UK's first 'open-access' factory opens in Enfield

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London's Deputy Mayor, Jules Pipe CBE, has officially opened Bloqs, a new facility that has been dubbed the UK's first open-access factory.

Bloqs will provide professional makers and businesses with affordable workshop space, access to state-of-the-art equipment and the opportunity to become part of a community of like-minded people. It offers an ambitious new model for open-access working, economising space and facilities on a scale never done before, while maximising the scope of the businesses, organisations and individuals that use it.

The new space – designed in close collaboration with Bloqs by 5th Studio – provides 32,000 square feet of workspace with facilities for woodworking, metalworking, fashion and fabrics, engineering and spray finishing, as well as resources and services – including courses, classes and hireable meeting rooms.

Part-newbuild and part-adaptive reuse of a former vehicle testing facility, the hangar-sized building is 6.5 (serviceable) metres tall with direct access to a service yard.

New amenities open to the public include a café and event space as well as a shop stocking tools and materials. Users have access to £1.3 million-worth of light industrial equipment, usually beyond the reach of most new businesses, including industrial mills, lathes, sanders, saws, CNC routers, laser cutting, 3D printers, spray booths and sewing machines. Once registered, members can pre-book spaces and facilities as they need them. Current members range from fashion designers, furniture makers and interior designers to playground designers and makers, metal fabricators and eco-entrepreneurs.

The facility has been funded by an investment of £4 million by the Greater London Authority and Enfield Council as part of the Meridian Water project, a major £6bn, 25-year programme led by Enfield Council, bringing 10,000 homes and 6,000 jobs to the borough. Bloqs will play a crucial role in defining the character of the area ahead of longer-term regeneration, demonstrating how the creative industries can form an integral part of successful mixed-use development and placemaking.

Bloqs co-founder Al Parra said:

“From the very beginning Bloqs has been about providing professional makers and their businesses the right space and facilities to grow and make a living. We’ve done this by gathering a community that shares resources, and what really distinguishes us from other open-access workspaces is that we’re designed specifically to enable commercial activity. With this new facility, we can give our community the space to make it work, we can create partnerships with education providers, manufacturers, suppliers, and our local communities. We’re deeply indebted and grateful to the many people and partners who have made this next step possible. We’re proud of how far we’ve come together and we can’t wait to show people around!”


Jules Pipe, Deputy Mayor of London for Planning, Regeneration and Skills said:

“I’m delighted to be back in Enfield today to join the official opening of BloQs’ new, industry-leading workspace. BloQs is an innovative example of what can be achieved when businesses, boroughs and City Hall work together to add value to local communities and economies. The ability of our small businesses to rebuild and thrive will be a crucial element of London’s post-pandemic recovery and BloQs gives businesses the space, materials and resources to do just that. Meridian Water is one of London’s most exciting regeneration areas and I’m proud that City Hall is investing in enhanced infrastructure and thousands of new homes. I look forward to following the area’s progress closely in the years to come.”