A £150m not-for-profit scheme bringing affordable homes, improved community facilities and an innovative education hub to the White City neighbourhood in west London is to go ahead following an agreement between Ark and Hammersmith & Fulham Council (H&F).
The plans include a new, state-of-the-art building for Ark Swift Primary Academy, improved nursery and adult education provision, and a new youth zone. A modern office building will become the future home of Ark and venture organisations working to improve education across the UK and overseas, along with a range of other organisations and businesses.
Work will begin this month on what has been known as the EdCity scheme following a pause due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The development will include:
- a new building for Ark Swift Primary Academy with modern IT and classrooms, and access to a range of sports and performing arts facilities;
- 132 new council-owned affordable homes for local people and an OnSide Youth Zone providing activities and opportunities for young people;
- a new building for Harmony Nursery to increase capacity to 75 children, and an expanded adult education and community learning centre providing training and learning opportunities for local residents;
- a new 100,000 sqft office space for up to 1,000 jobs and a new permanent home for Ark and other organisations and businesses;
- a landscaped public square with a pedestrian and cycle route, directly linking residential areas to the redeveloped White City business and transport hubs.
Ark CEO Lucy Heller said:
“These exciting plans will bring significant improvements to education provision in White City, including a new modern building for pupils at Ark Swift primary school. Alongside other community facilities, the scheme will also provide a new home for Ark to support our work with schools and ventures across the country and to foster collaboration with other organisations working in the wider education system.”
H&F Leader Cllr Stephen Cowan said:
“This project will bring tangible benefits to the local community with a new school and nursery, a youth zone and improved adult education services. There will be new, affordable homes for local people, improvements to public areas and jobs will be relocated here. Partnerships are a central feature of our Industrial Strategy benefiting this previously-neglected part of the borough, so I am delighted we can now get this work under way”.
The office building will provide highly efficient Grade A space designed to a BREEAM rating of “Excellent”. Two floors are pre-let to Ark and its partner organisations with a further circa 80,000sqft available to rent.
The plans have been developed following local consultation and final planning approval was granted in 2020. It is jointly funded by the Ark charity and H&F and is supported by grants from central government and the Greater London Authority, and will be fully completed by 2025.
More details of the plans can be found here.