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 that ultimately deliver suitable and secure new homes for the creative industries and cultural sectors. 

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 currently no national strategy to deliver space for the creative industries, and coupled with growing cost-pressures, the result has been a huge reduction in the number of spaces dedicated to our cultural sectors. 

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

Affordable work.space recognise the vital need to secure suitable spaces for creative production and cultural consumption across the country. Our service help those organisations to find and build the spaces that are tailored to their unique requirements, securing a legacy of new long-term homes. 

Providing Clarity

A growing number of local authorities are enacting new planning obligations that require developments to deliver an element of “affordable workspace”.

Similar to affordable housing obligations, affordable workspace requirements aim to tackle the difficulties of providing affordable spaces for the creative and cultural industries in areas where rapidly increasing property values are pricing these sectors out.

These local policies look to redress property viability by requiring spaces be delivered at below the commercial market-rate. However, these emerging policies do not follow a universal definition of “affordable” and requirements vary by Borough.

With little relevant expertise within local authorities these new planning obligations can result in protracted negotiations, a confused offer from Developers, and spaces that are unaffordable or unsuitable for their designated creative-industry tenants.

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 between the local authorities and their planning officers, the site developer, and the organisations who ultimately lease these spaces. 

What We Offer

Advice throughout the planning process

  • Guidance on efficient delivery of affordable workspace planning obligations.
  • Design, access, floor plan, location and fit out advice to ensure that spaces will meet the unique requirements of the creative industries.
  • Industry-leading advice on the terms necessary to ensure stakeholder viability.
  • Securing expressions of interest from creative and cultural organisations and institutions eager to lease the affordable workspace demise.
  • Harnessing the support of local residents and organisations who back planning applications that target the benefits of redevelopment at creative and cultural communities.
  • Calculation of off-site in-lieu payments.
  • Drawing on our comprehensive knowledge base and working relationships to expedite negotiations with planning officers, the local authority, and the Greater London Authority.
  • Case studies of the successful integration of spaces that deliver creative and cultural infrastructure.

Guidance that delivers stakeholder benefits

  • A proven 4.4% measured increase in residential values (research link) awarded to sites that successfully integrate spaces for the creative industries.
  • Achieving the aims of E.S.G investors looking for long-term social impact and added value.
  • 62% of adults get a sense of pride from their local cultural institution. 
  • De-risk, future proof and drive footfall. We help create developments where employees are happy to support local creative industries, whilst achieving a vibrant place to live for residents, and an attractive location for visitors.
  • Our advice ensures site-wide cohesion, with all activities being suitable for mixed-use developments.
  • Place-making, branding and marketing opportunities for developments that highlight the benefits of spaces that are dedicated to the creative and cultural industries.
  • We can also help activate under-utilised meanwhile and temporary spaces through creative community engagement. 

We can also connect you with our partner organisation Southwark Studios, an approved affordable workspace operator, to provide an expression of interest to become the leaseholder. Since 2009 Southwark Studios has generated revenues in excess of £1million, and are now partnered with multiple developers to provide on-site management of affordable workspaces in redevelopment sites.

A Case Study

The projects and development sites we have partnered with, successfully delivering developer affordable workspace obligations, are being used now by the Greater London Authority as examples of best-practice.

Vinegar Yard, SE1:

  • A landmark agreement to deliver 12,000sqft of affordable workspace opposite London Bridge station.
  • Activation over two basement levels.
  • Collaboration across layout, design and access to ensure viable solution that worked for the developer.
  • Dozens of independent letters of support from local residents generated for planning committee.
  • Utilisation of our connections with the Southwark Council, the GLA, and stakeholders to help expedite planning approval.
  • Providing a local specialist artist studio management organisation who agreed to lease the affordable workspace for 30 years.
  • Efficiently delivering developer obligations for on-site affordable workspace whilst supporting local creative SMEs for generations.


Please contact us if you have questions and to organise an initial conversation

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