Nottingham’s Creative Quarter Company Announces Its Closure

Monday 27 March 2023
reading time: min, words

Nottingham’s Creative Quarter Company has announced it will officially close at the end of March after ten years in the city...


Nottingham’s Creative Quarter Company has announced it will officially close at the end of March after ten years in the city.

The project was first announced in 2012 and was set up as the flagship project of the Nottingham Growth Plan, a support package initially of £60m. The project was set up to encourage business growth in an area primarily made up of The Lace Market, Hockley, Sneinton Market and The Island site.

The Creative Quarter was initially led by Kathy McArdle, who was appointed as their Chief Operations Officer in 2013. Her leadership oversaw pedestrian improvements on Broad Street and Heathcoat Street, as well as schemes such as Next Business Generation, the Nottingham Technology Grant Scheme and the Creative Quarter loan scheme. In 2015 they won a European Enterprise Promotion Award in Luxembourg.  

In 2017, Kathy McArdle’s role was taken over by Stephen Barker – a former Director of Communications and Marketing at Nottingham City Council. At this point they established a base in the Sneinton Avenues area and much of their work concentrated on events and tenants in the area.

In 2021, Tamily Cookson, who had previously been Events and Office Manager at Nottingham Contemporary as well as running her own events planning business, was appointed as Interim CEO. However its future remained uncertain in the post-COVID, post-Brexit era and time has been finally called on it, with the company closure date marked as 31 March. For most of its ten-year life the Creative Quarter was jointly funded by Nottingham City Council and Nottingham Trent University, as well as accessing various pots of public funding from the EU and D2N2.

In her exit statement, Tamily Cookson said: “Although the team and I are sad to say goodbye on behalf of the Creative Quarter Company, we are proud of the legacy that has been created with the city's Creative Quarter very much established and thriving.

"There are many significant successes to mark as part of this announcement - the evolution of Sneinton Market being a central achievement, not forgetting the many amazing businesses and independents that have flourished to bring investment and employment to Nottingham. Our team and partners can celebrate the lasting impact we've had on the city with a now defined Creative Quarter that will remain as a fantastic destination for work, life, and play, as well as being a thriving community for professionals and small businesses."

Some of the CQC's key achievements include:

  • The evolution of Nottingham city centre's east side with a 905% increase in creative digital industries (CDI) in the designated Creative Quarter area. This has contributed 11% GVA to Nottingham's economy at a value of £1.2 billion, growing nearly five times more than the average industry in Nottingham.
  • Achieving the largest employment growth in the UK's CDI since 2015, outpacing London.
  • The creation of Sneinton Market Avenues from formerly derelict premises to create a thriving hub for independent businesses.
  • Boosting the city's culture and creativity including its role in the annual Light Night, plus its support for Nottingham Craft Beer Festival, Nottingham Puppet Festival, Wigflex, Green Hustle and many more events.
  • Being the lead partner on The Big House business support programme with over 2,000 creative and digital businesses enrolled to date.
  • Working with Nottingham Trent University to retain graduate talent by building pathways to creative careers through talks, events and placement opportunities.

Creative Quarter Company Website

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