Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of use can I make of the space?

You tell us! We don’t have any fixed ideas about use and are interested in any and all suggestions. We’re particularly keen on uses which will benefit Poplar and its people, and those which are sustainable. We will work with an advisory group of residents and stakeholders to assess all proposals and agree which to progress. Following this we would look to agree the deal in principal with you, before local consultation as required. It may be that your proposal would be great in Poplar but for whatever reason it may not work in your preferred space, so it’s possible you might be offered an alternative space. In your proposal, if there is more than one space that would work for your needs, or if you don’t have a particular preference, please tell us. The more flexible you can be, the better.

I’ve got a great proposal for a space, what happens next?

Send us your ideas and an advisory group will consider all proposals and select the best ones for each space, using some basic criteria (see About and Apply pages of this site). If no space is made available to you immediately please don’t be disheartened; we regularly release new spaces and review who we can match with the spaces we have. Please note your required timeline in your proposal.

Does Open Poplar need a business plan for my idea?

At this stage, we just need to get the bones of a plan from you, using the simple proposal form provided. If we like your idea, we will want to discuss your plans and might want some more detailed information, but for now just a brief proposal is fine.

What support can I expect from Open Poplar?

Open Poplar is able to support people and organisations in a number of ways. We know the Poplar community well and can help with engaging the community in new projects and linking you with other organisations that might be able to support your venture, including business support organisations. Our team can help with facilitating planning applications and navigating other permissions required for space. We’re interested in how having lots of new space uses can start to create a supportive ecosystem of enterprises and projects, so will want to work with you and other Open Poplar space users to see how this could best be supported.

What will the space cost?

We expect everyone to be able to fund the space costs. We’ve given a guide price for each site so you can see the approximate rental price in the open market. For the right fit or offer though, we can be flexible with terms. A lot of the spaces come with additional service charges, utilities rates, business rates and VAT – some of which are payable to other organisations and which you would be responsible for covering. We know that some of the spaces need some love and attention to bring them back into use and will factor this into any deal. Equally, you may have particular things to offer the community which will allow us to be flexible over terms. We are open to creative solutions, including profit share models.

When can I use the space?

How long you can use the space for and the hours it is available will vary from space to space – for example spaces close to residential areas or uses which are noisy are unlikely to be permissible 24 hours a day, whilst others already have part time users so could be utilised on a time share basis. In your proposal, please be as clear as possible about how long you need the space for and how many hours per day so that we can better understand your needs.

Will I need to do any work to the space?

This varies from space to space. Some haven’t been used for a number of years and will need investment and refurbishment, others are ready to go. We’re particularly interested in proposals that will enhance the condition of unused spaces and bring them back to life. Some do not currently have utilities in place, but most can be connected at your own cost. Changing the use of spaces will require planning and other permissions, which we can advise on. All agreements will be subject to surveys, feasibility and contracts.

Who is responsible for repairs and maintenance?

This will vary depending on the space and the type of repairs and maintenance required. For some spaces there will be a premises manager who you will be able to discuss any maintenance and repairs requirements with. For others, some repairs and maintenance will be your responsibility, though some may be retained by the landlord. Details of repairs and maintenance responsibilities will be agreed with you and outlined in lease agreements.

Is parking available? Can I make deliveries to the space?

Some spaces could be designed to facilitate parking. Also, it may be possible for you to arrange business parking through the local authority and you might want to consider investigating this. Large deliveries will depend on the space and access to it. Most spaces are situated close to public transport, with the majority less than a 10 minute walk from DLR or underground stations. In your proposal it would be helpful if you can let us know as much as possible about your parking and delivery needs.

Are there any legal issues I need to consider?

All agreements will be subject to surveys, feasibility and contracts. If we like your proposal, we will want to discuss details with you and this will include agreeing a lease for the space. You will also need to enter into other contracts with third parties for example for utilities and business rates. If you don’t have this in place already, it may be worth getting access to legal advice to help with these aspects should you be offered a space.

Why are these spaces not homes?

Not all spaces are suitable for turning into accommodation due to various restrictions including existing services, natural light restrictions and access.

Poplar HARCA Hidden Homes, Phase 1, created six new homes. Hidden Homes Phase 2 will create seven new homes, subject to planning permission.


Need more info?

Use the contact details below. We’d love to hear from you!

Open Poplar
167A East India Dock Rd
E14 0EA