Communities, business and academics join forces to tackle London’s Workspace Crisis

By George Turner.

Just Space, a coalition of community groups, academics and campaigners have launched a new handbook aimed at helping communities fighting the loss of work space in London.

“London For All” contains contributions from small business groups and campaigners who have successfully fought regeneration projects and sought to build inclusive mixed communities that provide spaces for people to live and work. Continue reading

Workspace Handbook now Online!

Download London for all! A handbook for community and small business groups fighting to retain workspace for London’s diverse economies for free here:

Low-resolution pdf

High-resolution pdf

Watch this space for a report of the workspace handbook launch on Monday 21 September 6.30pm at New Economics Foundation, with the Chair of the London Assembly Economy Committee, the London branch of the Federation of Small Businesses and the New Economics Foundation, amongst others. In the meantime, check #londonworkspace for tweets.


Launch! A handbook for groups fighting to retain workspace in London

for JS website Drawing: Lucinda Rogers

Please join us on Monday 21st September 6.30-8.30pm at the New Economics Foundation for the launch of London for all! A handbook for community and small business groups fighting to retain workspace for London’s diverse economies. We will hear from some of the groups featured in the handbook, and hear responses from the Chair of the London Assembly Economy Committee, the London branch of the Federation of Small Businesses and the New Economics Foundation. Copies of the handbook will be available, as well as refreshments provided by Truman’s Beer, a member of the East End Trades Guild.
Continue reading

Give your views on priorities for an Economic Development Plan for London

The London Enterprise Panel (LEP) are developing an Economic Development Plan for London. This is not the Mayor of London’s statutory Economic Development Strategy, but rather a business-led plan that reflects the LEP’s priorities – its focused on maximising GVA, for instance, rather than the broader suite of economic, social and environmental indicators that the Mayor of London will have to have regard to. Its important none-the-less, because the LEP hope it will outlast Mayoral changes and steer their substantial investment and spending programmes. The LEP are seeking comments on their emerging views – be sure to respond here by 5pm Friday 19 September to ensure your views are taken into account.

JSEP 20 June meetingJust Space Economy and Planning met on Friday 20 June at the London School of Economics and Political Science to take a look at the LEP’s emerging themes, with inputs from Liz Cox (new economics foundation) on Haringey Council’s 40:20 plan to marry carbon reduction with inclusive economic development and Prof Ian Gordon’s (LSE) wide-ranging analysis of the London economy.

JSEP has responded to the consultation (read our response here), and hopes to meet with the LEP soon. JSEP’s response builds on our discussion on 20 June, notes of which are available here.

Debating London’s economy: can the global city be a city for all?

On Monday 14 July, a remarkably diverse group of over 50 people – citizens and politicians, trade unionists and entrepreneurs, academics and activists – gathered to explore whether and how London can reconcile its global ambitions with the needs of Londoners. Taking place at Bromley by Bow Centre, the location symbolised some of these challenges, sitting alongside both Canary Wharf and housing estates with the highest level of child poverty in the UK. On the agenda were issues presently being neglected by the Mayor of London and the London Enterprise Panel: climate change, industrial activities, gender equality, small businesses, ethnic diversity and migrant economies, affordable workspace and social enterprise.

Speakers included:

  • Jenny Jones AM, Chair of the London Assembly Economy Committee
  • Sue Terpilowski, London Policy Chairman for the Federation of Small Businesses
  • Ben Rogers, Centre for London
  • James Meadway and Rachel Laurence, new economics foundation
  • Laurie Heselden, TUC London Region

Organised by the Just Space Economy and Planning group, the event demonstrated the need for policy-makers to look beyond the ‘usual suspects’ – developers, financial services and big business – for the evidence, experience and ideas they will need to make London a city for all. Further events, activities and networking are planned in order to build a broader platform of engagement on strategic planning and economic development in London.

Jenny Jones AM, Chair of the London Assembly Economy Committee said, ‘We have to do things differently, not plan for more of the same. We need prosperity broadly shared, not growth sucked up to the vampiric 1%. More of the same on our economy will lead to dangerous climate change, causing huge damage at home as well as through our supply chains. The London Plan should support and expand spaces where smaller companies and co-ops, rooted in their communities, can prosper in a way that is fair and sustainable.’

David Fell, of London Remade, who chaired the conference, added, ‘The scope of issues raised by speakers and participants was amazing. We talked about climate change, the world’s financial system and how to ensure accountable government; but we heard stories, too, about small businesses being forced to relocate miles away from their customers, about homes being redeveloped into flats for overseas investors, and about industry being cleared away to make room for bars and restaurants.’

Patria Roman, Latin Elephant said, ‘Migrant and ethnic economies are an important asset for London’s status as a global city and their contribution to the UK economy and to community cohesion cannot be ignored. More needs to be done to support ethnic and migrant economies so that their place in the global city is not lost as a result of regeneration.’

Dan Hopewell, Bromley by Bow Centre said, ‘Working with local people and partners we have fostered an entrepreneurial culture within east London’s most deprived neighbourhoods, establishing over 50 local social enterprises and 275 new jobs. We are keen to contribute to shaping London’s future development, as a global city, and a city of vibrant, diverse and entrepreneurial communities.’

