Hastingwood Trading Estate in Edmonton, North London, was the first of many sites to be given the refurbishment and regeneration treatment that became a regular feature of our industrial development work. It stands in an area vacated by a large part of what used to be the indigenous furniture industry in the UK. Hastingwood originally redeveloped the site in partnership with Lonrho and the result is very much the acceptable face of entrepreneurial ambition.
Prior to us getting involved in 1985, the site stood empty and derelict for over 2 years. Our first decision was to reduce the footprint from over 350,000 sf to just under 200,000 sf. Modern estates need roads, parking and access and there is no point in having the cheapest development cost psf if the result is unlettable. Obviously true – but it was still sad to demolish an immense brick built block which towered over the surrounding factories and featured buttressed walls which would have withstood any medieval siege. This building had been used during the World War 2 for the production and testing of parachutes. Tall though it was, we would rather have compiled the list of testers than been on it.
In the mid nineties the site was affected by the Department of Transport’s decision to upgrade the nearby North Circular Road. Although ultimately to the benefit of the Estate, for 3 years we thought that World War 3 had arrived as a steadily reducing band of surviving tenants made their way to and from work through traffic jams, mud, dirt and dust, only to spend their time on site being unable to hear the replies to their complaints about yet another problem with water, drains or electricity. Some of those tenants are still with us and now benefit from a prime North London location with excellent communications in all directions.