Mayor John Biggs with community partners in Hackney Wick and Fish Island Mayor John Biggs with community partners in Hackney Wick and Fish Island
Local businesses in Hackney Wick and Fish Island have welcomed the news that the area is to become one of London’s first Creative Enterprise Zones.
Last month, Sadiq Khan announced that a joint bid submitted by Tower Hamlets Council, Hackney Council and the London Legacy Development Corporation was one of six to be selected.
During a visit to The Yard Theatre in Hackney Wick to mark the award, Mayor John Biggs met with some of the community partners that played an important role in shaping the successful bid.
He discussed how existing community bodies can seize on the opportunities presented by the establishment of the CEZ to protect workspace, widen community participation and begin the process of establishing a sustainable presence for creatives in the area.
John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “Creative communities have brought a new lease of life to former industrial areas across London.
“They have transformed communities with creative energy and entrepreneurial spirit but too often they end up being victims of their own success, priced out of workspace and accommodation when the developers move in.
“I’m pleased that Hackney Wick and Fish Island will be at the forefront of efforts to put a stop to this trend and to build a sustainable future for our creative sector.”
The CEZ programme is aimed at protecting London’s creatives by increasing access to affordable spaces for artists and entrepreneurs, and by boosting job and training opportunities for local people.
The three authorities behind the Hackney Wick and Fish Island bid are committed to using their planning powers to help develop a pipeline of affordable workspace.
They will work with borough employment services to help local people develop skills and provide training opportunities and internships in the cultural, creative, digital and tech sectors.
There are also plans to develop a Good Growth service for CEZ employers to offer improved access to apprenticeships, internships and tailored business support as part of a commitment to inclusive growth.
The announcement that Hackney Wick and Fish Island will be designated a CEZ and given access to financial support to deliver these ambitious objectives has been welcomed by those in the community who have long argued for greater recognition of the role the creative sector has played.
Cllr Motin Uz-Zaman, Cabinet Member for Work and Economic Growth, said: “Hackney Wick and Fish Island are home to 250 artist’s studios and around 100 creative businesses.
“The council is committed to working with our partners at Hackney and the LLDC, and with organisations already established within the community, to shape conditions that allow the creative heart of these areas to thrive for many years to come.
“In the next few months we will be putting plans in place to make the most of the opportunities that being a CEZ provides. I look forward to seeing the results of all the good work that has been done so far.”