Vittoria Wharf demolition: young artists to get pushed out as Olympic legacy chiefs make way for a new bridge linking Queen Elizabeth Park and Hackney Wick

One of London's largest communities of creatives is being forced out of Hackney Wick as Olympic legacy chiefs make way for a new bridge over the River Lee Navigation.

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Young artists are getting the push again after Olympic legacy chiefs masterminding the regeneration of Stratford decided to break up one of London’s largest communities of creatives.

Dozens of artists and creatives operating from studios and live-work spaces at Vittoria Wharf, a former factory building, have been given notice to quit, and must vacate by Monday September 5. The building is to be bulldozed to make way for a new bridge over the River Lee Navigation linking the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to Hackney Wick.

The London Legacy Development Corporation - LLDC - owns the site after it was bought by compulsory purchase before the 2012 Olympic Games, and says the bridge is a crucial link between the two areas. 

Gavin Turk, one of Britain’s leading contemporary artists, is also being squeezed out of Hackney Wick. He has occupied a studio near Vittoria Wharf for a decade but the building has now been sold to a developer, and he is waiting to hear when he must leave.

Meri Atkin, Turk’s studio manager, said: “Hackney Wick is changing really fast. There are hoardings for big developers everywhere. It has always been a hub of creativity, and it still feels like a creative place to be, but artists are being pushed out daily.”

Musician Nima Teranchi, who has had a studio at Vittoria Wharf for two years alongside everyone from film-makers to set designers to fine artists to ice sculptors, said: “Artistic hubs like this have been shunted from one area of London to another for years. I think the danger is there isn’t anywhere else to go now.” 

Top contemporary artist Gavin Turk must leave his Hackney Wick studio after developers bought the building (Rex)

The LLDC said the pedestrian and cycle bridge was granted outline planning consent in 2012. Work is due to start early next year.

“This new bridge will significantly improve connections around Fish Island, Hackney Wick and into Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, helping the area properly to benefit from the regeneration investment being made there,” said a spokeswoman.

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