Capital West London, the groundbreaking inward investment and trade promotion programme commissioned by the West London Alliance, has published a manifesto for the Creative Industries in West London, aimed at cementing the sub-region’s place as the best location for a creative business in the world.
Entitled “Collaboration, Connections, Capability”, the manifesto seeks to show the strength of the sector in West London, and to set forward a number of commitments and asks, to help it grow even stronger, and stay the best location in the world for a creative business.
The creative industries in the UK contribute over £1billion a year to the UK economy. The creative sector has grown at nearly twice the rate of the country’s economy since 2010. Creative industry jobs have also increased by over 30 per cent since 2011, with predictions for the upward trend set to continue. West London has a world-leading creative sector, with a long history of being home to film and TV, businesses, has seen a 21 per cent growth in the number of businesses with figures showing that a quarter of London’s businesses are based in the area.
All the West London boroughs are enthusiastic about growing their creative sectors. Brent will be London’s Borough of Culture in 2020, Hounslow now has a Creative Enterprise Zone there and many other initiatives are underway.
Capital West London brought together a group of West London creative industry leaders and public and private sector stakeholders to discuss the current state of the sector in the sub-region – the strengths of the supporting infrastructure, the skills landscape, development needs, and actions that all those with a stake in the sub-region could come together and support.
The aim was to help produce a vision for the future that will inform the West London Alliance’s ‘Vision for Growth’ and sub-regional efforts to help the sector grow and thrive.
West London has a world class creative cluster based on a history of participation in the sector – the BBC, Ealing Studios – these things are part of a creative DNA running through the sub-region. But there is renewal and resurgence – new communities are springing up around the old, with start ups being joined by businesses moving from elsewhere looking for a better environment.
The quality of life in West London is a powerful motivator, as is the already capable talent pool. The transport system and the proximity of high quality residential neighbourhoods to commercial centres makes the location equation attractive, and provides a creatively literate local population which can populate and animate the cultural venues and creative spaces.
The talent pool really matters. We need to make sure creative skills are in the curriculum at all levels. This, allied to the power of West London’s diversity – with the industry bringing in people in from less well supported backgrounds – provides a source of strength and global competitive advantage. We need to work to make sure this stays true, working with schools, colleges and universities, to produce those with the creative and business skills to succeed.
West London’s physical infrastructure is 100 years ahead of the rest of London. There are excellent overground and underground rail connections, as well as air, rail… but it can get better. The West London Orbital is a key new piece of connectivity that will make a real difference, and Olympia needs to be reopened fully as a District Line station.