Ilford for you for me for all

Commissioned by Redbridge Council.

Ilford for you, for me, for all.

Our town has never been one to stand still. But in times of great changes – and great opportunities – you may be wondering what are the council’s plans and priorities for Ilford? What will we seek to preserve and what will we promote? What do we think the future of Ilford looks like?

Accompanied by a collection of snapshots of the people of our town, here are our thoughts, opinions, ambitions for Ilford. Here are our promises for an Ilford for all.

Our promises

  • We will be a London Town again.
  • We will draw inspiration from our diversity.
  • We will harness Crossrail.
  • We will make room for enterprise.
  • We will spark an evening economy.
  • We will invest in culture.
  • We will pave the way.
  • We will write our story.

A catalyst for extraordinary

In 2018, Hussain Manawer will be the first man from Ilford – and first British Muslim – to go to space. “But it’s bigger than the mission, it’s the journey. I want to be a catalyst: to say look closer to home. You can have an idea here for a business and do well here, and I want people to know there’s nothing you can’t achieve. To think about the legacy you leave.”

We will be a London town again.

We are reinventing ourselves. Thousands of new homes and residents mean new shops, services, restaurants and amenities – this is the moment for us all to define the future of Ilford.

Known as where the East End came to shop and play, it is time for Ilford to once again be the heart of a modern east London.

Development opportunities

We don’t see Ilford as a dormitory town. Rather we encourage developers to take old sites and turn them into new and exciting places that really add to local life. We met local builder Bogdan Raducan working on the site of an old office building where conversion is already underway, creating new apartments together with retail and restaurant units.

We will draw inspiration from our diversity.

Places are defined by their people. Our community is among the most diverse in the country and we think this is one of our greatest strengths. Diverse, busy, exciting – we like to think we’re the definition of modern London.

We will work to see our rich cultural mix reflected in the range of businesses and opportunities we will attract to Ilford.

Food culture

Mehmet Raif owns Sahadet, a Turkish charcoal grill and meze restaurant on Broadway between Calabash’s Caribbean cuisine and Dosa Special’s South Indian pancakes. From Romania to South East Asia, any look at Ilford’s food offer and its diversity is clear – this is something we relish. From existing restaurants to new ventures, Ilford is an important part of the food map of London.

We will harness Crossrail.

Ever since the Romans built the High Road, our town has been defined by its transport connections. Today, we see the new Crossrail line as a huge opportunity. It will bring us closer to central London – its jobs, its culture, its customers – than ever before.

We will use this new connection to promote Ilford as an ideal location to do business, visit, stay and live.

New station

Crossrail will mean that the City is only 17 minutes away, the West End 22 minutes, West London 27 minutes and Heathrow 52 minutes – all from a new station. This will not only open up Ilford to new commuters like Zeb Kazi but also to new business, which is why the area around the new station is being redesigned to make a good first impression.

We will make room for enterprise.

Many small and creative businesses are being priced out of central London. Enter Ilford.

We will open up vacant buildings. We will provide the spaces for businesses to start up, grow up, and thrive. We will also train local people to ensure they share in Ilford’s growth. We will make Ilford a springboard for success.

Vacant buildings

Toni Dipple is the founder of Organic Ilford, a business that introduces fresh vegetables from the area to the area. “To use these empty spaces again, to give them a purpose and to give people a purpose again – that’s brilliantly exciting! Instead of you going to work and just sleeping in Ilford, wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to showcase your talent or your business?”

We will spark an evening economy.

Ilford is set for an influx of new people and we all want a town that is exciting, connected, safe, and welcoming to visitors and residents alike. So we will afford every opportunity for the evening economy to flourish.

We will spotlight our beautiful historic buildings and encourage there to be more places to eat and drink, day or night.

A piece of history

Built on an old cauliflower patch and market, The Cauliflower Inn is a Victorian gin palace on Ilford’s High Road. When it was put up for sale in 2013, there were many plans to convert the building but we’re pleased to say it stayed as a pub, run by young publican Reiss Matto. We wholeheartedly encourage initiatives that make Ilford’s evenings more exciting and dynamic.

We will invest in culture.

We believe you get great returns when you invest in people. So we think it’s time to turn the area around our historic Town Hall into a cultural quarter worthy of our residents, present and future.

We will revitalise and transform our leisure and cultural offer. We will create new educational spaces and a new home for our public services.

Our enriching town

As we look afresh at our cultural quarter, we want to ensure that all initiatives – from theatre to festivals like The Streets where we met musician Hannah Davis from Perhaps Contraption – will inspire and involve people from all parts of the community. At the heart of our plans, we want theatre and cinema to be a part of an evening economy, so that it’s dinner and a show, not just a show.

We will pave the way.

We are changing the way we work. We will improve the quality, look and use of our streets. We will develop areas that we can directly affect. We will prioritise the experience of the people of Ilford and inspire renewed civic pride in our town.

We at Redbridge Council will lend our resources to the task and provide clear and focused leadership, but we won’t do this all on our own. Help us fulfil our vision of an Ilford for all.

Better streets

Good public realm is crucial to people like grocer Shahid Mahmood. So we are putting a stop to quick fixes and creating a complete and cohesive street design – connecting the station to the High Road and cultural quarter beyond. We will enliven the streets with fountains and play areas, and turning little-used side streets into much-loved urban oases.

We will all write our story.

We’re excited about the opportunity to transform Ilford, but not at the expense of the people who already call our town home.

We will all have the chance to shape the future, and we will ensure that everyone gets their share of the new opportunities we are creating.

Ilford for you, for me, for all.