Croydon could become home to one of the capital’s first Creative Enterprise Zones after receiving a grant of £50,000 to develop their bid.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced the successful applicants who will now go on to compete to home one of three Creative Enterprise Zones, with the winners confirmed later this year.
Overall, 25 boroughs applied for the status with Croydon taking their spot on the shortlist, alongside: Barking & Dagenham, Bexley, Camden, Harrow, Hounslow, Lambeth, Lewisham, Southwark and a joint bid from Tower Hamlets and Hackney.
The new initiative was one the Mayor’s key manifesto priorities and is aimed at helping the boroughs to attract new artists and creative businesses, as well as developing skills in local people.
Councillor Tony Newman, leader of the council, said: “Croydon is undergoing a huge transformation and we want culture and creativity to be at the heart of it.
“It’s fantastic Croydon has been awarded a share of this fund, so we can further develop our plans and detail how making Croydon a Creative Enterprise Zone would support the borough’s creative sector to flourish.”
If developed, Croydon’s zone would be located in the heart of the town centre, mirroring the geography of the Growth Zone and Croydon Opportunity Area. It would include Queen’s Square: an area that includes St George’s Walk, RISE Gallery and is home to the borough’s unique street art gallery and would also encompass Croydon’s new Cultural Quarter with the refurbished Fairfield Halls.
The Whitgift Shopping Centre which is currently home to Croydon Arts Store, and set to be redeveloped by the Croydon Partnership; a site in George Street recently granted planning permission to become a new flexible gallery space to Grafton Quarter and a new mixed use development close to West Croydon would also fall within the zone’s location.
To qualify as a Creative Enterprise Zone, Croydon and the other 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.
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.”