HIGH House Production Park (HHPP) and Second Floor Studios CIC (SFS CIC) have signed a landmark Memorandum of Understanding to develop high quality and affordable maker workspace at the flagship Purfleet-on-Thames location.
Proposals could see more than 90 purpose-built studios for new creative production entrepreneurs as well as those who are relocating to Thurrock. The innovative and sustainable building will complement existing activity at the world-class centre of excellence for creative production that is already home to the Royal Opera House Production Workshop and Costume Centre, and the Backstage Centre production facility.
Alex Beard, Chair of HHPP and Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House, said: “The signing of this Memorandum of Understanding is a great moment for the HHPP, and builds on strides already made over more than a decade to make Thurrock a national hub for creativity. We hope that the creation of more than 90 state-of-the-art studios at our iconic Purfleet-on-Thames location will enable creative entrepreneurial talent, artists and makers to thrive, giving them the space to expand, connect with others in the industry, and contribute to the overall health and diversity of the UK’s world-class creative industries.”
Nichole Herbert Wood, CEO of Second Floor Studios, added: “SFS have been seeking an in perpetuity opportunity to house and support larger format makers: such as carpentry, sculpture, stone masonry and metalwork within purpose-built facilities. This exciting collaboration with HHPP within their flagship International Centre for Excellence for Creative Industries is a great alignment of values and timing. SFS will be securing a plot with HHPP on a 125-year leasehold with the ambition to deliver a 40-45,000 square foot studio building dedicated to housing makers and artists of Essex, Kent, and London. We are looking forward to playing our role in the overall regeneration strategy for the Thames Estuary and are eager to begin the hard work with all those involved to bring this site forward for the makers in real need of secure, long-term, truly affordable workspace.
“SFS are leading in the replacement of significant sector lost affordable workspace. As you would anticipate we are incredibly excited for the future and all the people we can support in fulfilling their creative aspirations.”
The announcement will be followed by a tender process to procure a design team to conduct a concept design and feasibility study, as part of the Creative Estuary programme, to support the development of HHPP. Interested parties can register their interest by emailing email@example.com
A key aim of Creative Estuary is to identify innovative ways to provide more sustainable and affordable spaces for cultural production in South Essex and North Kent, which the Purfleet-on-Thames project aims to achieve. Creative Estuary is funded through the Cultural Development Fund from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and was one of only five places in England to be awarded this investment in 2019.
Emma Wilcox, Project Director of Creative Estuary, said: “This initiative marks the start of an exciting phase of work for Thurrock. They are key partners of Creative Estuary and, like us, totally committed to culture and creative industries. This builds perfectly on the ambition that brought HHPP into being 10 years ago. This project also complements the work we are undertaking in Purfleet-on-Thames around place making and finding holistic ways to integrate cultural infrastructure into community buildings and outdoor spaces, facilitating even more places for creative activity.”
The collaboration between SFS and HHPP will contribute to ensuring this key site remains a world-class hub for cultural production in the Thames Estuary and supports the ambition of the Creative Estuary programme.