London mayor, Sadiq Khan, has unveiled his vision for turning the Thames Estuary into a world-class hub for the arts.
Included within the mayor’s “vision document” is a theatre complex in Bexley, an experiential arts centre in Woolwich, and a new production facility in Dagenham East that would be the capital’s largest film studios if completed.
Sadiq Khan cautioned that realising this vision would require committed support from local authorities over a sustained period. The proposal spans seven London boroughs as well as parts of Essex and Kent.
The Estuary region is already home to significant studios and production facilities, including the Resort Studios in Margate, Here East in the Olympic Park and High House Production Park in Thurrock.
London City Island, based on Leamouth Peninsula, will soon be the base for the National Ballet’s production and training centre.
London’s creative sector employs around 500,000 people and generates an estimated £35bn for the city’s economy every year. Figures such as V&A director Martin Roth and WPP chief executive Martin Sorrell have warned that London’s role as European creative hub could be threatened by Britain leaving the EU.
The proposal, which was developed in partnership with the South East Local Enterprise Partnership, has been submitted to Lord Heseltine, the Tory grandee who heads up the Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission.
“London leads the way across the whole of the creative economy – from fashion to film, design to gaming, performing arts to the visual arts,” Sadiq 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.”