Published: 09:14, 11 July 2019
| Updated: 09:16, 11 July 2019
A project has been launched to turn one of out towns into a major creative hub.
The county's inward investment agency, Locate in Kent, is partnering with Arts Council England and Heritage Lab CIC for a major research project to support the growth of Ramsgate as a creative business hub.
The digital and creative industries have been highlighted by the government as a priority for growth with the aim for the UK to become a world leader in the area.
The Thanet district has already seen businesses in the sector grow by 84% in the four years to 2017.
Now Locate in Kent and Arts Council England are jointly funding a piece of research by Heritage Lab CIC, a not for profit organisation established in 2018 which aims to regenerate historic buildings and community assets in order to make affordable space available to the creative sector and local community.
The research will help to determine the size, scope, needs and potential of the Ramsgate creative economy with the results helping to ensure that policy makers and investors have the evidence to meet the needs of the area’s creative community.
It will seek to ascertain the potential demand over the next five years for a range of creative space from studios and co-working projects to exhibition and performance space; and determine the area’s investment offer.
Ramsgate is one of the only Heritage Actions Zones (HAZ) in the UK and is home to over 450 listed buildings. Many of these buildings are in poor condition, underused or remain empty but once restored will provide increased footfall and spend to support further regeneration.
Rob Kenyon, founder, Heritage Lab, said: “Ramsgate is steeped in cultural heritage. World-renowned authors, artists and architects such as Jane Austen, Wilkie Collins, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Mary Townley, Vincent Van Gogh, Karl Marx and Augustus and Edward Pugin have all lived and thrived in Ramsgate.
"Its cultural and heritage assets are now attracting a new generation of successful creative professionals and this research will help us to help the sector to grow.”
Gavin Cleary, CEO, Locate in Kent, added: “We know that many creative industries and start ups are concentrated in areas with a high heritage density.
"With over 450 listed buildings, and only 63 minutes to London by train, Ramsgate is ideally placed for continued growth in the creative sector and is a prime location for those wanting to invest or relocate in Kent. This research will provide invaluable insight for investors and business leaders about the future opportunities in Ramsgate.”