CULTURAL leaders in Winchester say they must "make space for new creative businesses" in the coming years.

Winchester City Council says the creative sector is a key part of the city economy.

Civic chiefs have presented their long-term strategy for the next five to six years.

Council officers and Cllr Lucille Thompson, Cabinet member for business and culture, have developed a stakeholder group of organisations to develop festivals and events across the district by 2030.

The cultural team presented their strategy to the Economy and Housing Policy Committee for scrutiny at Winchester Guildhall on Tuesday, February 20 before it goes to Cabinet on March 14.

The partners, including organisations such as The Nutshell, Play to the Crowd and Hampshire Cultural Trust, have co-designed the plan and chosen the values of inclusivity, collaboration, ambition, resilience and being distinctly Winchester.

READ MORE: Winchester theatre The Nutshell launches Crowdfunder to secure future

Hampshire Chronicle: Cllr Thompson at last year's Winchester Books Festival launchCllr Thompson at last year's Winchester Books Festival launch (Image: Newsquest)

Cllr Thompson said: “We started just a year ago and it has been an enormous amount of work. We’ve brought together a really celebrative team which I think we can build on.

“The cultural sector is really struggling with funding cuts, we could lose all sorts of organisations and creative outlets as a result.

“As a council, we can’t be relied upon to deliver the aims. I’m really pleased to see that there is a real commitment from the stakeholders who we have got to know so well.

“We need to champion what we already have. We have a fantastic festival programme and we need to make space for new creative businesses.”

Andrew Gostelow, economy and tourism lead, said: “Partnership has been the absolute golden thread throughout. We recognise the fragility of the creative sector so partnership is really important to bring together this strategy.”

Emalene Hickman, culture and creative sector development officer, explained the strategy’s priorities of education and young people, placemaking, events and festivals, economy and creative industries, environmental responsibility, health and wellbeing and inclusion and diversity.

Hampshire Chronicle: Cultural strategy prioritiesCultural strategy priorities (Image: Winchester City Council)

The aim by 2020 is to have developed a youth movement, be attracting external investment, have a growing number of festivals and events attracting new and existing audience, boost the health and wellbeing of residents, a greater proportion of the cultural and creative workforce and audiences will be from a diverse background and culture will be pivotal to Winchester’s identity.

To tackle financial difficulties, members of the stakeholder group have recommended developing joint funding bids, building relationships with corporate partners and funders and making them aware of the cultural sector’s worth and exploring private investment methods such as a ‘100 club’ which would secure donations from 100 different organisations.

SEE ALSO: Hampshire Pride, Ginchester and Winchester Cocktail Week to return

Hampshire Chronicle: The committee meetingThe committee meeting (Image: Newsquest)

Committee member Cllr Caroline Horrill, who was there in place of Cllr Fiona Isaacs, questioned whether the stakeholder group represented the diversity and inclusivity that the strategy want to achieve.

Cllr Horrill said: “When I look at the partnership I don’t see the breadth of organisations. Have you talked more broadly to enable this? The educational sector is much bigger than just the university.”

Mr Gostelow said: “We developed our stakeholder group very organically to be as representative as  it could but Emmalene has met with much broader groups to meet inclusivity.

“This was an initial group to get us on the journey, it’s not a final destination. The next step will be to look at what kind of group this might be going forward whether that’s like Portsmouth Creates or a creative compound. We’re exploring all these options.”

Cllr Thompson said: “A lot of this still has to be buttoned down. We’ll be able to see the strategy as a whole at Cabinet.”

The Winchester District Cultural Strategy will be heard in more detail at Cabinet on March 14.