Vulcan Works creative hub in Northampton needs another £1.1 million to complete

Funding will cover unexpected roofing works needed on the building

Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 12:43 pm
Updated Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 12:44 pm
Earlier construction work at the Vulcan Works building

Councillors are set to discuss approving £1.1m of funding to complete the interior fit out and additional roof work at Northampton’s Vulcan Works Creative Hub.

The costings and timescales for the fit out required to ensure the building is able to be fully let, will be presented to Northampton Borough Council’s Cabinet today (March 24).

The hub, which occupies a large site between Guildhall Road and Fetter Street in the town’s Cultural Quarter, will contain up to 68 units to let, co-working space, breakout areas and meeting rooms for start-up enterprises and creative businesses.

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The Vulcan Works building

A report to the cabinet recommends it approves the drawdown from its development pool of £670,000 to complete the interior fit out and £500,000 for additional roofing works which have been undertaken on the project.

The funding to cover unexpected additional roofing works have been required due to the poor condition of the roof and trusses.

The development pool is to identify likely future calls on the council’s capital programme.

It is also recommended cabinet delegates authority to appoint a contractor for the fit out work and equipment required to open the hub.

An early artist's impression of the Vulcan Works project

If cabinet agrees to release funds to cover the fit-out costs, a contractor will be appointed in June, and works are estimated to be complete by October 2021. Work started on site in March 2019.

A report to the cabinet states: ‘For each month the Vulcan works in delayed in opening, there will be income lost of approximately £50,000.

‘This is key project in terms of bouncing back from Covid and the future economic recovery of the town and wider West Northamptonshire.

‘The space is creating incubator facilities and wider business support offer, while the centre is not open it will hamper the local economic recovery and the council’s ability to offer further support to those businesses that need it.’

Work being carried out inside the Vulcan Works building

The council had hoped to have a management operator appointed prior to the completion of the project on site to assist with the fit out of the building.

But due to the increased pressures as a result of Covid this has not been possible. It is now envisaged an operator will be appoint by the summer.

The report states: ‘Based on the numbers give, the Vulcan Works can accommodate 320 people throughout the building using office space, co-working space and meeting rooms. In addition to this there are corridors, plant rooms, toilet, showers, tea points etc.

‘Some of these elements will be completed as part of the wider construction project however some will require additional fit out working in conjunction wih the appointed management operator.’

The inside of the Vulcan Works building

Works to progress the hub has continued throughout the pandemic, with new buildings on Angel Street and St John’s Street, which form part of the overall site, almost complete.

Refurbishment of the Victorian Workshops in Guildhall Road has seen many original features restored, including original wooden trusses, rooflights and brickwork, while the old stores in Fetter Street are now divided into spacious units with maple-boarded ceilings.

The fit out will include signage, furniture, carpets, kitchen white goods, fire safety equipment and a bespoke printing lab with 3D printers and a laser cutter, all funded with monies already ringfenced in the project development pool budget.

Councillor Tim Hadland, cabinet member for regeneration and enterprise, said: “Furnishing the Vulcan Works will be the last major step of this significant development, and a step which will allow us to rent out the units as soon as possible once the hub is completed.

“Supporting our expanding creative sector is absolutely vital as the town works towards economic recovery from the Covid pandemic. We also envisage that the hub will attract graduates and highly-skilled entrepreneurs, creating exciting new businesses and increasing activity in the town centre.”