Thames estuary culture
The Thames Estuary is to be turned into a cultural hub of global standing.
Plans announced by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, in a document submitted to Lord Heseltine’s Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission, include London’s largest film studio complex at Dagenham, theatre studios at Bexley, a sculpture foundry at Silverton, an experimental arts centre at Woolwich, a media production facility at Purfleet and a digital creativity centre at Colchester. It would constitute the biggest investment on the Thames since the Canary Wharf development of the 1980s.
“London leads the way across the whole of the creative economy – from fashion to film, design to gaming, performing arts to the visual arts” Khan said. “It’s only right that we build on this success and transform the Thames Estuary into a world-class centre for creative production – leading global innovation, developing the talent of the future and cultivating world-changing ideas. I urge Lord Heseltine to recommend our vision and ensure that the creative industries are at the heart of the government’s industrial strategy.”
The proposal has been produced in conjunction with the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) with the aim of building a cultural and creative powerhouse worth £35 billion per year to London’s economy.
The creative industries are the UK’s biggest growth sector, with 1.3m people working in the creative economy across London and South East, and 1.2m new workers will be needed in the next decade. However, the Mayor said, rising land values, rents, business rates, the lack of large scale, cutting-edge production space and artists’ studios and a skills shortage threaten the sector’s future growth and competitiveness.