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Hackney Council set to buy Tesco Morning Lane site in multi-million-pound project

PUBLISHED: 14:30 16 January 2017 | UPDATED: 16:16 16 January 2017

Tesco Morning Lane. Picture: Google Maps

Tesco Morning Lane. Picture: Google Maps

Archant

Hackney Council is close to buying the Tesco site in Morning Lane in a multi-million-pound move that would provide workspace, shops and homes.

The deal would see high-end fashion hub Hackney Walk develop the land, building a new, smaller Tesco and 270,000 sq ft of commercial space, with some at affordable rates.

That would create 1,500 jobs, half of which would go to Hackney locals through the council’s Ways Into Work job service.

It would also free up 245,000 sq ft for new homes, with a minimum 20 per cent coming under the “affordable” umbrella – way short of the 50pc target.

“Affordable” could mean anything from shared ownership, council housing or help to buy, as well as mayor Philip Glanville’s preferred option of London Living Rent homes, where tenants pay about a third of the average income on rent.

The deal has come about because Tesco is looking to sell off land from its property portfolio. But before it can be signed off, Hackney’s cabinet members must give it the green light at a meeting next week.

Town hall bosses refused to say how much they would be paying for the land, though made it clear taxpayers wouldn’t be paying a penny.

They will be turning to the Public Works Loan Board for the money, and said the project will effectively be cost neutral with the money coming in down the line from rent and agreed payments with Hackney Walk.

Plans for the site are expected to take 18 months plus to put together, with Tesco staying put for four years until the new store is ready.

Mayor Glanville said Hackney Walk would have to broaden their range of shops for the new site, saying it wouldn’t just be high-end designer outlets.

He said: “This is a once in a generation opportunity for the council to acquire a site like this, so it’s important that we carefully consider our options.

“It’s a key development site, and will be quickly snapped up by a housing developer if we decide not to go ahead, and we will lose control over what happens to this large plot of land in the middle of Hackney Central.

“Since Tesco told us about their plans, we’ve been carefully balancing up our options.

“This is a significant investment, but the benefits to Hackney are just as significant; space for 1,500 jobs, genuinely affordable workspace, 50pc of the retail jobs prioritised for Hackney residents and onsite affordable homes.”

The mayor added developers would have to be mindful of the “Tesco Towers” plans from six years ago, which were rejected at the planning stage after St John at Hackney church complained about the height of the building.

Tesco’s property boss Steve Rigby said the supermarket giant, founded by Jack Cohen on Well Street Market, was proud of its Hackney connection. He added: “We have looked at a number of proposals and held discussions with several parties but Hackney’s proposal aligns best with our aims of releasing value from our property portfolio, while enabling regeneration and enhancing the experience for customers.”

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