Supporting the creative economy - Culture, Media and Sport Committee Contents

7  Creative hubs

127. The role of regional creative industry clusters and local hubs is also a feature of our inquiry. A 2010 analysis by Nesta (an independent charity fostering innovation) examined co-location between creative sectors. The study found that there were two groups of creative sectors that tended to be co-located. One group comprised software, games and electronic publishing; the other group music, film, radio and TV. These interactions delivered a number of beneficial spillovers, such as knowledge transfer, and product development. The Government's focus is on supporting existing clusters rather than trying to instigate them.

128. The DCMS, in written evidence, refers to academic studies as suggesting that geographical proximity is a necessary but not sufficient prerequisite for the existence of the hub or cluster. Some sort of network or ecosystem is also required to ensure communication and collaboration between companies and sectors within the cluster. That said, the development of broadband will make networking less dependent on geographical co-location. The risk is neglect for creative and employment opportunities in other parts of the UK.

129. Pinewood Shepperton are strong advocates of the cluster/hub model.[235] Their contribution to the UK film industry is enormous. However, a lack of studio space is already resulting in the loss of international inward investment.[236] Like other studios they need to build capacity if they are to respond to growing demand. We expect demand for studio space to grow significantly with the introduction of tax credits for high end television. Andrew Smith, Pinewood Shepperton's Director of Strategy and Communications, argued: "I think the infrastructure around the creative industries is just as important as airports, roads and rail, particularly as it is a clear growth sector of the economy."[237] We agree. It was disheartening to learn of the rejection of a planning application by Pinewood Shepperton that would have allowed for growth and the establishment of a training academy for the film industry.[238] We were disappointed by the local authority's decision to reject a subsequent planning application that did much to address local concerns.[239]

130. While allowing for local concerns, the planning system should adequately recognise the significance of creative industry infrastructure. A useful initial step would be to revisit the advice to local authorities given in the National Planning Policy Framework.

235   Qq 57, 59 Back

236   Ev 204 (Pinewood Shepperton) Back

237   Q 25 Back

238   Qq 18-25 Back

239  Back

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Prepared 26 September 2013