NN arts building in Guildhall Road bought up by Northampton Borough Council

The borough council is poised to buy 9 Guildhall Road, currently being occupied by the NN art collective.
The borough council is poised to buy 9 Guildhall Road, currently being occupied by the NN art collective.

More plans are afoot for Northampton’s cultural quarter with the borough council announcing a £360,000 bid to buy the NN art space building and to pave the way for a ‘cultural hub’ by demolishing a garage.

NN, at 9 Guildhall Road, features a well used exhibition gallery, an artists’ workshop for students and aspiring artists and a cafe.

Currently the charitable group running the space rent the building from its landlords Northamptonshire County Council.

However that lease agreement is due to expire in 2017 and the borough council now looks poised to step in and buy the property to ensure that the building remains in use for “cultural purposes”, it 
says.

Northampton Borough Council’s cabinet is to decide on whether to make a “strategic acquisition” of the freehold of the site for £360,000 at the first cabinet meeting of the new session on Wednesday, June 10.

A spokesperson for the council said: “We plan to buy 9 Guildhall Road to ensure any future use of the building continues to be in keeping with the Council’s vision for the Cultural Quarter.

“There are no specific plans for alternative uses of the building and the café 
will continue to be able to operate.

“We will look to work alongside NN Contemporary Art and in the longer term we would of course carefully consider any other options that may exist for the property.”

A report set to go before Wednesday’s cabinet states the county council currently generates “no income” from the building, but it also adds that the borough council could “generate revenue streams from the acquisition” in the future, were it to buy 9 Guildhall Road.

If the purchase goes ahead the building would join a list of six pubs, seven eateries, and four theatres currently owned by the council.

The news of buying the current NN premises also comes in a week the council announced it had submitted an application to demolish the Amalgamated Tyres building in Northampton to make way for a “cultural hub” complex that will house 100 businesses.

The building in Fetter Street, off Guildhall Road, will make way for the first part of the Vulcan Works cultural complex, with the tyre workshop set to move elsewhere in the town.

The authority says the hub, which would provide individual workshops and business spaces for creative industry firms, could create up to 400 jobs over the next decade.

If approved, demolition work would be completed by the end of October this year.

Preparation work is also well under way to refurbish the Grade II Listed Vulcan Works, and the borough council described the demolition work in Fetter Street as “another important step forward”.

“The Cultural Hub will support our creative businesses, and help these industries grow.

“The opportunities it will create will see new jobs and investment into our local economy.”