In September 2021, developer Southern Grove announced plans to build student housing at Fish Island in Hackney Wick. The developer now secures planning permission for scheme, named The Piano Works, which is its second purpose-built student accommodation PBSA scheme in Hackney Wick. The £75m mixed-use student scheme will complete the transformation of Hackney Wick into one of the fastest growing educational and cultural centres in London.
Southern Grove was assisted by planning consultants Knight Frank and townscape consultants Montagu Evans. Development agent Tom Brain, of Hillstone Group, represented the developer in securing the site.
Located on Stour Road, The Piano Works is on the site of the former Broadwood piano factory in Fish Island. Designed by architects Henley Halebrown, the scheme will deliver 204 student beds in two six and seven-storey buildings. Students will enjoy co-working facilities, and space for pop-ups and creative workshops. Southern Grove hopes to exceed a planning requirement that 35% of accommodation is affordable, providing a discount on market rents of over 50% in some cases.
The project will also house two organisations of huge importance to the local community – the London College of Fashion and Stour Trust, on a peppercorn rent for 150 years. The ground floor of both buildings will host incubator space for the London College of Fashion (University of the Arts London). This is the first time UAL has been provided with a facility like this, which promises to transform the prospects of the next generation of fashion industry leaders.
A third five-storey building will contain 840m2 of commercial floorspace. The whole space will be given to the Stour Trust – a community organisation which nurtures local commercial, artistic and industrial enterprises. Embedding these two organisations within the scheme, the development will create a new centre of gravity in the cultural life of Hackney Wick.
The Piano Works will help Hackney Wick complete its evolution into one of the most vibrant off-campus student communities in London – a journey in which the Southern Grove team had already played a prominent role. Its joint venture sister company, the PBSA specialist Future Generation, created The Vogue, a 330-bed mixed-use student scheme which sits on the adjacent site.
“Hackney Wick will soon be one of the most vibrant and exciting places to be in the capital and we’re tremendously proud that we’ve played a huge role in making that happen.
“The Piano Works will be yet another design-led, landmark development helping to make Fish Island a magnet for young people, students, entrepreneurs and the businesses that want to reach them.
“The presence of Stour Trust and the London School of Fashion will present no end of opportunities for local people and residents. This is the kind of scheme that suddenly puts an area on the map, creating a wave of inward investment that we’re sure will last for decades.”Tom Slingsby, CEO, Southern Grove Group
Hackney Wick is fast becoming a crossroads for students across East London – as it’s a short walk from five world-famous institutions. The Piano Works scheme is under a five minute walk to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (QEOP). Loughborough University London’s postgraduate campus and UCL’s East Campus are sited within the Park. The London College of Fashion (University of the Arts London) is also moving here, with its new campus at Stratford Waterfront. Currently under development, it will bring together all six existing sites into one place for the first time in its 120-year history. The University of East London (UEL) campus in Stratford is on the other side of the park, and Queen Mary University of London sits just to the south-west of Fish Island in Mile End.