Council supports Camden’s jewellery industry
Camden Council is supporting jewellery businesses in Hatton Garden through the development of new affordable work space to help up-and-coming or growing businesses who want to work in the area.
Camden has agreed to provide funding to business space operator Centa Business Services to refurbish the basement of 120 Holborn into eight jewellery workshops. The owner of this building has made the space available as a part of the legal agreement attached to planning permission for a gym development.
This will help address a critical shortage of local workshop space, which is renowned as a centre for jewellers and follows on from concerns about rising rents putting an extra strain on the industry in the area.
The announcement comes with the council also supporting moves to develop the area as a Business Improvement District (BID).
“We want to help and support small businesses and individuals to set up and expand so we can retain this all-important jewellery industry.
“We know that high rents are pushing businesses away so this is an excellent use of developers’ contributions. I have no doubt that this space will prove to be an attractive proposition to people who want to set up a related business.”
Centa operates 43 jewellery workshops at Arundel House and Carolyn House in Kirby Street, set up using financial contributions from developers to mitigate the loss of commercial floor space – known as Section 106 agreements.
These have been so successful that there is a waiting list for businesses that want to move into the area to be close to firms they work with.
A survey by Centa found that more than 100 people are employed across its two sites, which include 21 new jobs created since businesses moved in.
Matt Garner, Chief Executive of Centa, said: “The long established jewellery businesses in Hatton Garden make a unique and valuable contribution to Camden’s economy and culture. We are fully supportive of Camden’s initiative to retain and support this vibrant quarter and we are committed to help keep manufacturing alive with the development of this further dedicated workshop space.”
One tenant of Centa’s is Brett Afshar, who runs the successful jewellers Hearts of London. Centa has been a vital force in helping them grow since they began trading seven years ago. “They gave us a very favourable rent, they were on our side from the beginning and they’ve been pretty instrumental in our growth” Brett says. He added “As a small business it’s essential to find support. We needed space to expand our business and they’ve given us that.”
“Hearts of London is expanding faster than we ever felt possible. In fact last year’s growth was stellar. We shun mass production that is made in some far away factory, everything is made in our workshops here in Hatton Garden.”
Gary Williams, Chair of the Hatton Garden Partnership said: "Ensuring we have the right mix of workshops, retail space and offices is vital for the future vitality of Hatton Garden. We welcome this new workshop provision which will help London's historic jewellery quarter to thrive alongside the other vibrant businesses that are making Hatton Garden their home."
Camden’s planning policy states that developers must retain jewellery workshops where possible in Hatton Garden, but where this hasn’t been possible the council has sought financial contributions.