Thames Gateway

Recent Case Studies

The largest regeneration area in Europe, the Thames Gateway straddles three Regional Development Agencies, which must work together to maximise the economic potential of the area.  In 2007, EEDA, the LDA and SEEDA therefore agreed to jointly produce an Economic Development Investment Plan, one section of which was to be devoted to creating a cultural milieu.  Sarah Tanburn Associates won the tender to produce the relevant document.

Articulating the requirements of the EDIP was itself a complex matter.  
The Plan needed to include both a number of 'quality of life' issues, those aspects of place which help to attract high-skilled workers and high-quality investments, and a key range of interventions which would promote the development of the creative economy.  The focus was on those activities which had a pan-Gateway impact, and paid particular attention to the four economic nodes identified by the government.

The Steering Group for this piece of work included representatives from the three RDAs and the London Thames Gateway Cultural Coordinator, based in the London TG Development Corporation.  Inevitably, the cultural world was closely interested in the proposals that would become part of the EDIP, and over 70 people were consulted during the preparation of the Plan.  A facilitated workshop was also held, to enable further discussion and support the openness of the process.

The tender was awarded on 14 November 2007, for completion by 17 December, a very tight timescale for intensive consultation and production.  Ultimately, to meet the complex requirements of the project, a suite of five documents was produced.  A three page summary supported the immediate discussion needs of the RDAs,  accompanied by a priority programme to support any investment decisions.  A contextual paper argued, as many times before, for the importance of investment in cultural infrastructure and gave further details of strategic interventions.  A final paper described the process of preparing the plan, including the details of consultees.

Greer Roberts, Strategy & Planning Manager at EEDA, led the work for the three RDAs.  She commented, "we set Sarah a tall order, and kept the pressure up throughout the project as our own thinking developed.  She produced a major piece of work, which will be important throughout the development of the Gateway.  Her strategic thinking, combined with her capacity to engage with many partners across the cultural and regeneration fields, has been invaluable.