Meridian Water is Enfield Council’s £6bn 25-year regeneration project which will create 10,000 homes including 4,000 affordable homes, to help to ease the London housing crisis and provide homes for local people in Enfield.
Meridian Water’s partners at Anthony Way, Building BloQs, have developed a highly innovative model of shared workspace provision for the creative sector. With the support of Enfield Council they have founded an open-access workshop, a new kind of light industrial workspace for the professional maker and maker business, that functions by providing pay-as-you-go access to workspace and industrial machinery. Building BloQs serves a community of over 250 service users from a very varied range of making businesses.
The primary objective of this partnership is to develop the model by expanding its footprint so that it could accommodate more service users, whilst at the same time supporting Building BloQs to diversify its provision to facilitate a greater number of sectors. This model has a variety of benefits. A comprehensive range of industries can be accommodated in BloQs’ departments that include analogue and high-end digital machinery for engineering, woodworking, & metalworking. Facilities include a CNC production suite, 3D printing lab, spray finishing booths, & a fashion studio, all of which are supported by a range of ancillary services – skills training, materials supply, storage, and business support services, the idea being that businesses can base themselves in a one-stop-shop designed to support their growth.
Clustering in this way offers service users myriad opportunities. The collective can afford far better machinery than any one business can on its own, peer to peer learning is achieved as people work alongside one another, and as a diverse range of disciplines co-locate, the internal economy inevitably becomes more dynamic. Waste streams can be managed more effectively to reduce environmental impact with biomass being reused to generate heating and hot water. As well as making good business sense, the social benefits of knowing and working alongside a community of peers are undeniable and the cultural life of the community remains one its most important features to its members.
This partnership is also adding real value to local communities, evidence of which can be seen as two of the Borough’s Further Education colleges are revising their engineering curricula to take advantage of this access to manufacturing technology, this facility effectively becoming an additional campus for teaching young people.
BloQs will be moving into their new, expended premises, in Autumn 2021.