Mayor Boris aims to stop creative exodus from London

London Mayor Boris Johnson is calling for planners and developers to put creativity at the forefront of new building in the capital.


Mayor of London Boris Johnson is calling for developers and planners to put culture and creativity at the forefront of their thinking as he aims to staunch a creative exodus from the capital.

The Mayor’s Office warns that London is set to lose 3,500 artists studios over the next five years, and a third of its creative workspace. Meanwhile recent research commissioned by the office shows that despite being worth £947 million, London’s design sector is currently shrinking.

Creative talent “squeezed out”

The Mayor’s Office says: “There are increasing fears that artists and creative talent are being squeezed out, because they find studios and workspaces unaffordable and London increasingly expensive to live in.”

Johnson says: “As London continues to grow and prosper, there is a critical need to build more homes for Londoners, but this should not be at the expense of our culture and distinctiveness, which are hugely important for our economy.

He adds: “There are good examples of developers and planners incorporating culture into their regeneration schemes, including Olympicopolis, London City Island, the City and Nine Elms.

Recognising the value of culture

“We want more of them to be talking to, even working with cultural bosses, artists and other creatives at the start of projects and recognise the value of culture, not just to our city’s quality of life, but to the success of their developments.”

The Mayor’s Office has released a new document, An A-Z of Planning and Culture, that lays out steps that can be taken by developers and local authorities to protect and promote cultural and creative developments.

The Mayor’s Office says it is also set to publish a report next year which will specifically look at new models of funding for artists’ studios.

Discover more:

Is London’s design industry shrinking?

• “Our office rent doubled overnight” – is London finally over for designers?

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  • Adrian Wheeler November 12, 2015 at 10:45 am

    While residents of Kingston Upon Thames have been fighting a mind-numbingly unimaginative development proposal from St Georges to re-develop The Old Post Office site, some switched on creatives have been discussing building a creative hub in Kingston instead. Kingston is one of Britain’s top towns with better schools, more green space and excellent links into the centre of London (I did it every day for 20 years). Not only that, housing in Kingston is largely made up of small 2 or 3-bedroom stock that was built for the old aircraft factories. These houses are the perfect size and price for those working in the creative industries. What better place to bring up a family? What better place to build a creative hub? OK, it’s not Soho or Hoxton or Clerkenwell – it’s better!

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