AFTER several months of speculation in the trade, founder and chairman Ralph Ward-Jackson has announced that Art London will not take place this year.

Since its launch in 1999, this Modern and Contemporary art fair has been held in a marquee on the South Grounds at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, the same site as the Chelsea Flower Show, Masterpiece  and Decorex.

A statement issued last week by the organisers' PR firm cited "longstanding issues with the local council's planning restrictions, going back as far as 2003" as a major factor in the decision.

The statement added: "These have been exacerbated by the venue's decision not to renew the fair's tenancy agreement after 2012. Once this became common knowledge, and without a confirmed alternative location, Art London's commercial position became hard to maintain."

Mr Ward-Jackson said: "When I launched Art London in 1999 it was a small fair with a mere 28 exhibitors, and we took this to over 90, many of them international. Likewise, the number of visitors increased from 6000 to over 16,000. We are proud of the fair's achievements and of its contribution to the vibrant London art scene".