New business opportunity at Hainault Forest - workshop spaces available for rent • Vision RCL

New business opportunity at Hainault Forest – workshop spaces available for rent

Vision RCL and London Borough of Redbridge are completing a major restoration project at Hainault Forest, focussed on the restoration of the Victorian barns complex and the creation of a new visitor hub to be known as The Forest Centre.

The restored buildings include a visitor centre, retail and commercial spaces an enhanced catering offer and a multi-purpose hall providing a hire space for community and commercial events and education.

We are now advertising for suitable makers and craftspeople who are looking for a workshop space in a beautiful and unique environment on the edge of London.

The development of the Hainault Forest workshops is funded primarily by the Greater London Authority through the Mayor’s Fund, with the main aim of providing affordable workshop space for small businesses, to foster growth and development within the London Borough of Redbridge.

For more information on Hainault Forest Restoration please see our webpage.

Our aims for the workshops

The Forest Centre will be an important new complex of creative and craft workspaces specially equipped to meet the needs of artists and artisan makers; located on the ground floor, with access to outdoor space and courtyard. The use of the workspaces will be dedicated to both craft and creative industries. Craft industries will be linked to the site itself including an emphasis on `green’ business including locally sourced food production. Land adjacent to the units will include areas dedicated to bee-keeping and fruit growing; unlocking, in partnership with external partners such as The Orchard Project and London Wildlife Trust, exciting new opportunities for micro-breweries, juice presses, and honey makers to build hyper-local product production chains.  We would also like to forge links with the nearby Hainault Business Park, to share knowledge and develop skills.  One of the workshops also has the capacity to house a forge, making use of the original forge building for small-scale metal working enterprises.

The space (see floor plan PDF 280 KB)

Situated along one side of the barn’s courtyard wall, we have created 7 self-contained units with power, water and data provision.  5 units are glass fronted to maximise light, 1 unit is open sided, dimensions set out below:

1. RG.24 – 6.08m(W) x 4.74m(D). Area 28.8m²

2. RG.25 – 5.84m(W)  x 4.74m(D).  Area 27.68m²

3. RG.26 – 13.9m(W)  x 4.74m(D).  Area 65.8m² (open fronted space)

4. RG.27 – 5.55m(W)  x 4.74m(D).  Area 26.3m²

5. RG.28 – 5.69m(W)  x 5.48m(D).  Area 31.1m²

6. RG.29 – 5.48m(W)  x 4.38m(D).  Area 24.0m²

7. RG.20 Forge – 6.06m(W) x 4.86m (D). Area 29.45m2

Additional information

  • Tenants will have access to one free parking space and separate toilet facility shared by workshops (RG 10). 
  • There is an option to take up broadband and cleaning provision provided by the site managers, Vision RCL, for an additional annual charge.
  • Utilities will be charged for at an agreed rate.
  • Rents will be offered on 3 year basis from January 2023 – January 2026
  • The site is open from 8am to dusk.  During the winter months a key for the main vehicle gate will be provided for tenants choosing to work later than 4pm.  Early access can also be discussed if required.
  • The 247 bus service stops at the main pedestrian entrance on Romford Road (a c.15 mins walk to the workshops).  It runs from Hainault tube station (Central Line) to Romford.
  • The Woodland Trust will be based in a new visitor centre on the opposite side of the courtyard (RG 21 and 22) and will have a retail facility where makers products could be sold directly on site.
  • There will be two café facilities on site, the existing Global Café and a new offer in the 1856 Barn (RG 02) next to the workshops.

What we want from you

If this sounds like the ideal space for your maker business please submit a business proposal by 16 December 2022 to our Venue Manager

This should set out the following information:

  • Who you are and what your business is (website/social media links)
  • Why you are interested in Hainault Forest
  • How you think your business supports and connects with Hainault Forest and the sustainability agenda
  • How you would provide an experiential dimension to visitors
  • What social value you will add to Hainault Forest and the local community

The workshop spaces add social value and benefits to Hainault Forest and the local community, therefore we will expect makers to be able to provide an experiential dimension to their practice, with the provision of practical demonstrations, workshops or training elements for visitors at least once a month during peak visiting periods.  Please indicate your ideas for this in your submission.

If you are interested in visiting the site and see the workshops, please email our Venue Manager, Zuzana Kuklova to book in for a visit

Outline Timetable

  • 16 December 2022 – Closing date for business proposals submitted by email
  • 10 January 2023 – Notification of decision to interested parties, leases issued                      

Evaluation Criteria

The evaluation criteria is 100% quality and measured against how your business supports and connects with Hainault Forest and the sustainability agenda, how it will provide an experiential dimension to visitors, what social value it will add to Hainault Forest and the local community, what benefits there will be for Hainault Forest and the quality and  quantity of demonstrations, workshops and training elements for visitors of the site.

For questions and further details please email