The aim is to strengthen social enterprises around the world. One of Brian’s enthusiasms is to provide workshops in 8 social enterprise development and in the future to bring about a Social Enterprise Vietnam, much as we have in the UK. Brian continues ‘I understand Hanoi to be different, it is nearer to the political center. How you obtain power is by knowing the right person, saying the right thing’. Brian is quick to discover something that sparkles, guiding the product and the owners to become more skilled and confident in what they are doing. ‘I would not say that there is a huge amount of social enterprise activity in Vietnam yet, but there is a fair bit of awareness about the idea.’ He aims to bring the learning from HCD’s Pioneering Social Enterprise in Hackney to Vietnam, through the British Council Global Social Enterprise Programme. Brian is not alone in his quest. There is a global take on Co-operative and Social Enterprise initiatives. King Fisher Tours brings together social and economical resolve, community cohesion, local government and local farmers. ‘Local government was in conflict with the farmers, who were illegally hunting animals, stealing plants and logging in the forests. Officials wanted to end the farmer’s activities, but supported their idea of an alternative form of income. Kingfisher Tours established an eco village within a local tropical forest talking about the history, the plants and animals and taking people on sightseeing tours. In the true spirit of social and cultural commerce they sell some of the farming and crafts products to the tourists. They are doing a small set of things and answering the needs of different stakeholders. For me, that’s how the best social enterprises operate.’ Like any co-operative, its’ about sharing. Having delivered his workshops, Brian comes away with an idea that inspires him. ‘Many co-operatives are good at member involvement, democracy and concern for the community. They are sometimes less good at running their co-operative business entrepreneurially and effectively. Focus on the business! Don’t be afraid of terms such as “marketing” and “profit”. He plans to soon set up HCD Social Enterprise tours in Hackney.


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Gillett Square Tucked away behind Kingsland High Street, Gillett Square and our property development Dalston Culture House have injected new life into Dalston. Our development combines an award-winning public realm with HCD’s vibrant workspaces, to provide a hub of cultural, creative, retail, community and third sector activities rooted in the ethnically and culturally eclectic spirit of the area. The square blends contemporary urban design with building forms more traditional to Hackney. Our tenants’ bustling businesses, our Bradbury Street shops, restaurants and bars, and our programme of community and cultural events in the Square itself, combine to create a distinct and vibrant atmosphere. Dalston has a long history as a cultural and creative hub. Local organisations and enterprises make an important contribution to the town 10 centre’s economy and the character, identity and urban life. Hackney Council recognised this, adopting a Community, Cultural and Creative Quarter in its planning policy. Dalston’s Area Action Plan notes that ‘Gillett Square provides a focus for the cultural, creative and community sector including a setting for various events. Fronting the Square, the Dalston Culture House accommodates the Vortex Jazz Club as well as being a lively hub of micro-businesses, small social/cultural enterprises, community groups and other voluntary sector organisations’. 2015 gave us further opportunities to work in partnership with HCD tenants and clients, local community groups, National Citizen Service and many others to create an inclusive programme of events, big and small. High profile flagship events like Open Source and Dalston Music Festival were complemented by numerous play events, including Global Games Days in partnership with Universal Board Games. We ran roller-skate and skateboard days, raising money for the Skatepal skatepark project in Palestine; Hula-Hoop discos and regular hula classes from HCD’s tenants on Gillett Square ‘Marawa and the Majorettes’; Dalston Connection, exploring how inclusive regeneration has been for the local community; Herbal Tea Party – working with Hackney Herbal and Pioneering Social Enterprise in Hackney clients Cordwainers Grow; and an event in collaboration with the Vortex Jazz Club & Vortex Foundation, Kaffa Coffee, Hackney Migrant Centre and performers from Women for Refugee Women to provide an afternoon of warmth and welcome to refugees coming to Dalston. We increased the participation of local people in shaping and developing Gillett Square by establishing the Gillett Square Action Group,


