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Thames Estuary Team appointed to drive creative recovery with flagship projects for fashion, manufacturing and film & TV industry

The Thames Estuary Production Corridor Partners has selected a team to design and deliver the next phase of their ambitious project to ensure the estuary becomes the UK’s largest and most significant concentration of creative production. The appointed team is led by We Made That and comprises Hawkins\Brown, PRD, Ramidus, Tom Fleming Creative Consultancy, Suzie Norton and Jan Miller. It is the shared vision of the Mayor of London, the South East LEP and partners in East London, South Essex and North Kent, and is supported by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

The Thames Estuary Production Corridor will play a crucial role in London and the South East’s recovery, economically and socially, after COVID-19, potentially creating 50,000 jobs and generating £3.7bn for the UK economy. UK’s largest concentration of creative production kicks up a gear as Thames Estuary Production Corridor announces its new project team.

The appointed team will work closely with Partners and stakeholders across three key workstreams carefully designed to deliver the infrastructure and create the conditions for the cultural and creative industries to flourish, strengthen and lead the region’s economic and social recovery:

  • Identifying potential development sites across London, Kent and Essex
  • Creating action plans for the region’s high growth industries, fashion design and manufacturing and screen-based industries (film, TV, gaming and VR)
  • Developing feasibility studies for up to five flagship projects across London, Kent and Essex

The Thames Estuary Production Corridor is a significant vision to unite East London, the North Kent Coast and South Essex to create a world-class centre for creative and cultural production: leading global innovation, developing talent and cultivating world changing ideas. It is a globally significant programme, the first of a new generation of collaborative and transformational projects in the Thames Estuary, presenting a shared economic and social identity across 18 local authority areas. Evidence of this was compiled in a Case for Investment report, which included in-depth research and consultation with over 200 partners and stakeholders:

In London, the Thames Estuary includes some of the most diverse populations and opportunities for cultural consumption anywhere in the world. It also includes rapidly growing locations which will accommodate the city’s growth: areas such as the Royal Docks, Thamesmead, Bexley Riverside, Woolwich, Deptford, New Cross and Dagenham Dock.

After four decades of restructuring, East London’s economy has become a globally significant hub for Information and Communications Technology, Media, Digital Industries and Fashion; opening new markets and opportunities for the city and the UK.

Further east, the North Kent Coast and South Essex are increasingly coming to the fore of the region’s creative conversation. From Margate to Ebbsfleet and Southend to Thurrock, towns across the Estuary have been redefining themselves around creativity and culture, capitalising on space, championing talent and investing in new facilities and infrastructure.

16,000 creative and cultural businesses supporting over 46,000 jobs supported and significant headroom for growth

£200m investment has been delivered in large-scale production facilities across the Estuary over the past decade

+37% increase in the number of production businesses across the Estuary over the past five years

63 Higher and Further Education Institutions across the Estuary. Many of these specialise in creative industries

£4.6m initial investment from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government demonstrates confidence in the opportunity to deliver much needed capacity and specialism to the UK’s creative economy

Oliver Goodhall, Partner at We Made That said:

“Major production facilities and local anchors all play an important role in underpinning the creative and cultural ecosystem across the region. We know from our prior work across the Estuary that existing spaces and new projects will be pivotal in brokering collaboration, network development and support, providing the foundations for the next iteration of the sector and its ability to be both resilient and adaptive.”

Justine Simons OBE, Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries, said:

“The Thames Estuary Production Corridor is an exciting and ambitious industrial strategy for the creative economy spanning London and the South East. As we recover from the pandemic it couldn’t be more timely – it will position the creative industries centre stage creating 50,000 jobs and generating £3.7billion for the economy. It is the UK’s largest concentration of creative production and a brilliant example of what can be achieved through collaboration. I’m delighted at the appointment of this new talented team who will drive forward our ambition to the next level.”

South East Local Enterprise Partnership Chair Christian Brodie said:

“We are delighted to be working with such an exciting and experienced team. With their energy we have a real opportunity to establish this part of the South East as a world leading centre of creative production. The Thames Estuary Production Corridor is one of the most significant opportunities for future growth in the South East.

“In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we see this work as an important part of our economic and social recovery. From artists in our coastal communities to production facilities across the estuary, we want our creative arts sector to prosper.  We are excited to work with the project team to ensure that this ambitious plan is delivered—unlocking a vast new area for growth in the South East, and creating new job opportunities for residents in the process.”

Derek Murphy, KCC’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said:

“The jobs and business opportunities that the Thames Estuary Production Corridor will bring to Kent and Medway will shape our future economy offering new and exciting opportunities for young people, creative and professional specialists and growing and innovative businesses.

“We are delighted this major commission is under way which is the next stage in our ambition for the Production Corridor to become the UK’s largest and most significant concentration of creative production.”

Kate Willard OBE, Estuary Envoy, said:

“The Thames Estuary Growth Board recognises and values the role that culture and creativity play in happy and successful places. Our pride in supporting the recently launched Estuary 2021 arts festival, extends to our mission to position London and the South East as a world leader for the creative industries. The Estuary is amazing, and this new project team is an exciting step towards developing a world class creative production corridor here!”

Ray Mia, Thames Estuary Growth Board lead for Culture, Digital and the Thames Estuary Production Corridor, said:

“We are delighted the new project team have been appointed. As the UK’s most exciting Production Corridor, the arts and cultural sectors have the potential to create thousands of jobs and add billions to the UK economy. As well as playing a crucial role in the country’s economic recovery, these sectors will bring immeasurable benefits. We look forward to working with them to help them deliver the enormous potential.”

The appointment was awarded through Lot 1 of the Architecture Design and Urbanism Panel (ADUP), which was set-up procure design services and is jointly managed by the Greater London Authority and Transport for London.