Further resources:

– Programme and presentations available: James Meadway, nef; Diane Perrons, LSE; Patria Roman, Latin Elephant; Rachel Laurence, nef (slides and project summary).

– View photos and a summary of twitter activity from the event.

– Full report and video footage to follow

Notes to editors

  1. Just Space Economy and Planning (JSEP) formed in 2013 in order to build capacity within the Just Space London-wide network of community groups to participate in planning on economic issues. Further information at and
  1. ‘London for all: opening up debate on London’s economy’ was held on Monday 14 July at Bromley by Bow Centre. Speakers included Jenny Jones (Chair of London Assembly Economy Committee), Sue Terpilowski (London Policy Spokesperson, Federation of Small Businesses), James Meadway and Rachel Laurence (new economics foundation), Diane Perrons (London School of Economics), Jack Hibberd (Truman’s Beer and East End Trades Guild) and Laurie Heselden (TUC London Region). The event was chaired by David Fell (London Remade).
  1. Further details at A ‘storify’ of the Twitter activity around the event is at Photos at for All event 14 July 2014.
  1. By engaging with a more diverse range of groups, JSEP has already uncovered evidence of the under-represented economies locating in London’s high streets, affordable office spaces and industrial areas. JSEP is concerned that the Mayor’s proposed changes to the London Plan are likely to squeeze out these activities, posing severe risks to the prospects of achieving a more inclusive and sustainable London economy ( JSEP is also concerned that the Economic Development Plan being developed by the London Enterprise Panel does not deal with issues of sustainability and inclusion, and has largely been developed in private with no community involvement (
  1. For further information contact myfanwy.taylor AT in the first instance.

London for all: opening up debate on London’s economy

Monday 14 July 2014 1.30-6pm

Bromley by Bow Centre, St Leonard’s Street, London E3 3BT

Final Programme


Organised by the Just Space Economy and Planning group (JSEP), this event brings together speakers from the Centre for London, new economics foundation, Federation of Small Businesses and London Assembly, amongst others, to debate how a future London Plan and Economic Development Strategy could better support a more inclusive and sustainable London economy.

With the Mayor of London currently pursuing alterations to the London Plan and the London Enterprise Panel developing an Economic Development Plan, this event will make the case for sustained dialogue with a broad range of groups.

The diversity of London’s economy is poorly represented in plans, policies and stakeholder engagement processes, where developers and large businesses generally dominate. Less well heard are the voices of London’s small and local businesses, industrial activities, social enterprises and ethnic retailers, for example, as well as groups concerned with poverty, inequality and environmental issues.

By engaging with a more diverse range of groups, JSEP has already uncovered evidence of the under-represented economies locating in London’s high streets, affordable office spaces and industrial areas. Yet the Mayor’s proposed changes to the London Plan are likely to squeeze out these activities, posing severe risks to the prospects of achieving a more inclusive and sustainable London economy.

All are invited to participate in the debate, which will be initiated with contributions from speakers including:

* Jenny Jones AM, Chair of the London Assembly Economy Committee

* Ben Rogers, Director, Centre for London

* Sue Terpilowski, Federation of Small Businesses

* Rachel Laurence, new economics foundation

* Polly Trenow, Women’s Budget Group and the Fawcett Society

* Laurie Heselden, Southern and Eastern Region of the Trades Union Congress

* David Fell, London Remade and Brook Lyndhurst

* Diane Perrons, London School of Economics and Political Science


1.30-2pm: Registration; tea and coffee.

2pm: Opening remarks from Just Space Economy and Planning and Bromley by Bow Centre.

2.15pm: Opening debate, including contributions from Jenny Jones AM (Chair of the London Assembly Economy Committee) and Ben Rogers (Centre for London).

2.45-4.15pm: Themed debates.

4.15-5pm: Concluding discussion.

5-6pm: Drinks reception.

How to find the Bromley by Bow Centre (

Bromley by Bow Centre is around 30 minutes from central London, being just five minutes from Bromley by Bow Underground station on the District and Hammersmith & City lines.

Address and reception: Bromley by Bow Centre is at the corner of St Leonard’s Street and Bruce Road (London E3 3HN), the Centre’s reception is in the Connection Zone which is on the Bruce Road side of the building.

By Underground: Bromley by Bow station (District Line, Hammersmith and City Line).

By Docklands Light Railway: Bow Church or Devon’s Road stations.

By bus: From the West End and City – 8 or 25; From Stratford or Lewisham – 108; From Hackney – 488.

Staying Put: An Anti-Gentrification Handbook for Council Estates in London

Download ‘Staying Put’ low resolution here.

Download ‘Staying Put’ high resolution here.

This handbook explains why the regeneration of council estates often results in established communities being broken up and moved away, and housing becoming more expensive. It is designed to help local communities learn about gentrification and the alternatives they can fight for. Through the experiences of council tenants, leaseholders and the wider community in London, it contains ideas, stories, tools and resources.

Staying Put is free to use by any individuals, community or amenity groups and campaigns, TRAs, students, researchers and all. We have included two download links above to enable the booklet to be circulated as far and wide as possible. There is a high resolution PDF also if anyone is able to print further copies for community based campaigns.

