New studios for Tooting’s arts scene
Published: Tuesday 30th August 11
Tooting’s growing arts and culture scene has received another welcome boost with the news that four new artists’ studios will be created in the town centre.
Wandsworth Council's planning application committee has now approved a revised set of plans that would see the ground floor of a new building just off Tooting High Street developed as artists' studios.
Under the original designs the ground floor would have been used as retail space but the developer amended the plans after being approached by the council's planning and economic development departments.
Council officers felt the ground floor space - which is set some way back from the main road - would not receive enough visitors to thrive as a shop and would work better as studio space.
The floors above the studios will provide eight new flats.
Wandsworth Council planning chairman Cllr Nick Cuff said: "The new plan is very good news for Tooting's burgeoning arts community. The building's location means it would be difficult to attract the high footfall retailers need but would be a very desirable space for local artists. There is clearly a rising demand for this type of accommodation in the area and we hope more local developments can incorporate studio space."
Wandsworth Council's business spokesman Cllr James Cousins said:
"The link between the creative industries and successful regeneration initiatives is well documented. Places with a thriving cultural scene have a buzz and attraction which draws in more interest and more investment. We're keen to see this trend develop further in Tooting and will continue to support the area's artistic renaissance in any way we can."
Tooting has long been home to a wide variety of organisations, businesses and individuals from the creative sectors. Over the last year their numbers have been steadily growing.
Much of the recent activity has centred around Tooting Market which, having recently changed hands, is making real inroads into developing the market as a cultural hub.
Earlier this month London mayor Boris Johnson awarded the town centre a £194,155 grant from the newly established Outer London Fund following a successful bid from the council's economic development office.
The money will be spent on boosting the town centre economy through further developing Tooting's artistic and cultural offer. Arts group Brick Box, which has been leading the creative revival of Tooting Market, will be one of the beneficiaries.
In April this year The Tooting Arts Network was created to help promote and coordinate the growth in the area's arts community. The group - a spin off from the council's Tooting Together campaign - brings together local artists, art and performance groups and craftspeople.
Members of the Tooting Arts Network include 'Handmade in Tooting' which provides a platform for local producers to sell their goods and a new theatre group called the Tooting Arts Club, whose second production is currently in rehearsal.