Creating new cultural facilities

Tips and resources to help you create new cultural facilities, from street art walls to new theaters.

Steps for developers or local authorities

1. establish what kind of cultural infrastructure would be appropriate for the development:

  • review Local Cultural Infrastructure Plans where they exist
  • use the Cultural Infrastructure Map to understand the current borough make up
  • review our research to understand more about specific needs of each sector
  • contact the local authority culture and regeneration services
  • review the Design Toolkit to understand high level design needs at the earliest possible stage  

2. develop an initial building specification involving experts

3. select an operator

4. develop the specification of the building further meeting the needs of the operator

5. apply for Outline Planning Permission. It is advisable to include the detailed specification within the planning permission. This should be more detailed that the outline size of the building

Although these multiple stages are all crucial to creating new cultural infrastructure, this is often not a linear process. Some steps will occur at the same time.

Steps for cultural organisations or businesses

  1. develop a business plan
  2. create a governance structure
  3. find a building or a site
  4. assess the financial feasibility of the site – this might be rental terms, service charges, build and fit out costs.engage and consult with the local community
  5. this could include key stakeholder’s such as residents, businesses for example via business improvement districts, neighbourhood associations and community groups, local schools, local anchor institutions, etc.) (local authority, prospective audience members, potential operators, investors and development partners)
  6. develop the design of your facility with a team of experts (architects, engineers and specialist consultants)
  7. find capital funding
  8. apply for planning permission

Although these multiple stages are all crucial to creating new cultural infrastructure, this is often not a linear process. Some steps will occur at the same time.

Finding an operator


Regeneration funding for cultural infrastructure

The Mayor is investing in arts and culture through regeneration funds. These include Crowdfund London and the Good Growth Fund and have been used to support a number of cultural projects across the capital.

Crowdfund London gives you the opportunity to pitch new ideas - big or small - for community-led projects to make your local area even better. The best could attract a pledge of up to £50,000 from the Mayor, who wants to back crowdfunding campaigns that demonstrate local support. If you get a pledge and then hit your target, we’ll support you to bring your idea to life. The Good Growth Fund is Mayor Sadiq Khan's £70m regeneration programme to support growth and community development in London.

The Creative Land Trust

A new independent Trust has been launched to protect and increase affordable artist workspace following the decline in artist studios in the capital. The Creative Land Trust is an independent organisation that will provide financing for affordable workspace providers to buy buildings and will purchase its own property to be used as permanent workspaces for artists in London.

It aims to secure 1,000 affordable workspaces in its first five years, helping artists to flourish and helping to maintain London’s status as an international cultural capital.

Section 106 Agreements

The purpose of a Section 106 Agreement is to mitigate the impact of development, and they must be necessary, directly related to the development, and fairly and reasonably related in scale and kind to the development. Where it meets these tests, it may be proposed to the developer that the Section 106 Agreement should provide Cultural Infrastructure.

The agreement itself typically sets out the legal terms and conditions for the provision of the Cultural Infrastructure proposed. For more support download the A to Z of Planning and Culture.

Other funding opportunities 

Arts Council England are one of the other main funders of the arts in London:

Find out about their opportunities.

Explore their database of other funding sources.

Setting up and running a venue

Find out how to set up and run a grassroots music venue here.

culture roundtable

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