High House Production Park – the site for our completed Artist Studios building as well as several projects in progress – is a fascinating development that deserves to have its story more widely told.
High House farm was a collection derelict, but important, historic buildings and the remains of a grand walled garden, that had become marooned on the outskirts of Purfleet, between the A13, M25, the distribution depots and warehouses of the motorway fringe, and the housing and industry of Purfleet itself. A community group had been formed to try to save and restore the buildings but a viable plan for the site was difficult to come by. (Interestingly, during this period Hana was involved with the Visionary Thurrock project that proposed alternative culturally led futures for Thurrock, and worked with the High House community group).
All this changed in 2005 when London won the 2012 Olympics, and the existing businesses on the Olympic site were therefore given notice to leave – including the Royal Opera House, which had its scenery workshops there. They were shown the High House site, and the logistical access to the road network, as well as the amount of space available, made immediate sense. A masterplan was developed, with the ROH as the first anchor tenant, for a new kind of industrial park focused on the creative industries, and allowing for the restoration of the historic buildings and gardens.