Livesey Exchange

dates: 2017-ongoing
project title: Livesey Exchange
collaboration with:
Pempeople, London Borough of Southwark, GLA
GLA Mayor of London pledge, Spacehive crowdfunding, Airbnb, Southwark Tenant Fund
collaborators and in kind support:
Structure Worskhop, Standage, counterculture, Berkeley Homes
Alexander Christie
project website

Livesey Exchange is a local grassroots initiative that started to transform the garages of the Ledbury Estate on Old Kent Road into workshops and communal spaces. (more information about the temporary program) Following the Grenfell fire, structural issues of the tower blocks on the Ledbury Estate were discovered resulting in the Livesey Exchange being put on hold for the foreseeable future.

To ensure the Livesey Exchange becomes a reality on Old Kent Road the LB Southwark suggested an alternative site on the corner of St. Jame’s Street  in close proximity to the Ledbury Estate as a location for a temporary building that can accomodate the Livesey Exchange program for approx. 10 years. This will allow for the project to find its feet and to develop the program.

The focus of the Livesey Exchange project on skill building and creating space for local communities to come together remains and translates into the proposed construction method and processes that allows for the participation of non experienced people into the making on site.

The proposed range of spaces has been informed by our experience of kick-starting the Livesey Exchange in the garages of the Ledbury Estate, the demand expressed locally and the workshops that have been set up there. Spaces will be adjustable in size providing small starter units as well as space for more established businesses that can facilitate training.

A feasibility study for the new site was prepared by what if: projects with the help of structural engineers Structure Workshop, business planner counterculture who assessed the financial viability of the scheme, developer Berkeley Homes who financed the site surveys, local contractor Standage who costed the project, Power Project and Nomadic People who informed workshop sizes and social enterprise Pempeople who steered the project to address local needs. The time and resources individuals and organisations have been willing to invest into this project at no cost is proof of the considerable support and momentum the Livesey Exchange has gathered since starting at the Ledbury Estate garages in September 2016.

Plans will be developed in the near future but a first model has been made to give an indication as to what might be possible.

Cllr Mark Williams, Southwark Council’s cabinet member for regeneration and new homes, said: “We completely support the Livesey Exchange and have been working closely with the team behind the project since the situation on the Ledbury first emerged.

“The project has been affected by the works but the team have been very understanding during a very difficult time for local people, which we thank them for. While works continue on the estate, council officers have identified another site nearby that the Exchange project can use to prevent any further delay to the project starting.”

Watch this space.

For more information:

GLA, Good Growth Funding announcement, 7th March 2018
Crowdfund London film 2017
London’s Towns, shaping the polycentric city, 2017

GLA blog, 4th August 2016
Community-led regeneration, Oct. 2016