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made up of local residents, businesses, community groups, council officers and other stakeholders committed to the inclusive production of more events in the Square. We employed Anja Beinroth as a Community Organiser. Community Organisers are professionals who listen to the concerns of their community and help them to take action on the issues that matter and create positive change. This grew from a national training programme from Locality, now overseen by an independent organisation backed by the Department for Communities and Local Government. Anja joined us with the support of DCLG and West Hackney Parochial Charity, specifically to support local people to engage in the programming of Gillett Square. In 2015 we piloted new regular market initiatives. As well as providing new positive activities to keep Gillett Square animated and popular, these contributed to the work of the Gillett Square Creative Producer in creating a more financially sustainable model for HCD’s management of the Square, for which she is receiving support from the School for Social Entrepreneurs. THIS YEARS HIGHLIGHTS Open Source showcased time-based media and live events which sample, re-use, and divert mainstream and web cultures, highlighting art production as a collaborative process. Open Source was free, thanks to a grant from Arts Council England and public support from local people through the event’s Kickstarter campaign. We commissioned eight curators and twenty-one young artists, filling Gillett Square with immersive video installations, gaming, live performance and films, achieving a high level of critical acclaim in the arts media. Dalston Music Festival took place on the Square and in eight nearby venues, including three HCD tenants. HCD also worked with Hackney Council to close Bradbury Street to traffic for the day, so a hugely successful street party involving all of the traders in the street became part of the event’s footprint. This festival was a collaboration between HCD and Dalston Music Studios, supporting artists to create an event for the community and for music lovers. It was an exciting and cohesive event, offering high quality music to the largest Gillett Square audience to date, attracting around 10,000 people over the course of the day and evening. Hackney One Carnival ran in September, and Gillett Square again played host as the official Children and Family area. Diversity, creativity, music and dance are the order of the day for Hackney One. The Square provided our ever-popular Pop-up Playground with a Lover’s Rock sound system, as well as free Hula-Hoop workshops and performances by the internationally renowned Marawa and the Majorettes. There were performances by Mind Your Language International – clients of HCD’s Pioneering Social Enterprise in Hackney. The Carnival gave HCD an opportunity to host a number of charities, including Prostate Cancer UK, City & Hackney CAMHS, Off Centre, and First Steps. STORE In the Round was the third annual Summer School in Art & Architecture from STORE School of Architects, a client of HCD’s Pioneering Social Enterprise in Hackney. It challenged students from Hackney to design, construct and arrange an open air stage over two weeks in Gillett Square and culminated in a live performance. The students, many of whom received scholarships to attend, were given the opportunity to develop a portfolio to enable them to progress to higher education in Architecture and related fields – removing the economic barrier experienced by many young people in Hackney. They rehearsed, prototyped and built in the square itself, in full view of the public. Students were encouraged to consider the potential of the entire square to act as their theatre. They conducted a number of studies, building alternative observations and creating a series of site maps charting pedestrian movement, wind flow, sound and gradients – key environmental factors which would inform their proposals and and provide informative practical studies, helping HCD to develop its use of the Square. 11


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STORE BY GLENN MOTTERSHEAD I have come to Studio North, home of Jan Kattein Architects, to visit architect Gabriel Warshafsky of STORE: a group of artists, architects, designers and writers who have been working with HCD over the past two years. As the door from the street opened, I am overwhelmed by this modern studio conversion of a once glorious Victorian shop. JKA specialises among many things the regeneration of the high street. Not just the cosmetic look of the facades, but the spirit of the shop keepers and the communities they serve. The idea of the shop is an important factor, a personal history. Gabriel tells me of STORE and its early transient days ‘a lot of them have been old shops. We used them to run lectures, workshops and in some cases use them as making spaces’. Hence the name STORE and the reason for its foundation. STORE is a London-based association of artists, architects and designers composed of three core elements: an educational programme of art and architecture courses, wider-ranging public 12 events and exhibitions, and a socially-engaged design practice. STORE is currently in the process of building a new model of affordable education – one that will integrate knowledge of spatial practice in both art and architecture and develop highly ambitious projects that are in direct dialogue with local issues and agendas. As Gabriel puts it ‘through art, education and architectural education and exhibition projects, we try and inspire students to think about artistic production in a way that is ambitious, elastic and engages with a wider political discourse. It is the opportunity to get their hands dirty and to actually build something physical’. STORE Summer Schools are 2-week intensive art and architecture workshops, focussing on highly collaborative and experimental spatial design and building projects. Following support from HCD through the Pioneering Social Enterprise in Hackney programme, STORE staged their 3rd annual London Summer School in Dalston and brought with it a new element of outreach, not just to the learner but to the public space and the people that fill it. ‘Out of a conversation with HCD, we all agreed that we do the summer school in Gillett Square. That has been really exciting for us in such a lively area, where there is a real chance to test out ideas, to have members of the general public have an actual interaction‘. For Gabriel the spirit is in the students’ ‘ambition to build something on an inhabitable scale and very often we encourage our students to think of that in terms of events and in terms of performance as well. In Gillett Square, we made a lot of friends over the two weeks we were there’. The summer school students were of an eclectic age, culture and character, however they all orientated towards the final goal by designing and building as a team a movable arena as well as proudly presenting a final public performance. Along the way, the very act of making, inevitably brought learning curves in the form of mistakes and other times succeeded in grand ideas. Within


