Artists in Hackney’s Cremer Street Studios are facing a difficult choice: support demolition of the building or vacate their studios in less than two months.
The artists in the building were told by their landlords, JD Simmons and Regal Homes, to sign a letter stating they will not oppose development plans.
If the artists agree to sign the letter, they will be allowed to stay until November with an additional rolling extension of 30 days notice. Those who refuse to sign the letter will need to leave the property in two months.
The letter states that the artists will not object to any planning application for the development, and that they will leave immediately when the extension expires and notice to vacate is served.
The building’s studio providers, the Association for Cultural Advancement through Visual Art (ACAVA) are required to have letters from everyone located within the building before further development plans can be made.
This is at a difficult time when artists already have a tough time looking for affordable places to rent.
Artists who work at Cremer Street were very reluctant to be named. One who has been working at Cremer Street Studios for a number of years said: “The way they behaved has been bullying from the start and I just think it is no way to behave.
“They came in with their big swinging dicks and started bullying everyone around here.
“I feel like they’ve bullied the artists and if would have been more honest to start with it, would have made the whole thing easier”.
Another said: “I think a lot of people are really upset. There really is not being some kind of organized opposition to it because of the frame of being kicked out quickly if they don’t agree to it.
“A lot of people depend on their businesses being inside Cremer Street Studios and they are a bit screwed”.
A spokesperson at ACAVA said that they were not able to comment on the matter.