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24/03/2020

Martin Jewell: My view on... sustainable regeneration

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Martin Jewell believes the restoration of a factory in North London could be used as a model for other community projects

Some 200 years ago, the Royal Small Arms factory was established on a 90-acre site in Enfield, North London. The factory closed in 1988 and the site was eventually sold eight years later for housing development, but no commercial organisation was willing to take over the rapidly deteriorating, grade II-listed Machine Shop.

As the borough planning officer of the London Borough of Enfield and a founding director of the Enfield Enterprise Agency, I helped set up a not-for profit company called RSA Island Village Ltd, which drew up a scheme to bring the former Machine Shop back into viable commercial use.

The £4 million refurbishment commenced in 1998 and the building was officially opened in 2001 – it now provides a village centre for the surrounding residential development, incorporating a doctor’s surgery, gym, community hall, library, small supermarket, youth centre and day nursery as well as small business units.

In 2004, we formed a charity called the RSA Trust which, to date, has distributed over £5 million in surpluses created by RSA Island Village Ltd to worthwhile projects, mostly within Enfield. We have also established the Enfield Island Youth and Community Trust, which runs five clubs for children and teenagers.

Martin Jewell MRTPI Rtd was awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours list 2020 for services to business start-ups and to charity in Enfield.

For more information on the RSA Island Centre, visit www.rsaic.org

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