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London Council Rejects Artists' Studio Plans
Christian Eede , November 10th, 2015 12:10

Southwark Council turns down proposal for 800 cheap artists' studios in favour of new pop-up venture in Peckham. Photo courtesy of Alex Baldock

In another blow to arts funding and support in the capital, Southwark Council has rejected a proposal to transform an unused car park in Peckham into 800 cheap artists’ studios.

The plan had been tabled by Bold Home, a collaboration between arts organisation Bold Tendencies, who have been running the multi-storey car park as a music and arts space for nine years hosting performances from acts like Micachu & The Shapes and Karen Gwyer among others, and cultural venue Second Home. The pair planned to use the space to provide affordable studios for artists in London who are struggling in the city among increasing rent rates and a rising cost of living.

Instead, the council chose the plan tabled by Pop Community Ltd, which will instead offer 50 artists’ studios as well as “multi-use event spaces”, including even more pop-up retail space for London. The organisation was recently responsible for POP Brixton, which was built from recycled shipping containers and described as an ‘eyesore’ by many local people.

“The creative industries are one of the main drivers of growth and new jobs in London – if artist studios continue to be decimated in this way, all this will be at risk,” Rohan Silva, of Bold Home, told the Guardian. “Artists and creative startups have no trade union representation, and no voice whatsoever. That’s why they’re being squeezed out of the city, and we simply have to do something about it.” A Spokesperson for the council, however, said that “the car park is a public space and we didn’t just want it to become a closed artist commune”.