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Policy E3 Affordable workspace


  1. In defined circumstances, planning obligations may be used to secure affordable workspace at rents maintained below the market rate for that space for a specific social, cultural or economic development purpose. Such circumstances include workspace that is:
    1. dedicated for specific sectors that have social value such as charities or social enterprises
    2. dedicated for specific sectors that have cultural value such as artists’ studios and designer-maker spaces
    3. dedicated for disadvantaged groups starting up in any sector
    4. providing educational outcomes through connections to schools, colleges or higher education
    5. supporting start-up businesses or regeneration.
  2. Particular consideration should be given to the need for affordable workspace for the purposes in part A above:
    1. where there is existing affordable workspace on-site
    2. in areas where cost pressures could lead to the loss of affordable workspace for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (such as in the City Fringe around the CAZ and in Creative Enterprise Zones)
    3. in locations where the provision of affordable workspace would be necessary or desirable to sustain a mix of business or cultural uses which contribute to the character of an area.
  3. Boroughs, in their Development Plans, are encouraged to consider more detailed affordable workspace policies in light of local evidence of need and viability. These may include policies on site-specific locations, or defining areas of need for certain kinds of affordable workspace.
  4. Affordable workspace policies defined in Development Plans and Section 106 agreements should include ways of monitoring that the objectives in part A above are being met, including evidence that they will be managed by a workspace provider with a long-term commitment to maintaining the agreed or intended social, cultural or economic impact. Applicants are encouraged to engage with workspace providers at an early stage to ensure that the space is configured and managed efficiently.
  5. Leases or transfers of space to workspace providers should be at rates that allow providers to manage effective workspace with sub-market rents, meeting the objectives in part A, over the long term.
  6. The affordable workspace elements of a mixed-use scheme should be operational prior to residential elements being occupied.

Affordable workspace is defined here as workspace that is provided at rents maintained below the market rate for that space for a specific social, cultural, or economic development purpose. It can be provided directly by a public, charitable or other supporting body; through grant and management arrangements (for example through land trusts); and/or secured permanently by planning or other agreements.

Affordable workspace may help support educational outcomes, for example by businesses providing apprenticeships and work experience, offering mentoring by entrepreneurs and/or providing space for further and higher education leavers to develop academic work into businesses. It may also be linked with business support and skills training.

As well as ensuring a sufficient supply of affordable business space, the Mayor also wishes to support sectors that have cultural or social value such as artists’ studios, designer-maker spaces and charities or social enterprises for which low-cost space can be important. Therefore, in certain specific circumstances, as set out in part A, there may be a need to secure affordable workspace as part of new development.

The Mayor will encourage the delivery of new workspace for SMEs, the creative industries, artists and the fashion industry within new residential and mixed-use developments. He will also provide assistance to artists and creative businesses through the Mayor’s Creative Enterprise Zones (see Policy HC5 Supporting London’s culture and creative industries) and promote schemes that provide linked affordable housing and business space in new housing developments.