Croydon could become home to one of the capital’s first Creative Enterprise Zones after being shortlisted for a grant to further develop the borough’s initial proposal.
The Mayor of London today announced Croydon as one of 11 boroughs awarded a share of a £500,000 fund to develop their bids to be one of three Creative Enterprise Zones set to be announced later this year. The council has been awarded £50,000 to further develop its plans for the zone, where Croydon’s artistic communities would be encouraged to put down roots, and the borough’s creative industries would be supported to flourish, have sustainable futures and contribute to Croydon’s future success. 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.
The creative sector has a significant role in Croydon, accounting for 837 businesses and employing 3,641 people across the borough. The Creative Enterprise Zone would offer workshop space and studio facilities for local artists and the council would look to work with partners and local organisations to create a consortium that would work to give much greater visibility to Croydon’s creative sector. The Mayor’s funding will be used to produce an action plan which formalises Croydon’s vision for its Creative Enterprise Zone and details how it would bring creative people together; make the arts more accessible whether for work or play, and develop venues for local artists and creative businesses to network and showcase their work, all of which would contribute to the enhancement and promotion of Croydon creatives.
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.”
Councillor Timothy Godfrey, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport, said: “Croydon’s on a great journey rebuilding our cultural offer, best demonstrated by the borough’s £30 million investment in Fairfield Halls, but we have also been busy supporting and developing professional and grass roots culture. The development of a Creative Enterprise Zone in Croydon would continue this work in new ways. I look forward to further developing our plans ahead of the formal submission of our bid in the summer.”