The council will seek up to £5million from the Cultural Development Fund to support the development of a brand-new creative campus for screen and immersive digital technologies, including the redevelopment of three sites in Basildon Town Centre.
The decision comes after the council submitted a preliminary expression of interest to Arts Council England earlier this year. This expression of interest was accepted in mid-September, inviting the council to submit a full proposal and bid by 18 November 2022.
The proposed new creative campus would bring a range of benefits to local residents; including a boost to the local economy by stimulating growth in the creative-digital sector; revitalising parts of Basildon town centre in need of redevelopment; new office and creative space for local entrepreneurs and start-ups; and a wider range of further education and employment opportunities for local people.
Cllr Anthony Hedley, Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and Business Engagement welcomed the news: "With this creative campus we can provide new opportunities and stimulate new creative-digital enterprises right here in Basildon and bring new life to parts of the town centre in need of redevelopment."
"Basildon has the largest and fastest growing economy in Essex. We are a recognised centre of excellence in digi-tech. Developing and maintaining that growth is key. We want to encourage people to learn, live and work right here, and I hope that Arts Council England will share our ambition for Basildon as a centre of growth for the creative industries."
If successful, proposals will see the creative campus developed across three council-owned sites in Basildon town centre: the former British Heart Foundation Furniture Store, the former Robins Cinema/ Drop Zone and the former American Diner at the Great Oaks site.
In order to provide a strong bid for funding, councillors have given approval for officers to develop a full business case and plan for the proposed campus ahead of the November deadline.
The council has already secured funding and collaborative support from Creative Estuary and Thames Estuary Production Corridor to bring in some short-term consultancy support to help develop the project further.
For more information on the Cultural Development Fund, visit the Arts Council England website: www.artscouncil.org.uk/our-open-funds/cultural-development-fund-round-three
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