Specialist advice that secures property for creative and cultural organisations.

Our unique guidance is rooted in over a decade of industry experience. We guide not-for-profit and charitable entities through the planning process, negotiating the unique terms necessary to deliver suitable and secure new homes for the creative industries and cultural-sector organisations. 

A National Need

The creative industries are the fastest growing sector of the UK economy, and the quickest to recover after the 2008 financial crash. They now account for one in every six jobs in the UK, employing twice as many graduates than any other sector.

However there is no national strategy to deliver space for the creative industries or cultural economy. Coupled with slashed grant-funding and growing cost pressures, the result has been a huge reduction in the number of physical spaces in the UK dedicated to creative production and cultural consumption. 

It is essential to secure the spaces and homes that our creative economy needs to flourish, otherwise we risk losing home-grown talent, and damaging our international competitiveness.

Affordable work.space recognise that to secure these vital spaces across the country, there is a need for sector-specific guidance

We offer services directly to creative and cultural organisations to help them secure the homes they need, tailored to their unique requirements, on terms that are truly affordable

Providing Clarity

A growing number of local authorities are enacting new planning obligations that require developments to deliver an element of “affordable workspace” or space dedicated to creative and cultural uses.

Similar to affordable housing obligations, these new requirements aim to tackle the difficulties of providing suitably affordable spaces in areas where rapidly increasing property values are pricing-out these sectors. 

These local policies look to redress property viability for organisations who concentrate on social-value, requiring spaces be delivered at below the commercial “market rate”. However, policies do not follow a universal definition of “affordable” and requirements vary greatly by borough. 

With little relevant expertise within local authorities, these new planning obligations are resulting in confused offers from Developers, protracted S106 negotiations, and spaces being built that are ultimately unaffordable or unsuitable for their designated tenants in the creative and cultural sectors. 

Affordablework.space is the only advisory service to concentrate solely on delivering solutions to these challenges. We have the unique experience and comprehensive knowledge needed to successfully broker on behalf of creative and cultural organisations, negotiating between the local authority, their planning officers, to deliver suitable spaces on the right terms. 

What We Offer

Advice throughout the planning process to creative and cultural organisations

  • Drawing on our comprehensive knowledge base and working relationships we expedite negotiations between the site’s Developer, the planning officer, local authority, and the Greater London Authority. 
  • Design, access, floor plan, location and fit out advice to ensure space will meet the unique requirements of your organisation.
  • Developing your expression of interest to lease a demise.
  • Advice on what Section 106 terms are needed to secure long-term viability for your organisation. 
  • Reviewing heads of terms and draft lease agreements. 

Guidance that also delivers benefits to the private sector

  • A proven 4.4% measured increase in residential values (research link) awarded to sites that successfully integrate spaces for creative and cultural organisations.
  • Delivery of affordable workspace planning obligations.
  • Place-making, branding and marketing opportunities for developments that dedicate space to your creative and cultural organisation. 
  • Achieving the aims of E.S.G investors who look to organisations who deliver long-term social impact.
  • Providing case studies in how best to successfully integrate space for your organisation within a site-plan, ensuring site-wide cohesion and suitability within mixed-use developments.

The projects and development sites we have helped to secure are now being used by the Greater London Authority as examples of best-practice.

A Case Study

Vinegar Yard, SE1:

  • Our guidance secured a landmark agreement that will deliver 12,000sqft of truly-affordable workspace opposite London Bridge station.
  • Described as “game changing” for the sector by Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.
  • Advise on layout, design and access ensured a viable and affordable new home for a cultural organisation, whilst delivering affordable workspace obligations for the site’s developer. 
  • Utilising our connections with the Southwark Council, the Greater London Authority, and local stakeholders to expedite planning approval. 
  • Negotiating heads of terms that delivered a truly-affordable 30 year lease for the cultural organisation. 


Please contact us if you have questions or to discuss your needs

Affordable Work.space is the consultancy arm of Southwark Studios Limited.
Company# 31413R