By Cllr Andrew Jones
It’s now 18 months since I helped launch our new Industrial Strategy (pdf 2.6MB). And in that short time a great deal has already happened in the borough.
In fact, the pace of change has exceeded my highest expectations and keeping abreast of every piece of good news is a challenge.
I wanted to showcase some of the exciting developments taking place in H&F to give an overview of the strategy’s success to date.
It’s an ambitious strategy that aims to harness the power of local government to bring people together and achieve economic growth for everyone.
What is the H&F Industrial Strategy?
We want all residents to share in the prosperity of a booming borough as we make Hammersmith & Fulham the best place to live, work and play in Europe.
And our partnership with Imperial College London is designed to harness the opportunities unlocked by the growth and development we’re seeing across the borough.
Our Industrial Strategy has been important in shaping the following developments:
White City Innovation District
White City is now the UK’s new innovation capital for life sciences. Novartis, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, and Open Cell, one of the most affordable bio-tech hubs in London, have recently moved in.
Imperial College continues to expand their impressive White City campus as they will build a new School of Public Health to find pioneering new approaches to society’s most pressing healthcare challenges – from fighting deadly infectious diseases to the treatment of dementia.
The area has also seen a wave of pioneering bio-tech firms moving to White City’s booming tech district continue. It includes GammaDelta Therapeutics which will leave its current offices in King’s Cross and set up its new HQ in the WestWorks building in Wood Lane.
Meanwhile, aviation giant Airbus also now has an office in Imperial’s Translation and Innovation Hub in Wood Lane.
Businesses continue to flock to H&F as the borough remains a prime office destination in the capitalwith firms taking 677,000 sqft of office space in H&F last year, which was three times higher than the 201,000 sqft total in 2016.
It includes ITV, which has decided to remain in White City and not move back to its South Bank studios and Harrods, which is expanding its HQ in Hammersmith Road alongside Victoria Beckham a.k.a Posh Spice, who has also set up her fashion house HQ on the same road, to name but a few of the movers and shakers in H&F.
Benefits for residents
I don’t think booming business is enough on its own. Instead, we must translate this prosperity into new opportunities for local people. And it looks as if it is starting to work.
Here are some of the benefits for residents we’re already seeing:
More genuinely affordable homes
The new developments we’ve helped encourage in H&F offer real benefits for local residents – especially for anyone who wants to get on the property ladder. We’re now seeing record numbers of genuinely affordable homes being built in H&F. And we’ve secured more than 2,900 new affordable homes for local residents struggling to afford to remain in the borough.
This includes 427 homes on the former Marks & Spencer’s warehouse site near Westfield in White Citywhich is fast becoming London’s most exciting new neighbourhood.
Alongside Westfield London, we’ve created more than 12,000 jobs in the borough, and another 8,000 jobs are on the way in the Westfield expansion, which has made it the largest shopping centre in Europe.
Meanwhile, our WorkZone team continue to help local residents, young and old, to find work experience, apprenticeships and jobs opportunities to further their careers.
We’ve made huge strides towards becoming the best place to live, work and play in Europe.
Our next ambition is to work with local schools to bring the opportunities this strategy offers to young people across H&F, enabling future generations to work for businesses in some of the hottest sectors in the global economy.
We don’t want anyone to be left behind as we bring the local economy into the 21st century.
We will also look to integrate our adult skills and education services so local people, who also want to take advantage of the new job opportunities being created, can do so.
As for businesses and entrepreneurs, we’re looking to build more local networks of support as we strive to make H&F the best place to do business in Europe.
Arts & Culture
Meanwhile, another one of our major priorities, is to make the borough a go-to destination in London. Our arts and culture scene is already thriving but we want to make it even better especially in White City.
We want to create a more vibrant place with many more arts facilities, live music venues, cinemas, theatres, restaurants, cafes, bars and shops.
We’ve come a long way in a short time but it’s only with the hard work and commitment of so many of our local residents, business people and entrepreneurs that this has been possible. Together with them, we’re committed to delivering real and lasting change for Hammersmith & Fulham.
Cllr Andrew Jones
H&F Cabinet Member for the Economy and the Arts