"The UK Fashion Hub team is very sorry to have to tell you that today we withdrew from the bidding process. The decision was not an easy one to make, but in light of the stories in the press stating that iCity had won the bid, a week before the LLDC board was scheduled to meet to make that decision, as well as other issues over the process, we felt we were left with little choice.
"We firmly believe that the Fashion Hub is a good project, and if our discussions come to nothing, we will be looking at other sites on which to locate it."
I was delighted to read this last sentence. I am so very glad that the guys are coming out fighting. I immediately tweeted (you see, I am learning) and was gratified by how many took it up and re-tweeted. 1,000s of people were thus notified that the fat lady has not been singing. And we immediately got a viable suggestion for an alternative venue. It is clear that this project is very far from over.
So here's a challenge for all London local authorities: If you want the potential to grow thousands of entry-level jobs (not just those where you need a university degree) in your borough, put out a call to arms to all the players in your community to find an answer. Networks of big sheds is the sort of thing the guys need. And here's a challenge to the property industry: Find an appropriate space for this idea to take root and grow; don't be greedy now, it is a commercial project, for sure, but it will need time to establish and prove itself.
Here's my message to the fashion community of big organisations and SMEs who supported the bid and worked on it: Don't lose heart, you will get there.
And here's my message to the UK Fashion Hub team: You are brave and brilliant, and you will prevail. It has been an honour to work with you.