Why is affordable workspace important to our communities of London, small business?

Affordable ‘Open Workspaces’ allow small businesses to share space and resources on a flexible basis. They offer spaces that are suitable for the needs of growing businesses, they offer advice and business support with a collaborative environment to enhance engagement between people using the spaces.  At their best, open affordable workspaces support economic growth and the regeneration of neighbourhoods, help address disadvantage, and offer a lifeline to the city’s creative sector.

Affordable Workspaces are key in maintaining the dynamism and inclusivity of London’s economy and cultural life. Following the UK’s vote in favour of leaving the European Union, London’s small businesses, entrepreneurs and creative sector face a period of uncertainty, whilst the UK find their own pathway to a brighter future and untrust the government to guide us through the change. With the Covid pandemic London as well as the rest of the UK are facing challenging economic times, this is why it is important more than ever that small businesses can access affordable space on a flexible basis. Even before the vote to leave the European Union, open workspaces faced the prospect of higher rents, business rate rises and the increasing loss of office space to residential use as Developers were requested to provide Affordable Housing across new developments.

Where London’s property market is not sustaining open workspaces, the mayor and local authorities have decided to act.  They have now introduced s106 to support the talents of the future.

Find out more – What is a Section 106 Agreement?

  • London’s mayor will grant new powers over ‘permitted development rights’, which put open workspaces at risk of residential development.
  • The mayor has launched a new fund for open workspaces in London’s growing town centres, leveraging funding from the private sector and local business community.
  • Local authorities will use the planning system as well as their own surplus assets to create open workspaces in areas of employment growth as make this openly available for all to access.
  • Providers should support the case for public as well as private investment in open workspaces.

To conclude London’s small businesses, as well as artists and community organisations, rely on shared and flexible offices and studios, referred to as affordable open workspaces.  By flexibly sharing space and resources, users of open workspaces can pay lower commercial rents and reduce the risks of starting a business, as well as work alongside and collaborate with peers to help evolve and enhance their knowledge and skill set. Co-working spaces, makerspaces and artists’ studios are all open workspaces and are needed throughout the City of London. The main users of these spaces are businesses in London’s thriving creative economy; one in four of all London’s small and medium-sized enterprises working in digital and creative sectors have used an incubator co-working space which has helped them to thrive in an uncertain economy.

Further information can be found here:


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