The brains behind London's Tech City wanted to turn a car park into 800 affordable artist studios -- but the council said no

Rohan Silva Second HomeRohan Silva/Second HomeRohan Silva, cofounder of Second Home.

Plans to convert a multi-storey car park in South London into the largest collection of artist studios in London have been rejected by a local council.

Despite support from UK culture minister Ed Vaizey, the plans to convert the car park in Peckham into 800 “ultra-affordable” artist studios were rejected by Southwark Council.

The council announced on Friday that it has instead chosen to go with a rival bid from Pop Community, which opened a “community campus” in South London earlier this year called Pop Brixton.

The rejected “Bold Home” plans, which would have cost £3 million to follow through on, were drawn up by Rohan Silva, the former advisor to Prime Minister David Cameron that dreamt up Tech City, Sam Alderton, who cofounded the Second Home work space with Silva, and Hannah Barry, whose arts company Bold Tendencies is already puts on exhibitions and performances in the car park.

Writing on the Second Home blog after hearing about the rejection, the trio wrote: “We are disappointed by Southwark Council’s decision to award the Peckham multi-storey car park site to a Mayfair-based property developer.”

They added: “Under the terms of our detailed proposal, Southwark Council would not have had to invest a penny — we would have invested the entire £3 million construction budget ourselves, and also paid Southwark £200,000 a year in rent, which would have been fantastic deal for the local community.”

Southwark Council, which currently owns the car park that has been earmarked for redevelopment, said: “We felt their proposals weren’t right for what we wanted for this particular space.”

Bold HomeSecond Home/Alex BaldockThe car park in Peckham, South London.

The Second Home cofounders and Barry are now seeking a new location for Bold Home.

Southwark Council said the winning bidders will convert the car park, which is home to popular rooftop bar Frank’s Cafe into a “mixture of artist studios and workshops, and cowork spaces, along with meeting space, which will support a thriving community of artists, small creative businesses and local entrepreneurs.”

The council began accepting bids in August and it received more than 14 submissions in total.

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