The Turner prize winner Grayson Perry has thrown his weight behind council plans to build affordable housing for artists in Barking town centre.
Barking and Dagenham Council have launched a consultation on a £3.5m plan to build 12 apartments for artists with workshops as well as a community arts space.
Developed by the council’s regeneration company Be First, in partnership with Create London, the new accommodation will be offered at below market rates.
‘Barking is fast becoming London’s hotspot for the creative industries which are being priced out of the capital, thanks to sky high rents in Hackney, Haggerston or Hoxton,’ said Pat Hayes, managing director for Be First.
‘This truly inspiring and affordable new development will allow artists to flourish here, to engage with local people and to strengthen to the fast-growing creative industries in this borough.’
Grayson Perry, who will help to develop a programme of activity for the artists, commented: ‘This is a golden opportunity for artists who want to work with the public, with lovely studios available for six years.
‘With the right artists working in a real place with real people, who knows where it will go? It’s a new artistic model.’
Hadrian Garrard, Director of Create London, said: ‘Barking has huge potential for providing space for artists and creative businesses in a way that really benefits local people and our hope is that this project provides a template for others to follow.’