Emerging ProjectProgressed Project

Opportunity Cluster: Employment Hub

Idea: Opportunity to support the development of an employment cluster at the Station end of the High Street to promote growth and diversification of the town’s offer

With large vacant and underutilised building stock at this end of the high street, there is an opportunity to explore the creation of an Enterprise Hub to support local employment, help create activity and increase reasons to stay in this area and utilise the good transport links.

Facilities could include offices, workshops, studios, and meeting, events and exhibition space, depending on local demand. From shared workspace, micro offices to larger organisations taking whole floors, the facility should support the different stages of a company’s evolution, potentially coupled with programmes and initiatives that promote business success and support the wider community.

Key sites identified as a part of this opportunity include The Chipping Barnet Police Station (approx. 2000m2) – expected to move the service to Colindale station in August 2020 – and Graseby House owned by the Royal Free Hospital. The latter project could explore a partnership, for example, a digital and health-focused workspace offer. Any works should also look to improve the accessibility and greening of the public realm in front of both buildings to support employment uses.

Why it is useful:

  • Promotes wider uses of the town centre and increases footfall to support existing and new retail and leisure uses
  • Enliven the station end of the high street through employment led uses
  • Creates high skilled local employment opportunities within the town centre
  • Proximity to the northern line tube station
  • Helps strengthen the character of this area of the town centre, strengthening Chipping Barnet’s overall identity
(example sites representative only, subject to availability, condition, costs etc)

Who needs to be involved:

  • Council: Lead & partner with a landowers and operator
  • Landowners: Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime and/or Royal Free Hospital (depends on site)
  • Town Team: Support
  • Potential partners: Barnet & Southgate College, Royal Free Hospital
  • Local businesses: Tenants
  • Operator

How to get started:

  • Market testing
  • Test potential partnership, e.g. Royal Free Charity
  • Undertake a feasibility study and business planning to develop an evidence base to invest in the asset
  • Explore opportunities for funding through landowner contribution (peppercorn rent), council funding, GLA or government grants, and setting up a charitable status

Viability considerations:

  • Funding: Landowner/ Council/ Operator partnership. Potential to attract MHCLG and GLA funding.
  • Site: Benefit from a highly accessible location near the tube station with visual presence to aid activation of the high street
  • Site ownership: Included examples, owned by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime and Royal Free Hospital, would require purchase or partnership
  • Resource: Council officer time

Example: The Foundry

Conversion of a former polish factory into different scales of workspace. Ran by the Ethical Property company, the building offers affordable space as well as designed to foster community and collaboration. Organisations have a shared ethos that unites them, in this case, working to promote social justice and human rights.

Example: Enterprise Enfield

Enterprise Enfield were the operator and client for the Enfield Business Centre, offering flexible meeting, hot-desk and seminar spaces. The aim was to provide more than rentable office space but to create a local business ‘hub’ providing broader support services to the local area. This approach led to a focus on creating a welcoming and flexible entrance and the provision of shared facilities that effectively increased the space available to everyone. The multi-use entrance space doubles up as reception area and lobby, and event space and cafe – designed to animate the high street. Design features include distinctive signage and public realm design, and creating a striking arched canopy to provide visibility and presence on the street. Enterprise Enfield have recently teamed up with Barnet and Southgate College to launch a new Business Hub situated in their Southgate campus. The project is dedicated to helping businesses recover and grow through these challenging times.

Example: Health Foundry

Health Foundry is a health tech focused incubator and co-working space funded by Guys and St Thomas’ Charity to help start-ups who are working to improve health and wellbeing. 150 sqm of disused ground floor space within a residential block for older people was refurbished into a shared co-working space that holds meeting rooms, touch down and anchor workspaces for 190 members of the Health Foundry community. Membership ranges from Community (non space based) to Flex (1, 2 & 3 day space use) and Anchor (fixed desk) memberships.