Honey Factory


Newham Council/Design for London


  • London Development Agency
  • Property Week Magazine
  • Dallas Peirce Quintero Architects
  • The community of businesses and people in Canning Town


In December 2010 Plan Projects formed a team to take part in a competition for Meanwhile uses at a three sites close to the Royal Docks in East London offered by Newham Council, Design for London and Property Week magazine.

Plan Projects put forward concepts for all three sites. One project, called ‘Honey Factory’ reached the finals of the competition and was subsequently featured as an example of best practice in the widely acclaimed book, The Temporary City by Peter Bishop, former head of Design for London, and Lesley Williams.

The project envisaged the delivery of a wild flower meadow at the centre of which would be an iconic structure providing multiple uses: a café, a learning centre and housing for a number of bee hives. The project also foresaw retained residential units converted for live/work use.


Canning Town is undergoing enormous change. Newham Council has formed partnerships with a group of private sector developers to build out a masterplan conceived in 2007. Part of this vision is a task of urban mending, knitting together the disparate elements of the Town Centre to generate a greater sense of coherence. The Honey Factory makes a contribution to this by creating linkages so as to form a natural extension for pedestrians and establish complementary uses with Rathbone Market and other key points in the area.


A considered community strategy formed a centre piece of the delivery programme. Key to this was a not-for-profit Development Trust designed to maximize opportunity for community involvement. Community strategy would encompass,

  • Creation of a ‘Honey Factory Community Group’ (HFCG) from local volunteers
  • Formation of the Development Trust
  • Work with HFCG to refine the vision for the project
  • Set up an evaluation process to ensure community goals were met.


The installation of the ‘Honey Factory’ would introduce an organic, colourful and quirky use to aid the transformation of the Town Centre of Canning Town into a more people-centric environment. This physical presence would provide an adaptable environment in which project partners, the Golden Company and River of Flowers, would collaborate with the community in:

  • Preparing and nurturing a wildflower meadow
  • Educational outreach work with local primary schools, and youth agencies
  • Beekeeping workshops and courses
  • Open events, like honey extraction, honey sales, bee-inspired natural cosmetics making workshops.