Borough is a creative hub

The Old Courts
The Old Courts

Wigan is playing a key role in the UK’s creative industries, according to a new report.

Wigan and Warrington have been identified as one of the key “creative conurbations”.

There are 7.128 people in creative employment in Wigan and Warrington, making it the fourth largest cluster in the north of England.

The research from Nesta and Creative England maps 47 creative clusters across the UK, including five in the North West.

These clusters employ on average 28 per cent more workers than seven years ago, the research says.

London employs 40 per cent of the UK’s creative industry workers and seven of the largest creative clusters are in the south of the country.

But the new research highlights a group of “creative conurbations” situated along motorway corridors and close to major transport hubs, which includes Wigan.

Juan Mateos-Garcia, head of innovation mapping at Nesta, said: “London and other creative cities are very important, but so are other areas which are sometimes overlooked when we talk about creative clusters.

“A better understanding of their specialism and impact on the local economy will help ensure that these hotspots continue to gain access to the talent and knowledge they need to thrive.”

Coun David Molyneux, Wigan Council’s deputy leader and portfolio holder for regeneration, welcomed the report.

The council has a “film friendly partnership” with Creative England to welcome productions to the area.

Coun Molyneux said: “Wigan has a rich and illustrious history of creative and artistic achievement.

“We are pleased that Creative England has recognised the creative contribution Wigan makes to the North West and that it helps support our vibrant economy.

“At the council we are passionate about supporting creative industries through our partnership working, business engagement team and our film friendly partnership.

“We have invested a significant amount of our community investment fund into creative community companies such as the Old Courts in Wigan and CreativeLeigh.

“We are also passionate about the growth of the digital industries and are supporting new digital start-up hubs in the borough.”

The report shows that the number of creative businesses within the 47 clusters has grown, pointing to an entrepreneurial explosion.

However, the average size of these businesses has fallen.

It has triggered calls for policy makers to do more to support their growth.

Caroline Norbury, chief executive of Creative England, said: “Creative England is dedicated to nurturing talented people and their creative ideas – this report clearly shows the huge contribution they make to driving prosperity in communities across the UK.

“Now, perhaps more than ever before, we need to work together to give our creative talent the backing they need to continue to flourish and grow.”