Shortlist for first-ever Creative Enterprise Zones

Mayor announces shortlist for first-ever Creative Enterprise Zones; two West London boroughs shortlisted

Eleven boroughs receive share of £500,000 fund to develop bids to become one of three Creative Enterprise Zones, to be announced later this year


The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced a shortlist of ten submissions that will each receive a grant of £50,000 to develop their plans to become Creative Enterprise Zones. These ten submissions represent 11 boroughs (Hackney and Tower Hamlets submitted a joint bid for a Creative Enterprise Zone located across a borough boundary).


This ground-breaking new initiative, one of Sadiq’s key manifesto priorities, will help creatives put down roots, establish themselves in local areas, attract new artists and creative businesses, and develop skills in local people.


Across London, from Hackney to Croydon, the role of creative communities in revitalising areas has been proven, but often they are displaced from the neighbourhoods they have helped regenerate. Rising rents, increased property prices and the decline of affordable workspace have all contributed to the pressure on creative communities, with London predicted to lose 30 per cent of affordable creative workspace by 2019.


In total 25 boroughs applied, demonstrating the level of interest in this new initiative. The successful submissions came from:

  • Barking and Dagenham
  • Bexley
  • Camden
  • Croydon
  • Harrow
  • Hounslow
  • Lambeth
  • Lewisham
  • Southwark
  • Tower Hamlets and Hackney


The shortlisted proposals from two of our West London boroughs are:

Great West Creatives

Borough: London Borough of Hounslow

Location: From Boston Manor House estate, the great West Road (the Golden Mile) and Brentford High Street

In an area that has London’s highest concentration of media and broadcasting jobs, the development grant will create a plan which looks at how to create better networks, linking local people with opportunities in multinational media companies. The plan will focus on affordable artist, maker and creative spaces, support local people to access creative jobs and promote Hounslow as a location for the creative sector to live and work. The plan will also include the formation of a consortium including Brentford High Street Steering Group, Brentford Chamber of Commerce, CPP Creatives Group, Hounslow Chamber of Commerce, Hounslow Economic Business Forum, University of West London, Watermans Arts Centre, and West London Business.



Borough: Harrow Council

Location: Wealdstone

The development grant will be used to research the setting up of a Creative Enterprise Zone in an area with a rich tradition of the creative industries going back to the Kodak factory in 1890 and the Winsor & Newton factory in the 1930s. Wealdstone is now facing pressure to develop former industrial sites into housing and a need to address significant levels of deprivation. The research will focus on the two historical sites as the heart of a zone, with significant potential for the creative industries to harness existing good transport links and provide a range of employment options for local residents working closely with Westminster University’s Creative Enterprise Centre. The consortium also includes Harrow Council, ACAVA, and Harrow College and Stanmore College.


These boroughs will be able to build on work carried out by the London Borough of Haringey, who carried out a Creative Enterprise Zone pathfinder research project in Tottenham in 2017. Here, creative industries have flourished and grown by 127 per cent in the past five years, but there remains pressure on affordable creative space in the area.


The boroughs, along with the Haringey Tottenham Pathfinder, will now undertake research and develop action plans to help them to formulate their vision for their individual Creative Enterprise Zone. They will then be invited to put bids forward for further funding in Summer 2018 to become one of three designated Creative Enterprise Zones later in the year.


Although each Creative Enterprise Zone will have its own distinctive character, they will bring together artists, local businesses and landowners to develop and create new jobs, establish and secure new spaces for creative production and open up opportunities for talented young people who are considering careers in the creative industries.


To qualify as a Creative Enterprise Zone, boroughs must focus on four key areas:


  • Space – secure permanent, affordable, creative workspace, and live-work spaces at well below market rents, and ensure no net loss of affordable workspace through new developments in the area.


  • Skills and support – build entrepreneurial skills and offer affordable business support to artists, start-ups, sole traders and small businesses as well as create jobs.


  • Policy – develop Local Plans with pro-culture policies in planning, housing, business development, technology, super-fast broadband and infrastructure, and support local business rates relief policies


  • Community – create socially-inclusive places and strengthen links with marginalised communities and education providers so that young and local people can access new jobs within the Creative Enterprise Zone.


The research carried out in Tottenham by Haringey Council found that a Creative Enterprise Zone would support growth and attract new start-up creative businesses, creating an estimated 300 new jobs each year, and generating growth of £26million. This research informed the vision for future Creative Enterprise Zones in London. A number of other London boroughs are already experimenting with similar ideas and these development grants are designed to consolidate and grow emerging or existing clusters of creative activity.


Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Artists and creative businesses around London breathe life into every corner of our city – but too often they find themselves unable to put down roots due to the spiralling cost of housing and workspace. This is a real problem that threatens to undermine London’s position as the world’s creative capital.


“Creative Enterprise Zones offer a real, practical solution to this problem – with the potential of locally reduced business rates, incentives to open up new spaces and initiatives that really value the contribution that creatives make to our capital. They will also bring new jobs to the area, encouraging local young people to develop careers in the creative industries.


“Congratulations to the boroughs who’ve received grants to develop their plans. I look forward to following their progress.”


Deputy Mayor for Culture and Creative Industries, Justine Simons OBE, said: “London’s creative workforce is central to our success as a city that people want to live in, do business and visit. They often see the potential of overlooked, unloved neighbourhoods and turn them into up-and-coming creative hubs, often raising land values in the process. But this success often means house prices increase and the area is redeveloped, pushing out the creative community.


“We’re committed to disrupting this cycle, to keeping the balance in neighbourhoods as they grow and develop and retaining the creative talent that is so vital to our success as a city. Creative Enterprise Zones will do just that – they’ll ensure artists and creative businesses can thrive in areas across the city, nurturing the artistic leaders of tomorrow and creating communities where developments and creatives work and live side by side.”


Victoria Siddall, Director, Frieze Fairs: “The strong artistic community in London makes it one of the most exciting and inspiring places to live and attracts people to the city from all over the world. Affordable studio spaces and artistic communities that nurture talent are essential to maintain this, so I am delighted that the Mayor has launched this initiative.”


Joyce Wilson, Arts Council England London Area Director, says: “London’s creative communities are vital to the economy, and it is important for London’s arts and culture talent to be sustainable amongst the challenges the city holds. It’s good to see the opportunities this ground-breaking initiative will provide, and the artists that will hopefully emerge within each of the boroughs.”


Since the beginning of his Mayoralty, Sadiq has made culture and the creative industries a top priority. Last year, he outlined a range of bold measures in his new draft London Plan – the Mayor’s overall planning strategy for the capital – to protect and grow the city’s cultural and creative industries. As well as Creative Enterprise Zones, the Mayor set out plans for protecting pubs, grassroots music venues, creative workspace, promoting cultural quarters and developing London as a 24-hour city.


The creative industries contribute £47bn to London’s economy every year and account for one in six jobs in the capital1. Creative jobs are growing four times faster than the economy average and the majority of jobs cannot be automated, providing a major employment opportunity for London.


Read more: