Securing property for creative and cultural organisations.

Our unique guidance is rooted in over a decade of industry experience. We advise not-for-profit and charitable entities throughout the planning process, negotiating the unique terms necessary to deliver suitable and secure new homes for organisations in the creative 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 no national strategy to deliver space for the creative industries, and coupled with reduced grant-funding and growing cost-pressures, the result has been a huge reduction in the number of physical spaces that are dedicated to creative production and cultural consumption. 

It is essential to secure the spaces that our creative industries and cultural organisations need to flourish, otherwise we risk losing home-grown talent and ultimately damaging our international competitiveness.

Affordable recognise the need for sector-specific guidance in order to secure these vital spacesThat’s why we offer services directly to organisations, helping them to 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 demise that will be 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 organisations that concentrate on delivering social value. 

These local policies look to redress property viability by requiring spaces be delivered at below the commercial “market rate” rent. However, policies do not follow a universal definition of what this affordable rate is, 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 unaffordable or unsuitable for their designated tenants from the creative and cultural sectors. 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 Developer and the local authority to deliver suitable spaces on the right terms. 

What We Offer

Advice for creative and cultural organisations throughout the planning process

  • Design, access, floor plan, location and fit out advice to ensure space will meet the unique requirements of your creative or cultural 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. 
  • Drawing on our comprehensive knowledge and working relationships to expedite negotiations between a site Developer, the planning officer, the local authority, and the Greater London Authority. 

Guidance that delivers benefits for all project stakeholders

  • 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 for creative and cultural organisation. 
  • Achieving the aims of E.S.G investors who look to provide space for organisations who deliver long-term social impact.
  • Case studies in how best to successfully integrate creative and cultural space within a site-plan, ensuring site 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 train station.
  • Described as “game changing” for the affordable workspace sector by the 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 we helped to expedite planning approval. 
  • Successfully 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 organisations’ property needs

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