LondonΓÇÖs Not Calling: Creative Business Hubs Outside the Capital
London has long been considered the hot location for the creative industries, but with many of the UKΓÇÖs major cities investing heavily in the creative sector, there are now plenty of vibrant creative hubs for businesses looking to locate north of the capital. We take a look at some of the most popular locations.
Birmingham Science Park
Residents at BirminghamΓÇÖs Science Park will soon be whizzing through their work, thanks to superfast broadband ΓÇô plans for which were announced earlier this week. ItΓÇÖs the latest in a series of developments to improve infrastructure which is attracting a growing number of creative tech companies to the park, raising occupancy level to 90%.
ItΓÇÖs not the only reason creative businesses are choosing the location; BirminghamΓÇÖs Big City Plan promises ambitious development, while the HS2 high-speed rail link will cut journey times to London to under an hour.
- Vermillion Films ΓÇô film makers whose clients include Jaguar, Chivas Regal and WKD
- Soshi Games ΓÇô developer of games-based music discovery
- PlayMob ΓÇô developer of technology which enables charities to raise money through computer gaming.
Holbeck Urban Village, Leeds
For Northern creatives Holbeck Urban Village in Leeds is increasingly becoming the place to be seen. A number of old industrial buildings have already been converted into offices and studios, including Tower Works, a former pin factory, which now provides office space for design, digital and media businesses.
- Bloom Media ΓÇô one of LeedsΓÇÖs leading digital media agencies, with clients including ADT, Ebuyer and Welcome to Yorkshire
- Simple Usability ΓÇô developers of eye-tracking software; their clients include Asda, E.ON and HSBC.
Baltic Triangle, Liverpool
Like Leeds, LiverpoolΓÇÖs creative industries are reclaiming and reviving disused industrial buildings. The Baltic Triangle, near the Albert Docks provides them with a city centre location, combined with the kind of buzz you can only get in a place where artists and musicians rub shoulders with film-makers and digital agencies on a daily basis.
While many of the buildings look humble on the outside, their bright and colourful interiors are proving popular, particularly with animation and interactive design specialists.
- Sparkle Media ΓÇô motion graphics and CGI specialists whose clients include the BBC, Sky Sports and the NHS
- Milky Tea ΓÇô illustration, digital animation and interactive content, with clients including the BBC, Lloyds TSB and Johnson & Johnson
- as creatives – agency specialising in interactive educational games and resources for clients including Arts Council England, Manchester Museum and Culture Liverpool.
Media Village, Salford Quays
Part of the MediaCityUK which is also home to the BBC and ITV, Media Village is home to more than 50 creative businesses across its Pie Factory and Greenhouse centres.
In contrast to the creative hubs in Leeds and Liverpool, Media Village is a contemporary, purpose-built development, designed with the needs of the modern creative industries in mind. The result is state-of-the-art infrastructure, including the largest high definition facilities in Europe, which will make it a strong contender among digital media companies over the next few years.
- Hive ΓÇô full service advertising and marketing agency whose clients include the BBC and Red Bull Racing
- Wink; Nudge ΓÇô mobile marketing and app specialists
- WebVM ΓÇô direct video marketing company with clients including Adestra and Blue Sheep.
One thing is for sure; creative businesses looking for office space in 2013 have plenty of choices for location ΓÇô and London doesnΓÇÖt have to be one of them.
Should businesses in the creative sector be looking outside London for their office space? Or is London still the place to be? Share your thoughts in the comments.