A new independent organisation, the Creative Land Trust, has been launched with the aim of protecting and increasing affordable artist workspace in London.

Backed by the Mayor of London, Arts Council England, Outset Contemporary Art Fund and Bloomberg Philanthropies, the new initiative is in response to a decline in artists’ studios in the capital.

The trust has been set up to provide financing for affordable workspace providers to buy buildings. It will also purchase its own property in order to create more permanent workspaces for artists in London. In its first five years it aims to secure 1,000 workspaces.

Launching the trust, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “This innovative new fund will protect London’s artists from the pressure of unstable leases and rising rents and ensure that the next generation of creatives are given the support and space they need to flourish… protecting our creative sector will help the capital remain a creative and forward-looking city for the future.”

The Mayor has pledged £4m to the trust, with a further £2m coming from ACE. Additional funding is being provided by Bloomberg Philanthropies while Outset will work to bring together public and private partners for the trust.

The trust’s intention is to secure investment for more workspaces by bringing together local authorities, developers and the creative industries. Returns generated by providing financing will be reinvested into the trust.

Sir Nichola Serota, Chair, Arts Council England, said: “If the UK is going to maintain its position as a world leader in creative industries, artists need to be able to find long-term workspace where they can experiment, innovate, and produce.”

He added: “We and the Creative Land Trust would welcome the chance to work with other cities across the country where similar challenges threaten creativity.”

The artist Antony Gormley expressed his support for the scheme. He said: “Studios are to artists what laboratories are to scientists, music rooms are to musicians and factories are to industrialists – without them cultural production simply cannot be pursued.

“If London is to survive as a creative capital, if the art schools that produced three generations of ground-breaking artists’ work are going to continue as places of innovation then we have to provide housing and sustainable working spaces for artists at all stages of their careers.”

Jewellery making studio at Stour Space, London. Courtesy: the London Assembly

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