Save Gillett Square - HCD proposed works to Bradbury Street workspace

Find out more about our plans to redevelop our building at Bradbury Street


Written by Thea May

December 2019

It would be fair to say that 2019 has been a complex and challenging year for us. As the General Council, we have been blown away by the dedication and capacity of the staff and volunteers. It is a small team and the twists and turns of the Dalston Works project have rippled through the team, our tenants and the wider community. Projects such as this are full of anticipated as well as unforeseen roadblocks. However we feel it is important to acknowledge that the team have gone above and beyond in order to get everything done and make this a success. 

The stress on the team has been immense. As such we would like to say some special thank yous to;

Edward Quigley, our CEO, who saw a significant negative impact on his Crohns disease, leading to a period of sick leave.  Anthonia Onigbode, Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Financial Officer, who has been critical to this project since its inception in 2016. The Property Team, comprising of Leah Keene, Rob Devoy and Victor Faponnle who have been integral to the progress we have made.  Jessica Ofori, Administrator, who joined us as an intern in 2017 and is now a full member of the team. Bekele Teklu, Business Development Manager and Douglas Racionzer, Social Enterprise Development Manager, who enabled HCD to continue to support grass roots social enterprise work in Hackney while all other attention has been on Dalston Works.  Anja Beinroth and Keyo Yendii, who kept the square animated. 

It is also worth noting that various members of the General Council of Hackney Co-operative Developments CIC are also stepping up to offer additional administrative support from their relevant skill sets. A special thank you to our own General Council member, Yared Markos who unofficially became our Q&A man on the ground in Gillett Square. Andrew Clough, who is providing HCD with some financial resources to help take off some pressure from Anthonia. And especially to Rod Campbell Taylor who has offered extensive and continual support and guidance throughout the duration. The General Council is a voluntary service, and all additional support has been generously offered on that basis.  

Finally to both the Greater London Authority  and the London Borough of Hackney who have been incredibly supportive of our work and  are looking at ways in which they may be able to provide some additional resources over the next few months.

The team have been stretched threadbare, but the seeds of this toil are now germinating. It is because of this resourcefulness, dedication and persistence that two years on we are excited to announce we are now be on the verge of starting the actual building works in January 2020!!



The solicitors for Hackney Council (LBH) and Unity Trust Bank are at the final stages of completing the legal work for the loan/lease extension for this £2.9 million pound project. We have agreed a new 125 year lease on the land under Dalston Works, and a 1 year free space lease of the south side of the car park from LBH. The Project Team are in dialogue  with other remaining tenants to finalise the work to be done on site. 

As the team have developed the plans for the redevelopment, it was clear that irrespective of any redevelopment work hcd must comply with building regulations at the west end of the building. The current layout has been in place for some years, so seeking to ensure that the building is safe and at the same time seek to protect our vulnerable businesses has been one of the significant challenges. The team has been successful in working with contractors to ensure compliance of all necessary building regulations without any existing tenants losing their business - a key condition that we have put on the redevelopment works. During the redevelopment works the improved fire door will also provide existing tenants of Dalston culture house with continued access for staff and visitors.

 All partners, as well as the Project Team, the builders and the General Council of HCD remain dedicated to seeing the project through to the end. We are pooling all the resources needed to make sure it goes well.


The new containers on the north side of the square Have been installed and fitted out, and the team are working with the pod tenants to move during this period. We have issued keys to all tenants. The pod tenants are all due to commence move into their new containers, they are currently fitting out their new spaces.

We are thrilled to announce that once the redevelopment is complete and the Pod tenants have returned to the building, these containers will remain in Hackney as new affordable workspace at a location to be confirmed.

Although HCD have gone to considerable lengths to ensure pod tenants can continue to trade in Gillett Square during the works, we fully appreciate the disruption and uncertainty experienced by the pod tenants. HCD is offering all pod tenants an additional 3 month rent free period on return to the pods, this is just for the pod tenants by way of acknowledging the extended disruption the have experienced. All Dalston Works tenants were offered a singular 3 month rent-free period for the disruption they faced on the relocation to HCD’s other buildings. 


 A special mention goes to ReSpace & ZeroLDN. The team came on as meanwhile-tenants at the start of the summer. They have brought life to the building while it has been in transition. During their residency they have helped HCD to keep it safe from squatting, drug dealing, prostitution and violence. This has been recognised by local business owners, members of the community, the police, and local council enforcement who have said;

 “Hackney Enforcement officers have recognised the benefits Respacing has brought to Gillett Square and have supported this work while units on the square have been vacant for redevelopment".

Beyond that they have also provided access to workspaces and workshops at all hours to the community, complimenting non-traditional schedules. Their presence has been a joyous example of how the building and the square can interact as a wider community. 

Before they leave at the start of January we encourage you to check out their ate-night workshops, early morning yoga classes, or, if you’re lucky, their project hack-a-thon. They also run a sustainable pop-up on Friday and Saturday evenings, a perfect way to have a sustainable Christmas. 


We acknowledge that even since consultation began in 2017 this project has already had a significant effect on Gillett Square and its community. We agree that a lack of communication at times has been frustrating. But we want the community to know that we remain committed to the square and will continue to animate it throughout the building works until and following their completion. This includes the intention to establish a formal partnership with Hackney Council in the long term use of the space for the community.

 Throughout the works Gillett Square will remain open to the public, but it will be reduced in size to accommodate the redevelopment works to the building. At times a larger portion of the square will be closed off to allow for the safe operation of large machinery. 

From the start of the works we anticipate it will take approximately 54 weeks until completion and then tenants move back in. We will hopefully have full access to the Square again in time for celebrations in spring/summer 2021.  


HCD is a membership organisation. It was created to foster and develop community economic with social and community development in Hackney from the grass roots up. We invite you to become members of HCD and participate in the discussion around social enterprise and community lead business in Hackney. 

 We’d be delighted for you to attend our AGM on the 29th January 




Further details will be sent out to you in January 2019

If you would like to vote on decision made at the AGM please request a membership form from this address

The deadline for applications is 10th January 2020.


  • December 2019: Pod tenants move into their new containers 
  • 29th January 2020: Annual General meeting
  • January 2020: Building works commence