Go-ahead for extra £1.1m creative hub project in Northampton
Hailed as "one of the most exciting schemes for years"
Funding of £1.1m has been approved to complete work on a creative hub in Northampton’s Cultural Quarter described as one of the “most exiting projects for years".
Northampton Borough Council has agreed to fund £670,000 for interior fit out work and £500,000 for additional roof work on the Vulcan Works Creative Hub.
At the cabinet meeting which approved the funding, the cabinet member for regeneration and enterprise, councillor Tim Hadland said: “It’s one of our most exciting projects for years which is going to be a fantastic asset to the cultural quarter and to the whole town and area.”
The costings and timescales for the interior fit out required to ensure the building is fully able to be let out, were presented at the last Northampton Borough Council cabinet meeting.
The new unitary authority starts on Thursday (April 1) when the project will be passed via the shadow authority to West Northamptonshire Council.
A report to the cabinet states work on the hub started in March 2019. Once complete, it will contain up to 68 units to let, co-working space, breakout areas and meeting rooms for start-up enterprises and creative businesses.
The hub aims to expand and develop the cultural quarter and enterprise zone by establishing new creative activity showcasing artists at work.
It aims to improve graduate retention in the town and attract highly skilled entrepreneurs and employees to the area, all part of the recovery from the Covid pandemic.
The report states: ‘Supporting businesses as we head out of the Covid pandemic is part of the recovery plan for Northampton to help nurture and grow businesses which may have been detrimentally affected by the current situation.’
The project comprises the part demolition of areas of the site and the refurbishment of the Vulcan Works workshops, Fetter Street stores and the weights and measures building. Two new buildings will be provided, one of three floors in Angel Street and a four floor building in St Johns Road.
In the meeting, cabinet members approved the drawdown from the council’s development pool of £670,000 to complete the interior fit out and £500,000 for additional roof works from the development pool. The pool is used to identify likely future calls on the council’s capital programme.
Cabinet also agreed to delegate authority to appoint a contractor for the fit out works and equipment.
Presenting a report to the cabinet, Councillor Hadland, said: “This project has gone very well, slightly delayed by Covid but not to any great extent and we’re now at the point of letting or preparing to let the contract for the fit out of the nearly completed building.
“There are really two things here, one is to approve the fit out works that are required to draw down £670,000 for that work.
“The second strand is an additional £500,000, all this money coming from the development pool and that is to cover the additional costs of roof works on the oldest part of the building where a number of defects were uncovered at the time of construction when they started dismantling the very old building. And that has to be dealt with.
“The progress is really good. The two new build buildings are nearly at a stage of the paint being dry. The remaining buildings are coming along well.”
A contractor is now expected to be appointed in June, and works complete in October. An operator to run the facility will also be in place in October.