Open Workspace Agenda
14 March 2016 - Impact Hub

Open Workspace Agenda

Open workspaces such as incubators, coworking, or artist studios, provide great value to local and regional economies. They provide beneficial spill-over effects and can address inequality and disadvantage, as well as maximising the performance, growth ambitions, and jobs created by small businesses, compared to traditional offices or working at home.
Impact Hub Islington is proud to support the Open Workspace Agenda, supported by the Open Workspace Providers Group in collaboration with London Enterprise Panel.

To secure a thriving and innovative London, the Mayor should:

Invest to create and secure workspace in existing public assets and by purchasing property
Encourage agreements between boroughs and workspace providers to use existing public assets. Fund property purchase to secure affordable workspace long term.
Promote workspace provider and housing developer partnerships for space that works
Promote agreements between developers and workspace providers
with long lease terms. Commit developers to invest in, or support workspace providers to raise capital for fit-out. Encourage collaboration early in the process, so the spaces work.
Limit permitted development for office to residential conversion
Permitted development rights allow property owners to change the use of their property without having to make a planning application.
This has led to the uncontrolled loss of employment space, weakening local economies and further increasing rents.
Increase protection for industrial and commercial buildings
The loss of workspace is not being offset by new provision in mixed use developments. We need increased recognition of work/studio spaces and light industrial businesses, and more rigorous planning policy tests to avoid incremental loss of workspace, particularly outside designated areas.
Ensure developers offer space for small and growing businesses, or pool CIL for new open workspaces
Make the planning policies and obligations that exist in some boroughs common practice across London, consulting with users and workspace providers to ensure spaces meet needs. Place an expectation that existing businesses will be prioritised for space in new development, and require early consultation to demonstrate genuine vacancy and prevent tactical rent-hikes.
Extend business rate relief to open workspaces
Charities receive business rate relief. We want to extend this relief to registered open workspace providers. This will reduce running costs for providers and make space more affordable for businesses.
Support business support services
Cover reductions to business support services, and encourage more revenue based programmes in the collaborative environment of open workspaces.