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Bexley shortlisted as Creative Enterprise Zone area

PUBLISHED: 12:30 26 March 2018

Bexley’s cabinet member for community safety, environment and leisure has said the funding is

Bexley’s cabinet member for community safety, environment and leisure has said the funding is "great news." Picture: Bexley Council

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Bexley has received funding to develop Thamesmead as a potential Creative Enterprise Zone, after being shortlisted as one of 11 boroughs to have successfully bid for the initiative.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan announced the 11 areas to each receive a sum of £50,000 last week, with the three official zones to be decided later in the year.

The money will allow research into how Southmere in Thamesmead could achieve the title, based on an emerging base of existing artists, creative businesses and workspaces.

The initiative comes as one of the Mayor’s key manifesto priorities, which will help creatives put down roots, establish themselves in areas and attract new artists and creative businesses.

Cllr Peter Craske, Bexley’s cabinet member for community safety, environment and leisure, said: “This funding is great news for this project.

“It means we can move on with our research and look at exactly what we need to do to make this happen and the benefits that a Creative Enterprise Zone could bring, from social benefits to job creation.”

The borough led the joint application, with a consortium made up of Bow Arts Trust, Peabody, Crossness Engines Trust, Greenwich Co-operative Development Agency and London College of Performing Arts.

The money will also help to establish what local plans and planning guidance will need to be in place for a creative community to thrive, including creative workspaces and affordable living space.

To qualify as a Creative Enterprise Zone, boroughs must focus on four key areas, including space, skills and support, policy and community.

John Lewis, executive director Thamesmead at Peabody, thanked everyone who has supported the ambition, and said: “We’re taking a whole place philosophy to the regeneration of Thamesmead, which includes making great culture part of everyday life here.

“This funding is fantastic news because it will help us to explore new ways of supporting our pool of existing local talent and finding spaces and opportunities to attract new, exciting artists and creative industries into the area.

“Ultimately this well help us bring greater prosperity to Thamesmead, and create neighbourhoods that people are proud to call home.”

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