We are currently working out how we will distribute the printed copies around London. Do get in touch if you are from a council estate or community campaign and would like some copies. We printed 1000 but this will not go round everyone so we ask people to be strategic. Thanks

1: What’s going on?
    • Council estates under threat
    • What is ‘gentrification’?
    • When is ‘regeneration’ gentrification?
    • The ‘consultation’ con
    • The ‘affordable housing’ con
    • What is displacement?

2: What can you do about it?
    • Finding out what’s going on!
    • Public resources and Freedom of Information
    • More than just you! Getting together
    • Tenants and Residents Associations
    • Organising a local group
    • Telling your story
    • The consultation game
    • A word about the law

3: Alternatives to fight for
    • Community planning
    • Neighbourhood Planning
    • Lifetime Neighbourhoods
    • Community Land Trusts
    • Co-operative housing
    • Community Housing Associations
    • Refurbishment
    • Community-led Self Build

It is a collaboration between four groups and individuals:

London Tenants Federation
Federation of organisations of tenants of social housing providers at borough level and at London level. LTF provides information and research on London’s housing issues through accessible policy briefings and newsletters. It facilitates networking and information exchange at local and regional events, linking tenants and other community and voluntary groups.

Loretta Lees
Professor Loretta Lees is a London-based urban geographer. She is an international expert on gentrification and the policies and practices associated with it. She is working to persuade policy makers and communities that there are alternatives.

Just Space
Just Space is a London wide network of voluntary and community groups operating at the regional, borough and neighbourhood levels. It came together to influence the strategic plan for Greater London – the London Plan – and counter the domination of the planning process by developers and public bodies, the latter often heavily influenced by development interests.

Southwark Notes Archive Group
Local people opposing and writing about the regeneration &
gentrification of the North Southwark area that has happened over the last 20 years.

Next steps for Just Space Economy and Planning

After the enormous collective effort of our 40 page response to the Mayor’s proposed Further Alterations to the London Plan (FALP), Just Space Economy and Planning group is, well, regrouping, with two evening seminars and a half-day event planned over the next few months.

JSEP ponders the FALP, gathering evidence and examples with which to respond to the proposed alterations to the London Plan

JSEP ponders the FALP, gathering evidence and examples with which to respond to the proposed alterations to the London Plan

Fear not! We’ll  be getting back to the FALP soon enough, in order to marshal a diverse range of representations on economic issues for the Examination in Public in September. To get involved, contact Myfanwy Taylor (myfanwy.taylor.09 AT To catch up on JSEP’s work on the FALP, you can read our collective response here (2nd response), and the note of the discussion which informed it here.

But before then…

On Friday 20 June, we’ll be trying to look beyond the minutae of the FALP to develop our thinking on more environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive economic development strategies for London.  The London Enterprise Panel (LEP) is currently working on a new Economic Development Plan for London (and have commissioned London First for the task) but its hard to get involved as the meetings are held in private and there’s no community representation. Nearly six months on, JSEP’s request to meet with the LEP still remains unanswered.

We’re also working to organise a long overdue discussion with trades unions, cooperatives and other groups that represent people who work in London, whose voices tend not to be heard in debates about economic issues in planning.

Finally, watch this space for further details about a half-day event to explore how a future London Plan might support a more socially and environmentally sustainable economy We’ll be addressing the questions Boris ducked in the FALP, reinvigorating public debate about how planning policy can support the kind of London economy we want.

Affordable Workspace in London: Just Space at Bootstrap Co.

Just Space Economy and Planning meeting on Affordable Workspace at Bootstrap Co.On Monday 27 January, Just Space Economy and Planning held their fourth bi-monthly seminar on the important issue of affordable workspace in London. Hosted by Bootstrap Company, we heard from their Chief Executive, Sara Turnbull, and Dr Jessica Ferm from the Bartlett School of Planning at UCL.

Bootstrap’s model of providing affordable workspace to social enterprises and start-ups and generating income to fund projects aimed at alleviating poverty through access to employment and entrepreneurs was of significant interest to Just Space, including for  groups looking to develop alternative plans for former industrial buildings and to protect existing affordable workspace. The lack of affordable workspace more broadly in London was affecting Bootstrap, however, as tenants found it hard to move on as they grew. The story of Bootstrap also highlighted the barriers businesses and social enterprises face in participating in planning policy development processes, due to the time involved in reading technical documents and attending meetings. Continue reading

Just Space meets with Federation of Small Businesses and others to discuss ‘Business Involvement in Planning’

On 5 December, Just Space Economy and Planning group held its 3rd discussion within the year-long series aiming to build capacity to engage in planning on economic issues in London (see Statement of Intent here). The focus was ‘Business Involvement in Planning’, with three rich presentations from Sue Terpilowski (Chairman of the London Policy Unit at the Federation of Small Businesses, Managing Director at Image Line and member of the London Enterprise Panel and London Business Network), Elena Besussi (UCL and Camley Street Neighbourhood Forum) and Michael Ball (Waterloo Community Development Group). Continue reading