The creative studios and workshops of Lambeth are to be the hub of one of London’s new creative enterprise zones (CEZ), London mayor Sadiq Khan announced in Brixton yesterday (14 December).
Lambeth is one of six areas that will share £12 million extra funding to provide investment and support for the design and tech-based enterprises that are fast becoming a feature of the local economy.
The initiative will increase affordable spaces for artists and entrepreneurs, and boost job and training opportunities.There can be affordable rents and reduced business rates, plus comms facilities and promotion of the creatives’ work.
Khan made his announcement at Tripod, the new workspace for creative enterprises in the basement atrium at Lambeth’s refurbished town hall in Brixton. He then toured the workspace to learn how Lambeth is already aiding tech-based enterprises.
Among them were brothers Robert and Neil Small, Lambeth residents who run Lucid Environments, a “proptech” consultancy specialising in visualising architecture. They demonstrated the interactive 3D images of new buildings that they use to show how they look and feel when built.
They moved their business from Shoreditch, London’s centre of tech innovation, for the advantages of Brixton: “There is a very sympathetic atmosphere here,” says Robert Small. “We are working with other designers.
“We looked at lots of places and this is very competitive. The rent is lower and it is a good place to bring clients.”
The mayor told the gathering of creatives and council leaders from all over London: “Culture and creativity are vital to the success of our city, but it can be difficult for artists and creative businesses to stay in an area as it develops.
“They can find themselves priced out of the neighbourhoods they have helped regenerate and that’s why it’s so important we give the industry the support it needs.
“Creative enterprise zones will turn these areas into creative hubs and provide job and training opportunities that will ensure that the local community benefits from growth.”
Lambeth council leader Lib Peck said: “We will invest this money to benefit the people of Brixton, Lambeth and London as a whole. We are committed to promoting inclusive growth, creating and sustaining opportunities for local people to benefit from jobs, investment and growth.”
The council has already launched a growth strategy for creative and digital industries, to provide council-owned affordable workspace, notably in its former office block International House, where space is free for some non-commercial community enterprises.
The other five CEZs are in Croydon, Hounslow, Lewisham, Haringey and a joint bid by Tower Hamlets and Hackney. There were 25 councils bidding for the designation.