Uplands Business Park is a 5.45ha site located at the centre of the Blackhorse Lane Strategic Industrial Location (SIL), home to a diverse mix of both creative businesses and traditional industry. Many have begun to trade directly with customers on site, which has attracted people into the area. The re-provision and long-term retention of industrial uses at Uplands lies at the heart of this hybrid masterplan and underpins the design decisions and strategies. The redevelopment of Uplands is in line with the Blackhorse Lane SIL Masterplan Framework (LB Waltham Forest with the GLA and landowners), that establishes a coordinated plan for the SIL.

Key to the plans is an industrial intensification strategy that re-provides industrial uses first, and in more efficient stacked and co-located typologies. Uplands provides an increase in industrial capacity from 28,000sqm to up to 33,000sqm while introducing a range of other uses such as commercial, community and up to 1,800 new homes, of which 35% are affordable. It is anticipated that over 1,000 extra jobs will be generated through the scheme.

By delivering over 50% of the industrial floorspace within stacked industrial buildings in Phase 1, an inclusive relocation strategy allows existing businesses to remain on site. It also provides most of the new industrial floorspace closest to the strategic road network, in turn reducing industrial traffic in the remainder of the site. Stakeholder engagement and market research were critical aspects in establishing the needs of current and future industrial businesses from the outset.

The open spaces respond to the new neighbourhood’s key functions: work (industrial yard); homes (community yard), enjoyment (commercial yard) and nature (waterside park). The way in which the neighbourhood will be experienced differently by employees, residents, visitors and neighbours, and how the masterplan can provide a flexible framework for a sustainable and long-term industrially functional neighbourhood, were crucial considerations for the concept of co-location at Uplands Business Park.

The plans are based on the highest sustainability credentials, targeting BREEAM Excellent for the new industrial and commercial buildings. Enhancements to the green infrastructure via high quality landscaping, tree planting and roof gardens will increase the biodiversity of the site by 50%. The plans seek to reuse, recycle or recover 95% of construction and demolition waste and source building materials locally (low carbon where possible) for short supply chains. Rainwater will be recycled and re-used for external watering through blue roofs. Electric charging points will be available for industrial and residential vehicles and the layout of the new neighbourhood, with secure bicycle storage, will make cycling and walking the easiest and most pleasant option for local travel.

Industrial intensification, and co-location, are simple ideas but not easy to deliver.

At Uplands, there were several constraints that we had to work through: a high-pressure water tunnel requiring a 22m non-piling zone diagonally across the site, and the need to be a good neighbour to a girls’ secondary school were two of the most pressing.

We also wanted to keep as many of the existing businesses as possible and give them quality production areas as well as front facing sales spaces. At the same time, we needed to consider the new uses, particularly the residential element. Crucial was the separation of the industrial route and the non-industrial “neighbourhood” route to give a road infrastructure serving the industrial floorspace in parallel to a safe and attractive network of streets and open spaces for pedestrians and cyclists.

All of this has to be affordable, and flexible enough to adapt to changing requirements – for example, we’ve included a swing block that can be delivered as podium industrial or as stacked industrial.

The objective is to create a ‘15-minute neighbourhood’, enabling people to meet most of their needs within a short walk or bike ride from their home or place of work.

If you need realistic but ambitious help and advice, I am always happy to discuss potential projects. Please email office@brianreynoldsassociates.com or call me on 07957 401488.