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such a very short time Gabriel observed ‘students were processing, investigating and enquiring, that was important. It was a space to think and to try out making, seeing the ways the students explained what they were doing to passers-by had changed over the course of those two weeks, you saw that they were really developing their confidence in presenting their ideas, not to people in an art or architectural context, but just to passers by’. As the two weeks of discussion, questioning, site testing, plan drawing, making and laying out came to an end, their final day was of construction and public judgement – The Big Day had arrived. ‘What was really fantastic about the square and HCD, was just the openness and the real readiness to experiment, I think they were willing to embrace unexpected outcomes. I would also like to think there is a certain joy in what we do in all of the things we build, there is a certain festive aspect, a kind of celebration at the end of our summer schools’. 14 By bringing their existing knowledge and obtaining a new way of learning that was elastic the students finally built their master plan. Gabriel explains ‘The students designed and built an open air stage and seating in response to a draft script, which was provided by our performance artists Firdaws Fourcroy and Paulina Lenoir. The whole stage and seating was designed in response to their work which was in any case semi-improvised’. In Gabriel’s proud assessment of the day ‘The stage was set up in the morning, Firdaws and Paulina had their rehearsals of ‘contemporary clowning’ during the afternoon and then guests started to arrive in the early evening and to open we had two musical acts’. The students having had discussions with the performers at the start of the project, realised by the end what was meant on the day. The act of making resulted in an immersive experience, making it complete for the students as they were ‘introducing the acts and moving the props around for the performers, they were very much part of it’. The main performance was a love story of burlesque and physical comedy. He mentions with delight ‘they also had to adapt their performance when they finally came onto the stage because a lot of the audience were already sitting on the stage. In the end the stage formed itself within the warm and friendly crowd’.


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Affordable Workspace in Hackney Hackney Co-operative Developments has been a leading affordable workspace provider for over 25 years. We play an important role in the borough’s business ecosystem, contributing to urban regeneration by delivering targeted, flexible low-threshold employment space. Our mixed ownership portfolio is comprised of whollyowned properties and long-term head-lease holdings, ranging from purpose-built, mixed-use developments through rehabilitated derelict housing stock to new build. Until this year, our portfolio has been concentrated in Dalston, which has increasingly become the economic powerhouse for Hackney borough and one of London’s primary hot-spots for start-ups, particularly within the creative and social industries. We provide workspace for the incubation of businesses in Hackney’s growth sectors, particularly in their first years of development. 52% of Hackney’s businesses have an annual turnover between £50,000 and £250,000. Premises costs are a significant outgoing, so HCD’s flexible lease terms reduce their risks. Businesses incubated by HCD have higher survival rates than London as a whole. Important factors in this success are our approach to management, the design of our facilities, and the opportunities we create for collaboration. We have a track record of contributing to the goals of the Dalston Area Action Plan, in locations now designated in the Action Plan Policy as the Community, Cultural and Creative Quarter. Over the past four years we have maintained maximum occupancy across our sites. HCD’s democratic community ownership and strong legal asset lock, afforded to us as a Community Interest Company, ensure that our property portfolio remain a community-owned asset in perpetuity and will be retained or further developed for the provision of affordable workspace, meeting the needs of our local community. In 2015 we have made significant progress in improving and expanding our property portfolio to meet the needs of the market. DOWNHAM ROAD HCD has entered into a partnership with a privatesector developer, London & Chelsea, to form HCD & London, a special purpose vehicle to develop our site on Downham Road. HCD’s existing property at Downham Road is our oldest, and far beyond economic repair. In recent years it has been let on very low rental and short-term agreement basis due to its poor condition and HCD’s long-term plans to develop the site. HCD has worked with the existing tenants to rehouse them. The project of HCD & London is to redevelop the site to create 6 new residential units and 345 15



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