Mayor’s search begins for Creative Enterprise Zones across the capital

13 December 2017
  • Sadiq Khan calls on boroughs to identify potential sites across London
  • Ten £50,000 grants available for boroughs to develop plans for their own zones
  • City Hall has worked with Haringey Council to shape the concept in Tottenham, where creative industries have flourished and grown by 127 per cent in the past five years 

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today launched bold plans to establish Creative Enterprise Zones across the capital to ensure artists, creative talent and communities can thrive.


Across London, from Hackney to Peckham, the role of creative communities in revitalising areas has been proven, but often they are displaced from the neighbourhoods they have helped regenerate.


Rising rents, increased property prices and the decline of affordable workspace have all contributed to the pressure on creative communities, with London predicted to lose 30 per cent of affordable creative workspace by 2019. Creative Enterprise Zones are a brand new initiative designed help creatives put down roots and establish themselves in local areas.


The creative industries contribute £42bn to London’s economy every year and account for one in six jobs in the capital. Creative jobs are growing four times faster than the economy average and the majority of jobs will not be automated, providing a major employment opportunity for London1.


Creative Enterprise Zones are one of Sadiq’s key manifesto priorities and will retain and attract artists and new creative businesses. The Mayor will work with boroughs to offer incentives such as permanent affordable workspace and relief from business rates. The plan follows a similar model to Enterprise Zones, areas set up to create the best possible conditions for businesses to thrive.


Sadiq is calling on boroughs to bid for one of ten £50,000 grants to develop their own zones as part of this ground-breaking plan.


A Creative Enterprise Zone research project has already been carried out in Tottenham in the London Borough of Haringey. Here, creative industries have flourished and grown by 127 per cent in the past five years, but there remains pressure on affordable creative space in the area.


The research carried out in Tottenham by Haringey Council found that a Creative Enterprise Zone would support growth and attract new start-up creative businesses, creating an estimated 300 new jobs each year, and generating growth of £26million. This research has informed the vision and implementation for future Creative Enterprise Zones in London. A number of other London boroughs are already experimenting with similar ideas and these development grants are designed to consolidate and grow emerging or existing clusters of creative activity.


The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Our creative industries make a huge contribution to London’s reputation as an open, creative and diverse city and this success is largely thanks to our wealth of creative talent. 


“We cannot afford to lose our artists and creative businesses - they power our economy and bring people together across communities. Too often artists and small businesses find themselves priced out of the very city they help bring to life. Creative Enterprise Zones are a bold new initiative for London and will help to secure our future as a cultural capital.”


Deputy Mayor for Culture and Creative Industries, Justine Simons OBE, said: “The creative workforce is our biggest asset in London but it is under more pressure than ever. Pay is low, intellectual property is under threat and it’s hard to break in. London’s creative community is often the advance party, setting up studios in disused warehouses and venues in railway arches – breathing life into unloved neighbourhoods and increasing land values along the way.


“But this model is no longer sustainable - the cheap space is running out and creative communities are pushed out by impossible prices. The real trick is to build balanced neighbourhoods, with creative talent in the mix long-term. Creative Enterprise Zones will do just that - they’ll provide the conditions to help artists and creative businesses put down roots in the areas they have helped regenerate and will position London as a world leader for culture and creativity into the future.”


Nick Serota, Chair of Arts Council England, said: “Affordable work and live-work space in London is crucial for artists and small creative enterprises. I strongly support the Mayor‘s determination to create zones where creative practitioners and businesses can flourish and be part of the community.”


The Mayor wants to see all corners of the capital benefitting from the vibrancy creative talent brings to a local area, and is urging all London boroughs to bid for a grant to set their ideas in motion. Boroughs must focus on four key areas to qualify as a Creative Enterprise Zone: 


  • Space - secure permanent, affordable, creative workspace, and live-work spaces at well below market rents, and ensure no net loss of affordable workspace through new developments in the area.


  • Skills and support – build entrepreneurial skills and offer affordable business support to artists, start-ups, sole traders and small businesses as well as create jobs.


  • Policy – develop Local Plans with pro-culture policies in planning, housing, business development, technology, super-fast broadband and infrastructure, and support business rates relief policies.


  • Community – create socially-inclusive places and strengthen links with marginalised communities and education providers so that young and local people can access new jobs within the Creative Enterprise Zone.


Last month, Sadiq Khan outlined a range of bold measures in his new draft London Plan – the Mayor’s overall planning strategy for the capital – to protect and grow the city’s cultural and creative industries. As well as Creative Enterprise Zones, the Mayor set out plans for protecting pubs, grassroots music venues, creative workspace, promoting cultural quarters and developing London as a 24-hour city.


Leader of Haringey Council, Councillor Claire Kober, said: “Creating new jobs and growing our local economy is a priority for Haringey which is why we have been working with the Mayor, City Hall and our local partners over the last 18 months to design what a CEZ might look like. 

There has been huge enthusiasm in Tottenham to build on what already exists here and become even more of a destination for creative businesses where they are able to thrive.”


British artist Anne Hardy, said: “This initiative is a significant step towards necessary long-term support for artists in London. Crucially, it recognises that artistic activity is an integral contributor to society in these challenging times.”


British-Ghanaian artist Larry Achiampong said: “Coming from a working-class background myself, I know the importance of artists and creative businesses needing the opportunity to build, flourish and give back to the communities around them. This initiative presents an opportunity to do that and I am happy to support it.”


Dumi Oburota, Entrepreneur and Founder of Disturbing London, said: “This is a great idea for creatives and for London. Artists and creative businesses have been critical to London’s success and we need our city to remain a breeding ground for the cultural icons of the future. It’s great that Sadiq has recognised this and is putting in place new creative zones to help London stay at the top of its game.”

The Creative Enterprise Zones Prospectus, published today, sets out the Mayor’s vision for Creative Enterprise Zones and provides details on how to apply for a development grant. Boroughs have until 31 January 2018 at 12pm to bid for a development grant. Successful development grants will be announced in March 2018 and proposals developed across 2018.


1 London’s creative industries – 2017 update:

Notes to editors

  1. The Creative Enterprise Zones Prospectus and application form can be found here:

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