Business blossoming despite Canning Town construction

A small business in Canning Town is flourishing despite the huge upheavals in the area. Caramel Rock make high-end fashion garments as well as being a community outreach programme.

The not-for-profit organisation is four years old. They’ve expanded each year and they now have four permanent employees. They run programmes for schools as well as adults and regularly showcase work at shows including London Fashion Week.

Image from Newham Council’s regeneration masterplan

Despite huge change in the local area they have managed to continue as normal. Newham Council planning documents show that in the future a “residential street” will cut through this area, connecting Canning Town with Custom House.

It’s thought that the building Caramel Rock currently occupies will be demolished although the church next door will remain part of any future redevelopment.

The company has lined up a move into a new home on Barking Road, a five minute journey away.

Below is a short interview with the director of Caramel Rock, Faith Johnson. She speaks about her company, how it’s run, who it’s for and how it’s been affected by the regeneration.

Donations needed to develop Cody Dock

A charity is trying to raise enough money to turn a derelict dock into a vibrant creative quarter.

The Gasworks Dock Partnership have started to welcome donations from today to help turn Cody Dock into community gardens along with a wooden swing bridge.

Initially built in 1870 on the Lower River Lea, it is currently cut off by industrial estates and has been neglected.

The charity has part-funded the project with backing from the council. However they still need £140,000 to complete their plans.

If you’re able to donate then you can do so here. In the long term they wish to create affordable studio space and even a visitor centre and a cafe.

When I visited the site the riverside path was blocked off by fencing. If this project is completed then the fences will come down and open up a continuous 26-mile pathway that stretches all the way from Hertfordshire.

New community website launched

Permission for screenshot granted by The Real Newham

Last weekend saw the launch of a brand new community website for the borough. The Real Newham is a website full to the brim with stories, videos, photos and information.

The website describes it as “a consultation for everyone in the borough to share their stories, their worries and their dreams and ask the question: How do we build the best future for Newham?”

It’s a project supported by Hacan East and Climate Rush (who recently scrubbed a message on the inside wall of the Rotherhithe Tunnel – see video below).

There’s many ways to get involved such as submitting videos, filling out a questionnaire or joining their team of volunteers. Get in touch with them today.

Crimes against businesses in Newham drop in the lead up to the Games

In the last two years, Newham has seen a 45% drop in robberies against businesses. That’s significantly more than the London average drop of just under 15%.

Andrew Stanley from Andrew Stanley Woodworking says he hasn’t been ram raided since London won the Olympic bid back in 2005. Before that, being robbed was something of an occupational hazard.

His business is located just 600 metres from the Olympic site. He says a drop in crime against small businesses like his are one of the positive impacts the Games have had on the area.

Of the six Olympic host boroughs, Newham used to be the worst in terms of business robberies. But in recent years, as the following chart illustrates, there has been a significant drop in this type of crime, and the borough is now on an equal footing with Waltham Forest and Greenwich. The chart shows the number of business robberies in the six Olympic boroughs over a 10 year period from the year 2000. Notice how Newham experiences a surge in business robberies around 2005 and then a dramatic drop after 2007. The statistics are from the Metropolitan Police Crime Mapping and its Crime Mapping Data Tables.

Statistics from Met Police

But what’s behind the fall?

A key part of the winning bid was an emphasis on the social benefits of sport. In the run up to the bid almost £1m of government money was spent encouraging young east Londoners to engage in different sports. Over 64,000 young people took part in 26 different Olympic activities including fencing, swimming, gymnastics and boxing. Olympic ‘Gold Cards’ allowed young people to gain access to Newham’s four leisure centres.

And in 2005, the year of the winning bid, the number of young people in the borough making a first court appearance dropped by a quarter. This compared with a mere 1% reduction in other parts of London. Overall the figures for juvenile court appearances in Newham were down by just under 40%.

So it appears that promoting sport has had a beneficial by-product – it may have caused a dramatic reduction in Newham’s crime figures.

But Andrew Stanley has another more direct theory. He believes the drop in business robberies is down to the increase in policing and security in the area around the Olympic Site:

Security continues to beef up as the event itself approaches

Up to 12,000 police will be dedicated to policing on the busiest days of the Games, and about 9,500 of those will be in London.

And as the event itself looms large on the horizon, Chris Allison, the Met Police’s assistant commissioner and national Olympic security co-ordinator, successfully secured an agreement from chief constables around the country to postpone cuts to certain key areas such as firearms, explosive detector dogs, mounted police until after the Games.

But those reductions will be phased in after the Games. So will the borough of Newham continue to enjoy a drop in crime rates when the party has left town?

Developer chosen for Silvertown Quays regeneration

Derelict factory Millennium Mills on current site

The London Development Agency this week announced Chelsfield are the preferred bidder to redevelop Silvertown Quays.

The 50-acre site, which is part of the enterprise zone, is currently home to the derelict former flour factory Millennium Mills, which closed in 1984.

It’s thought it will cost £1.2bn to redevelop the site and the proposal includes 228,570 square meters of commercial and retail space, and 126,440 square metres of housing.

Design by Arup/AHHM – submitted to Newham Council

There’s also plans to include education, research and innovation centres. Work is due to start in the next two years and a completion date of 2018 has been given.

More on this story can be found here.

Newham leads the way for business start-ups

New figures reveal that in the last two years more businesses have started in Newham than any other London borough. The data also shows they rank second out of all authorities in England and Wales.

The findings were carried out by Experian and revealed by the BBC. They show that the number of businesses in Newham rose from 10,238 in early 2010 to 14,672 at the start of this year – an increase of 43.3%.

The main reason for this is the new Westfield Shopping Centre and the regeneration around the Olympic site. As well as the establishing of an Enterprise Zone in the Royal Docks.

There was also good news for neighbouring Barking and Dagenham which saw 7,685 new companies find their feet in the same time period.

This good news for the borough appears against a backdrop of gloom for London in general. The number of businesses in the capital dropped by 1.5%. Hounslow saw the biggest number of insolvencies, relocations and closures with a decrease of 3,169 businesses.

The alternative Olympics tour – this Saturday

Those over at the Site/Fringe project have planned a screening day for their finished film this coming Saturday. The production details how communities near the Olympic site have been affected by the Games. They’ll also be a walking tour conducted by one of the residents of the Carpenters Estate.

Six MA students from Goldsmiths University are behind this project along with CARP, The Friends of Queens Market and the Save the Atherton Campaign. The collected material from the event will become part of the Museum of London’s collection.

They’re meeting this Saturday 24th March at 3.00pm outside Stratford Tube Station.

Image courtesy of site/fringe