Creative industries in Tunbridge Wells have shrugged off the post-referendum blues and are well-placed to seize the ‘great opportunities’ that may arise from Brexit, the town’s Digital Envoy has said.
Tom Chown, whose company Digitom develops online video content, is one of 15 Digital Envoys for Kent Connects – a partnership comprising of public sector organisations aiming to boost digital infrastructure and understanding throughout the county.
Describing Tunbridge Wells as a ‘fantastic hub of creativity’, Mr Chown believes the town has many advantages which will make it an attractive place to invest post-Brexit.
He said: “Large corporations in London are looking to their budgets with a keener eye and Tunbridge Wells can service them, since it is only 45 minutes away by train. With lower overheads and great connectivity to London, the channel ports/Europe and Gatwick, for projects further-a-field the future’s bright for the town and its creative industries.”
His optimism partly stems from his own experience since the referendum result, in which a majority of voters opted to leave the EU.
“For the first few weeks we were definitely a bit shell-shocked, but you quickly realise that business always continues. No summer had been that quiet before, but then everything picked up again. September and October are looking really good,” he said, adding that Theresa May’s caution when it comes to triggering Article 50 has brought ‘a sense of security’.
Mr Chown has also found that the vote has led to new potential projects.
“It’s really interesting – since the referendum, we’ve seen the Government pumping money into keeping the UK on the map. They’ve put out an £80,000 contract for the creation a promotional film intended to attract global businesses to hold events in the UK. This is something we haven’t seen for about five years.”
His comments coincide with the announcement that the Tunbridge Wells Creative Hub on Monson Road should be open by the end of the month, giving a further boost to the fast-growing sector.
The project – the result of a partnership between Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, Kent County Council and private companies – will provide around 65 desks for start-ups and micro-businesses in the creative sector.
Simon McArdle, a partner behind the project and founder of the web development company WebScript Designs, confirmed it has been business as usual since the Leave vote.
He said: “We’ve not seen any demand change in the industry. No impact on our clients or our sales.
“Our financial clients were unhappy [about the referendum result] but it hasn’t changed their orders with us.”