London’s culture ‘under threat’ by developments
London’s world-leading cultural infrastructure is under serious threat from regeneration programmes, says the London Assembly, and Mayor Sadiq Khan needs to take urgent action to safeguard it.
“London is globally-renowned as a city of culture” said Navin Shah, chair of the Assembly’s regeneration committee. “From grassroots music venues in Tottenham to small theatres in Richmond, it is diverse, unique and spread right across London.
“Culture has the power to regenerate places, but due to rising land values, running costs and reduced public funding, cultural venues and communities are increasingly threatened. Regeneration must also protect and deliver culture. The Mayor has a key role to play but we also need to make sure that local communities truly lie at the heart of all cultural regeneration projects.”
Khan is being called on to develop a programme to create and promote sustainable culture, push for a London plan to ensure cultural workspace is included in every building development, research “affordability” for the cultural and creative sector, protect smaller as well as well-known venues, and most urgently to pilot a Creative Enterprise Zone.
London has 857 gallery, 215 museums 320 live music venues and 241 theatres. 80% of visitors cite “culture and heritage” as their reason for coming, and the creative industries account for one in six jobs in London.
But regeneration programmes are smothering the cultural capital – between 2007 and 2015 London lost 35% of its music venues, for instance, and 3,500 artists are expected to lose their workplaces by 2019, reducing the provision by 30%.