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Doors close on another Newham pop-up

Struggling regeneration scheme Industri[us] has been closed for the rest of August after a request for emergency funding was turned down by Newham Council

London-based practice Fluid, which runs Industri[us] on a site near Canning Town station, will use the period to evaluate the future viability of the scheme.

The move comes just days after fellow Meanwhile London competition winner London Pleasure Gardens entered administration (AJ 06.08.2012).

Fluid director Christina Norton told AJ: ‘We have closed the site for the rest of the month while we take stock and plan ahead.

‘There is no point continuing with the plan we had for the Olympic period so we’ve decided to close for that period and look at how we can develop our model.’

Industri[us] was selected to use a site in the Royals Business Park via the Meanwile London competition, which was run by Newham Council and the Mayor of London.

But the scheme’s funding plan was based largely on attracting business from thousands of visitors to the nearby ExCeL Centre during the 2012 Games.

With visitor numbers hugely down on forecasts, Fluid resorted to hosting gigs to raise money and asked Newham for help with running costs.

However with the council turning down the funding plea, it decided the music events were not a practical short-term solution.

‘Until we have a sense that the events will raise enough cash to contribute to our community and upcycling aims, [we are putting them on hold],’ said Norton.

‘We are also all exhausted.’

A spokesperson for the London Borough of Newham said earlier this week: ‘It is disappointing that Industri[us] have decided to close temporarily. We will work with Indistri[us] to help make their future offer one that appeals to residents across Newham as well as visitors to the borough.

‘Both Industri[us] and the London Pleasure Gardens have been a victim of the success of Games organisers in getting visitors to and from the ExCel centre so efficiently. We have raised those concerns with Games organisers and have seen some recent improvement. The Meanwhile London winners were chosen on the basis of their vision and business planning over the longer time, not just Games time.

‘We are aware that businesses in Newham reported an initial drop in trade to varying degrees. We cannot however accept financial or other responsibility for that drop in trade.’

Previous story (AJ 08.08.2012)

Further problems for Newham’s pop-ups

Funding problems have emerged at another architect-led project selected by Newham Council to regenerate areas of the east London borough.

The Industri[us] social enterprise, masterminded by London-based practice Fluid, has requested financial support from the council after failing to secure forecast visitor numbers during the Olympics.

The move comes just days after fellow Meanwhile London competition winner London Pleasure Gardens entered administration (AJ 06.08.2012).

Industri[us] won the right to use a site in the Royals Business Park through the competition, which was run by Newham Council and the Mayor of London.

But the scheme’s funding plan was based largely on attracting business from tens of thousands of visitors to the nearby ExCeL Centre during the 2012 Games.

Industri[us] project manager Clare Richards told the AJ: ‘Locog and Newham Council assured us there would be tens of thousands of people coming off the Docklands Light Railway and walking past our site during the Olympics.

‘Stewards were positioned to direct crowds – but there are no crowds.’

Richards said the scheme needed funding to help with costs such as electricity generation and CCTV.

‘Running costs are crippling us,’ she said. ‘Some tough decisions will have to be made without help raising funding.’

The body, which aims to rework and revalue found materials and waste products in conjunction with the community, has resorted to hosting gigs to make money.

‘Unless we get [financial support from the council] we will have to be the coolest music venue in east London to attract the punters,’ said Richards.

‘There are commercial risks to that, and we are an architecture practice paying bands up front rather than developing community aspects of this project.’

She added: ‘We have repeatedly asked Newham for support but we have not heard back on our latest request.

‘We think the story has changed since the Olympics started.’

A spokesperson for the London Borough of Newham said: “The Meanwhile London competition winners were awarded by the LDA and Newham on the basis of their vision and business planning over a two-year period, not just Games time.

‘Our financial investment in London Pleasure Gardens was made on a commercial basis. We remain confident that our investment can be safeguarded and that the site has a viable long-term future as a venue and attraction.

‘We are aware that many businesses in Newham are reporting a drop in trade to varying degrees. They are a victim of the success of Games organisers in getting attendees to and from sites efficiently but we have raised this with the relevant agencies and have seen some recent improvement.

‘We cannot accept financial or other responsibility for the resultant drop in trade.’ 

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