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News - 8 August 2008

Brighton needs a new creative quarter

A study commissioned by Brighton & Hove City Council has revealed that creative industries in Brighton & Hove are booming and there just isn't enough workspace currently available to accommodate all of the growing businesses.

According to the authors of the report finding space for these businesses will take some creativity. Already the city has artists working out of former fishermen’s lockers, bin stores beneath some council flats and a church.

Other UK examples highlighted in the report are a gallery in a Lancashire pig farm and a Dinosaur-themed circus sharing a Dorset barn with a scrap metal dealer.

An investigation by the city council has shown the sector is growing by around 5% a year – or creating nearly 800 new jobs annually.

Creative occupations include everything from digital media to film, video and TV to fashion, art and advertising.

Sixteen thousand people in the city already work in the sector – nearly 1% of the workforce. Centrepiece of the city’s creative year, the Brighton Festival, earns around £20m annually for the local economy.

Such is demand that 75%of the city’s 1500 creative firms want bigger premises.

At forecast levels of growth of between 2-5%, the study found that an extra 130,000 square feet of space would be needed for the sector annually. This equates to an area about a quarter of the floorspace in Churchill Square, the city’s large shopping mall.

The report recommends a creative industries champion within the planning department; a review of sites which might be suitable for creative work; more creative workspace in mixed use developments and extending opportunities for shared ownership of work premises. A working group should be established to explore live-work accommodation, says the report.

Cabinet member for culture Cllr David Smith said: “This sector has real potential to create jobs and start small businesses in the city. We need to develop a range of types of accommodation for different types of creative businesses. It’s crucial these are affordable, appropriate and available. So the council and other property owners need to be creative about finding them homes.”

The study can be seen at www.creativebrighton.co.uk


Read related items on:
Creative industries
Built environment
Brighton & Hove City Council
Smith, David


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