The Brockley Central Interview: Martin Nash, MacDonald Egan
MacDonald Egan are the company building Martin's Yard, the new live / work development on the site of the old scaffolding yard, off Endwell Street, Brockley Cross. Brockley Central believes this is the single most important development in Brockley since the East London Line so we spoke to Martin Nash, about the project, which is nearing completion:
“It’s one of our biggest-ever developments, an entrepreneurial community for over 200 people. Martins Yard will be a new street, with exits at both ends of the development and continued use of the exit on to Drakefell Road.
“The commercial space is designed for offices and studios, not retail. They are for people with their own small businesses who want to work locally but appreciate the fast access to the city that the East London Line and the train services will give them. The commercial units will range from 400 square feet to 2,000 square feet.
“There is nothing like this in Brockley at present and good design is key to changing market expectations. To attract small business owners, we wanted to build something with a wow factor and something that would create an enterprise community, where businesses can support one another – it can be a little lonely running your own business sometimes.
“The design will encourage a community feel – everyone will have their own front door, there are no internal corridors. It’s a modern take on traditional terraced housing communities. The designs draw on inspiration from beach huts, signal boxes and sky homes. The road will gently snake to create a more intimate space.
“We partnered with Galleons Housing Association to fund the project and that means there will be 12 affordable and shared ownership homes, designed for key workers. It also means that our commercial interest in the project is focused on the business owners.
“This isn’t a residentially-led development with some commercial space to keep the Council happy, quite the reverse. There is relatively little residential space and it’s designed to be an ‘all-day-long’ development, rather than a place that gets deserted during the working day.
“We knew the Council wanted to create high quality space that would attract businesses in to Brockley. That’s what we’re great at. We built Astra House in New Cross and a 50,000 square feet business centre in Islington.
“There will be some incubator units, which the Council will control, giving discounted rates to relatively new businesses with growth potential.
“Although it’s not a retail or leisure development, it’s important that it feels welcoming and part of the community. The design should draw people in. We’re still working on ideas for how to make the best use of the gatehouse at the front of Martin's Yard.
“There will also be some improvements to the public realm. We’re working on plans to make it safer to cross Endwell Road.
“We haven’t begun to market it yet, but if anyone reading this is looking for a location for their business in Brockley, they should feel to email me.”