Blackhorse Lane

In 2021, Blackhorse Lane was designated a Creative Enterprise Zone, a groundbreaking Mayor of London initiative. This initiative aims to make it easier for artists and creative businesses to flourish in a space of their own. 

In 2023 the zone was officially launched as Blackhorse Collective.

It recognises the high quality of the area’s existing businesses, its rich history of making, and its potential for growth. The Creative Enterprise Zone designation will provide affordably priced spaces for artists and creative businesses. This includes expert support on starting up and growing, and creative training and employment opportunities for local people.

It will ensure Blackhorse Lane’s status as a breeding ground for creativity for many years to come.

This short film by local videographer Rua Acorn was commissioned to celebrate the area, showing a day in the life of Blackhorse Lane.

Why is it needed?

Paints and arts and crafts materials

The creative industries play an integral role in energising the capital's regeneration, and now as many as 1 in 6 jobs are from the creative sector. The very success of this sector has often resulted in creative businesses not being able to afford to remain in the areas they have supported to grow. Creative Enterprise Zones should disrupt the cycle of creatives pricing themselves out by securing permanent and affordable workspaces. It will support areas to become creative hubs and provide jobs and training opportunities, ensuring the local community benefits from the creative sector growth.

Where will it be?

Blackhorse road aerial view.

The Blackhorse Lane area has been chosen as Waltham Forest’s Creative Enterprise Zone. Blackhorse Lane includes Higham Hill Ward and part of the William Morris Ward. It sits within the Lea Valley Corridor and is adjacent to the Walthamstow Wetlands. The area has a layered heritage of craft and creativity, long known as a centre for the manufacture of furniture, printing machinery, leather goods, children’s toys, propellers, and motors, among much else.

Why is Waltham Forest Council doing this?

creative enterprise workspace

The development of Blackhorse Lane has been part of the council's Economic Strategy since 2016. It set out to develop the area as a new town centre by improving its social and cultural offering to help build a new creative destination.

Blackhorse Lane's heritage of making and creating has driven past economic growth. In recent years the industrial space has become home to a broader variety of makers and creators. It has welcomed a new type of business, fuelled by the digital industries, along with a resurgence of traditional manufacturers and producers. The Creative Enterprise Zone designation is an opportunity to highlight the skills and services available in the borough. It will support business growth, create jobs, and sustain the creative diversity in the area.  

What happens next?

Group of people sitting round a table talking
  • A monthly newsletter with updates on events and activities.
  • Publication of a visual identity and a digital platform for the zone
  • Develop a CEZ Governance board
  • CEZ to officially launch in 2023

Business support

Part of the CEZ’s ambition is to offer business support. There are currently 2 active business support programs you can access for free: