In South London, the artists of the Zona Mista studios had occupied the space for ten years. On 3 February 2023, they were informed by their landlord, Renewal Group, that they had to leave by 10 February due to a new landlord leasing the space.
After their lease expired on 24 November, the artists and the company’s property manager entered into negotiations, with a rent increase of 68%, which the occupants wanted reduced to 22%. Although they did not reach an agreement, the demand that they leave within a week still came as a shock. A petition was launched to recognise the cultural importance of the place and to find a less radical solution.
Zona Mista itself is set in New Bermondsey, a developing area that will soon welcome three new residential towers, a metro station, and an auditorium. Hence a spot that the new commercial occupier could benefit from. On the artists’ side, their eviction could put them in great financial difficulty in the face of the economic crisis and the price of London rents.