St George West London Ltd (The Berkeley Group Holdings plc), Grand Union for the initiative Community Centre and Trust

Committed to building thriving communities, St George, part of the Berkeley Group, have brought to life a derelict industrial estate in London with a new inclusive space to boost community spirit and make a positive difference to the lives of its residents.

Creating a sense of community is critical to the long-term success of any new residential development, so when St George began planning its Northfields site it knew early engagement with the public was key to understanding local needs and in building the foundations of a community that would last.

The regeneration project named Grand Union is set to transform the former industrial estate into 3,350 homes as well as light industrial, retail and commercial spaces, all set within 11 acres of public open space that includes landscaped gardens and riverside walks.

The first public consultation for the project was held shortly after the site was acquired to determine the draft masterplan and understand what local needs existed. Through this process it emerged the site didn’t have any community facilities where groups could come together and community services delivered on pop-up basis.

Building a community centre was not a requirement from the local council, but through further engagement with the public the idea of a new community hub was born and was a responsibility St George took very seriously. Altogether 339 people met through the consultation process; 33 community events, meetings and workshops were held; and 132 feedback forms were received.

The company took the lead and proactively created plans to build the community centre during phase 1 of the project so the community could start benefiting from it immediately, before the full site was completed. A key challenge in the consultation phase was consolidating the conflicting requirements and opinions of residents, so creating a flexible space was key to meeting the needs of a range of local users.

Successfully opened in May 2022, the Grand Union Community Centre is a 5,000 sq ft space for local activities, events and meetings and an open area for playing and relaxing. A charitable Trust was formed to provide strategic management and ensure the long-term success of the centre, whilst St George will fund the centre for its first year of operation.

Not only did St George transform this derelict former industrial estate into a vibrant canalside neighbourhood, during the process it has created a focal point to promote social interaction, helping residents build connections and feel less isolated. By spearheading the development of the centre, the company has delivered a safe and inclusive space to support the health and mental wellbeing of its users, a legacy that will be enjoyed by community groups, charities, and residents of all ages for years to come.


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